This Month in Photos – 8/20-9/11


I think I speak for all of us when I say… How is it the fourth week of school already?! As usual, the days are flying by and I’m just getting Monday under my feet by the time Friday arrives. With four weeks under our belt, students are starting to get used to their classrooms, the cafeteria, and their Johnson family – which means the good stuff is starting! I am loving stopping by classrooms to see all of the creative, exciting, educational work being done. When it comes to learning, the the library is certainly bustling. Here’s a quick glimpse into some recent library happenings!


The Golden Shelf competition kicked off last Monday (learn more about that here!) and it has been heated! Here the Shelf residing proudly in the classroom of its first winners for the 2015-2016 school year – the second grade Golden Knights. The Golden Knights team has students from Mrs. McKeon and Mrs. Machen’s second grade classes that attend library class together. Way to go, Golden Knights!

DSC02664 DSC02667

Third and fourth grade got their tech on this week with Kahoot, my favorite new online game. Kahoot is an interactive competition that allows students to participate from their seats on their own devices, while keeping score and staging the competition on the Smart Board. Students sign into our class game using a special pin code, we share questions together on the board, students answer from their seats, and then the winners show up on the score board for the room to see. In this photo you can see some students that see their name in the top five… and some students that aren’t so happy with their scores!

Kahoot is my favorite new tool because it gets everyone in the class involved, for maximum engagement and maximum fun. You can play Kahoot from any device, and browse and play Kahoot quizzes made by other members! Check out the Kahoot quiz third and fourth graders took this week, all about online safety and being a good Digital Citizen, here. Test your knowledge and play at home with your Learning Leopard!


DSC02699 DSC02677 DSC02682 DSC02684



To say that Johnson students were excited to start checkout again would be the understatement of the century. Second, third, and fourth graders are thrilled to be back in their old routines and bringing books home. We’re all a little rusty, so it’s a good thing we’ve been doing lots of practicing!

DSC02687 DSC02688


Kindergarten and first graders are enjoying their checkout, too. I’m lucky enough to see kindergarten for a full hour each week, which means we get tons of time to check out and enjoy some quiet reading by ourselves and with friends. Our youngest students pick up routines so fast, I’m amazed by how much they can already do!


A beautiful gift was waiting for me this week – brand new books for the library! A generous and kind Johnson family made me teary with their donation of these beautiful books for our collection. Each book has a valuable message; kindness to others, celebrating what makes you unique, dealing with bullies. These valuable titles are such an excellent addition to our collection, and I know that they will be beloved by students and teachers for years to come. Stop by and check them out!



The library’s new Safety Patrol crew has started, and they wasted no time getting down to business. Above, you can see Sahana and Chase shelving books and helping kindergarteners to check out. These hard working students help to check books in, answer student questions, organize and shelve titles, and run computer stations, among a million other responsibilities. I couldn’t run morning checkout without this invaluable help, and I love getting to spend the extra time with two special fourth graders. You’ll see a lot of Sahana and Chase’s adventures in the library this year!


We may do a lot of reading, but by now you know that our library is much more than just a book collection… above, my second Golden Shelf winning class, the fourth grade Waylanders, take a dance break in the classroom area. They’re ready for Let’s Move club!

Photo on 2015-09-11 at 08.53 #3

When you get this many awesome new titles to add to your library collection, it needs to be documented with a new book seflie. Hundreds of new books will be hitting the shelves next week! Check back for an update on the latest and greatest additions to the Learning Leopard Library collection.

I’m crossing my fingers for a sunny and cool fall weekend. Enjoy some time with your families, and hopefully a story or two!

How to Win the Golden Shelf Award: For students, by students



New year, new competition – it’s Golden Shelf Award time!

You may remember the Golden Shelf Award from its introduction here. Or from my post bragging about it’s 2013-2014 winners, here. Or maybe even my post about its most recent winners here. Or maybe you’re just a fan of giant, shiny, book-shaped trophies. Regardless, I’m glad you’re here!

The Golden Shelf Award is a weekly award presented by me to the second, third, or fourth grade class that impresses me the most during their library and checkout times. Every Monday morning, the school holds its breath as Mr. Stern announces, “Congratulations to this week’s Golden Shelf Winners….” I don’t mean to brag, but the cheers can normally be heard down the hall. This award is kind of a big deal.

We keep track of Golden Shelf wins with a giant, interactive chart on the back of the library door. Students can stop by any time and check how many gold stars their class has earned – one for each win. By January, those stars really begin to add up… by March, the race is seriously on. The class with the most wins by the end of the school year earns an ice cream sundae party with me, as well as their picture on displayed on the library for the entire next school year, the chance to star in a Golden Shelf video, and bragging rights for eternity!

Next week, the Golden Shelf Award will be awarded for the first time for the 2015-2016 school year. And my second, third, and fourth graders are READY (not to mention their competitive teachers!). To help them prepare, I worked with last year’s big winner’s to create the video below – How to Win the Golden Shelf Award. With some familiar faces and some excellent advice, it has everything you need to know about how to make sure your class takes the prize.

I can taste those ice cream sundaes already! Good luck, Leopards!