Milestone for First Grade

Our third and fourth graders have been working hard all year to learn their strategies and the practice their skills, and now they’re finally able to show it all off. With SOL testing in full swing, the school has been spending a lot of time in Super Secret Quiet Mode to allow everyone to concentrate and do their best. Students who aren’t testing come to spend time with me in the library, where they get a chance to relax and recharge between tests or before heading back to class. These students have been awesome helpers with shelving, running errands, and co-teaching! Even when they’re exhausted from testing, they still bring their best into the Learning Leopard Library. Our preschoolers will miss having them in class once the SOLS end!

Even though they’re testing in the mornings, I’m still lucky enough to see third and fourth graders in the afternoons for their regular scheduled library time. Fourth graders are continuing their work with the Super Three and practicing the best ways to use Plan, Do, Review! in the classroom and beyond. Third graders are having their turn to train with Destiny Quest, our online catalog, and are so excited to search the catalog and find books on their own! If you missed our original post about Destiny Quest and the new search station that just went up in the library, check it out here.

Second grade got competitive with a game of Jeopardy this week based on the library skills that they have picked up year. Categories like Library Geography, Parts of the Book, Destiny Quest, and Library Vocabulary challenged them to try and remember all of the content that we’ve covered together this year. And yes, there was a Double Jeopardy question! This review game was also a great way for me to assess any topics that might need extra review before the end of the year. Both classes needed some extra help remembering and identifying the different parts of the book, including physical features (cover, spine, pages, etc.) and text features (glossary, index, table of contents, etc.). We’ll be spending some time on those before we head out for the summer!

First grade was bursting with pride (and impatience) this week to finally learn how to choose a book from the shelf in the library. Together we talked about how to keep the shelves organized, the importance of putting books back correctly (spine out with the spine label on the bottom!), and how to correctly use a shelf marker. Then, three at a time, students showed off their shelf marker skills and chose their books from a small, contained shelf. Next week, after a quick review, students will be pulling books from the library shelves one at a time with me as their classmates complete an activity at their seats. There is nothing quite like the look of excitement on a first grade student’s face when they have the full run of the library for the first time! Each first grader earned a sticker that said, “I’m ready for second grade – ask me why,” and I was so proud to hear students explain how they earned their sticker. Way to go, first grade!

Kindergarteners also had a chance to show off for me this week as we talked about real vs. pretend in a story. After reading Karma Wilson’s popular story Bear Snores On, I asked students to place different phrases from the book in one of two hula hoops – one labeled REAL and one labeled PRETEND. I was floored – each class got a perfect score! No matter how tricky my questions, all of Johnson’s kindergarteners knew that phrases like “Rabbits drink from teacups” and “Bears and mice are friends” belonged in the PRETEND hoop. Meanwhile, phrases like “Bears hibernate in the winter” and “Animals eat food” landed in the REAL hoop. Johnson teachers have done an amazing job teaching students this critical skill, and these students are going to have no problem taking this knowledge and applying it to the difference between fiction and nonfiction books.

Pre-school classes got to enjoy some springtime this week with Kevin Henkes’ Old Bear. This book, which features a hibernating bear dreaming of his favorite seasonal moments throughout the year, gave us a great opportunity to talk about everything from seasons to colors. Some classes completed a SMART Board game where they helped bear to dress for each season (think sunglasses for summer, and Converse hightop sneakers for the fall!), while other classes practiced creative movement inspired by the story. No matter the activity, there was lots of laughing, learning, and singing from everyone!

The library’s effort to get lost and overdue books returned continued this week, and first notices went home to students that owe books or funds. If you received a notice, please send your book, replacement book, or payment to the library as soon as possible. Lost books are paid for from the library budget, and each book that needs to be replaced takes money from adding new and exciting titles to the collection. If you have any questions or concerns about a lost or overdue book, don’t hesitate to contact me at messhas1@charlottesvilleschools.org. Next week will be the last full week of checkout for the 2013-2014 school year. All materials are due back to the library on Friday, May 23.

Have a wonderful sunny weekend, and make sure to pick up this month’s copy of Charlottesville Family Magazine to read all about our Kiss the Pig fundraiser!

 – Miss Messham

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