Thanks to Carly Smith, 2nd year SLMC, from Wallburg for sharing this fun idea for helping students learn how to search for books independently. Carly is our busiest elementary media coordinator with 34 weekly fixed classes and nearly 850 students. Carly adapted this activity to work with younger students, but it can be replicated at any grade level. Way to go, Carly!
Hi, Friends! One of my goals this year at Wallburg is to increase the independency among my upper grades students during checkouts. Since I only see students for 35 minutes a week, I usually only leave 10 minutes exactly (a timer is on the Promethean Board!) for checkout at the very beginning so I can spend the most time doing the lesson.
I understand 10 minutes is a very short amount of time to choose a book…especially if you are wanting new reads and do not know where to start looking. Reflecting on last year, I knew that I needed to spend more time teaching my students the parts of the library and how they connect with what they see when they search for a book on Destiny. Last year, I noticed that my students could search for books using Destiny Discover just fine after I taught them, but they had a hard time understanding where to locate the Call Number in the library. This is a problem!!
After some research, I decided to do Book Search Jenga with my 3rd-5th grade students to help them grow in this area.
I found the idea for Book Search Jenga on The Lens into the Library blog. This librarian teaches in a middle school, so I knew I would have to make some adjustments to make it work for my schedule. You can check out how SHE does Book Search Jenga here: https://lensintothelibrary.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/day-6-library-jenga/.
This lesson came the week after we learned how to search using Destiny Discover. By THIS lesson, students had learned the parts of the library and had practiced searching for books on the shelves using call numbers. However, practice and consistency are important for my excited readers, and I thought they would enjoy this lesson!
I knew I wanted to do 5 groups of 6 students (or less--depending on class size), so I needed to come up with 5 Jenga sets. Thankfully, a local discount store had them on sale for $6, so I purchased three. Two wonderful, amazing friends donated their sets, so I had all I needed very quickly!
I thought about the different parts of my library that were accessible to my students: Fiction, Paperback Fiction, Nonfiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Everybody, Paperback Everybody, and Junior Fiction. I decided I wanted each set to have THREE titles of each section represented. Therefore, I looked up 15 different titles for each section so each set would have different titles.
I measured the planks and created small color-coded slips that I would tape on the planks. Every section was represented by a different color. For Fiction, Nonfiction, and Junior Fiction (both paperback and hardback), I typed the title of a book in that section. For Everybody books, I varied it between a title of the book and an author.
After checkout, students had to build their Jenga set and start playing together as a group. I gave each team 2-3 Chromebooks with Destiny Discover pulled up on the screen.
As students were playing Jenga, if a plank was pulled that had a title/author on it, THAT player had to look up EXACTLY what was on their plank and go locate it on the shelf. Of course, I allowed their team members to help. They could not place their plank on the tower until they found the book. Any book that was successfully found on the shelf went into their basket. One book equaled one point. The team with the most books/points at the end of the lesson won!
My students LOVED this lesson. They were engaged, moving around, and worked until the very end. I think the sweetest thing of the week was when one of my fifth grade students who typically resists anything to do with reading and who needed my help finding the first few titles on the Jenga blocks he pulled said to me “MRS. SMITH! I FOUND THIS ONE ALL BY MYSELF!!”
I plan to do this activity once a quarter to refresh my students’ memory. The most points a team received was 9…so I know there are labeled planks in the set that they have not pulled.
Preparing the slips took a bunch of time. I had my family help me tape the slips onto the planks.
Things to reconsider for next year:
I did have to QUICKLY shelve the books back before the each new class came in, but some of my students volunteered to put up the ones their group found. Of course I went back and checked, and YAY for them shelving the books correctly!
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