The End of 2013-2014 Checkout!

Congratulations to Johnson’s third grade students, who finished their final SOL test this morning! It has been a long two weeks, but you’ve put the work in, and now you’re finished! Fourth grade still has a few tests to take, but the mood at school is certainly a little bit lighter now that third grade has reached the other side. Woo hoo!

Once the dismissal bell rings this afternoon, it’s official – checkout at the Learning Leopard Library is finished for the 2013-2014 school year. Next week, students will return their books with their classes, but won’t take new books home. But just because checkout is over doesn’t mean that we won’t be reading! During their regular checkout time, students will have the chance to free read at the library tables. This way, they will still be reading books that they choose and that they like – they’ll just have to leave them at school when they head home for the afternoon. Check back next week to see our final total number of books checked out over the whole school year… and get ready to be blown away!

Now that checkout is no longer available at the Johnson library, why not take your child over to the Jefferson Madison Regional Library to find new titles to read? If your child likes what our library has to offer, they’ll love the selection of books available at JMRL. Plus, the librarians there won’t limit you to just two books – your student can take home way more than that! Visiting the library regularly over the summer will help keep your student in the habit of reading. Recreational reading is the best way to keep your student’s reading skills strong and sharp so that they are ready for success next year. If you’re looking for suggestions of what to read over the summer, feel free to stop by or send me an email! Also, keep an eye out for Charlottesville City Schools Summer Reading Lists, which will be coming home with all elementary school students in the next few weeks.

Checkout is winding down, but our information literacy lessons are still going as strong as ever. Third grade continued their work with Destiny Quest this week, learning to search the online catalog by title, author, subject, and even to do an advanced search. They also had a blast using the Destiny Quest Search Station during class checkout and open checkout in the morning. I now have students requesting to spend their recess inside with Destiny Quest – who knew that an online catalog would be so much fun?

Meanwhile, fourth graders put the Super 3 research process to work by writing a Plan, Do, and Review summary. Each set of partners was given a hypothetical high-interest research project – write a biography of Pharrell Williams, study the football skills of Robert Griffin III, or write a paper about tigers, to name a few. From there, students had to use their knowledge of Plan, Do, and Review to map their way through how they would complete the project. Many plans included doing some serious research, online and in the local library. Others planned to ask an expert or to interview someone helpful. Once they finished planning, students wrote how they would put their plan into action – making phone calls, taking notes, or taking other active routes to finding their information. Finally, students imagined how they would review their work. Did you proofread your writing? Are all of your facts correct? Does your project deserve an A? With the help of Plan Man, Can-Do Girl, and the Review-A-Tron, Johnson fourth graders will be ready to knock any upcoming research projects out of the park.

Last week’s Jeopardy game with second grade students showed me that we needed to spend more time reviewing the parts of the book. So this week, we reviewed the most important parts of the books that we know and love. The cover, title page, spine, and call number all made an appearance in our discussion, and the review game tested knowledge of previously learned vocabulary like author, illustrator, and publisher. 

First graders continued their practice pulling books directly off of the library shelves using a shelf marker. Students that visit the library in the morning got some extra practice this week, and any students that still needed help got to spend some time cruising the shelves one-on-one with me. First graders are quickly learning where their favorite subjects are located in the library – you should see some of these boys make a beeline to the dinosaur section, or to the graphic novels! It’s like they’ve been choosing off of the shelves for years. I am the most proud of the care and pride that they show when handling the library books. Each student is careful to only take one book from the shelf at a time, marking its spot with a shelf marker. If they decide to return that title to the shelf, they are careful to place the book back with the spine facing out and the spine label at the bottom, exactly as we learned. With more students than ever browsing, our shelves look just as neat as they have all year, if not neater! I can’t wait to grow with these rising second graders next year and see how their tastes in reading evolve.

Preschool and kindergarten had a special treat this week when we read John Rocco’s Caldecott Honor book from 2011, titled Blackout. This book is one of my favorites to teach because it invites the use of your imagination, special props, and even singing… to find out more about our special Blackout story time, tune in later for today’s Friday Photo!

Have you heard? Our BOGO Spring Book Fair is coming up! Check your child’s backpack today for a book fair flyer that will give you all the details. And tune back in to the blog next week to find out even more about the upcoming Book Fair Fiesta!

All materials are due back to the library by next Friday, May 23rd. Students with overdue or lost materials have now received multiple notices as reminders. The Johnson library still has more than 120 lost materials waiting to be returned, paid for, or replaced. At approximately $15 per book, replacing all of these materials would take more than $1,800 from the library budget. In order to afford new titles for the library next year, we need your help. Please send your lost or overdue library book, replacement book, or payment (exact change) to the library this week. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact me at

Johnson students, you’ve worked hard this week – and made it through some pretty terrible thunderstorms! Here’s to a sunny, relaxing weekend with your library books before they head back to their homes on the shelves for the summer. See you on Monday!

– Miss Messham

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