Monday, October 31, 2016

A Capstone Experience

I love my book rep from Capstone! Her name is Kori Kubitz and she is awesome! She emailed me in early October to set up a meeting, and I put the date on the calendar. However,  my brain started spinning on how to make this visit different from all of our other visits. I emailed her with my idea of including students in our meeting. She loved the idea and ran with it.

As part of my Danielson Rubric:
1c: Establishing goals for the library/media program appropriate to the setting and the students served. To earn an excellent in this area, I must:
Library/media specialist's goals for the media program are highly appropriate to the situation in the school and to the age of the students and have been developed following consultations with students and colleagues.
Kori chatting with the students. 

This year I wanted to include student input on book orders in a more sophisticated way than I had in the past. In the past I have used a QR code in my library that leads to a Google Form that I use to collect student book wishes or an old fashioned "Suggestion Box".  I have a group of 4th graders who come to the library one a week for "Lunch Bunch Book Group" that was selected to take part in this activity. I wanted to use 4th graders because I felt their input would be "important" or they would behave more seriously because they would be invested in what books were selected because they would be able to use the books selected this year and next year. 

Kori showed up for our meeting so prepared! Each child was given a catalog and a booklet of "flag" sticky notes to mark their catalog. She bought sample books for the students to look through. I cannot emphsize how prepared she was, it was like she had written a little lesson plan for the activity. She lead them in how to look through the catalog and use the sample books she had brought to create a wish list. She even reminded them that they would have to select books for EVERYONE in the school, not just fourth graders. She even had little swag bags for the students, which was such a nice touch. 

Making wish lists!

This was one of those activities you want to remember forever because it went perfectly. The students were SO engaged and SO well behaved. They were respectful as they ACTUALLY,  FOR REAL had real conversations about the pros and cons of the books they were looking at.  They were respectful to one another as each voiced their opinions. I wish I would have recorded some of the conversations, but I was so in the moment with the students that I didn't want to jump up and spoil the magic. 

The activity lasted about 35 minutes. I instructed the kids to continue looking through the catalog and we would meet again 2 days later to discuss their wish lists. 

The students and Kori showing off
the samples she brought with. 

When they returned two days later, we spent 30 minutes reviewing their wish lists. I instructed each student to choose their top 5 books or favorite series to share with the group. Each child shared, and I took notes of which books or series showed up multiple times. I reminded them that I could not make every wish come true, but I would do my best to include their opinions when forming my order. There were a few series that were picked by all the students, so they voted on which books from the series they would most like to see in the library, and the books with the most votes in that particular series were added to the list. I didn't select EVERY book that was a favorite  to be included on my order.  However, I did want to make sure that I did include SOME of the books so the students would know their opinions were valued and that they had a voice in what was going to be in the library. I also know from experience that if all of the students are asking for something, especially a series, chances are the book will get checked out. 

A tweet from a parent of a student
who participated in the activity. 

This was a great activity!  A week later, the students are still talking about it. I hope that you have a chance to include your students on a meeting with a book rep in the future. 

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