Make-it-Take-it Library Centers Part 1

Picaria Library Center

Picaria Library Center

At the Virginia VAASL fall conference, I took a risk and presented a different kind of session. I set up 15 stations for participants to take away a tangible copy or item for each library center I shared. The session sort of worked, except the pacing for a session like this wasn’t something I was completely prepared for. I ended up talking a lot more than I had planned. It was a great opportunity to share about the library centers I use, my reasons for centers, and the way I tend to embrace chaos. I am posting links to the blogs and pins where I got the ideas for my centers and links to documents and resources for you to use.
Eyeball Pointers with Simple Texts

Students use eyeball pointers for a one-to-one correspondence with words of a text. For younger students, eyeball pointers are great for alphabet books and letter recognition or for texts they have memorized, such as nursery rhymes. For older students, pointers can be used for syllable definition practice.

Eyeball pointers can be made by gluing a googley eye to the top of a craft stick or by using Sharpie to draw one in. Over time, the eyes tend to disappear, so it’s not a bad idea to draw first and then glue.

I set out my eyeball pointers with a selection of nursery rhymes I typed in large print and then dotted for the Kindergarten students to point to each word. I got the idea from this blog.

Cardboard Sculptures

Students use cardboard sculptures to build whatever they wish. You can provide further direction to the center by providing students with a weekly challenge (i.e. make something that roars, build something that is silly). If you have enough squares available for students you may be able to put some creations on display in a temporary gallery. Students can write captions or stories to go with their creations. Sculptures can be decorated with markers.


Students use this game in pairs. It is a quick game with a pace similar to tic-tac-toe. It’s easy to make and my students love it. I found that while the directions are simple, it is better to sit with students in small groups and model the game when they are ready to learn it. I got the idea from this website.

Where’s Waldo?

Students look for Waldo’s hiding place on one of the library shelves. When they find him (shhh, it’s a secret!) they write down one call number from a book on the shelf where he is hiding. Waldo can be moved regularly and can be an activity students repeat week to week. I’ve got a TeachersPayTeachers product in the works for later in January to share the actual documents for this center. I blogged about my initial idea for Waldo and it’s implementation last spring.

Question of the Week

Students look for the answer to the question using library resources or sources from home. They write the answer and cite their source with the title of the magazine, book, website. I don’t allow “Google,” “my brain,” or “I just know it.” Jessica Lodge and I had a recent Twitter conversation about the Question of the Week and I prefer her rule for answers which is that the answer must come from a library resource. Her students, if they use an online source, use a library database such as PebbleGo, World Book, or Kids Info Bits.

I use an old Book Fair change donation box as my answer collection box. Jess uses “Zoinks” which is made from a small square tissue box. He always looks larger in pictures!

Please visit Jessica Lodge’s Question of the Week package on TeachersPayTeachers for the original set and for her Question of the Week Junior package as well. They are worth the price!!!

I’ll see you next Wednesday with Part 2!


December 31, 2014
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