Lights, Science, ACTION!: Thank You

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When we last left Lights, Science, ACTION!, the crew was getting their hands dirty (both literally and physically) with allllllll the science. From filmmaking to seed planting, we were knee deep in exciting, real-world science experiences, and loving every minute of it!

In case you missed it, Lights, Science, ACTION! is a club offered by the Learning Leopard Library in collaboration with local non-profit organization Light House Studio. Light House Studio’s mission is to “bring young people together to make movies.” From their website:

“We are a nonprofit filmmaking center dedicated to helping students develop their vision and show their work. We believe in the importance of collaboration and community, the creativity of young minds, and the lasting benefits of our hands-on mentor-based approach to teaching the art of filmmaking.”

Light House Studio brought their collaboration, mentorship, creativity, and joy for filmmaking to Lights, Science, ACTION!, and the results were incredible. You can read more about our experiences and see photos of the team in action here.

I’m so excited this morning to share the final result of eight weeks of hard work. Each short video encompasses one subject – watch them together, separately, in order, whatever you want. While you watch, keep in mind that the filming, interviewing, and many of the editing decisions were completed by third and fourth grade students, thanks to the mentorship from the Light House Studio team.

Animation Day at Johnson from Light House Studio on Vimeo.

Leaf Rubbings from Light House Studio on Vimeo.

The Johnson Garden from Light House Studio on Vimeo.

Camouflage Creatures from Light House Studio on Vimeo.

If you’d like to share these awesome videos, follow the link at the bottom of the post to view the full album and find links for sharing. 

I was so impressed with the quality of work from our student filmmakers – and with the incredibly talented Light House Studio film team that put it all together. It made me so proud to see the student excitement and passion captured on film – is there any better commercial for science, filmmaking, and after school programming? But my favorite part was the quirky humor and silliness that shines through. Even as dedicated scientists and filmmakers, this group had a creative, fun-loving feel and a delightfully wacky sense of humor that made every meeting more fun than the last. I hope that you can feel that lovely eccentricity while you watch.

As I progress through my career in teaching and librarianship, I am starting to feel more like a veteran; and yet, my capacity to learn from my experiences keeps growing and growing. The more time I spend with students, the more I learn about the big plans they have for the world around them. My experience with Light House Studio and the Lights, Science, ACTION! group gives me yet another reason to look forward to the future – if these kids have anything to do with it, this world is going to be a truly weird and wonderful place.

To the patient, dedicated, and talented Light House Studio -thank you so much for everything. You brought so much more than just camera equipment to Johnson. We adore you! None of these creative, dirty, wonderful experiences without your help.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Prana Fund, Light House offered this program to us at no cost, and student club members don’t have to pay a cent to participate. I love getting to spend this special time in nature with Johnson students, and am so grateful to Light House Studio for making it possible.

Want to know more?

 View the full album of Lights, Science, ACTION! videos on Vimeo here.

Watch more Light House Studio videos on their Vimeo here. 

Learn more about Light House Studio and their amazing community work here.

 

Books on Bikes featured in School Library Connection

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Long, hot days and countdowns to summer vacation can mean only one thing…

…it’s BOOKS ON BIKES season!

Your favorite group of helmet wearin’, pedal pushin’, popsicle eatin’ librarians and teachers are gearing up for the 2016 summer season. Our summer schedule is now live, and we’re so excited to be starting a new season with the many other Books on Bikes chapters popping up all over the United States.

Just in time, Books on Bikes was featured in a national periodical, School Library Connection. We are honored to see the article in print and thrilled to be sharing our project with the school library community all over the country. Below you can find a digital copy of our three-page spread. Read to find out more about Books on Bikes! And as an extra bonus, this article will help you get to know Rebecca Flowers, Walker Upper Elementary School’s current librarian, who will  be stepping in to take over Johnson’s library (and this blog!) next year. Tip: Her name isn’t on the bio page, but Ms. Flowers is a founding member and driving force behind Books on Bikes, and the cartoon on the final page is her beautiful artwork. 

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Want to know more about Books on Bikes? Check out this ride-along video created by awesome local artist, jack-of-all-trades, and friend to biking librarians everywhere, Kevin Cwalina.

 

BOB Video R1 from Kevin Cwalina on Vimeo.

Spring 2016 Book Fair Scholarship Essays

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It’s that time of year again! Our Spring Book Fair is in full swing, and we are collecting donations to make our Book Fair Scholarships for this fair a success. Each year we raise hundreds of dollars to fund scholarships for hard working students that can’t afford to purchase books from the Book Fair. This year, we have a record number of students in need – which means that we need your help.

Why donate? Why give money for other kids to buy books, when you’ve already scrounged to provide for your own? Why purchase a raffle ticket for a basket full of stuff you don’t really need?

Because while we’re fundraising, Johnson students are busy writing; each applicant must complete a scholarship essay to be considered for an award. Instead of telling you why I think you should give, I’ll let the recipients of your generosity speak for themselves.

This year, the Book Fair Scholarship Essay prompt asked students to finish a sentence. When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… 

Here is what they said.

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… excited. […] I never want to let go of reading it would be like selling a part of my personality at the market. When I’m reading, it feels like I’m soaring above the clouds, but when I have to close a book I feel like I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. Who would I be without reading, reading is my world. Someday I’m going to write my own book so that kids like me can read it and never let go of reading. I think everyone should have at least one book. Reading is not just an activity to me it’s part of me. I’m not scared when I’m reading, I fee free and brave and I feel wise. Reading helps me in life. I know from reading you don’t have to act like anybody else you are great just the way you are. […] Every page in a book is a new memory for the kid who reads it.”

 – Johnson third grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel…relaxing and calm. I love reading so much. It’s so interesting. Read helps me learn and it helps me calm down. I hope this someday inspires someone. I love reading and I will never ever let anyone get in my way.”

– Johnson third grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… amazing. Another world. Read it again. Awesome, cool, a wonderful experience, a cool book to read. Take my time on reading a book, learning what is the book talking about.”

– Johnson fourth grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel…so happy even when it is raining or cold and I am alone I know I am with my friend. A new friend. Also I can visit them I can play with them and they make me forget when I am sad or angry.”

– Johnson second grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… happy. Great. I feel that I rock like a rocket ship cause I love books so much. I’ve never known I will read as much as I live cause I love books so much.”

– Johnson third grader

 

“When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel…happy. I feel like I’m in the book. I feel like I’m saving it. I feel like an adventurer. I feel like a castle and a dragon. I feel like I’m flying. I feel like I’m jumping and running. I feel like Superman. I feel like I’m getting stronger and shorter. I feel like I’m playing.”

– Johnson second grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… happy because books are good for you. Because it makes you get better at reading. In some books that are hard just sound it out if you can’t sound it out tell the teacher. And if a teacher gets you to read to her you can get the words right. And if it is hard just try your best.”

– Johnson third grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… happy. And I love your books. It makes me feel not sad. It just makes me feel happy every time. I really loved it. When I read it, it makes me dream about it every time. And I love to read and be a good girl every time. I love books.”

Johnson second grader

 

When I am reading a book that I really love, I feel… excited when I read a book. I was proud. I was nervous when I won the prize last year.  I was happy when I won. I was proud when I won the money. I was very happy when I won. I was nervous. I hope that I win this year.”

– Johnson second grader

 

The Book Fair Scholarship Committee hopes to fund almost 100 scholarships this Spring.

You can donate to the Book Fair Scholarship Fund by visiting the Learning Leopard Library, or by contacting me (fitzhes1@charlottesvilleschools.org).

Spring Book Fair Raffle tickets will be on sale through this evening’s family shopping event at the Spring Concert (cash only). 

The 2016 Spring Book Fair is here!

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Our Spring Book Fair from Bedford Falls has arrived! And friends, it is a beaut.

All of your favorites from our fall shopping spree have returned, plus more. Find all of the Magic Tree House Books, a full cart of Newberry and Caldecott award winners, favorite picture books in hardback and paperback, and even board books for the little ones. This year we also have a selection of books in Spanish, as well as a great variety of craft books, like drawing and origami!

While you’re shopping, take a moment to check out the haul from this fair’s Book Fair Scholarship Raffle! This raffle’s picnic theme makes the basket of books, games, and toys the perfect thing to get your family ready for summer break. And the winners can start their summer of on the right note with a VIP pass to the Books on Bikes Bike Parade on June 4th. The VIP pass means exclusive VIP decorations, a front row riding spot with the biggest Books on Bikes celebrities, and a special treat once we reach our final destination: the JMRL Summer Reading Kickoff Party!

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Fall book fair raffle

You can purchase tickets any time that the Book Fair is open for shopping, from 7:40 AM – 3:00 PM all week long. You can also shop for books and enter the raffle on Thursday evening at the Spring Concert, from 5:30 PM to the end of the PTO Ice Cream Social.

Johnson’s Book Fair Scholarship Program helps to purchase books for students that qualify based on financial need, and complete application essays about reading and literature. Over the past three years, the scholarship program, raffle, and donations have raised amazing funds thanks to your help. These have provided high quality, high interest books for almost a thousand Johnson students!

See you soon, shoppers!

Learn more about our Book Fair Scholarship program, and meet some of the lucky (and adorable!) winners, here.

 

 

Family Connection: Resources for Talking to your Child about the 2016 Presidential Election

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2016 is an election year. I thought I’d let you know, just in case you haven’t heard 😉

It’s no secret that the upcoming presidential election is dominating the media. From the strongly worded nightly news to the boldly printed newspaper headlines, we are constantly surrounded by the hyperbolic report of what’s to come; criticism, name calling, and aggressive drama are everywhere you turn. And odds are, your kids are hearing it too. Elections, democracy, and what it means to be president are all topics that students cover in elementary school, but it can be difficult to explain an election of this magnitude. And when you add in confusing language, mudslinging ads, and wild antics, it’s not always an easy conversation.

The point of this conversation isn’t to inspire a new generations of Republicans or Democrats – it’s simply to teach students about their government by letting them see democracy in action. Whatever your political affiliation, it’s important to let your child know that you take your civic responsibility seriously – and that someday, they will have the privilege of shaping the world with their vote. There’s no need to discuss parties or to share video footage of recent debates (eh hem, I personally suggest that you skip that one); but taking the opportunity to share this monumental moment in history with your student can bring you closer, provide a great opportunity for discussion, and plant a seed for community and democratic involvement.

With the overall tone of this election so far, it’s not a surprise that I struggled to find kid-friendly resources for teaching about the 2016 Presidential election. Media coverage of an election can be scary and overwhelming for a child – I was on the hunt for fun, friendly, simple resources designed just for kiddos. From books to digital games, consider using the resources listed below to open a dialogue with your child about elections, democracy, and government. These lists include fun and engaging books curated specifically for children that will allow you to broach the subject of voting and leadership in a casual way.

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Parentmap.org’s We Vote for These! Great Books That Get Kids Election Ready and Civics-Savvy includes not only a thorough list of resources organized by age, but also great conversation starters and activities that you can try at home to really spark your child’s curiosity. From counting bumper stickers and yard signs to discuss community involvement to letting each member of the household play President for the day, this fun article is sure to get your family talking politics in a positive way.

EducationWorld offers a variety of resources in their list, Use children’s books to teach about elections: Ten books get our vote! This list provides both fiction and nonfiction resources for children aged 4-12. Explore the silly side of an election with Duck for President, share the great responsibility of democracy with The Day Gogo Went to Vote, or hook your fact-obsessed nonfiction reader with Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts. Whatever title you choose, you can’t go wrong with the titles on this carefully curated list.

Targeted towards students in grades 3-5, Scholastic’s Books for Teaching about Elections includes a solid list of teacher-approved resources that are sure to get your student engaged. The heading Using These Books in the Classroom might seem intimidating, but you can find any of these books at your local library and enjoy them from the comfort of your own couch – no hall pass required!

Once you’ve read a few great stories, log on to check out some of these great digital resources:

No matter who you vote for in November, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to share the excitement of this uniquely American process with your family. Get readin’, chattin’, and votin’, my fellow Americans!

Coming Soon: Johnson STEAM Team!

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Fourth grade parents, heads up! This afternoon, STEAM Team flyers will be coming home with your students. The first session will only be open to fourth graders, but the plan is to open the club to younger grades soon. Check out an electronic version of the flyer below for details. Return your completed flyer to the library by Monday, January 18!Screenshot 2016-01-13 at 2.07.00 PM

Send any questions my way at fitzhes1@charlottesvilleschools.org. See you there, engineers!

Have you heard about our awesome new engineering club, the Johnson STEAM Team? We’ll be buildin’, makin’, movin’, and shakin’ thanks to your awesome donations through DonorsChoose. Check out the page for the project here

Family Connection: Code like a Girl

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Here’s a fact about me that not many people know: my father is British. Yep, with the accent and everything.

He grew up in Radcliffe-on-Trent, a large village in the Rushcliffe borough of Nottinghamshire (my Nan still lives there, in the same house!). He left his family and his home and immigrated to America in his late twenties for the educational opportunity to study electrical engineering. As an engineer, he worked with computers and technology all day long – and he brought that home to his family.

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Dad and his three girls. Can you tell which one is me?

Our house was never without a computer. And although we had limited screen time and a healthy balance of activities, my sisters and I were encouraged to use the machine for traditionally un-ladylike activities like chatting, programming, and gaming (I bet I can still capture the flag in the traditional PC Counter Strike game like a boss). Because of this, we each gained a comfort and skill level with technology that not all girls our age were lucky enough to acquire. We’re fast typists, intuitive tech learners, and have an all-around tech savviness that has helped us in so many ways. My oldest sister even earned multiple degrees in Information Systems and has worked for years for companies like IBM and Adobe.

This isn’t a coincidence. I was lucky enough to have a support system that encouraged my curiosity, told me that I could do anything, and gave me the tools to learn. My mom was great with computers, built her own website, and sends me videos all the time on her iPad (seriously, her fiends are all jealous of her tech savviness). My dad never said, “You want to play video games? But you’re a girl.” They raised my sisters and I to believe that nothing was out of our reach. I was so fortunate to have this kind of influence in my life, and I recognize that not all girls are lucky in that same way.

I want to be that kind of influence for our girls. And I want you to be, too.

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Makin’ dad proud – you can buy my “I CODE LIKE A GIRL” t-shirt for your favorite lady coder on Amazon.

I don’t mean to leave boys in the dust here – they, of course, should be encouraged to work hard and go for their dreams, too. But statstics show that girls, despite an interest in tech and engineering, are getting lost along the way. According to GirlsWhoCode.com, “in middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.4% of high school girls select computer science.” (GirlsWhoCode.com) And unfortunately, once they lose that interest, many females never get back on the path to a career that involves tech – the website goes on to state that “While 57% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.” The biggest problem with these statistics? The need for at least a basic knowledge of STEM and technology is no longer limited to just STEM related careers – now, these skills are necessary for jobs in agriculture, medicine, entertainment, design, retail… you name it. As we move towards becoming a more technology-focused society, these skills are no longer optional. Home Ec classes are being replaced with programming courses; schools are sacrificing cursive to teach keyboarding skills. You can’t opt out of learning to use technology – and girls need to speak that language, too.

Why do girls lose interest in computers, technology, and STEM? A recent article by Business Insider titled These Are the 7 Things Keeping Women out of Science Careers lists teasing in school, a lack of encouragement, stereotypes, and bias as some of the top reasons (read more of that interesting article here). It’s my priority to make sure that stereotypes, lack of encouragement, and bias have no place in my classroom – but our girls need more than that.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet U.S. universities are expected produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs.

I don’t know about you, but I want my Leopards confident, capable, and ready to fill those jobs.

This month, the Learning Leopard Library is hosting a Hack-A-Thon to get all of our students excited about computer programming and all of the doors that this STEM experience can open for them. Don’t be thrown by the negative connotation of the word “hack” – in our context, the term just means to learn, play, and explore software and programming using a computer. I’ll talk more about our Hack-a-Thon in an upcoming post, but today I want to share some additional resources to help girls feel at home in the unfamiliar world of technology and programming. All third and fourth grade students will learn the basics of coding (and for fourth grade, get a brief introduction to Scratch), and will leave for winter break with a list of resources to keep programming, coding, and creating at home. But if you have a girl that you think might need some extra encouragement, please help them to access the resources below. Digital resources can be reached on any device with internet access, and Other Resources provide opportunities for invaluable in-person support, encouragement, and peer relationship building.

Throw like a girl.” “Play like a girl.” These phrases used to be used as insults, to call someone weak, unskilled, or lacking effort. That definiton is changing, and we have the chance to be a part of it. To me, “Code like a girl” means overcoming obstacles and defying stereotypes. It means forgetting what’s expected of you and going for so much more. Together, we can create a world that emboldens young girls to reach for the stars.

Digital Resources:

  • Above I shared some statistics from the website GirlsWhoCode, an excellent online resource
  • Girls Develop It – this international organization even has a local Central Virginia chapter!
  • Black Girls Code – an incredible program specifically designed to inspire African American girls to log on and participate
  • Code_Ed – when girls reach middle school, these online resources can help them continue with their coding education

Other Resources:

  • Geek Girl Camp – Conferences and meet ups featuring women all over the country that are passionate about technology
  • Shine for Girls – a program that uses dance and physical movement to help break down barriers and change girls’ perspectives about math and science
  • Girls Geek Day – this LOCAL event is happening on December 12th at Stone Robinson Elementary School, and it’s not too late to register! “Girls’ Geek Days are all about sparking girls’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by providing a fun, collaborative, hands-on environment to learn new tech skills and helping girls and their parents connect to other STEM programs in the community. This event is open to all ages, but if you are a 3rd grader or younger, please plan on bringing one of your parents too.”

Have a boy that you’d like to encourage? Don’t worry, we have resources for that too! 

  • Code.org – a brilliant and beautifully designed resource including games, instructional videos, and everything your child could need to learn the basics while having a blast. This is what we use to introduce students to coding in the library.
  • Google CS First – Google resources for computer programming and coding.
  • If you’ve got a learner who really wants to go for it, get them started with Scratch. More difficult and involved than the Blockly coding from Code.org, Scratch let students get more involved and program with more freedom, developing skills as they work. Users can create their own games and share them, and then play other games created by students like them around the world!

Stay tuned for updates on our 2015 Hack-a-Thon!

Family Connection: Minecraft in Education

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At the 2015 Virginia Association of School Librarians conference, I noticed the repetition of certain buzzwords:

MAKERSPACE!

DIGITAL!

21ST CENTURY!

CREATIVE!

You’ve probably noticed… I love all of these words. And the excitement! Capitalize those letters! All the exclamation points! Sign me up! I’m in!

But there was one buzzword that surprised me. It started as a whisper, and has grown to a roar.

MINECRAFT!

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If you’re a parent of a kid between the ages of 6-18, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. You’ve probably listened to your child talk incessantly about Minecraft. And you’ve probably had to physically drag them away from the computer once or twice to separate them from the pixelated game, which seems to have mysterious addicting properties.

So yes, Minecraft could be a topic of discussion between a group of students, or a group of parents. I could see it coming up in a teachers’ meeting or on a pop culture blog or two. But at a librarian conference? As the subject of multiple concurrent sessions? I decided to investigate.

What I learned is that Minecraft is complicated, requires a lot of skill, and looks pretty darn cool. There are multiple versions of the game, and Educationworld.com gives a great summary of the Survival mode:

At its core, Minecraft is about placing and mining blocks. The game world consists of 3D objects—mainly cubes—that represent materials such as dirt, stone, various ores, water and tree trunks. Players gather these material blocks and use them to form various constructions.

When the game begins, players must work quickly, with friends or by themselves, to build shelter to survive the night (when all the monsters of the world come out). Once they finish a day (20 minutes in real time), users repeat the cycle, building more complex shelters and stocking up on vital resources in order to survive.

Available game modifications, called mods, add a variety of gameplay changes. One mod, MinecraftEdu, is designed to make the game more classroom-friendly. The mod allows educators to incorporate their own curricular content and run a custom server for each of their classes. – See more at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/benefits-minecraft-classroom-students.shtml#sthash.uwNzA1tV.dpuf

Other modes allow users to simply land in their designated digital space and collect and create to their hearts’ content, or to be assigned a specific task and gain freedom to other mods once they complete it. MinecraftEDU offers teacher controls and assignments, as well as a wealth of shared resources to help teachers link the game to SOL standards and classroom curriculum. Any Minecraft account offers limitless opportunities for users to create and explore.

The sessions that I attended were packed – standing room only, filled with librarians furiously typing, Googling, and Tweeting about Minecraft as the presenter shared photos of her students happily zeroed-in on their laptops. She boasted of 100% student engagement, or feverish passion for projects centered on Ancient Rome, of students with chronic behavior issues now begging for extra library time.

But like any new educational initiative, using Minecraft in the classroom has pros and cons. Pros? The kids are obsessed. From recreating historical Jamestown to experimenting with perimeter and area, the opportunities for educational application are limitless. Bringing a student favorite into our classrooms shows our kids that their passions matter, and that we want them to have a voice in their education. Game-based learning is a hot new topic on the educational scene, and it can have great effects on student achievement; especially for those that aren’t traditional learners (engaging non-traditional learners is a topic I’m very passionate about. Stop by sometime and I’ll chat your ear off). You know that students will be engaged and passionate about the things that they’re creating, and that just this once, they might actually ask to work on their schoolwork at home.

Cons? More screen time. The technology gap rears its ugly head again – there will be a significant gap in achievement levels between students that have computers and Minecraft accounts at home and those that only get to play at school. Less hands-on, moving and shaking, face to face work (my personal favorite) and more time clocked clicking, dragging, and staring. New pieces of technology could be needed to run the software, as well as expensive memberships and subscriptions. After all that cash, not everyone does their best learning and performing digitally. And some educators may feel, as I heard one old-school librarian mutter during a session today, “These stupid games have no place in a classroom.”*

*Note: I am unfortunately not dramatizing this comment. I take no personal responsibility for other school librarians and the mud that they seem to be stuck in.  

What are your thoughts? Should teachers and librarians attempt to keep up with pop culture and technology trends in order to excite and engage their students in the classroom? Or is Minecraft a passing trend that has no place in our library? How would you feel if a Minecraft station popped up in the Learning Leopard Library?

Share your opinion via a comment, email, or contact me on my Facebook page. I want to hear from you!

Need help deciding? Check out some other great links with information about MinecraftEDU:

Teachhub: Minecraft in the Classroom Teaches Reading and More

EdTechReview: Why and How to use Minecraft in the Classroom

School Library Journal: Minecraft Takes Hold in Schools

Education Insider: Infographic: Games vs. Game-Based Learning vs. Gamification (Bonus! Features Minecraft-esque graphics and infographics are the coolest!)

Book Fair Magic

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Prepare yourself: I’m about to share something shocking with you.

Most librarians don’t like Book Fair.
(I’m using very tame language here.)

And I get it. The hours are long, the companies aren’t always gracious, and the workload is intense. Emotions are high, you count a thousand pennies a day, and it’s busy every single minute. Canyouhelpmecountmychange? Howmuchdoesthiscost? WhatdoyoumeanIdon’thavenenough? It’s not for the faint of heart.

But these librarians are missing the point. When you get caught up in the dollar signs and the overtime and the sore feet, you forget about the part that really matters. The reason you make all of those phone calls and count all of those pennies in the first place.

The Book Fair Magic.

Book Fair Magic is when a third grade boy promises to mow the lawn and clean the toilet so that his mom will buy him just one more graphic novel. It’s when a first grader puts one of her beloved books back so that she has enough money left to buy one for her baby brother. It’s when a second grade student writes such a long and detailed Scholarship essay that he needs three pages to hold it all.

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Families bring Book Fair Magic, too. Book Fair Magic is when a pre-school parent buys a copy of his child’s favorite book for every student in her class. It’s when grandma says “Sorry, you can’t get that one,” and then sneaks back in after the child leaves to buy the whole series. It’s when a mom spends 25 minutes looking through every single graphic novel to find the one that will make her fifth grader want to stay up at night, sneaking more pages under the covers.

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And of course, Johnson staff brings Book Fair Magic. Book Fair Magic is when a kindergarten teacher sponsors scholarships for students that she taught four years ago. It’s when a reading specialist spends her hard-earned paycheck to buy engaging and exciting new materials for her classroom to keep her students interested in reading – materials she could probably save a few bucks on if she just ordered them from Amazon. It’s when administrators vote for every single Book Fair Scholarship essay because they can’t possibly choose a favorite.

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Yes, Book Fair is time consuming. And it’s not easy. But it’s worth it.

Our Fall Book Fair will be open through Monday, October 12th. Buy new books, enter our Book Fair Raffle, donate to our Book Fair Scholarship Fund. Or just stop by to experience a little bit of magic.

The 2015 Fall Book Fair has arrived!

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No, you haven’t lost track of time and skipped the months of October and November – don’t worry! This year, Johnson’s first Book Fair is earlier than usual. And it’s not just the spot on the calendar that has changed – you might notice that our whole Book Fair is NEW and IMPROVED!

Thanks to our friends at Bedford Falls, we have triple the selection of high quality, educational titles to choose from! From non-fiction to easy readers to award winners, there are hundreds and hundreds of titles to browse, buy, and take home to your family.

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We also have some special interest sections, including a military display, reference display, and origami display complete with special origami paper and activities! Also, don’t miss our $5.00 or less tables, which feature books priced as low as $2.95!

Shop any time during school hours this week, with your student or even on your own for birthday or holiday gifts 😉 Or shop with your family this Wednesday, October 7th, at the PTO Fall Festival from 5:00-7:00 PM.

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Finally, make sure you stop by our Fall Book Fair Raffle. Bedford Falls donated more than TWENTY BOOKS for our raffle basket which means that if your ticket is drawn, you could win all of those titles plus a selection of toys and prizes AND a Books on Bikes tshirt. Tickets are $3.00 each or two for $5.00 and the winner will be drawn next Monday, October 12. Every penny raised from Book Fair Raffle sales goes towards funding Book Fair Scholarships for Johnson students!

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You can read more about Johnson’s Book Fair Scholarship program, now in its third year, here. If you’d like to help out, contact me any time at messhas1@charlottesvilleschools.org!