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2015-2016 archive

We are taking action through Read to Feed

This summer, our students will be participating in Heifer International's Read to Feed read-a-thon. "The Read to Feed program encourages reading, while heightening students’ awareness that their actions make a difference in the lives of others. As students read more books, they improve their reading abilities and more families receive gifts of livestock and training." Heifer works to reduce hunger in about 30 countries by giving people livestock and other essentials, like water pumps, and then training them on how to use them. Check our Read to Feed webpage for our progress and updates!

Thank you for your support of Heifer International, our kids' reading and their ability to take action!

Recess Creations

June 2016 - Look at these paper butterflies created during recess in the library by our first graders. So cute!

Fourth Graders taking Action

June 2016 - Our fourth graders were a proud group as they worked assembly-line style to withdraw old books from the Library collection during their recess.


All classes that have all of their library materials and bags returned to the library by Thursday, June 2 will have popsicles on Tuesday, June 7. These are the classes that have earned their popsicles as of June 2:

PKB, PKC, PKD, KA, KD, 1A, 1C, 2C, 2D, 3B, 4C

Library Exhibit - book-themed PEEPS dioramas

Book Fair gratitude

October 30, 2015 - Thanks to our committed parent volunteers who successfully managed another Bilingual New Book Fair! Not only did WIS families get access to loads of Spanish and French books, but the Fair raised $4,000 for the Library's collection. 


October 6, 2015 - We ran out of book spine tape and date due stickers this week, supplies needed to ready our new books. When I was re-ordering these supplies I saw that in May I had ordered 75 YARDS of spine tape and 300 date due stickers. Where could they have gone so quickly?! You guessed it: we have a ton of new books. There's just so much out there for our kids and teachers and we're on a mission to make it available to them. In our three languages. 

If you haven't stopped by the library lately please do. Pay special attention to our older grade nonfiction picture books (something that Common Core has prompted from the publishing industry), our many books that encourage inclusion and open-mindedness (see also the We Need Diverse Books site to assemble your family's reading list), and our fiction and nonfiction graphic novels (these are full length stories with plots and complex characters and encourage the visual literacy our kids need to have).

Thank you Mac and Matt!

May 3, 2016 - Caldecott Honor author Mac Barnett and illustrator Matt Myers entertained our first and second graders with their newest book, Rules of the House, and WIS favorite, Battle Bunny. There were lots of questions from our kids and Mac and Matt answered them all with a friendly openness.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Visit our Poetry Blog to see what we've been doing with poetry and post your own creations. (You'll need the password from the teachers/librarians.)

Solveig the carrot
Poetry Showcase - We closed our Poetry Month on May 4th with an assembly for Grades 1 - 4 showcasing our in-house poetry talent. 22 students bravely presented their poems and we all got to watch the poetry e-books created by all of our first and second graders. View these below:

En sortant de l'ecole

We are one

Casita de Papel

All the world

April 25, 2016 - Poet Nancy Arbuthnot worked with students in Ms. Sneed's classes to create poetry books, each containing an original ode to an animal. Ms. Arbuthnot's ABC poetry book of animal sculptures in Washington, Wild Washington, was inspiration to the children. And each child was given a copy of the book to take home!

April 21, 2016 - We celebrated our fourth annual Poem in Your Pocket Day with "free" poems given out by our librarians, Ms. Meade reading aloud a limerick and lots and lots of students reciting their poems throughout their day. So. Much. Fun.

April 11, 2016 - Our third and fourth graders shared recited poems with students at Atlanta International School via Skype today during their recess. There were lots of original poems, several Shel Silverstein poems and many languages were presented, including German, Russian, Spanish, French and English. For those who can't get enough, we'll be repeating it on Tuesday April 12th.

April 6, 2016 - Spoken word artist Joseph Green shared poetry with our first through fifth graders today and launched our Poetry Month. Fourth graders worked with him on writing their own poems.

April 4, 2016 - April is National Poetry Month and the Primary School is celebrating! Poetry is a genre that we can explore in all of our languages and at all of our ages and stages. Poetry Month launches on April 6th with an Assembly for grades 1 - 5 from Joseph Green of Split this Rock and poetry writing workshops for grade 4. The month will end with another assembly of students sharing poetry in grades 1 - 5.

Throughout the month, throughout the school, students will be writing, reading, sharing, reciting and creating mash-ups with poetry. For example, kindergarteners, first and second graders are creating illustrated, narrated poetry e-books. Second graders will write poetry with poet Nancy Arbuthnot. Third and fourth graders will be sharing poems with Atlanta International School students via Skype. For a glimpse at some of our creations throughout the month (and some from Atlanta International School), visit our poetry blog (ask the librarians for the password).

Poem in Your Pocket Day will be celebrated on April 21. PS students are asked to bring in a poem from home and store it in a pocket. Throughout the day, students will be asked to read/share their poems. If a child does not bring in a poem in his/her pocket, he/she can visit second graders' "poem pockets" hanging near the library to select a "free" poem.

Student Led Conferences

Mar 15, 2016 - We were excited to see so many families - at least 125 - in the library last week during Student Led Conferences. Lucky students got to borrow books without their library bags! Students showed their parents some recent activities from ICL or IT class and many tried out some new activities, such as creating digital book recommendations (see the photo below of 4C Irene's recommendation) and taking the library scavenger hunt. 

WIS Poetry Month (April) is coming...

"Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful."  
Rita Dove
We are lining up a full slate of poetry-related events and activities; check back soon for details.


Feb 17, 2016 - In the local Washington Post tradition, we are building an exhibit in the Library of student-created Peeps Dioramas! Peeps are marshmallow candies found in variety and drug stores in Spring. To participate, bring your diorama to the library by April 1. It should be made in a shoebox, include at least one Peep and be related to a book or story. Students can work together or individually. View the ones created by our students in 2013:

Peeps from WIS kids 2013

Alliance Française visits

Feb 9, 2016 - Our French students in grades 2, 3 and 4 worked with staff from Alliance Française to learn about Loïc Dauvillier's books. Each grade wrote Loïc a letter introducing themselves. We eagerly await his replies and upcoming visit!

Loïc Dauvillier et Alliance Française 

March 2, 2016 - UPDATE - Due to problems obtaining a visa, Loïc Dauvillier will not be visiting WIS after all. We are very disappointed and will try to reschedule his visit for a future date.
Feb 3, 2016 - We're excited to partner with Alliance Française in February and March to bring author Loïc Dauvillier to D.C. He will work with our French students in grades 2, 3 and 4. On February 9th, Alliance Française's programs manager and librarian will prepare our students for Loïc's visit.

Second Grade Librarians

Feb 3, 2016 - Expanding on second graders' study of How We Organize Ourselves, they were given special librarian training on how to build a collection. Then they were asked to make hard decisions with books being "considered" for our library collection. Not so easy, eh?

Rainy Day Recesses

December 2, 2015 - With this week's rainy days come loads of our students, seeking out a comfortable and (sometimes) quiet spot in the library during recess. Today's second graders were researching their chosen animals and printing photos of them from Britannica for hand-made books. A couple of fourth graders came with drawing journals in hand. Here are a bunch of our fifth graders enjoying their books:


November 16, 2015 - Storyteller Patrick Ryan spent the day at the Primary School. He told stories to our PreKinder, Kinder, Third, Fourth and Fifth graders and worked with Fourth graders in a writing workshop. Samantha Pressman, Daniel Pressman, Gabrielle Cordero, Saafi Ngolela and their Grade 4 classmates described what they learned this way:

On Monday, November 16th, Patrick Ryan, an Irish storyteller came to our school, the Washington International School (WIS). Patrick Ryan was invited to WIS to help us, the Fourth Graders, to improve our creative writing skills. In Fourth Grade, we are focused on creative writing since our unit is “Imagine This.” Through this unit, we are learning about communication and about how to become skillful writers. Perhaps, Patrick Ryan would help us to turn the stories we write into great stories. We learned a lot thanks to Patrick Ryan. Here are some things we learned:

To communicate our ideas, we need to create vivid images in other people’s minds. That is why before writing their stories authors imagine a picture in their minds in order to gather all the “juicy details” (as our English teacher says). 

Sometimes when authors hear a story. They change the personalities of the characters or the details of the events to make a new story. Some people hear a story; it goes into one ear and out of the other ear. Some hear a story, but it disappears in their mind, and then it is forgotten. But some hear the story. It swirls around with other ideas in their minds and comes out as a story but now told in a different way. We are not all the same storytellers

Mr. Ryan told us that storytellers tell stories from different perspectives. They see the same subject from different angles. The “who, where, why, when, how, and why “is different and that is why each author tells a story about the same subject in a different way.

We also learned that no storyteller plans stories in the same way. Some plan in their heads and others on paper. Some plans end in a ‘fast write’ when the author quickly writes his or her ideas down. Not all fast writes turn into a story, but the fast write is still worth it. Some fast writes are developed and end up as a great story.

Mr. Ryan told us that there is an ongoing cycle of story telling. Here is how the cycle runs. Someone tells Mr. Ryan a story. Mr. Ryan shares it with us, and we share it with our parents who probably will share it with their friends. Each time the story is told it changes a little.

All the fourth grade students in Mr. Ryan’s writing workshop loved his stories as well as his writing lessons. Mr. Ryan greatly enriched our Imagine This unit. He inspired us as writers in many ways. However, we were left with one thought; Imagining may seem easy, but it is all about communicating your imagined thoughts, and that is not always easy.

Meg Medina's visit with our students

November 13, 2015 - Last Thursday, our Spanish students from grades Kinder and 1 attended an energetic presentation at Politics and Prose Bookstore entirely en español by Meg Medina about her new book, Mango, Abuela y Yo. The book is about a grandmother who knows only Spanish and her granddaughter who knows only English. Their parrot helps them communicate!

Happy Halloween

Ms. Anderson, Ms. Clingman, Ms. Olson, Ms. Fine and (kneeling) Ms. Anouk

Monsters in the Library

October 6, 2015 - In the Halloween spirit, our Kindergarten classes are creating thumb-print monsters during their library visits with Ms. Clingman. They'll soon be hanging from the library ceiling alongside our PreKindergarteners' hand-traced ghosts. Here are two crazy boys making monsters and our resulting ceilings:

Welcome Back to WIS!

August 31, 2015 - When we rejoin with our students each Fall, I like to ask each one to tell me something that they read during the summer. Sometimes they have a hard time recalling a specific book and I suggest, if you can remember WHERE you read this summer you might remember WHAT it was that you read. So WHAT and WHERE did you read something good this summer? I hope you had as nice a moment reading as our intent student here:

We're excited to welcome our students back into the library! This summer, we sadly said good-bye to our Dutch collection but know that it's found an eager new home where it will be heavily used. With the extra shelf space, we reorganized yet again. Spanish and French fiction are now more easily accessed and our nonfiction is spread out more. Audio books are integrated better into fiction. And we're excited about our new Playaway books, ready soon for borrowing.
Last year, the library circulated 38,500 items, added 1,160 titles and received an average of 18 students each day during recess. These numbers don't adequately convey the excitement of our students when they get to be in the library (so we'll post lots of photos this year!). Happy reading, everyone! ~ Ms. Anderson

Summer Reading - "READING Is My THING!"

June 2015 - Students, read alongside your Cat in the Hat reading log and bring it back the first week of school. Read here for instructions and lists of recommended books.