Blog Posts

31st of July: Family Bookfest

We still have a few weeks of summer holidays ahead of us, so this is not a post about what we are doing in the library or what stories we will be reading aloud. I just wanted to let you know that I came across an online Family Bookfest event that will be taking place on Saturday, the 31st of July. It is organized by Scholastic and completely free. All readers and ages will find something they’ll enjoy, especially Wings of Fire and Harry Potter fans! Times are in EST, which means that you have to add six hours to make it our time. So it’s a bit late for some of our younger ISGR readers, but maybe that’s okay in the summer holidays?

Follow this link to join the event. See you there!

Also on the 31st, the Dutch sister of the Storytime magazine (the one we have in our library) will be posting my third “guest blog”. In these monthly guest blogs, I write about the importance of reading aloud, ways of reading aloud and what reading aloud can look like in the home, school and library setting. It is written in Dutch, so not very useful to most of you, but I wanted to let you know since most of my inspiration for these guest blogs comes from the students (your children!) in our library. In future posts, the guest blogs might include photos of our read aloud sessions in the library. This will only happen with your permission, of course.

If you are curious, you can click here to see my guest blog pop up on the 31st, or look for my previous guest blogs (published on the last day of each month).

If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late to start on your ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021! I’m looking forward to seeing your completed challenge in the first week of school (either in my email inbox, or printed off). The present will involve paper, a pen and a Summer Reading Challenge sticker: in what shape or form is not completely clear yet. But who cares, it’s about the fun of reading, right? Happy Reading!

For now, I wish you a beautiful rest of the summer!

Summer Reading Greetings!

Fleur (and from Sophie too!)

Remember to Read!

Here is the promised last blog post of the school year 2020 – 2021. We hope this year was as much fun and interesting for your child(ren) as it was for us! Sophie and I loved teaching your children, and inspiring them to read. We would like to thank you for your support, and your encouragement to motivate your child(ren) to read at home as well.

As we are entering the long summer holidays, remember to join our ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021!

And of course, remember to read! You can find many teachers and researchers who have experienced and studied something labeled the “summer slide”, where students don’t read over the summer and their literacy skills decrease. Instead, we advocate lots of reading over the summer. You can read more about reasons why here; they even give you lists of suggestions per grade level. I especially agree with their last statement: “Don’t forget to keep reading fun. The lists are just suggestions for summer reading. Give your child the opportunity to choose books on his/her own as well. This can help keep reading interesting and inviting. Reading over the summer is a necessity, but it should also be fun!”

I found this blog post, by Oxford Learning, clear and informative. They tell you about reasons to keep reading during the summer as well as excellent ideas as to how to accomplish that. I like that these suggestions are not incentive based, and are simply fed by the rewarding joy of reading!

Your first step to a readingful summer, is the short walk to your local library! Ask the librarian about summer programmes that they run for children. My local library, for example, runs a book club during the summer months and children can fill up a “summer book bag” with library books. They can then choose a free (brand new) book to keep forever. How incredible is that?! So be sure to hop in your local library and ask about their summer reading programmes. In our previous post you can find out more about becoming a member of the public library. It’s free and easy. As a matter of fact, many students have come up to me to tell me that their parents have now created a library account for them. Hurray!

And if your child is allowed some screen time over the summer, maybe this could be a fun website to explore. A treasury of actors reading aloud classics and new picture books. Happy listening!

Rest us only to wish you a fun, restful and beautiful summer break!

Happy Summer! And of course:

Happy Reading!

Sophie & Fleur

The Last Days…

We are entering the last week, the last few days of school before the long summer break. With this glorious weather it certainly feels like summer already!

Students enjoyed playing chess, logical games and with the story cubes, coloring bookmarks and browsing the “yellow box” (more about the “yellow box” later) last week. Some students chose to read the books that are otherwise always checked out (Dog Man, for example!). Most students have returned all their library books. Thank you! If your child hasn’t yet, please be sure they do this next week. The library will be open!

In last week’s post, we explained how to get a public library card, as well as where you can find your closest library branch. When I told students (last week during their last library lesson) about the fact that all the public libraries in Göteborg work together, and that you can reserve books which will then be brought to your local branch – they were positively suprised! If you haven’t already, please be sure to get your child(ren) a public library card. It’s easy and totally free!

Last week during our library lesson, we also talked about the ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021! Download this (revised) pdf if your child didn’t bring the paper home and is interested in participating:

Feel free to email me (fleur.doornberg-puglisi@staff.isgr.se) if you have any questions. Students were curious about what the present will be, but we are still figuring that out. It won’t be a book bag! 😉 Something reading/writing related, of course, with an ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021 print on it, so it will serve as a memento of their completed challenge.

Sophie and I have gone through the whole fiction section, and pulled out worn-out, damaged, and outdated books that we feel like we don’t need or want in the library anymore. But we do think they can get a second life with our students. These withdrawn books, which we used to put in a yellow box, are free for the students to take home, to keep forever. These ex-library books have either a cross through our barcode, or it has W/D (withdrawn) written over our library address stamp. Just so it is very clear that they don’t belong to us anymore, and that students can keep them at home to read! There will be more withdrawn books available to take home forever, next week. Students can come after school to choose the books they’d like.

With all the books returned, and the fiction section tidied up, you can see just how many fantastic books we have! Eagerly waiting for their readers to return in August.

The new Storytime magazine (#82) is on its way from England, but as always, you are welcome to get a head start with the pdf version of this colorful read aloud magazine. They’ve also provided a teaching resource pack with many linked activities for this edition, which could be fun to work with over the summer holidays!

Next week, we won’t have any library lessons, although the library will be open for students to return their last books. The classes who have their library time on Tuesday, will come to the library as normal though, for some quiet reading/coloring/logical games time.

In our next blog post, we will give you some reading routine ideas for the summer and a few reading tips to maintain your child’s interest and enjoyment in reading.

Until then,

Happy Reading!

Your Libary Team,

Sophie & Fleur

Reading and Returning

Only one full week of library lessons left!

All PYP students are asked to return their library books next week. This is true for most LGRP classes too. There are one or two LGRP classes who will be returning their books on Monday, the 14th of June. Contact Sophie for details: sophie.arnold@staff.isgr.se

During circle time in our library lessons next week, I will tell the students how to become a member of the public library. For the ones who are interested, they can take a registration form home. You can also create a public library account online. Our school library will be closed during the summer break, but most public libraries will be open. Find the library branch close to your house here. There are so many! If you want a book that is at one of the other branches in the city, you can reserve it and they will deliver it to your branch. That is what you call service!

Students will be invited to join the ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021! Flyers will be handed out during the lesson as well. Or you can download this pdf:

After we’ve had our last story time of this school year (boohoo!), students will have time to color a bookmark, play chess, work with magnetic poetry, story cubes or do some other logical games. Or sit and read, of course!

The sun is shining; it’s time to go out and enjoy this beautiful weekend!

Happy Reading,

Fleur

Swimming into June: World Oceans Day

Last week, we read a great mix of stories during our library lessons: Zoo, and Into the Forest by Anthony Browne. We read all the stories out of the Storytime magazine, to different classes of course. But the grade 5 students chose for extra quiet reading time (they just love to curl up and read their books!). We will read aloud again in these classes next week!

We had our two last Cirkus Unik workshops, funded by the Creative School (Skapande Skolan) project which is a grant from the National Council of the Arts (KulturrĂ„det). It was a success. As one of the teachers wrote in an email reflecting on the workshop with her class: “Some of the students really showed off their talent for balancing, eye-hand coordination, and gross motor movement.  There were lots of smiles!”

Next week, we will celebrate World Oceans Day (June 8th) by reading Prince Fire Flash and Prince Fire Fade – A Japanese Story, from the A Year Full of Stories book. I will share non-fiction books with the students about oceans, as well as stories we have about feelings of anger, sadness and forgiveness (which are themes of the story). We will also reflect on what this story is teaching us, what this story is really about (as they are two storylines presented in this story). I am curious to see which elements of the story will stand out to the different students, as I don’t think there is one correct interpretation!

We have also put up new displays, observing current events (Eric Carle’s passing, Göteborg’s 400th Birthday, and the upcoming summer break):

Like we determined in the last post, the weeks are flying by! Here’s the overview:

Week 22 (31/5 – 4/6): Read aloud & circle time, return/check out books, return all public library books! (We have currently 29 public library books out on loan for our students).

Week 23 (7/6 – 11/6): Read aloud & circle time, just returning books! Color/folding bookmarks, chess, magnetic poetry, logical games. We will be chasing overdues by sending parents emails to help their child find and return ALL library books! Introduction ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021!

Week 24 (14/6 – 16/6): No library lessons, but classes can come up to have some quiet reading time during their library time with their teacher (teacher’s discretion).

LGRP classes will be returning during weeks  23 AND 24 depending on the classes schedule. Teachers and children will be told but parents can contact Sophie to clarify (sophie.arnold@staff.isgr.se). 

Hope this beautiful summer weather will accompany us through the last three weeks with your beautiful children!

Yours,

Sophie & Fleur

Caring Conversation

Last week we started our library lesson asking ourselves, “What is buddhism? What does it mean to be a buddhist?” In almost every class there were two or three students who were able to tell us a bit about it. One student, in grade one, said: “I think it means you sit like this a lot” and he sat like a buddha! Another student, in grade five, said that buddhist can see things from different perspectives. The example this student gave was when buddhists see a waving flag, they don’t see the flag moving but the wind that is moving it. Several students made connections with Jainism as well. We’ve learned many new things from each other!

We’ve read the story The Hare in the Moon. With every class, I stopped at the same points and asked for predictions or reflections. In the story, hare wants to care for others, and give the hungry man that was traveling through their woods, food. The hare realized that while he could not collect food like the others, he could offer something else. The students in the younger years suggested that the hare could give the hungry man water, or even carrots. The students in the older years all saw that the hare realized that he could offer himself. The students in 2nd and 3rd grade were divided between the “carrots” option and offering himself. All students, lower and higher grades, were still shocked by this idea!

After the story, we moved the conversation to sharing what kind of generous things you have done for others, or what kind of generous things someone has done for you. We made a differentiation between material things (I gave candy to my friend) and actions that involved care, attention and time (My mom helped me with my work at home).

Last week, we had our first two days of workshops with Cirkus Unik. The students and teachers were very positive, and they had a lof of fun! Thank you, Cirkus Unik teachers! They’ll be back next week again for two more days.

Next week during our library lesson, we will read stories related to Mother’s Day (Sunday, 30th of May here in Sweden), and families. I will share fact books with them on different kind of families. After the story we can share stories about our families, and what we like about them!

Issue 80 of the Storytime magazine has finally arrived from England! We are very happy, and students will be able to check this magazine out from next week on.

The Summer break is coming up! I can’t believe another school year has already, almost, come to an end. Here’s an overview of what the next four weeks will look like:

Week 21 (24/5 – 28/5): Read aloud & circle time, return/check out books, but we will not place any reservations for the students!

Week 22 (31/5 – 4/6): Read aloud & circle time, return/check out books, return all public library books! (We have currently 40 public library books out on loan for our students).

Week 23 (7/6 – 11/6): Read aloud & circle time, just returning books! Color/folding bookmarks, chess, magnetic poetry, logical games. We will be chasing overdues by sending parents emails to help their child find and return ALL library books! Introduction ISGR Summer Reading Challenge 2021!

Week 24 (14/6 – 16/6): No library lessons, but classes can come up to have some quiet reading time during their library time with their teacher (teacher’s discretion).

LGRP classes will be returning during weeks  23 AND 24 depending on the classes schedule. Teachers and children will be told but any unclear parents can contact Sophie to check (sophie.arnold@staff.isgr.se). 

We are looking forward to four fantastic last weeks with your fantastic children!

Yours,

Sophie & Fleur

Circus, Vesak and New Books

The circus is coming to ISGR! To be more precise: Circus teachers from Cirkus Unik are coming to our school to give circus skills workshop for the LGRP and PYP 2 and 3 students! They will enjoy a 45 minute outdoor workshop (let’s hope for good weather!), in which they get to try out and learn circus things like juggling and walking on stilts! These workshops are part of our Creative School/Skapande Skolan project, funded by the National Council of the Arts. Cirkus Unik will be at ISGR the 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th of May. We are very excited!

Last (short) week, we read many different picture books about artists. We learned so much! Did you know that Henri Matisse decided to become a painter when he was 40 years old! And that Andy Warhol’s nephew is now a children’s book writer and illustrator?

Next week, we will be reading from A Year Full of Stories again: The Hare in the Moon – A Buddhist Story. Vesak is celebrated on the first full moon in May. On this day, Buddhist all over the world honor the birth, the enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha. As always, we will share our thoughts and feelings about the story, and I will show the students non-fiction books about Buddhism.

So many new books! They just keep coming in (not by themselves, obviously, it’s all part of the plan). Some are still for the Read-A-Thon readers, others are honoring teacher- or student requests. Happy Reading!

I would like to end this post with an anecdote (if I could draw, I’d make it into a comic!). It often happens that a student says to me, “I don’t know which book to choose!”. My standard answer is; “Well, what kind of book would you like to read? Are you in the mood for fiction or facts?” So when last week a PYP 2 student told me he didn’t know which book to check out, I asked him, “Fiction or a fact book?” He looked at me. He looked away. He was clearly thinking about it. Then he looked at me again and said, “Faction! I want a faction book.” It made me laugh! (And then I, of course, told him about narrative non-fiction and fiction based on true events, with the “sant” genre sticker).

Have a great week!

Yours,

Sophie & Fleur

Sighs and Symbolism

We have had some interesting discussions during our library lessons last week! In our story, Spring and Autumn – A Japanese Story, we came across sentences like “Princes, warriors and even gods came from near and far, to gaze at the princess [Dear Delight of the World] and offer precious gifts,” and “I saw her walking here in the palace garden and knew at once that I must ask her to be my wife.” That evoked some eye rolling and sighing from the older grades. They said that “just because she is beautiful that doesn’t mean she is a good person,” and “How can you know you want to marry someone whom you haven’t even met or talked with, only seen in the garden!”. It was a bit awkward, but very meaningful, to talk about when you know you love someone, and what it means to marry someone. And how marriage has meant different things throughout different times and places!

I asked the students to listen to the story with their “mythology” ears switched on. What if you intrepet the princess as a symbol of happiness? Then suddenly, the sentence “How could such a dull-looking boy, dressed in grey, marry the most beautiful princess, Dear Delight of the World?” could hint to the idea that a ‘normal’ person, or simply a humble person, maybe wonders if he or she is worthy of happiness in their lives. You can imagine that reading a mythological story – one that feels old-fashioned for our current perspectives on equality, gender and agency – through a symbolic lens, opens the door to thoughtful reflections. The story concluded with the statement that autumn is the saddest time of the year. So we ended our circle time with sharing our opinions whether this was true or not.

We didn’t read this story in all classes. For some, I chose to read one of our fantastic picture books featuring artists from all over the world. Students were amazed to learn about Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keeffe. As a matter of fact, in this short school week, I will be reading these picture books to the Tuesday and Wednesday classes.

Sophie and I realize that these blog posts are mostly geared towards the PYP students. When Sophie meets with the LGRP students, she shows and talks about many different books. Sometimes this is based on a theme, a special day, new books that have come in, or as a result of students’ requests. Know that all books (and our guidance in helping find the right book) in the library are accessible and available to all students in our school!

The Read-A-Thon-requests-books are slowly trickling in. I am trying to cover them as they arrive, and Sophie tries to keep up with the cataloging, so all Read-A-Thon participants can borrow (and more importantly, read!) their requested books. Here is what has come in so far:

Thank you for reading our blog! We wish you a fun, short school/work week – and a beautiful long weekend!

Happy Reading!

Sophie & Fleur

It’s Always Children’s Book Week Somewhere!

Last week was a short week for me. I was at home with my sniffly son (he’s fine now). Thank you to Danny and Sophie for saving the day!

We read The Cracked Pot – An Indian Story. It was interesting to hear connections to similar stories from other cultures. We explored what a fable, or moral story, is. There’s always one or two students in each class that can teach us what a fable is, and why it makes it a special kind of story. We found definitions for “flaw” and “blessing”. We shared the “lesson” or “moral” we took from The Cracked Pot. All different perspectives make for diverse learning!

Read the story here, and reflect for yourself!

Next week, we will be reading Spring and Autumn – A Japanese Story. We will connect it to non-fiction about the seasons, as well as origin stories explaining the change in seasons from a mythical perspective (Persephone, for example). We will also highlight non-fiction and fiction focusing on Japan and Japanese culture. We are looking forward to another week of expanding our horizon!

With a steady stream of new books coming in every week, it is easy to forget the already amazing books we have in our library collection. This is why our displays highlight some of these books. Displays are an invitation to borrow (and read!) the books. We happily replenish the displays.

We now have Storytime magazine in our library, ready to be checked out (and read during the library lessons if they have a red REF(ERENCE) sticker on them). You can access the latest issue by clicking here. Happy Reading Aloud!

We’ve had some very enthusiastic PYP 1 authors this year in our library. They’ve written and illustrated their own books, which are now (finally, sorry it took so long!) available in the library! Please note that the Story Box Library is an already existing Australian organization that brings stories to children through their storytellers. Our apologies for having used their logo and name!

Like we said, it’s always Children’s Book Week somewhere! Next week, students, teachers, and librarians all over the United States will be celebrating reading as a superpower! Check out this link for tons of fun activities, virtual story times and other great resources. Click here for some great Reading is a Superpower bookmarks, and learn about the fantastic illustrators who made them.

2021 CBW Poster

And on that happy, superpower note – we will conclude this blog post.

Have a wonderful week!

Yours,

Sophie & Fleur

Image

Connecting Through Stories

Last week, we read The Shoemaker and the Dragon (PYP 1 and 2) and The Glass Knight (PYP 3 – 5). Students quickly made connections with the Greek myth about Medusa, as well as other knight and dragon stories. We found variations of the “brain over brawn”-theme. And of course, the most obvious connection was with the Basilisk in Harry Potter! Through finding the connections to other stories, it felt like we were connecting with each other.

Monday through Wednesday: Focus on the St. George Stories

In Foundation, we enjoyed reading The Story Thief by Graham Carter. This picture book lends itself excellently for pausing, and asking students for predictions or ideas of how they would solve the problem. The book ends with the main characters (Olive and Octopus) being “ready to share their new idea with everyone…” How fun it was to ask the students what they thought what that new idea could be! Try to do that at home too, when you’re reading with your child(ren); ask for predictions, solutions, reflections or alternative endings. The creativity you will meet is inspiring!

On Thursday, we focused on Earth Day!

Next week, we will read The Cracked Pot – an Indian Story, again from A Year Full of Stories. We will read and reflect, as usual, and then I will share books with the students that feature stories from India. We will also talk about fables, or moral stories. Which ones do you know? What did you learn? And why do you remember that one in particular? I am looking forward to tapping into the rich cultural heritage students are part of (sometimes without even realizing it), and how we will learn from, and about, each other.

Sophie keeps up the notice board outside, always keeping up to date with the new books she daily catalogs and adds to our vast library collection! Students often stop and look at our new books. Which is exactly the point, because most books are so popular that they almost never sit on the shelves. Having the photo posters up, allows students to place reservations on the new books. Otherwise they wouldn’t even know we have them!

We now have a permanent display of new books! We’ve added a lot of fiction, both in Swedish and English. We’re expecting more Usborne fact books and Read-A-Thon requests to arrive soon. Currently on the display are the picture books that focus on artists, on their works and lives. They’ve been in the PYP 3 classrooms for their unit of inquiry, but are now available to all students.

We are looking forward to a readingful week, full of wonder! (Or a wonderful week, full of reading).

Your Library Team,

Sophie & Fleur

27 best Therapist cartoons images on Pinterest | Funny ...