Fall Festival

With the leaves falling from the trees and the weather getting cooler, it’s finally starting to feel like fall! And it’s about time, because the Johnson Elementary School library is ready to keep celebrating fall with stories, songs, and lessons. The school year is in full swing and we are having so much fun.

This week, Johnson Elementary School hosted a very special event – the Fall Festival! Parents of third grade students worked hard to put together a seasonal celebration with food, music, and games. I think my favorite part was watching the judges taste all of the dishes for the cookoff – yum! Congratulations to all of the winning dishes, and a BIG thank you to all of the hard working 3rd grade parents who put this fantastic event together. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful and active PTO at Johnson Elementary School. I love these community events that bring us all together to share the things that make Johnson so special!

Older students delved even farther into library geography, organization, and structure this week as we learned about call numbers. Together we discovered the location of a book’s call number, and then we worked together to crack the Call Number Code. Go ahead, ask your third or fourth grade student what a B on the spine of their book means! I bet they’ll know the answer! To test our knowledge, we played a short “Create the Call Number” game where I supplied them with a book’s section, title, and author, and they had to show me the correct call number. As usual, they did a fantastic job!

Learning about sections of the library and call numbers are important parts of the foundation for library learning. Soon, we will begin exploring the Dewey Decimal System, which will help all of our non-fiction buffs to locate their favorite books on topics like sharks, the Titanic, Greek Mythology, motorcycles, and more. Every step of library geography practice helps students to become more confident and independent library users. I am so proud of the way our students take ownership of, and pride in, their school library. The Johnson Elementary School Learning Leopard Library is for students and by students – which is one of the reasons it’s such a fun place to be!

Younger students are exploring the relationship between stories and science this week, with a weather-related story and activity. The Wind Blows, by Pat Hutchins, is a fantastic book to practice library vocabulary. Once we read the story together, oh no! A big gust of wind blows all of our items off of the felt board. We have to talk about the difference between the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story in order to put them back in order. This is a great practice for sequencing as well!

Once all of our items are back in order, we put on our scientific experiment hats to learn more about wind. Pre-school and kindergarten students are given pinwheels to experiment with – what happens when air blows the pinwheel? Why does the wheel turn? Can you make it turn slow, and then fast? First grade students are given a small package of items to experiment with, including a leaf, a ruler, a pipecleaner, and a pinwheel. What happens when the wind meets these items? Why do some items move, while others do not? Finally, second grade builds upon first grade’s experiment by adding in varying items like rocks and markers. Some heavy items do move – why? Why does the marker roll, but the rock doesn’t?

These experiments provide students with a great opportunity to get some hands-on science experience, and to begin to understand the important link between the school library and their core subjects like math and science. A successful school library is so much more than just a place to hold books. It supports and supplements Standards of Learning for all grades, and works with classroom teachers to give students a full and well-rounded school experience. Recent research has proven that a successful school library with a full-time, qualified library media specialist is a critical tool to improve student performance and standardized test scores. The American Library Association states in a recent article that “Access to a full-time school librarian increases student test scores, closes the achievement gap, and improves writing skills.” Learn more about the connection between school libraries and improved test scores here.

Thank you to all of the parents and students that have been providing the library with donated books and magazines. Your donations are so very appreciated, and the books go into little hands that keep them very loved. We couldn’t do it without you!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful time at the fall festival. Stay warm and dry this week, and don’t forget to bundle up against that fall wind!

Miss Messham

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