Saturday, August 6, 2011

Library Lesson Plans: The First Three Weeks

It has been a long two weeks of lesson plan slogging, but I've finally completed them. 

For the first three weeks of school, anyway.  I'll re-evaluate once we get going and I'm certain we'll be headed down some different paths from there.  But it is at least a start, right?

As I said in my prior post on what I've been doing to prepare for my first few weeks as the new school librarian, there is a lot of interesting material out there.  I've been reading through a ton of it all summer to wrap my brain around what would be needed -- what the kids ought to know, what they likely haven't covered and where we ought to start.

There is a LOT of ground to cover.  And I have to keep reminding myself that it is a building process, not something that can be fully taught on the first day.

The big question for me is how to best cover everything I want to talk about, and yet consistently make it interesting and fun for the kids at the same time.

Did I mention the age groups I'll be teaching range from 3 to 12?

BIG difference in comprehension and teaching styles.  But I do love a challenge, so here's what I'm thinking:

Basically, for the first two weeks, I want to cover what the library rules are going to be, what I expect in terms of manners and behavior in the library and also toward each other -- that's pretty much week one for every grade from Pre-K 3 up to Sixth Grade.  From there, we talk about how to select books that are right for each individual and types of books -- genres, fiction versus nonfiction, etc. -- and other things that lead to selection, like whether the book is easy (a "holiday"), "just right," or adifficult (a "challenge"), per Jeanette Veatch's "just right" rule of thumb. (See pp. 40-42 in The Reading Zone for background on this.)

I only have each class for less than an hour one day a week, so there is a lot of ground to cover in a very short amount of time.

Books I'm using for the manners portion are:
-- Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
-- Curious George Visits the Library
-- Library Lion

Books for finding the right book:
-- Goldie Socks: And the Three Libearians
-- Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't)
-- Bats at the Library

Several of these were sent by generous readers from my Amazon wish list, and I cannot thank all of you enough for your incredible help and generosity!

I have some shelf-talker forms that I've printed out for the upper grade kids to take home and give reading recommendations on for the next class.  Plus, I'm putting together a questionnaire about reading preferences and interests to help upper-grade-level kids to select books that will be of interest that I'm piecing together from The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, some materials I've found online and The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers.

Week three in August is going to be book talking to every class about great reads in their age group.  And then giving the kids time to make recommendations to each other.  I figure I'll do a book talk every month, and give the kids a chance to share what they are reading as well.

That's a lot to cram into a single day a week, over a three week period, but I'm hoping it will work.  If not, I'll be revising...a LOT...and I'll let you know where and how I do.

I'm looking for good age-appropriate books for book talks, so if anyone has favorites or suggestions, let me know.  I've got a number of ideas and already have the first month pretty much sketched out, but I'm always up for another good read or idea for one.

PS -- I've decided that next month is going to be pirate themed -- since September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  And it will begin with a "treasure map" that the kids can fill out on where things are located in the library.  Storytime for the little ones will be pirate-and-adventure-palooza stories, and the older kids will do some work in nonfiction, learning to do basic research on biographies and also on some animals that would have been found and/or seen by pirates sailing the Seven Seas, and finding some myths and legends they would have believed in as well.  Still working out the kinks on it, but I figured it was a good thing to push ahead.

PPS -- I also found this wonderful compilation of ways to help the little ones quiet down and settle into listening (i.e. story time) mode.  Thought others could put it to good use as well.  (via

PPPS -- This compilation of lesson plans was really helpful to me as I put my own ideas together for mine.  Thought other folks might find them useful as well.  Huge thank you to thse folks for putting them online -- really wonderful stuff!

Blogger disclosure:  Links in this post may include links to my Amazon account.  Purchases made through these links - or through the Amazon search engine in the right hand column on this blog - contribute a few pennies to me, which are then used for purchases for the school library.  Thanks so much for all of your support!

(Photo via wonderfully complex.)

1 comment:

Shelly Pickren said...

Your plans sound great! Ambitious, but great! Might I suggest that you find out if your state has a children's readers choice award. Here in Illinois we have the Monarch Award. Kids vote for their favorite book every year from a list of twenty awesome titles. I suggest this because it gives me a wonderful jumping off point every year for my lesson plans. Book talks are an obvious, but I also look for lessons and ideas suggested by the publishers of the books, the author's websites and the Illinois School Library Media Association website. Good luck!