Have You Seen My Hat?

This week, the Learning Leopard Library has been bursting with laughing, excitement, curiosity, and friendly competition. Our lessons this week had our students R.O.A.R.ing like never before – acting respectful, open-minded, actively engaged, and responsible. And I think it’s safe to say that they enjoyed themselves, too!

Our younger students had a mystery to solve this week, and we had to work together in order to get the job done. In an activity based on I Want My Hat Back, by Caldecott winner Jon Klassen, students had to search the room for clues in order to track down the thief that took Bear’s hat. Our thief left us a note with some directions: look for clues that are red and pointy, just like the missing hat. Students helped me to figure out which color was red, and which shape was pointy, and then we were on the hunt! Each clue narrowed down our list of suspects, which ranged from Snake to Fox to Deer, and many other forest friends in between. With clues like “I do not have a shell”, we crossed one suspect at a time off of our list. In the end, we made our predictions, and then finished the story together. Was your student’s prediction correct?

Second graders began work on their library treasure maps, and will continue with these art projects next week. Library treasure maps are creative, partner projects that require knowledge of the Johnson Library and a serious dose of imagination. Student maps do not have to look like our library – they can create whatever kind of world they want – but they do have to include every library section, sample titles from each section, and an X marks the spot over their favorite section of the library. My example map was called “Miss Messham’s Map of Library-topia”, and featured sections like Nonfiction Lake, Biography Beach, Everybody Books Mountains, Reference Forest, and Fiction-ville. I have been so proud and excited to see our students creating their most unique and beautiful work with their library treasure maps. When our projects are complete, they will be featured in a display showing off our art and information literacy skills.

After being introduced to call numbers last week, it was time for the third and fourth graders at Johnson Elementary School to show off their skills. In class this week, after a brief warm up and review, students participated in the very first Learning Leopard Library Call Number Challenge! Working with partners, third and fourth graders had to complete a worksheet that tested them on call number skills like naming the abbreviation of the library sections, decoding a call number to discover which section of the library a book calls home, and creating a book’s call number from a list of provided details (for example: a fiction book written by author Andrew Clements [our featured author this week] would be F CLE). The competition also included a bonus question which had students really testing their library independence and knowledge; I gave the students a call number, and they had to find the book in the library and give me a title. Some of our champions were such confident team players that they chose to spend their time after they finished helping their classmates to finish and correct their competition worksheets.

Although we have only been working with call numbers for two weeks, I have been so amazed with the student’s grasp on the concept. Our competition results were impressive, but even more exciting is seeing the students begin to branch out and find materials on their own with their new-found knowledge. Just yesterday, a student asked me where she could find the book How to Eat Fried Worms. I told her that the book lived in the fiction section and was written by Thomas Rockwell, and away she went! A few minutes later, she returned holding the book, after having navigated the shelves to find it by herself. It is truly fantastic to see our students becoming so confident in the library, and using those skills to help themselves (and each other!) become better readers.

This morning, Johnson Elementary School hosted Donuts for Dads, a fantastic event put on by some very hard working teachers and volunteers. Students and the special loved ones in their lives could come to the school’s cafeteria between 7:15 and 8:15 AM to enjoy a free breakfast together, as well as a free book! We had a huge crowd of people hungry for donuts and for stories, and the cafeteria was buzzing with excitement.




Congratulations to the teachers, staff members, volunteers, and administrators that worked so hard to put Donuts for Dads together. This librarian was very happy to see so many students being supported in their love of reading…which was especially impressive before 8 AM! What a wonderful way to start the morning.

Have a fabulous fall weekend!

Miss Messham




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