Back to Basics

After reading The Book Whisperer at the end of the summer, I decided for library orientation I was going to return to the basics.  My decision was four-fold: 1- sometimes all the technology doesn’t work properly; 2- sometimes the point of a presentation gets buried in technology’s bells and whistles; 3- I was inspired by The Book Whisperer not to get bogged down by too many rules; 4-  I wanted the students to move, and to have some fun.

So, I cut poster board into big flash cards, and in bright and bold Sharpie pens wrote library words on them.  Words like: author, illustrator, call number, spine, Accelerated Reader, biography, easy reader, non-fiction, graphic novel, fiction, and more.  I laminated the huge flash cards, and taped them to an empty wall in the library.  When the students came in, we first filled in a graphic organizer together about the things you can do in the library.  They came up with “do research on the computer,” “read a magazine,”” check out a book,” among other things.  Then I read some books that had to do with the library, like Library Mouse (Daniel Kirk), Lola at the Library (Anna McQuinn), Dewey There’s a Cat in the Library (Vicki Myron and Bret Witter), D.W.’s Library Card (Marc Brown), Manners in the Library (Amanda Doering Tourville), Read It, Don’t Eat It! (Ian Schoenherr).  Next, we talked about the words on the wall— we practiced how to pronounce them correctly, and we defined them.

Now the fun could start!  I put the classes in two teams.  Each team got a fly swatter.  One member from each team would come to the line I had on the floor.  I would say the definition of one of the words on the wall, and they had to find the word that matched the definition.  Once they located the word, they had to run to it and hit it with their fly swatter.  The first person to hit the right word earned a point for the team.

Basic rules were followed: you could only swat one time, so make sure you make the correct choice, and no body blocking in an attempt to keep the other team away.

I did this with almost every grade level, first through fifth.  Some teachers enjoyed the activity so much themselves, they said they would use it in their classrooms to review vocabulary words, practice important history dates, and a sundry of other ways.

It was an extremely low-tech lesson, the students were engaged, and the students were moving around.  All the way around, it was a success!

I would like to give a shout-out to Jim Randolph for recommending The Book Whisperer  on the GLMA blog, July 18, 2010.

I would like to give Andy Plemmons a shout-out for his GLMA blog entry on March 25, 2010, about Student Voice, Student Choice.  I tweaked his grant idea to fit my school, and we earned a Target Grant.  Thanks Andy for sharing, and the great idea!

Also, if there are any runners or walkers out there, or any who wants to give to a good cause:  Room to Read, a non-profit organization that builds and stocks libraries in developing countries, is having a 5K Caterpillar Crawl this weekend in Atlanta to raise money.  Go to their website and check it out:

Thanks for reading!

Anja Tigges, Ed.S.


 Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools


Posted on September 22, 2010, in Activities, Ideas, Reading. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: