Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Gift & Collaboration Idea

One of our middle school English teachers uses a teacher-designed reading program that encourages recreational reading in a variety of genres throughout the year.  Reporting is minimal and requirements are flexible to give students as much ownership as possible.  This teacher is new here this year, and although he has inherited the program from the existing teachers, he is taking it in exciting new directions that incorporate more library collaboration.

Once a month he brings his students to the library for book selection and silent reading time.  These visits have included library orientation and book talks, while future plans include book trailers. Students typically spend more than half of their time draped over the library furniture reading quietly.... just what we love to see!

For the reporting assignment in October, the teacher worked with me to ensure all students had and knew how to access their Destiny Quest accounts.  He then had them write online reviews, which I printed out in report form for his assessment purposes.

For the December library visit, he is collaborating with me to make it a holiday party.  He wanted to distribute awards and asked for my input, as he was looking for award ideas beyond just the "top" readers.  I suggested we tie them into the IB Learner Profile to reward a broader range of attitudes and attributes, an idea he embraced heartily and shared with his department.  

Snacks (normally taboo) are going to be allowed at this meeting in the Media Centre to add to the festive feel.  But what I am most excited about is the "gift exchange" he organized.  This English class will be giving "Secret Santa" gifts, but no purchasing is required.  As a parent I am thrilled I will not need to make a last minute run for some random item, nor will I be disposing of a useless trinket in a couple of weeks.  Instead of favorite foods, colors, and music, the Secret Santa slips this class filled out were about authors, titles, and genres.  Slips were exchanged and now students must SELECT A LIBRARY BOOK for their Secret Santa!
While collaborating, one of his concerns (and mine) was to whom should the book be checked out???  We could check it out to the giver... but what if the recipient loses it?  And if we check it out to the recipient, what happens if the giver forgets to bring it?  My contribution was to provide a gift wrap station in the library.  Once a book is selected, the giver may wrap and tag it, then leave it in the library until the party.  If the recipient decides to read it, they may check it out before they leave the library.

There are so many win-win's with this event.  In addition to all those mentioned above, I am having more one-on-one conversations with students, some of them are with those who may go all year without talking directly to library staff.  While they are confident and independent in their own reading selections, they are seeking advice for their gifts. Asking for help in a library sometimes takes practice!

I am eagerly awaiting next Friday.... feeling much like I did as a small child waiting for Santa!


  1. Hi Cindy,

    I LOVE this idea! I am going to forward your post along to my English teachers and see if any of them are interesting in getting something like this together for the last few days next week. you know there has to be someone who needs a "filler" for the last day or two of school. This is a great way to promote, the library and reading over the vacation.

    Thanks for sharing,

  2. love this idea, as well--fantastic! :) will be stealing this one for sure!

  3. Love the idea too! Too late to try it this year. Will definitely give a go next year.