Destiny Quest and Cyber Safety

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It’s the last full week of April, and the countdown to the end of the year is in full swing. While end of the year testing draws ever closer, students are battling spring fever and trying not to spend all day daydreaming about the beautiful weather outside the classroom windows. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the steady stream of checkout in the Johnson library – out checkout statistics for the year are now over 17,000! Nice weather doesn’t have to mean that it’s time to put books away – I love when students come to tell me about how much they love reading in the sunshine, or next to an open window. There’s nothing better than a good spring story.

After a second week of Check-Out Boot Camp that focused on the touch-screen checkout computer located at the circulation desk, I decided to give kindergarten a break from all of their hard work as soldiers. They learned so much about how to behave in the library and how to complete checkout, I thought that they deserved a funny, silly story as a reward! And when it comes to funny and silly, there’s no book quite like Mac Barnett’s newest title, Count the Monkeys. The premise of this book is simple – work together to count the monkeys in each page. But – oh no! – some sort of silly disaster has chased away all of the monkeys! Will we ever get to count any monkeys, or will we spend the whole story sneaking around cobras, confusing crocodiles, and thanking bee keepers? I love sharing this story because it gives the students a chance to participate and never fails to make them laugh. After we finished reading, students had the chance to show off their number skills by creating their own Count the Monkeys themed page and writing the total number of monkeys that they chose to include. Some kindergarteners drew as many as twelve monkeys – it was a very crowded jungle!

First grade graduated from Boot Camp, too, but they still have a lot more work to do to get ready for next year! In second grade, students are invited to check out independently from any section of the library, which is a big change from the small selection that students choose from in first grade. My goal is to prepare students for this change step by step, so that by the end of the year they feel confident and prepared for the beginning of second grade. This week, we focused on the difference between fiction and nonfiction books, and the location of each of these sections within the library. Making this distinction is the first step towards independently locating books and rocking their checkout time. Next week, we will continue down this road, taking a physical tour of the library space and finding our favorite books and sections together. Before we know it, these first graders will be ready to move on up!

Second grade has been learning about Destiny Quest, the Johnson library’s online catalog. Destiny Quest has online records of all of our materials, and give students a safe and fun place to search for the books that they’d like to check out. Together we learned and practiced ways to search for books by title, author, and subject. We even learned how to do an advanced search for very specific topics! Now that students are prepared, the Destiny Quest Search Station in the library is officially open for business.

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Students are invited to independently search for the books that they would like to check out, then use the call number to locate the book on the shelves. If they need help locating the book once they’ve found the call number, the safety patrol members and I are here to help. Destiny Quest allow students to be completely independent in their book search, and our students couldn’t be more excited about using it! Although second grade was the first to train on the system, third and fourth grade will be starting soon.

Third grade is finally finishing up their work with reference tools. The dictionary, thesaurus, almanac, atlas, and encyclopedia have taken up most of our time togheter this year – but it was so worth it! From re-writing classic songs with the thesaurus to reference tool trivia relays all the way to reference Jeopardy, Johnson’s third graders are truly mastered these tools. In their upcoming SOL tests, students will have the opportunity to show off all that they’ve learned. I am so proud of the growth that I have seen from our third graders, and I know that they are going to do a fantastic job.

Fourth grade students have been learning about all of the different angles of digital citizenship – online research, website verification, cyber safety… you name it, we’re tackling it! After being tricked by the Northwest Pacific Tree Octopus’ convincing website, we worked together to learn the 5 Ws of Website Verification. Next, we tackled the tricky subject of Cyber Safety and the best ways to stay safe online. 4th graders were excited to share their Cyber Safety knowledge with Johnson’s younger students, so each class created posters to hang in the halls to help others to learn tips and tricks for cyber safety. Next week, these posters will go up to create a Cyber Safety Hallway, covered in knowledge and created entirely by 4th grade students. Keep an eye out for photos next week!

Circulation of library materials for the 2013-2014 school year will be coming to an end in late May. All library materials should be turned in by Friday, May 23. If your student lost a book earlier this year, it needs to be returned, paid for, or replaced by this date. If you have any questions or concerns about our policy for lost materials, feel free to contact me at messhas1@charlottesvilleschools.org. I will work with you and your student to come up with a solution that fits!

Can you believe that we’re already talking about the end of the school year?! Where did the time go? 🙂

– Miss Messham

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