The Composition

compositionLast Thursday, grade 5 students spent the day in Middle school and during library orientation, Mr Loste read them the captivating story, The Composition written by Antonio Skármeta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. The main character in this story, Pedro, is faced with an ethical dilemma when he is asked to write an essay for a government official representing the military dictatorship of his country. This brilliant book is well deserving of the many literary prizes it has been awarded and illustrates many of the IB attitudes.

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Pale Male

pale maleThis week grade 1-4 students learned about a hawk that lives in New York City. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City written by Janet Schulman and illustrated by Meilo So, is the astonishing true story of a red tailed hawk that has lived in New York since 1991. We learned how, when his nest was torn down, many people protested and since then his home on a building on Fifth Avenue has been undisturbed.

We then watched the trailer of the documentary made about his life so far and you can watch it here:

You can also keep up to date with what is happening in his nest from this site, palemale.com.

Mercedes and the chocolate pilot

mercedesThis week Grade 1-5 library classes have read the intriguing true story of Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot: a true story of the Berlin airlift and the candy that dropped from the sky by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.

This story is not only about the history of the end of WWII and the start of the Cold War in Europe, but also a story of hope and dreams achieved. This book is an excellent example of visualising using our sense of smell! We even learned what an ‘epilogue’ is.

To find out more about the remarkable Gail Halvorsen and the Berlin Airlift we watched this video clip:

Correction required about the origin of the use of the name ‘Mercedes’ by the Mercedes-Benz company. You can read more about Mercedes Jellinek here.

If the world were a village

world villageThis past week Grade 1-5 classes have watched the animated version of the story If the World were a Village by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong. We found the DVD version entertaining and easier to understand. It is difficult to imagine 7 billion people on the planet and we really liked the way the animated version helped us to understand world statistics by reducing the population to 100 people. We learned about world languages, religions, schooling and resources such as food, water and electricity. Learning about this helped us to appreciate what we have.

Here’s a short clip of the 20 minute animated story:

The ugly duckling with ELC

TRC104-11-08 Cover 175L D.inddThis week ELC library classes read a different version of the classic tale The Ugly Duckling, originally by Hans Christian Andersen. This version is from WeGiveBooks.org and has been beautifully adapted by Rachel Isadora.

Our username for WeGiveBooks.org is: bifslibrary and password is: read.

To understand how baby swans are hatched from their eggs we watched this interesting video:

Quiet! There’s a canary in the library

quietThese past few weeks ELC library classes have looked at the Corduroy books written by Don Freeman. This week we’re looking at another Don Freeman book, Quiet! There’s a Canary in the Library. As always, books written by Don Freeman have given us plenty of new vocabulary and made us laugh. We also needed to know what a canary looks and sounds like, so we watched this video:

16 years in 16 seconds!

sammyThis past week, Grade 4 & 5 have read another fascinating biography, this time about diving legend Dr Sammy Lee. Sixteen years in sixteen seconds by Paula Yoo and Dom Lee tells how Dr Lee grew up in California, at a time when non-white people could only use the public swimming pool one day a week. But Sammy Lee, son of Korean immigrants, wanted to become a Olympic diver, so he had to practice in a sand pit in his coach’s back yard!

Despite discrimination and unbelievable challenges he fulfilled his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and he also became a medical doctor. You can watch a documentary about his life here: