This Month in Photos: 9/15-9/25

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This post is coming to you live from gate D23 at Dulles International Airport – the seat all the way on the back right, closest to the fire extinguisher. (Can you see me waving? I’m in the tired looking one in the green jacket – a 6:15 AM flight departure will do that to you.) I’m posting on the road today as I make my way to Seattle, Washington to attend the 2015 School Library Journal Leadership Summit. I’m excited and proud to be representing Charlottesville City Schools and the state of Virginia in this national conversation about all of the new, innovative, and critical ways that school libraries make a difference for America’s schools and the students that they serve. I’m also feeling very grateful for the opportunity to network and collaborate with 200 of the most creative, engaging, and passionate school librarians from around the country – and excited to bring home oodles of new tips, tricks, and ideas to share with my Johnson family.

The library is quiet today, but I’ve got lots of news, updates, and photos coming your way from the past few weeks. Hold on!

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The Golden Shelf Award may be infamous, but it’s not the only prize students can earn with stellar library behavior. With each lamp earned, classes get a stick on the Learning Leopard Library Lamp Leaderboard chart. Three stickers in a row earns a spin on the Wheel of Awesome – with each spin, students can win prizes like bonus checkout time, a week free of teacher assigned seats, a dance party, or a VIP library lunch!

Good choices, hard work, and good citizenship deserve recognition. I’m happy to catch these students being awesome and celebrate their victories! This week, both Miss Croce and Mrs. Wayland’s classes earned the first spins of the year… and oh man, did we celebrate!

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Second graders continued their Library Superhero training this week. Being a hero is physically and mentally draining business, but Johnson second graders are up to the challenge. Each week, I see these students moving leaps and bounds toward independently navigating the library, using the checkout system, and becoming more confident library users. As I move around the library with my Library Superhero cape trailing behind me (yes, I have a real cape – don’t you?), one lucky student each day runs the computer and assists their classmates as my superhero sidekick. In the photos above, Kyheim fulfills his sidekick duties with ease and grace, running the checkout computer, helping classmates find books, and choosing checkout selection for kindergarten and first graders.

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Third and fourth graders are still type type typin’ away on their Chromebooks, improving their keyboarding skills and working towards becoming more confident, educated, and well rounded digital citizens. Our goal by the end of our keyboarding program is to increase our typing speed, type with our fingers on the home row, and keep our eyes on the screen instead of the keyboard.

Want to practice at home? The full Dance Mat Typing Curriculum is online here. Remember, Learning Leopards – only levels and stages completed during library time can be documented on your Library Log Sheet. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get!

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No matter what information literacy skills or digital skills students may be working on when they come to the library for class, there’s always one underlying thing on their minds… BOOKS. When can I trade my books for new ones? When will that new graphic novel be back so I can have it? Can you help me find the next book in this series? Can I keep this book for just a little longer? Can I share this book with a friend because it’s so great?

Our library provides so much for Johnson students, from reading advocacy to research skills to digital safety and everything in between. But at the heart of it all, there is the love that we share for reading. I wish I could share with you all of the wonderful moments that I get to experience with students each week talking about, discovering, and falling in love with books. Someday, I’ll attach a camera to myself so that I can show you the look on a kindergartener’s face when I ask them, “What would you like to learn about today?” Until then, photos like the ones above will have to be enough to show you just how meaningful this reading and literature exploration time is for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

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Circulation broke 2,000 this week – and then soared up another 400 by Friday, just to keep me busy! I can’t update these numbers often enough to reflect how much Johnson students love to read. Can we beat last year’s circulation records? I’m not sure, but I’m sure going to try!

I can’t wait to get back and share all of this weekend’s new tips, tricks, and exciting strategies with all of you. If you’re interested in learning about the School Library Journal Leadership Summit or following the discussion, find out what the fuss is all about on twitter by following #SLJSummit. See you Tuesday, Leopards!

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