At this time last year I was feeling a bit behind. Not just because I AM (always) behind, but because we start school later than a lot of librarians on the blogs I read. It was weird to share ideas for back-to-school when they wouldn’t really be useful to anyone because everyone else was already 3 weeks into the swing of things. I had written several blog posts that never got published. I decided to wait a year and send them out when they felt more timely.
In these pictures you can see my orientation for 3rd grade from last year. I printed a 24 square grid with each alphabet letter available. Each letter stood for something in our library. Matching the description in the box was a card placed at a station somewhere in the library. Each station had a matching letter stamper.
Students moved with their partner to an available station until they had all their squares filled. Two of the stations were taped to our Library Assistant and me because our names were on the grid.
It was a little bit of chaos. I don’t usually mind. But here’s where I admit the flaws.
Did it work? As I think back a year, was this really the best orientation? Did it meet my goals? I wanted students to feel welcomed back into the library and to have a chance to explore resources and opportunities that might be new to them in 3rd grade.
Did they stay focused enough to learn the new things like the checkout limit, the location of our library cards, and find the sections of the library? Or was it too busy and too much like a race? How would I do it differently…..
I think I would decrease the number of stations. Maybe have 20, but color code them with 10 blue and 10 green and give students either blue or green paper. The words on their paper could be a clue and the words on the station card could be an answer or information. Perhaps their paper could include something they would have to fill in the blank.
If I decreased the amount of moving time it would still give them some movement, but it would also give us time for a class debrief of more significance.
I don’t think I’m going in this direction this year for my first 3rd grade lesson. I’m going in a very reading focused direction for their first class next week and less of a ‘library overview’ direction. My goal for my first class is to practice students’ names, read aloud to them, do a Visual Thinking Strategy, show a video tutorial of how to fill out a hold slip, and then let them browse the books for checkout and fill out their 4 slips for the reserved books. I’m keeping many of the popular series from circulation the first week so students can see what we have and each 3rd, 4th and 5th grader can fill out four hold slips.