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I have also had some of those same frustrations with 8th grade classes--I have 
three of them at my school of 750.  This year has been the best so far, with the 
help of a very cooperative 8th grade teacher who attends each library class with 
her seventh and eighth grade classes each Monday.  She actively takes part in 
whatever I do, and takes over the circ desk while I am helping the students.  My 
lesson plans are not quite as developed for these students as they are for k-6, but 
I have taught copyright, basic Internet searching skills with a Powerpoint I made 
(including evaluation, search engines/directories, etc) using the Reader's Guide, 
how to access and use the public library's on-line catalog, using the state 
library's database, subject searches for religion projects, scavenger hunts, and 
using our own on-line catalog at school.  Most of this helps prepare them to write 
their required 5 page research paper--I also set up three separate tours at the 
public library for th!
 em, which
 I also attend, and help them search for information on the day of their tour.

But what do you do when you don't have a great teacher like I do?  We focus on 
procedures at my school, and part of the procedure is that everyone is REQUIRED to 
either come with a book in hand to read after I finish my lesson, or get a book to 
read when I am done.  Failure to have a book in hand when you leave the library is 
a demerit.  They can bring books from home or classroom to read, but they cannot 
get up and "look" for one in the library if they do so.  They must stay in their 
assigned seats and read what they brought.  If they need to check out a book from 
my shelves, they are to go directly to their seat and read when they have done so.

Yes, the teacher and I have to constantly be monitoring them and it is tiresome 
being the police officer and giving out demerits, and of course we all know that 
some are just pretending to read.  However, it has helped the noise and behavior 
problems that I used to have.

Can you train a volunteer to help with circulation while you take care of questions 
and handle discipline?  Make sure the students know what the boundaries are--I have 
mine posted in two places in the library, and each classroom also has a copy of 
library policy and rules.  I go over it at the beginning of the year and again 
after the New Year to jog everyone's memory.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Carol Kotsch
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Wichita, KS

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