Sunday, September 30, 2012
For most middle schoolers, reading is not at the top of their "favorite thing to do" list. So instead of just encouraging reading, my goal is to make the media center their favorite place to be. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help my cause. Here's what I've done so far along with the results. Trick 1: Game Day Getting forms back is always a challenge. To help to get the library forms in, I set up a little reward for those who returned theirs promptly. I found several inexpensive games like checkers, a game similar to Scrabble, Connect 4, puzzles, etc. I had them set up around the media center. Those students who returned their forms could play after the lesson. I received great feedback from the kids and had several missing forms turned in the next day. I'm leaving the puzzle out until it's done, and will pull the games at randomly throughout the year. Result: Success! I now have all but a few forms. Above all, the kids had fun and learned a bit along the way. All of the games made them think, but the scrabble game had them reading and spelling as well. I was a bit surprised at how many middle schoolers had never played checkers, Scrabble or put together a puzzle. Experiment 2: Contests I have four display spaces that I am responsible for including a bulletin board in the back of the media center. Instead of trying to come up with another display I decided to put the kids to work instead. That board now hosts a "write your own caption" contest. Students view the picture that I put on the board and come up with a caption. I pull the most original off the board and have random teachers, parents and students vote on the one they like best. The winner receives a treat from me. For the first contest, I had about 30 entries. I posted the winner's caption on our announcement station in the foyer and the next contest picture. So far, I have a bulletin board full of entries and still have a week to go. Results: Success number 2 - so far! Students flock to the board when they come into the media center. They are using critical thinking and writing skills as well as reading. Even the teachers are putting their entry on the board. Experiment 3: Connect with something they love I do want my kids to read - and enjoy it. We use AR, but each grade level is using it differently this year. Instead of tying everything to levels, goals and points, I'm setting a number of books I want them to have read. AR will be the way I can track what they have done. I want my kids to have read five books or the equivalent by October 17th. I don't like to hold back those who want to read large chapter books. So, for every 5pts that a book is worth, I count that as a book. If there is a remainder, that adds another book. Here is an example. Let's say a book is worth 12 points: five goes into 12 two times with a remainder of 2. That one book would count as three books. You may be wondering where the "something they love" part comes in. If a student does read five books and passes the test(s) that go with the books they will receive an invitation to Angry Birds Live. This was a great idea I found on Pinterest. Paper cups will be set up with pompom pigs. Students will use a rubber band to launch a pompom bird at the target. I've been trying to build up excitement. Students helped me to create pompoms. I tested the pompoms and rubberbands to see which type of rubberbands would launch the birds the farthest. I had pompoms flying all over the media center on Friday. Students were begging to help test launch, but I held out. I told them they would have to read their five books to get that chance. Results: TBD I'll have to let you know how many actually make their goal and get to play! I have more tricks up my sleeve to try over the weeks to come. I'll keep you posted. Happy reading!