Okay, actually the 4th and 5th graders just got a refresher on this in October before moving on to learn Google Earth (which I’ll talk about next month). They’re old hands at it now.

I spent October and November teaching the 3rd graders how to use our online catalog to find books and how to use the Dewey Decimal System to locate those books on the shelves.

We have Destiny in my district, so the first couple of weeks were spent going over Destiny and the various search methods (Subject, Title, Author, Keyword). I defined all of those and gave examples of each. Then the kids practiced on the computers during their checkout week, using the computers to look up at least 1 book they wanted to check out. I signed off on their choices, helped them figure out whether they were checked in or out, and helped them find the book’s address (or call number) on the catalog entry.

Then I did an introduction to Dewey where I wrote the 10 big categories on the board and went over them. We talked about which sections are the kids’ favorites (most heavily circulated) and what they mean. They thought it was cool to know that we have more 500s than any other nonfiction category. We did a tour of the nonfiction section where I showed them exactly how the numbers are laid out, from 000 to 999. Then they were given the challenge of a silent checkout game, where they had to use the catalog and their knowledge of the library layout to find their books without saying a word; no questions to me or their classmates. When they lined up to check out I grilled each student about how they used what they knew to get their books. The first 3 students who could correctly tell me exactly what search they performed, what words they used, and where in the library they found at least 1 of their books got an Achievement.

That’s something new I’ve started, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet. I started an Achievement wall based on the Achievements on the XBox 360. When kids win a game, have a perfect day, go out of their way for others, etc. I give them Achievements worth “X” number of points, depending on what they did. At the end of the year I’ll give the top point holders a super prize (no idea what yet). It’s working really well in conjunction with Game Day. I wanted a way to reward good things for individuals beyond a monthly class activity.

Anyway, back to the 3rd graders. We did some more Dewey review, and then I did a sort of Dewey Jeopardy. Actually, it has nothing to do with Jeopardy, but I needed a catchy name. I asked teams for a certain kind of book, and they had to go stand next to the shelf where I would find that book (ie “I’d like a Dr. Seuss book” means they need to go to the Easy section and stand under the shelf marked “S”). It wasn’t explicitly Dewey, since I don’t expect them to memorize all the categories AND it was all the library sections, but I worked in questions that challenged what they remembered (“Where are the Sign Language books?” “Where would I find poetry?”). They did great. Now we’re moving on to December’s activities with all the grades.