At the start of this year, I posted about how I'd realized that my hybrid Dewey system wasn't quite working out the way I'd hoped. I don't regret my decision to hack my Dewey, but in my efforts to be precise, I made things overly complicated. Worse, my over-precision made it difficult for students, parents, and teachers alike to quickly and easily locate books, which was the whole reason for pursuing this insanity in the first place. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too - not shelve in strict Dewey order, but still retain a focus on the number and its importance, and that wasn't happening.
When I made that post, I had initially thought that we would still maintain subcategories but simplify them, so ANIMALS - Sea Mammals - Dolphins 599.53 ABC would becomes ANIMALS - Dolphins 599.53 ABC. Upon further reflection, this still seemed too complicated, so I decided to just use the category header and the Dewey number, but all numbers would be standardized to ensure they were located next to each other. As a result, all my books on Ancient Egypt now have a standard call number (932), allowing mummies, pyramids, daily life, and technology to all be shelved together. Furthermore, in an effort to be as kid-friendly as possible, we would avoid going past the tenths place unless absolutely necessary (for instance, in sports), and even then, we would stop at the hundredths place.
I also decided to split some sections and rename others. What this means is that my giant ELA section is now broken into separate sections on Fairytales, Folktales, Myths/Legends, Poetry and Writing. My animals section no longer has the dozen or so subcategories we'd been using (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, rodents, sea mammals, big cats, primates, etc). Countries/Cultures + Continent + Country Name is now just Countries - DDN.
It is an incredible amount of work and relabeling, but I have a feeling it's going to pay off in a big way. I can already perceive a difference in how much easier it is to shelve and locate books because now there are only three pieces of information, category, DDN, and author's last name. I'm really excited to share this with students when we come back in the fall, and I truly think this will help strike the necessary balance between the hybrid and standard versions of Dewey. Other libraries may need more detail, but I think this will work for us.
Last year, I collaborated with my art teacher and engineering aideto do an interdisciplinary zoo project. Our first graders learned how to do research on habitats in the library using PebbleGo and BrainPop Jr., then they moved to the art room to begin learning about zoos, and finally we went to the engineering room to construct our habitats. It was a huge success, and we were excited to do it again this year. We kept the project the same with the caveat of only having one class in the engineering room at a time (instead of two) and during the presentation, decided to use the library as a space as well to ease up on the crowds.
The other innovation we added (post-production, as it were) was to incorporate stop motion into the project. I learned about the app KomaKoma at the EdTech Boston conference and introduced it to coworkers through a class I taught on video in the classroom. Rachel thought that it would be fun to add a stop motion component to the zoo project so that the students could move their animals around the habitat. It was time consuming but fun, and the kids LOVED the experience (even if the adults were the ones in control of the iPads).
Welcome to the Carlisle Zoo!
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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