Spring has officially sprung! Just last week it feels like we were shivering in heavy jackets, and all of a sudden the trees are green, the flowers are blooming, and spring fever is in the air. Those three days of heavy rain at the beginning week didn’t help much with spring fever – we were all dying to go outside! There’s just something magical about Johnson’s campus in the sunshine. I love looking out my windows to see the trees and flowers!
The school year may be winding down, but Johnson hasn’t slowed down a bit. With only three weeks left to check out books this year, library circulation is busier than ever. Thanks to our safety patrol members (check out more about these wonderful ladies and their amazing work during morning checkout here!), more kindergarten and first grade students than ever before are checking out new books every day. Safety patrol is so dedicated, they even take requests from individual students and help them to find specific books on the shelves. Our morning checkout time is noisy, organized, always surprising, and so much fun – it’s one of the best parts of my day! If you think that a library should always be quiet and serious, you should stop by the Learning Leopard Library between 8:00 and 8:30. We’ll show you why a little bit of spice makes the library even more fun!
First grade students continued their preparation for second grade this week with a review of the differences between fiction and non-fiction. Why is this information so important during the transition from first grade to second grade? In order to master independent checkout, students need to not only understand the difference between these two types of books, but also their locations within the library. Using songs, repetition, modeling, and physical movement, we are learning where to go to find fiction and nonfiction books. Next week, first graders will be choosing books off of the shelves for the first time – I’m so excited!
Kindergarten and pre-school students spent time talking about feelings and bullying this week with Dan Yaccarino’s new smash hit story, Unlovable. This book features a Alfred, a pug (who is very lovable, in my opinion!) that is being bullied by the other pets in the household. They tell him that he’s unlovable, make fun of his face, and force him to spend most of his time alone outside. When a new dog moves in next door behind a big fence, Alfred tells a lie about the way he looks. But when Rex decides to dig under the fence so the friends can finally meet, Alfred comes face to face with his choices and the reasons that he might be loveable after all. This story started a great class discussion about kindness and the importance of honesty, and the bravery that it takes to be yourself. After reading, we talked about the things that make us lovable, and pre-k classes even colored pictures of their best attributes. I don’t know about my students, but I finished off the week feeling confident, happy, and very lovable thanks to Unlovable!
Second and third grade both finished big units this week, having their final assessments on Destiny Quest and reference tools, respectively. Second graders are gaga for Destiny Quest, using the online catalog to independently locate their favorite titles whenever they can! The computer system has been so popular that I’ve had to put a time limit on each search so that everyone can have a turn. Despite the high traffic, the station has stayed clean, organized, and well cared for. Great job, second graders! Meanwhile, in third grade, our reference tool work has finally paid off. When we look our reference tool pre-test in the beginning of the year, the grade’s average score was about a 25%. We took this test again this week and I was blown away by the improvement – more than 75% of students at least TRIPLED their scores on the quiz! These third graders have worked so hard not only to get to know the dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, almanac, and atlas, but also to master the difficult task of learning which tool to use for which research question. From tricky geographical queries to historical stumpers, this quiz really pushed the students to use all of their reference knowledge.
Fourth grade is preparing for their research careers at Walker Upper Elementary next year by beginning to learn about the Super Three, a set of research skills that will help them academically in the coming years. The Super Three encourages students to follow three easy steps during research – Plan, Do, and Review!
I turned each of these steps into a super hero to help students to learn the process. Plan Man helps to outline the question, understand what a good job will look like when its finished, and decide how to take the first step. Can-Do girl does the dirty work, crossing items off of the to-do list, checking as she goes, and making sure that everything is complete. Finally, The Review-atron goes over finished work to check that facts are correct, that the finished product matches Plan Man’s vision, and that there’s nothing left to be done. This last step also asks students to take a moment to think – what grade would I give myself on this project? What new skills did I learn that I can use next time?
We will continue working with Plan, Do, and Review over the next few weeks until the process becomes second nature. The Super Three is the perfect preparation for the Big Six, a more complicated and in-depth research technique that older students practice in middle and high school.
Want to know my favorite trick for remembering the Super Three? It’s this little ditty, sung to the tune of Bingo:
When I need to do research
I have three steps to help me!
Plan, do, and review
Plan, do, and reveiw
Plan, do, and review
It’s called the Super Three!
I was lucky enough this week to have an Assistant Librarian for half of a day – the second grade student that won this activity in the PTO’s recent Silent Auction! I had a great time with second grade student Sahana as we shelved books, wrote lesson plans, worked in the book hospital, delivered books and videos, charged and formatted iPods, and of course taught classes. Sahana got to work with seecond grade, first grade, and pre-school during her half-day run, and we ended the morning with a lunch party in the library with a few friends. It was great to have a helper all day, and Sahana did a wonderful job! In the photo below, Sahana helps pre-school students to fill out their What Makes Me Lovable worksheets. Maybe she’ll grow up to be a full-time librarian some day 🙂
We are another week closer to our deadline for circulation this year. If you have a lost or overdue book, please remember that all items must be returned, paid for, or replaced by Friday, May 23rd. A new round of Lost Book letters will be coming home next week as a reminder. So search under those beds and in those bookshelves!
Have a wonderful weekend – enjoy some sunshine and time outside! Stay tuned for our Friday Photo, which is a peek at Cyber Safety Hall, a fourth grade project that recently went up outside of the library.
– Miss Messham