Checkout Dress Rehearsal

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It feels incredible that we have already reached our last school day in the month of August, but here we are! Our first full week in the library has been fun, challenging, and educational, as students have maneuvered the new space and learned some new policies.

Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade students are flourishing with their review of the library’s rules and guidelines. With just a couple of visits the library, they are already impressing me with their knowledge of library routines and expectations. Because they have been working so hard and learning so fast, we have had plenty of time to share songs, stories, and games together. Pre-school and kindergarten, after reading Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs Go to School, showed off their prehistoric dance skills with the Dino Stomp and the Dino Hokey Pokey. If you hear any scary roars coming from the library, don’t worry – its just our students showing off their dino feet and claws! First grade students got a visit from The Library Dragon this week as we shared Carmen Agra Deedy’s beloved story of a librarian who is a real live dragon – until her students teach her a thing or two. First graders also put their reading comprehension skills to test with a game of reading comprehension ball. A beach ball has a different question about the story we have just finished written on each of its colored sections. I toss the ball to a student and wherever their thumb lands, that’s the question they answer! With fun options like Author Interview, Character Charades, and Write a Sequel, this fun and fast-paced game has students testing their reading comprehension skills while having a blast.

Second, third, and fourth grade students continued to review library rules and procedures, including learning more detail about our new take a break spot, insider secrets on how to earn the Golden Shelf Award, and differences between ROARing in the library vs. the cafeteria or the gym. Learning rules isn’t always the most interesting way to spend a library afternoon, so I try to give the students lots of opportunities to work with small groups, engage in lively discussion, and take a turn to teach the class. Next week, I’ll put their skills to the test with a game I like to call Wheel of Messham… I won’t give any more details away now!

Each class came to visit the library this Thursday for a check out “dress rehearsal” and a library tour. I introduced the students to our new graphic novel section, expanded fiction section, newly organized picture book section, and new shelf labeling in the non-fiction books. We reviewed how to use Johnson’s unique touch-screen self-checkout system, and modeled the use of a shelf marker when choosing a book. Younger students even practiced choosing their book, waiting in line, checking their book out, and finding a seat to read to themselves independently. I was so impressed not only with students checkout skills, but with the level of excitement about taking books home! Although checkout is starting later this year than it did last year, I have noticed that Learning Leopard Library students are feeling extra confidence and excitement about checking out books. I feel confident that by taking extra time in the beginning of the year to re-learn checkout and book care procedures, we will see less damaged and overdue books over the course of the year. Thank you for your patience, Johnson students and families – I can’t wait to start checkout with you next week!

On Tuesday evening, PTO hosted a Parent-Teacher Social, giving the Johnson community a unique opportunity to mingle and spend time together in a friendly, low-pressure environment. I had a blast hanging out with Johnson teachers, staff, parents, and PTO members, all while enjoying iced tea, watermelon, and some lovely summer weather. No better way to spend an evening! The library’s small display included information about Birthday Book Club, the Johnson Book Fair Scholarship Team, and other volunteer opportunities. If you missed the PTO social but would like more information about library programs or becoming a library volunteer, please contact me at messhas1@charlottesvilleschools.org. I’d love to hear from you!

Now that September is upon us, I think we’re all thinking the same thing – when will we get some fall weather? Some of my favorite stories and activities are all about falling temperatures and falling leaves. Get outside and enjoy this summer weather before it goes, and the fall stories start rolling in!

Have a wonderful long weekend, and I’ll see you all for checkout next week. Get your list of books ready!

– Miss Messham

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