From 0 – 310 in less than eight hours!

With Monday off from school for Labor Day, this week went even faster than usual. Hold on to your hats, because there has been a LOT going on in the Learning Leopard Library!

Older students put their library skills to the test with Wheel of Messham, a Smart Board game show game that challenged their reading, information literacy, library, and math skills! Students were invited to spin the wheel, and the spinner decided their fate – easy question about library safety? Challenging quiz on checkout facts or library vocabulary? Or will they land on the dreaded lose a turn, and have to choose someone else to spin?

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This game provided a fun, engaging, and low-pressure way for students to review library policies and rules, as well as to test how much they remember about their library after the long summer months! Although I hoped that students would remember some of what we had learned together last year, I had no idea that they would remember so much and take such pride in their knowledge of their library. Students practiced their math skills by keeping score individually at their seats, and many helped their neighbors to total their scores. Overall, Wheel of Messham was a big hit!

First grade students met a new friend this week. Penelope Popper, Book Doctor (from the Tony Buzzeo book of the same title) shared her four top book care rules with the class:

  1. Wash your hands before reading your book
  2. Turn pages from the upper right hand corner
  3. Never dog-ear a page
  4. Keep books safe from babies and pets
  5. Use a shelf marker to hold your spot and then replace books carefully on the shelves

These book care rules look an awful lot like the ones that we use in the library! After getting to know Penelope, I let students know about a little secret… I’m a book doctor, too! You might remember learning about our Book Hospital, the place where hurt and damaged books go. As Johnson’s chief book doctor, I talked with the students about the importance of leaving book care to a professional. Then, we took a look in my No No Never Never basket, which is full of items that can be hazards for library books. The trickiest part? While some of the items in the box are a definite NO NO NEVER NEVER for library books, some of the items are great for library books – and it was up to the students to tell the difference! Should I let my dog read my library book? No no never never! Should I share my library book with a friend? Yes yes always! Together we went through each item in the basket. First graders are now official book doctor medical residents – and after some more practice, they might just earn their book doctor badges!


Kindergarten students were very busy reviewing the basics of checkout and how to choose their own books this week. When the time came, they could barely contain their excitement! We will spend much of the next few months learning how to hold our books, turn the pages, and treat them carefully. I love watching students choose their own book for the first time. It never gets old! There is something very special about the first time that they leave the room holding their first library book that they chose to take home. It’s one of my favorite moments of the year!

Although pre-k isn’t ready for checkout yet, they are getting better and better at following school rules and directions. This week, we shared David Shannon’s beloved story, David Goes to School, about a mischevious little boy who doesn’t always follow the rules. The David books are some of my favorites because although David has a hard time following directions, he always makes the right choice in the end – whether it’s apologizing, completing his work, or fixing his mistakes. David is funny, bright, and easy to love! After reading about David’s trouble following directions, we decided to give it a try ourselves by moving along to the tune If You’re Happy and You Know It. With lots of physical activity like touching our toes, jumping up and down, wiggling our fingers in the air, and marching in a circle, it was a fun way to test our listening skills. And the students did a great job!

This Thursday, we had our first day of the new checkout procedures. Each class came to visit for 15 minutes, and every student left glowing and thrilled with their first load of library books! Kindergarten and first grade students check out one book each, and students in grades two, three, and four can check out two. After two weeks of practicing using a shelf marker, moving with walking feet, and the new location of their favorite books, students were ready to be let loose on the shelves! With 300 students walking in and out of the doors in one day, we had nothing but bright smiles and good choices. I was amazed by how well students listened to directions, observed time limits, and helped one another. It’s not easy to check out 310 books in eight hours, but we did it… and we did it with style!

A letter to parents was sent home with each student. Did you find one in your child’s folder? Here are all the details:

Screen shot 2014-09-05 at 10.25.52 AMIf you have any questions about the library, please feel free to reach out to me via the provided email address or through the blog. Phone is not the best way to reach me, as I spend most of my days either in the library with students or visiting classes, which means that I’m rarely able to answer!

Now that we’ve reviewed the checkout basics, library doors will open for students to renew and check out new books every morning at 7:40. Morning checkout will be available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays of each week. If your student is interested in getting a new book on a day other than Thursday, all they need is permission from their teacher, and they can start their day with a brand new book or two!

I hope that you will spend all weekend sharing new library books with your child. Enjoy, and then come get some new ones on Monday!

– Miss Messham

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