Read for the Record

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This Thursday, October 3rd, Johnson Elementary School was one of hundreds of thousands of schools nationwide to participate in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record! According to the Jumpstart website, Read for the Record is “one time of the year when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy and support Jumpstart in its efforts to promote early childhood education.” Last year, 2.3 million people participated in the festivities, coming together to support literacy by reading Jackie Davis’ Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad. This year, the featured book for Read for the Record was Otis, which was written and beautifully illustrated by Loren Long. In Otis, Otis the tractor has a wonderful life “puff, puff, puttety chutt-ing” around the farm with his best friend, the calf. That is, until the farmer buys a new tractor, which takes his place in the barn next to his friend. This story, great for readers both young and old, shows that everyone is special and has an important job to do – even if they’re not the biggest, strongest, or shiniest around.

Johnson Elementary School celebrated Read for the Record and supported literacy in the United States by inviting celebrity readers like School Board Members, division-wide specialists, and even rock-stars like Mr. Stern and Ms. Thompson into our classrooms to share the story of Otis with our students.

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A special celebrity reader shares Otis with Ms. Becky’s preschool class.

Johnson Elementary School and all of the Charlottesville City Schools were proud and excited to participate in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, which is working towards the mission of more widespread literacy skills for all of America’s children. “On October 3, people across the country united to read the children’s book Otis by Loren Long in support of Jumpstart’s mission: to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.” To learn more about Jumpstart or Read for the Record, visit Jumpstart’s website here.

The increased student traffic from our new books didn’t slow down this week – in fact, we got even busier! We are just a few books away from breaking the 4,000 mark on our Number of Books We Have Checked Out sign in the hallway. Any bets on how high the number will get by 2014?

This week saw our first winner of the Golden Shelf Award, and the prestigious honor went to Ms. Randolph’s fourth grade class! Last week the students wowed me with excellent behavior, respect towards their classmates and myself, and positive attitudes. What might be even more impressive was the state of the library after their class ended. It looked wonderful! After carefully choosing their books from the shelves, many students went back into the stacks to straighten and check the shelves for misplaced books. Not a single page was left on the floor or the windowsill. This class was so deserving of the prize. I hope that Ms. Randolph’s class will keep up the great work – they are currently in first place for the Golden Shelf Award party at the end of the year!

Monday of this week, while students slept in and enjoyed their day off, teachers and staff of Charlottesville City Schools met in Professional Learning Communities in order to collaborate ideas and improve as educators. Professional Development days are such excellent opportunities not only to catch up on things that need to be done, but to learn from some of the incredible professionals in the Charlottesville City Schools Community. I am thankful to be in such a strong network of passionate, friendly, and intelligent people – I learn so much from every Professional Development Day!

Tuesday morning, it was back to work for Johnson Elementary Students. Third and fourth grade returned to their unit on the Sections of the Library, and tried their hand at teaching their classmates. This turned into a great opportunity to discuss the difference between a “great” teacher and a “bad” teacher. We talked about what makes a teacher great, and I asked students to finish this sentence: “I learn best when my teacher…” Students finished the sentence with actions like challenges me, is patient, is kind, and makes it interesting. Many students were surprised to learn that talking clearly and being prepared to answer student questions are two of the hardest parts of the job! Some of our third and fourth grade students have a real knack for teaching, and I loved the passion that I saw about our library. If I ever get sick, maybe I can just let some of my older students fill in for me!

Johnson’s younger students continued their fall-themed story time. This week, we started to prepare for the Fall Festival, which will be taking place next Thursday, October 10, from 5-7 PM. We read a book about going to the fair and talked about some of the things we are the most excited to see at the Fall Festival. Then, students helped me with a very exciting – and top secret! – decoration just for parents to enjoy next Thursday. With the help of Johnson students, we are going to impress some families and community members!

Wednesday afternoon, during the Johnson Elementary School Staff meeting, I made a small presentation about new and exciting technology and books available in the Johnson Library. Many teachers have expressed interest in learning about and using some of these new tools in their classrooms. Although the library is a great resource for students but for research and for pleasure, it also serves as a center of collaboration and technology for the entire school. Resources like iPods, laptops, Nook e-readers, digital and video cameras are all cared for and housed in the library. As a Library Media Specialist, I work together with Johnson’s Instructional Resource Technology Teacher as well as district-wide technology specialists to bring our teachers the best technology, most effective methodology, and lots of exciting new ideas.

I hope to see lots of students and families at the Fall Festival next week. I couldn’t be more excited to see everyone and share some of the exciting things we have happening at the Johnson Elementary School Library! If you’re celebrating with us on October 10th, make sure to stop by and say hello!

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