Welcome Back!

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Even with the cold, dark weather outside, this has been a bright and busy first week of 2014 for the Johnson Elementary School Library. The Learning Leopard Library blog has been quiet this week because students returned to Johnson on Monday morning ready to read, read, read – as of this morning, 601 books have been checked out of the library since Monday!

This year, students were allowed to take extra books home from the Learning Leopard Library to read and enjoy over winter break. Students in 3rd and 4th grade were able to take up to three books with them, while kindergarten, first, and second grade students could check out two. The goal of this idea was to keep students reading over winter break! We are still waiting for many of these books to be returned. If your student brought books home for winter break and hasn’t turned them in yet, please help them to remember to bring these books back to school as soon as possible.

The weather may be cold, but I have been disappointed by the lack of snow in Charlottesville. So this week, students in pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade came to the library for a SNOW DAY! Together we shared snowy stories, sang snowy songs, and made a list of descriptive snowy words like soft, gentle, quiet, and slow. To finish our time together, we turned on some soft and gentle snowy music for a creative movement activity. Students were asked to use their bodies to show our descriptive snowy words – using their hands, arms, and feet to make soft, gentle, quiet, and slow movements. As the song ended, we landed softly on the ground and even made snow angels. It may not be snowy outside, but this week we had blizzard weather in the Johnsnon Elementary School Library!

Third grade students jumped right back into their study of reference tools. Before winter break, we finished our unit on the dictionary and guide words, which lead us to pick up the thesaurus (which we call the dictionary’s ‘cousin’). Each student chose one word to describe their winter break experience; our most popular words were cold, fun, family, and football! All of the words were put in a bucket, and then each student drew a new word from the collection. Their mission? To find the word that they chose in the thesaurus, and record two of the word’s synonyms. Once students had successfully completed the assignment, they helped their classmates to find the words they had chosen. It always makes me proud to see our “reference experts” helping their classmates to better understand these critical tools!

Many classes also spent their class time proving their library knowledge with a winter themed trivia game. In second grade, classes had to answer at least 10 questions correctly in order to earn their checkout time. In fourth grade, they had to get 15! Questions ranged from basic library rules and expectations to complicated information literacy questions. Every single class absolutely nailed the trivia – some classes earned as much as 14 minutes for checkout! Here is a sample of some of the questions they had to tackle:

  • What is the difference between fiction and nonfiction?
  • What are the 5 sections of the library?
  • What is a biography?
  • I need a book about dinosaurs. Where in our library could I find it?
  • Name all 5 essentials on the Rock Your Checkout Checklist.
  • What is the Dewey Decimal System, and why do we need it?
  • My book has a call number of F ROW. How can I find it on the shelves?

They may have just come back from more than two weeks away from school, but Johnson Elementary School students didn’t forget any of the library skills that they have worked so hard to master this year. I was incredibly impressed by all that they remembered, and the pride that they showed in being a part of their library. Great job, everyone!

This was also a week of refreshing library displays. Library displays help to pique student interest, keep the space fresh and interesting, and keep the library and its materials relevant in students’ lives, both in and outside of school. Displays themes so far this year have included NFL teams, scary stories, holiday-themed books, extreme weather titles, and Greek mythology volumes. This week, we began featuring Caldecott and Newbery winning books in our displays, in order to prepare students for the upcoming awards ceremony on January 27.

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Have you read any Newbery or Caldecott winning titles? What are your favorites?

Many of our readers are also making Reading Resolutions for 2014. Teachers, students, and even administrators are using this opportunity to set goals to become better readers in 2014. Some of these goals include reading new genres, reading with family, reading 30 minutes a night, or even attempting to read 300 books this year! The Learning Leopard Library will soon feature a display with our 2014 Reading Resolutions, to share our goals and progress with the Johnson Community. Here’s a hint…keep an eye out for fireworks!

Have a wonderful and restful weekend after this first week back at school. Stay dry and keep reading!

– Miss Messham

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