Elephants swimming and the World’s Greatest Elephant

Grade 1-5 students this week have read the (long) and incredible story of The World’s Greatest Elephant written by Ralph Helfer and illustrated by Ted Lewin. This amazing story of friendship between a boy and an elephant, through unbelievably difficult circumstances, is an inspiring story of commitment!

Before reading the book we watched a short clip of an elephant swimming, as the elephant Modoc did in the story after the shipwreck. You can watch the video clip here:


The mixed-up chameleon

This week, ELC library classes have read The mixed up Chameleon by Eric Carle. We love the way Eric Carle has been so creative in his art work with cut out pages and colors that become a rainbow on the last page. We also realised that the chameleon should have been more confident in being himself, instead of trying to become like other animals.

Before reading the book, we first needed to learn more about chameleons and so watched a short video clip of the BBC documentary “Life in Cold Blood,” and you can watch it here:

Beach plastic and (hopefully) saving birds!

This week Grade 1-5 students are watching a documentary of Richard and Judith Lang’s beach plastic art projects:

This story has inspired us to cooperative action! Students are keen to bring, to the library collection point, their own contributions of clean colorful plastic pieces found at the beach or collected from their homes. We then plan to make a curtain of beach plastic pieces to hang in the hallway leading to the cafeteria. There is glass on both sides of the walkway there and it seems that birds think it’s an open thoroughfare and frequently fly into the glass and stun or kill themselves. Hopefully with the curtain of plastic pieces it will stop this, and also provide some stunning art work for everyone to enjoy.

The importance of trying to keep plastic out of our oceans was very powerfully told to us through this ‘mokumentary’:

Three cups of tea and book trailers

This week Grade 1-5 students have been introduced to book trailers, thanks to the trailer for Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin, which you can watch below. We liked how the trailer explained why the book was titled “Three cups of tea” and showed the villagers working together to build the school. The PYP attitude of cooperation matches this book well.

We then read the picture book version, Listen to the Wind, which is beautifully illustrated in collage by Susan L. Roth. Watching the trailer helped us to understand a bit better about the conditions of life for the Pakistani villagers in this region.

Classes also discussed the differences between book and movie trailers and watched the trailer for the movie Brave to see how a full length movie story can be cleverly captured in one minute of film so that you really want to watch the whole movie. See what you think:

New circulation desk built by students!

The BIFS Elementary library is very proud to have a new circulation desk built by students in the Wednesday lunch time library club. It is constructed of books that are out-of-date or badly damaged and have been weeded from our collection. It is a (very heavy) work of art inspired by a desk made for the library at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Although ours is much smaller, and constructed by 9 and 10 year olds, we are just as proud!