Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lessons From Library Mouse

Yesterday, I put my Library Mouse lesson plan into action. This was all based on our reading the book Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk in our last week's library classes during their story time. This week, my kindergarten, first and second grade classes all got to write their very own book.

When they entered the library, they were greeted by the display above and we all read the note from Library Mouse together and talked about what they got to do that day.   As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement.

Then I called each child up one by one to pick up their book and little pencil and they got to take a look at the mirror inside -- just like Library Mouse did for the children in his library in the book.

Here is what it looked like when it was opened a bit:

The kids mostly approached the little table with a sort of hushed reverence and wonder.  And I loved every minute of it!

Some of them are going to need time next week to finish their books, but all in all it was a fun experience for everyone.  It is definitely a lesson plan I'll be repeating in the years ahead.

Here's what I learned:

1.  At this age, if you tell a child they get to write their very own book, some will start eagerly and with great excitement.  Some will immediately begin to stress out over the spelling of every word, and their handwriting skills, and whether their drawing is good enough or whether they need to beg you for a fresh book to start the point that you would have thought you had asked for an opus to rival Hemingway in his prime.  Give very, very simple instructions to mitigate this.  Emphasize that this is for fun and not for agonizing endlessly.

2.  I had my kindergarten class pick a letter of the alphabet and then draw pictures that corresponded to that letter.  For example, one little boy did the letter "T" and drew trucks and trains in his book.  It was adorable.  And giving them a single focus was really, really helpful.

3.  There was consistently some small measure of stress and anxiety among the little perfectionists in the group.  I tried to emphasize that this was a fun way to use their imagination and that there was no one right way to do this, but I'm not certain how effective that was with some of those kids.  If folks have ideas on how to help manage that a bit better, I'd love to hear them.

4.  The little pencils were cute, but next time I'll use pencils with erasers.  Trust me on this one.

5.  Hiding a tiny stuffed mouse in the library made for a very fun moment when one of the kids spotted him.  I think that we'll be moving our own Library Mouse around the room for the rest of the year -- kind of like our own "Where's Waldo" for the kids.

PS -- Sorry for posts being so scanty of late.  We had Open House last night, grades were due at the end of last week, and The Peanut has had an up-and-down-and-up-again-and-then-down-again fever/viral/cold/ick of late that has me guessing each day on whether she's going to school or not.  We can't seem to get her to completely shake it and methinks a weekend of early bedtimes and taking it really, really easy is in our future.   It is what it is, right?  Parenting is not for sissies.

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

(Photos by Christy Hardin Smith.)

No comments: