There've been some scheduling snafus to contend with for the last six weeks, plus kids being late on finishing projects due to snow days followed by February break, so in a concession to the realities of the situation, the students in 5th grade who still hadn't finished their projects/left them at home were granted one final extension. Of course, this meant that my lesson plan to have the students present their biographic subjects fell slightly by the wayside (though a few students had finished before the break and left their projects in school).
What's a library teacher to do in such a situation? Luckily, that very morning, I had brought in the US map puzzle I picked up for $1.50 at my local Goodwill store (thanks to Mrs. Lodge for the inspiration!). I have also been accumulating magazines through the subscriptions to National Geographic Kids, Cricket, Ranger Rick, and Zoobooks that I picked up through LivingSocial for a song. I'd been planning on introducing library activity centers for awhile now, and this seemed as good a moment as any to do it.
Students were given three choices: they could pick a book and read quietly, as usual, they could pick a magazine and read quietly, or they could work on the puzzle. They LOVED it, particularly the puzzle. It was great to see some teamwork and cooperation in action as the students worked together to figure out how to get the pieces to fit, and as a bonus, their geography skills got some practice because this particular puzzle has the pieces slide up next to each other instead of "lock" in the usual fashion.
Other students decided to read. One got really excited reading about models made of chocolate in a NatGeo issue, another curled up in the corner with a copy of Cricket. Two others sat down with one of the "records" books we have (always a huge hit - they're so thirsty for non-fiction, I love it) and read aloud to each other.
This trial run makes me excited to experiment with introducing my other planned stations, and to continue to find new ways to engage students in productive learning in the library while working within my space restrictions.
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 (very occasionally) review children's and young adult literature on my book reviews page.
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