Ten Things I Learned from the Library: A Reflection

Last week marked the first week of library skill classes for my third and fourth graders as the two shortened weeks before that were used for introducing book checkout. I had a blast meeting with the six classes that will see me weekly. I also learned a few things along the way.

1. Playing the toilet paper game is a great way to get kids talking about books. I played a variant of this game when I worked at summer camp. I got the library idea from a librarian friend on twitter. For the game, students take as much toilet paper as they think they need (I made an upper limit of 5 squares because of time). After everyone has their toilet paper squares, then tell the students they have to share one book they are excited about reading (or were excited about in the past).

2. Students are much more excited about sharing books if you do not play the toilet paper game in round robin fashion. Take volunteers (I am very thankful to the student who caused this to happen in the second class to play).

3. Hearing what students are excited to read makes it very easy to play book fairy and leave copies of those books at classroom doors the next morning. I hope the classes are enjoying Darth Paper Strikes Back and Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace.

4. Students love making suggestions on what the library should have and will keep checking in with you to see if things have come yet. Can’t wait to share with them that many new books came in last week.

5. International Dot Day is a lot of fun to celebrate with a class using Peter ReynoldsThe Dot. This book celebrates creativity and encourages students to leave their mark.

6. Reading the story is more entertaining if you act out pieces of it while you read it (the white board made a great place to recreate Vashti’s first dot and frame).

7. Making giant dots for Dot Day results in some interesting combinations of colors when each student makes a piece.

8. When making said giant dots, it works better if you don’t have an outline on the paper for the dot to fit on.

9. Artist trading cards were a good dot day experience for the Montessori students. I need to collect a few more and then we will be sending them off to another school!

10. 30 minutes will fly by much faster than expected (this is one I’ll relearn over and over again this year) and is never enough time.

Looking ahead to this week: finishing the toilet paper game with one class and starting Camp Library with the others. Camp Library is based a little bit on some activities I created while student teaching and a little bit on Sarah Ducharme‘s Library Boot Camp.

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