Read Across America Week 2016

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Every year, schools all across the United States spend the first week of March celebrating the wonderful works of Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. This year Dr. Seuss’ birthday fell on a Wednesday (March 2nd!), and we spent the whole week celebrating his life, his passion for literature, and his wonderful books.

Check out the photos below from our silly, spectacular, surprising, stupendous, Seuss-alicious Dr. Seuss themed spirit week!

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On Monday, we celebrated the Cat in the Hat by with silly hats. Above, pre-k students enjoy a 10 Apples Up on Top dance party with some wacky headgear!

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Tuesday we were all about Fox in Socks – with crazy socks and shoes. I saw some truly awesome combinations on feet that day, but Rashid, on the left above, sported one of my favorites! The pink polka dotted slippers made me laugh all day!

Wednesday we had a double-dose of excitement. Wacky Wednesday inspired some truly magnificent outfits, but I was too busy enjoying them to get very many pictures! Kindergarten and first grade classes got a special visit from the University of Virginia’s Pi Beta Phi service sorority. These lovely ladies celebrated their annual day of service by leading a story time and a craft with students all afternoon. They shared Seuss stories and helped students to make bookmarks to continue their reading at home.

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Thursday was another jam-packed day, with another very special visitor. We used our imaginations to travel all over the world for a day based on Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Students were invited to dress for the favorite vacation spot, whether real or imagined. In the top photo, I’m sharing a silly story with pre-k in my best beach gear!

Next up, we got our annual visit from the Cat in the Hat – one of my favorite moments of the year. I love watching students’ faces when he saunters into the room with that iconit hat and bow tie! The Cat was extra prepared this year, with hugs, fist bumps, and dance moves (he was dabbing all over the place, much to students’ delight). Helping to bring beloved stories and characters to life is one of the best parts of this job, and there is nothing quite like the moment when a story jumps off of the page. Thank you to our dedicated and very patient Cat in the Hat for bringing this joy to Johnson every year!

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The action didn’t slow down on Friday, with one last guest and the most popular spirit day of the week. In the top photo, kindergarten gets a classic Seuss story (Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?) from a guest very close to my heart – my mom! She spent the day shelving and reading with us in the library, and loved this opportunity to read with some of our littlest Leopards. It’s easy to see the joy on her face!

Finally, the wockets came out in full force for Friday’s There’s a Wocket in my Pocket day. Students were invited to bring their favorite stuffed animal from home and carry it in their pocket all day long. You can see third graders above sharing stories with their wockets during their library checkout time. What a fun spirit day!

Thank you to Johnson’s Leopards, staff, and families for helping to make this another wonderful Read Across America week. I had so much fun celebrating with all of you!

ASHA Visits Johnson for World Read Aloud Day

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Wednesday, March 4th was more than just another day of our Read Across America Week celebration. It marked an international day of appreciation and celebration for literature and education around the globe. World Read Aloud Day was founded by the nonprofit organization LitWorld in 2007, and since has grown to be celebrated by more than 31 million people in 82 countries around the world. World Read Aloud Day is the celebration of “new movement founded on the belief that literacy is a universal human right. They set out to create a movement designed not only to further basic literacy, but to further productive, transformational literacy defined by dreams that can come true.

When 4th grade students entered the library on Wednesday afternoon, they were greeted with the following video, to teach them about World Read Aloud Day and why we were celebrating it together.

This video was a great tool to spark a discussion about international literacy. I asked students – did you know that not all children around the world have the opportunity to read and write? How do you think they share their thoughts and stories, or learn about new peoples, places, and things? How would you feel if you had no books to read, or could sit and stare at pages but had no way to decode the information inside of them?

To help us celebrate World Read Aloud Day, Asha for Education traveled to Johnson to spend time with our students. Learn more about Asha by viewing their Facebook page here. The ladies from Asha shared fairy tales and famous stories from other cultures with Johnson students, asking students to compare and contrast the exotic versions of famous tales with their domestic counterparts. For example, I got to listen to one of Mrs. Rickabaugh’s student groups list the differences between an Arabic version of Cinderella and the American Cinderella – so interesting!

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It was awesome watching Johnson 4th graders interact with our Asha volunteers. Each group shared meaningful conversations related to literature and culture. Many students also got a turn to read pages of the multi-cultural tales aloud, learning bits and pieces of foreign languages and pronunciations as they read.

To close our time together, students were asked to create their own personal logo for World Read Aloud Day. Many choose to include globes and books – a perfect fit for the day! Each student was given three book marks and a mission – use your logo to teach three new people about World Read Aloud Day. Spread the word about literacy and share the belief that every child across the world has the right to learn to read and write!

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Thank you so much to our Asha volunteers for spending the afternoon with us, sharing stories, and bringing some fun new culture into our classrooms! We look forward to working with you again!

Pi Beta Phi visits Johnson for Read Across America Week

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Coming to you live from the second day of Read Across America Week! Monday, staff and students came to school decked out in their favorite hats in honor of The Cat in the Hat (Don’t believe me? Check out the selection of headwear in the photos below!), and today we are celebrating Green Eggs and Ham by sporting green from head to toe. Don’t forget to wear your silliest socks and shoes tomorrow for The Foot Book day!

At Johnson, we love visitors. Young and old, teaching reading or chess, playing or working… we love having new friends join the Johnson community. So we were extra excited to spend our first day of Read Across America week with some of our favorite visitors – the ladies from the University Virginia chapter of Pi Beta Phi. You might remember this wonderful service sorority from last year, when they came to share stories with our third graders and give away books on a beautiful spring afternoon. I am so happy that Pi Beta Phi reached out to us again this year to spend Read Across America together. And, as you’ll see from the pictures below, our students weren’t too!

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Pi Beta Phi spent the afternoon sharing Dr. Seuss stories with Johnson’s kindergarten and first grade students, helping us to celebrate his birthday. As if that wasn’t enough, they also awarded us with a grant for 500 FREE BOOKS – enough to send one home with each student, add to our library collection, and build classroom libraries all over the school!

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Your eyes are not deceiving you, there are TWO zeroes after that five. FIVE HUNDRED FREE BOOKS! It took more than five members of the Johnson family AND five volunteers to lift, unpack, and organize all of those books. Once they were unpacked, teachers were invited into the library to “shop” for their students. Teachers were thrilled to be choosing from such a wonderful selection, and took time and consideration to find a book for each student that would be truly enjoyed. Each student will receive one free book to take home and keep, thanks to the generosity of our friends at Pi Beta Phi.

Thank you so much to the wonderful, caring, and patient members of Pi Beta Phi’s University of Virginia chapter for being such excellent members of the Johnson family. We love our new books, but most importantly, our students truly love sharing literature and quality time with you. Thank you for giving your time to us, and we hope to work with you again soon!

See you tomorrow, Johnson family! Don’t forget, Wednesday we will be celebrating The Foot Book – so wear your wackiest socks and shoes to school!

Read Across America Kickoff!

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This afternoon, Johnson welcomed one of its favorite visitors. I’ll give you a hint…. this visitor is about six feet tall, and he’s not exactly human. His red bow tie matches perfectly with his black and white tail. And you can’t forget about that iconic cap on his head…

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If you guessed The Cat in the Hat, you are correct! The Cat and I spent Friday afternoon touring classrooms to give students all the info about next week’s Read Across America celebration. We handed out stickers, sang some favorite songs, and even showed off some dance moves.

Next week we will be celebrating Read Across America Week, the event that celebrates the cat, his hat, and all things SEUSS!

The Cat in the Hat may have kicked things off for us, but the fun is just beginning. This week, Johnson students will answer Seuss trivia, play Seuss themed games, hear Seuss stories, and participate in other Seuss-tastic activities. We will have special visitors all week, including the University of Virginia’s Pi Beta Phi and Asha for Education chapters. Students will have the opportunity to win free books, pencils, bookmarks, and all sorts of Seuss swag!

And don’t forget about our Seuss-themed SPIRIT DAYS! Show your support for literacy and all things Seuss by following this chart each morning:

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Keep your eyes on the blog for details and photos from what is sure to be a fun and exciting week. See you Monday morning in your favorite HAT!