Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have The Shelf Elf help with library classroom management

As I was spending too much time on Pinterest the other day, doing some research for creating our own version of the Elf on the Shelf at our house I was reminded of The Shelf Elf from Upstart. Click on The Shelf Elf to see the book and you can search other items like bookmarks, books with lessons and posters. I also found a link to this PDF with ideas for using him to teach library etiquette and skills. The Shelf Elf is suggested for K-2 students, but I think you could use with older students as review too.

I started thinking this might be a good way to handle classroom management in the library as well. So I wanted to share some ideas on how this might work.

I would start by purchasing or seeing if a volunteer could make a Shelf Elf doll to keep in the library. There are many ideas on Etsy. Here are a couple I liked -

I would read The Shelf Elf by Jackie Mims Hopkins and discuss what Skoob does to be a good library student and take care of the books.

I would introduce the students to our shelf elf and explain that he would be making appearances throughout the year to check in on us. He will be watching to make sure we are being

  • Respectful - following instructions - listening to teacher and other students when teaching or sharing
  • Responsible - returning books back on time and materials to class - getting assignments done well and on time -being on time for class
  • Have good Relationships - helping classmates - listening to other opinions
  • Being Safe - using library materials properly (including electronics) - online safety 
(These are the words we drill into our students as part of PBIS so I wanted to keep the terms, but they could be adjusted to fit your school.)

Throughout the year the shelf elf would show up and give coins to students who are 'caught' following these expectations.

Students could turn the coins in for prizes at different times of the year. Prizes could be almost anything, here are some I thought of -\

  • Bookmarks
  • Homework pass
  • Books
  • Trinkets
  • Lunch in the library (with friends or for a personal pan pizza)
  • Guest appearance on morning announcements
  • Extra Credit or Add 10 points to an assignment score
  • Extra technology time

You could even have The Shelf Elf come out to help promote new books, award homerooms with having no overdues, contests for reading minutes, and like the Elf on the Shelf at Christmas time he could show up and do some silly things throughout the year like -

  • Rearrange some books on the shelf (kids could help put them back for practice)
  • Take selfies with the kids and favorite books to post on library website
  • Spell out messages in books (or chalk, scrabble tiles, candy, shaving cream)
  • Set up a scavenger hunt for books 
  • Leave a note in books at random for prizes
  • Change screen saver on computer to a picture of him
  • Get stuck in display case, between books, magazine boxes, computer monitor, kleenex box, ect
The ideas are endless and could be a lot of fun depending on time you have to spend, which we all know can be sparse depending on how many fixed classes you teach or libraries you cover in your district. 

I even found a tutorial on how to make an elf coat from recycled sweaters on Etsy. Which could be fun to wear if you are helping the elf.

I sometimes like to take an idea and make it my own, so instead of the Shelf Elf you could find any stuffed animal to live on the shelves in your library and watch the students. For example my former school's mascot was a hawk so maybe he could use his keen hawk vision to keep an eye on the students in the library. I think he could even be used in the classroom if needed.

Before you close the page - What are your ideas for classroom management in the library?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

May the Odds Ever be in your Favor - Suzanne Collins in The Hunger Games

Unless you were unlucky enough to be reaped into The Hunger Games, I am sure you are aware of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins about a society that places two children from each of the 12 districts in an arena to fight to the death on live television in order to keep the citizens from rebelling against the all powerful Capitol.

For the second time we have decided to bring this book to life for students and the second Hunger Games Competition was held as a joint event with the middle and high school students who chose to take the challenge.

I went to a competition about four years ago at the college I attended and had a blast helping with the first aid station, so I came back and told my fellow high school librarian that we needed to have one too.
After we did one a few years ago when the first movie came out the kids told us as they left we needed another one when the next movie came out, so here we were happy to get them engaged again!

For the first competition we went to work searching the book and many websites to come up with the activities for the games. The announcement and posters hit the hallways and teams were formed. As part of the competition the teams were asked to bring school supplies to donate to our Back to School Fair for an entry fee. We had seven teams sign up and participate in the Cornucopia Challenge followed by these stations -

  • Trivia
  • Face Painting (Camouflage)
  • Poison Berries
  • Scholastic Online Hunger Games
  • Dark Room
  • Obstacle Course 

As we tallied scores to see who won the students decorated cupcakes in honor of Peeta. The winners left with some movie tickets and posters and door prizes were drawn for more posters or books. It was great to hear them talk about all their adventures as they left.

This time we again went to work searching the book and websites to come up with activities. Teams were formed and as part of the competition were asked to bring canned food to donate to the local food pantry as an entry fee. We had fourteen teams sign up and participate in the Cornucopia Challenge followed by these stations -

  • On Fire Trivia
  • Duct Tape Doll Dresses
  • The Human Knot
  • Water Drop
  • Dark Room Pool
  • Paper Airplanes 

The students were treated to a survival mix as points were tallied and winners left with their choice of  movie tickets or a book about the movie and door prizes were drawn for t-shirts, bookmarks, or posters.

Here are some pictures of the students who came through my trivia station and the prizes at the end of the competition -

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Of course this competition could not have happened without the students interest, the teachers and volunteers who came to help run the stations, and the students who participated as design team leaders to help lead the teams around to the correct station. So we thank all of them for taking the time to help. It is wonderful to see a community of readers excited by their love of the story. We already heard some comments about next time...

If you would like any information about the stations or how they worked feel free to contact me, I am happy to share!

Before your close the page - Does your school have any competitions to help bring books to life? What are they? I would love to hear all the ideas!