Library on a cart!
August 21, 2013 2:41 PM   Subscribe

School librarians of Metafilter! So, the number of classrooms in our school has outgrown the number of class periods available for the library. Oh no! The solution: seven periods each week are double-booked. Another teacher will teach "library" in one classroom while I teach the other class in the library. Every few weeks (months?) we'll switch. For K-1 this is easy: you read them a story and do a craft either way. But what about the rest? We'll have grades 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 in this situation.

- There are 35-45 kids per class, so we really can't combine them, much as that would make my life easier.
- Kids who are in the library will have some access to computers; kids in the classroom will not. They would probably be able to use iPads, though I don't really know what to do with those. Do you?
- In the long run I would like to use the classroom times for read-alouds, but first I'll have to get ahold of some classroom sets, so that's off the table for now.
- Classes are 60 minutes long, which is...pretty long, especially for the younger kids. In the library, this includes book checkout, but I don't know about cart-library.

- How do you do library on a cart for upper grades? Link me to lesson plans? Personal anecdotes?
- What about book checkout? It seems like it would be chaos to have everyone come in for the last 20 minutes to check out, but I also don't want to deprive kids of books for weeks at a time. There are no other times when they could come in as a whole class to check out books (though the especially motivated kiddos could come in before or after school).
- How long should we plan the units to be? Four weeks in one place, then switch? Six? Eight?
- When the kids switch locations, should they also switch teachers, or should I stay in the library and let the other teacher stay in the classroom?

Thank you for your help!
posted by goodbyewaffles to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: One thing that might really support Common Core (which has it's issues but it's not going anywhere immediately) could be collecting 2-4 different types of resources on a topic and having students, individually or in small groups, examine the craft and structure of different types of resources. Depending on age, you could use more or less resources with more or less complexity. Take a look at the detailed standards here.

Maybe you have a tiger group and they get an educational fiction book involving tigers, a nonfiction tradebook, a magazine, an encyclopedia, a zoo website, data charts from two different sources (something pro tourism, something more about endangered species?) etc. Have them look for words with bias. Examine the way different resources are laid out (headings? bolded language?). Do different resources have different expectations of the reader (is prior knowledge expected? how are images used?)? What's missing from some resources that aren't in others? Who are the expected audiences?

Other groups get the same type of assortment on different topics: space, sharks, music, Abe Lincoln... and you guide groups through evaluating the sources in small groups and then all the small groups do a bit of comparing as a large group?

This was just my gut thought. I don't know if this would work with what you had in mind but I think it'd complement classroom lessons, state standards, and give an important lesson on selecting and using appropriate resources for different tasks. And of course, it helps students understand how to write for different audiences.

Edit to add: sorry this is less about mechanics and more of a unit idea. I could see this being a month long unit if you didn't have kids every day.
posted by adorap0621 at 3:01 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's an awesome idea, and exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you!!! (Future potential answerers: unit ideas are good too!)

(carry on)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 3:15 PM on August 21, 2013

Is there a reason the number of weeks has to be so long? Couldn't you switch off every other week, to give them checkout time?
posted by bleep at 3:23 PM on August 21, 2013

When I taught 9th grade, we had a push-in librarian during our research unit. She brought a cart with books on the predetermined topics (they were researching civil rights activists, and there were a fixed number of people Ss could choose from) and did a lesson on doing an annotated source record, a notetaking sheet, and a bibliography lesson. They also did some work with source credibility and plagiarism when she was there. Those last two don't require much in the way of books/tech.

For the choosing their own books part, maybe pull some of the more popular titles for that age, and let them read them in class? Or write down/scan the barcode to check it out to the student if they want to keep it. You could also have kids read the first chapter and then share with their classmates whether it hooked their interest. That could also be a lead-in for talking about what kind of writing makes a good beginning/hook for the reader.

Definitely look at the Common Core standards and be asking the teachers - what would you love to cover if you had the time/subject knowledge? What would be most helpful for your unit/planning? How can I come alongside you and your students to help them get what they need?
posted by guster4lovers at 4:59 PM on August 21, 2013

Not library-related, but I taught K-5 general music on a cart for a year. You can buy a cupholder like this one at most auto parts stores. Figure out a way to mount it onto your cart and you can make sure that your beverage stays safe!
posted by rossination at 6:43 PM on August 21, 2013

Not a librarian but someone who has volunteered in middle school library for a least 7 years 2x/week (thanks to school cutbacks). One of the things I notice our teachers do as far as library carts and units is to take out the books in their name and then leave the cart in their room for at least a couple of weeks (or however long the unit lasts) with the caveat that the books stay in the classroom and the kids are allowed about a half a period to work on the unit. Our school uses ipads (which haven't been too great) and a computer cart as well. The kids largely use it to get some pictures in the younger grades and a couple a citations in the older grades as well as the papers. The printing is done wirelessly in the library. Now each kid in our school does have a gmail account so that this is possible - not sure about how an elementary school would handle that.
posted by lasamana at 6:18 AM on August 22, 2013

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