Category Archives: Non Fiction

Making use of our new space

We’ve had our new furnishings for just over two months now, and we can’t even remember what the library was like before! The new furniture has made an immediate impact on student satisfaction and learning. Here’s just one example: yesterday both Grade 4 classes visited the Library at the end of the day to kick-start their First Nations projects. In years past, we would send the set of books up to the Grade 4 teachers, but this year everyone was invited and able to find a space to collaborate! After an introduction to the task and some advice in deciding what information the boys needed to learn, finding the right book for the job, and extracting information in note form, they were off! Forty-eight boys were able to spread out across the space to take notes in small groups. The moveable furniture and private nooks really made the lesson effective since the boys were able to either work together, or find a quieter spot on their own.

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Filed under Grade 4, News, Non Fiction, Photos

Extreme Makeover: Library Edition

The past month has been a whirlwind of moving, organizing, planning and setting up, as we finally received our new library furnishings to complete the first phase of our renovation! The new library setup is phenomenal. The new shelving units are moveable and provide cozy nooks and corners for boys to read or work. The tables and seating are adaptable to different sizes of students, and allow the boys to collaborate with their peers more easily. The new carpet and paint complement the lighter coloured furniture too. Check it out:

This is the old office. On the right is the storage/student work area. On the left is Ms. Walker's messy desk!

This is the old office. On the right is the storage/student work area. On the left is Ms. Walker’s messy desk!

The old furniture. Note the heavy green tables and chairs, and the lovely teal accents everywhere.

The old furniture. Note the heavy green tables and chairs, and the lovely teal accents everywhere.

And here’s the makeover! Click on a picture to view a slideshow. Tell us what you think!

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Filed under Library Studies, News, Non Fiction, Photos

National Geographic Stories

Today Mr. Weber’s Grade 1 reading group was introduced to National Geographic Magazine.  We spent some time perusing a bunch of back issues, and then each boy chose one article to read carefully.  After reading, we tried to answer some questions about the articles we read:

  1. Remember – describe what your article was about. (2-3 sentences)
  2. Understand – what is the most important thing for the reader to take away from this story? (what is the message?)
  3. Apply – what questions (2-3) would you ask the author if you could talk with them?
  4. Analyze – how does this story connect to your own life? (at least 1 good sentence)
  5. Evaluate – is the story trying to convince us of something? (is it trying to make us think something?)
  6. Create – can you create something new that, if added, would make this story better? (a picture or some added writing) – do this on the back

Here are the links to the articles that each boy read:

Mr. Weber – Daisetsuzan: Big Snow Mountain, published August 2008

Noaah – Sailfish in the Whirl, published September 2008

Gabriel – Frozen Assets: Send Me to Siberia, published June 2008

Derek – Japan’s Nuclear Refugees, published December 2011

Isaac – Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas?, published July 2008

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Filed under Animals, Enrichment, Grade 1, Non Fiction, Photos

I Wonder … Who Invented the English Language?

In our ongoing quest to discover the answers to all the Grade 2 students’ “I Wonder” questions, we’ve certainly found a lot of cool information.  Today, Arnav, in 2DP, and Mr. Weber had a great conversation about the history of the English language.  We used the dictionary, the World Book Encyclopedia, and the internet to gather information.  Through our research, we created a kind of “family tree” for languages:

We also found a website called The History of the English Language, which does a pretty good job of explaining things in kid-friendly terms.  Click on the map below to visit that page.


Finally, we found a great book that Arnav signed out to take home; it’s called The Journey of English, by Donna Brook.  This book traces the journey of our language from its origins with the various peoples who invaded England to its present status as the international language of science and business, with more than a billion speakers.  If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, perhaps you’d like to sign it out, or ask Arnav what he learned from reading it!

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Filed under Enrichment, Grade 2, Non Fiction

Triage notes

One to-do item that Ms. Walker has been successfully putting off for many a week   month is dealing with casualties in the Book Hospital. These poor volumes have a range of injuries: anything from missing labels and lost pages, to completely hemorrhaged covers. It’s not a pretty job, and many victims must, sadly, pass on to the big shelf in the sky. However, today one of the goriest cases presented itself – one of the worst of Ms. Walker’s career thus far.

Yesterday a Grade 2 boy browsing in the cooking section exclaimed: “I can’t even turn the pages!” and upon examination, the following injury presented itself:

It looks healthy from the outside.

It looks healthy from the outside.



Cause of death: drowning. Classic water damage. A tragic loss to the 641s.

Today’s PSA, kids: Keep the cookbooks out of the bathtub!

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Filed under Library Studies, Non Fiction, Photos, Uncategorized

Top Titles

Playing with statistics is fun! Just out of interest, Ms. Walker looked up the most popular books for the 30 days (click to enlarge, or just squint):

may top titlesThere are no massive surprises here: these are all graphic novels, and most of them are part of a popular series. Chi’s Sweet Home has won over students all the way from Grade 1 to Grade 7, so when the ninth installment came out, it was snapped up right away. Ariol and Stickman Odyssey have also been sleeper hits this month.

Non-fiction books get checked out regularly, but are seldom as “hot” as our fiction selections. Here’s what’s been popular from the information side of things:

may non fic topSo basically, if your son has been attempting to leap tall buildings in a single bound, create a comic book, or build something crazy out of Lego, you can blame us. Ideas can be dangerous.

Have a great Victoria Day long weekend!

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Filed under Comics, Non Fiction, Titles

Sensational Pastel Car

Last week I received a surprising and lovely gift!

2013 started out with some exciting news for our Grade 1s: they can now check out TWO books at a time! We spend the first term going over routines and expectations with our library books, so they are allowed to choose one book per week. However, now that they’re used to using the library and understand how to care for their books, they have earned the extra responsibility of taking care of two books a week.

During Grade 1 library period, Dries took advantage of this new freedom and chose two very different non-fiction books: Cars of the Sensational 70s and An Introduction to Drawing and Painting With Pastels. He surprised me the next day with a picture that combined both of these topics!

It's a pastel car! And a mighty good one too!

It’s a pastel car! And a mighty good one too!

What a wonderful connection to make, all thanks to library books.

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Filed under Grade 1, Non Fiction