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Part II

     An activity I tried with my 4th graders earlier this year that worked
 well was to have them draw a map of the library. I asked them to note
where  the following items were: Fiction books, non-fiction books,
 easy readers, reference books, card catalog and dictionaries. You'd be
surprised at how many of them couldn't locate these items, and I have a
small media
 center. They had fun drawing the maps, though. I also had them draw a map
 of  their classroom. It might work for 5th graders as well. Good luck!
 How about having them draw a picture from a famous Christmas story or a 
Christmas song or draw a famous character from a Christmas story or book
 And  let the other students guess the title.
 You might have them develop a set of lyrics for  parody on the 12 Days of
 Christmas for a topic of their choice.  For example teh 12 Days of 
camping, or 12 Days of Cooking, or 12 Days of Traveling whatever.  Share 
the sylable count and pattern of so many of something up through 5 and
 then so many of something doing something.
 What about doing the "braintease" activity that was posted a few weeks
ago  -----
 Another thing I had them do was to have them make up questions from the 
World Almanac for  Kids for a future trivia game.  I told them that we
going to learn how to
 use the Almanac after Christmas and I have a bunch of worksheets to help 
them learn.  They groaned as expected and I quickly went on to explain 
that  I thought it would fun to play a trivia game instead.  That perked
them  up!
 BUT,but, but, I told them, I didn't have any questions, so their job was 
to  flip through the Almanac and find interesting fact and make up the 
questions.  They got  a kick out of the information included, and were 
motivated by the fact that they would be allowed to answer their own
 question should it come up during their class.
 Think of many, varied, unusual literary or real characters in books who 
have given gifts to others.
 Think of many, varied, unusual gifts that book characters have received.

   -- plus
 What were some effects of the gift on the character who received it?

 Set up a Jeopardy Game for them with books, characters, settings, etc as 
the  categories.  You can have them divided into teams before they arrive.
 Make  the toughest kids the captains of opposing teams.  It should be a 
spirited,  but fun session if all the rules are displayed before the game
 This can be saved and used over and over.
     Something you might try--I used this with a discussion of mysteries 
but you  could substitute holidays or Christmas or whatever: We made a
word web  with  thoughts on the components of mysteries (ie Christmas,
holidays, etc) then
 I  ran a crossword puzzle puzzlemaker. I made a
list of the words that I wanted to include and the program asks for a
 I had the kids refer to the web (each had his/her own copy) to fill in
the puzzle.
 You could also write the words to be included in the puzzle on the 
printout--puzzlemaker doesn't let you do that. This whole procedure took
us 30 min and we ran out of time for the puzzle.
 How about a race--to find the titles of at least 5 books with Christmas 
in the title, 1 with New Year, and 4 with Holiday (or Kwanza or 
Channukah).  Working in teams of 2  They would need to find at least 3 
titles in Everybody, 3 titles in nonfiction.  The rest where ever they
find it.  Give 10 minutes to do the search, then have them count have
 many they found.  Start a chart of which titles they found.  This would 
give them the up and movement that their excitement will need.
 I found this but have not used it.  The activity is found at

 It is "Tongue Twisters from A to Z".  You give each student the first
line  for a tongue twister and they must write the next two lines.  There
is a formula for this.  It may be rowdy for your class, but does work with
sentence and vocabulary.
 ----- has word searches for Christmas, Hanukkah, and 
Kwanzaa. The Christmas one isn't too hard, but the other two, with
unfamiliar words to the kids in my school, were VERY difficult. Have a 
candy  bar or other small prize for the first one (or two or three) who
 and tell them no peeking at each other's papers!
  At times like you describe, I pull out my quiz bowl machine.  But you
could divide the class into 2 teams and ask "quiz bowl" type questions, 
have them write them down, eventually tally the scores.  I tell my kids

 skills are cumulative, so I start with Kindergarten questions (What time 
did  the mouse run down the clock?), move through 1st (What's the name of
the  bear  who lost his button?), to 3rd (Give me 3 out of the 5 pieces of
 information  found on the title page.) through 5th (What is a biography?,
What do I do  to  find the book,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas?).
 I made up a game to play with kids that age about books and movies. I 
give them a set time like 3-5 minutes to write the names of all the  books
we have in the library that have been made into movies. I will  have
already read the shelves for all of them. Then I let the person with the
greatest number read their list, then let the kids add to the list who
have named something else, then I add the rest. Those books  will then go
flying off the shelf!

Here's what I do-
Lots of review.
We do scavenger hunts by subject, by author, by title. We use the computer
to find articles and make subject booklists. We draw and label maps of the
library. We create recommended reading lists together. I do a picture book 
study. Genre books talks- I may talk about 5 mystery books or science
fiction books. New books,  I let them know which books are brand new. I
read aloud poetry and we write some of our own.  We do research using
encyclopedias and on-line databases. If the classroom teacher requests 
books on a certain topic that is their assignment that day. I read aloud a
chapter book for 5-10 minutes of the period. Right now it is Because of
Winn Dixie, last year The Trolls.  I have rack of high interest magazines
like Kid City, Ranger Rick, Zoo Books that they can sit and read while
others are browsing.  I have blank cartooning grids available for anyone
and a plastic writing box with pencils and markers available.  Blank paper
for who ever wants it. Those draw 50 books are very popular and Emberly's
purple drawing book. etc. I also let them do origami.  If they can name
the book that they are reading in their classroom and a book they are 
reading at home, I leave them alone as long as they are working quietly.

 Classroom management technique- five minutes talking (tops), ten minutes
active doing, five minute response to activity, ten minute browsing (more
than that  usually means trouble) While I read aloud a chapter book, I let
them lay on the floor and/ or fiddle with pipecleaners

Every one has a name plate a their seat so I can see who is still missing
and wandering around.

Our teachers also aren't interested in collaborating.  Instead it's - "The
 class is doing a report on famous explorers.  When they come to the
library today, help them find books."  I teach the Dewey system and search
strategies on the fly.  If I know that they'll need to use particular
resources for a report, I'll introduce them when they need them.  I rarely
 find lessons to be helpful unless students need them at that moment.  I
do occasional scavenger hunts, just to keep them on their toes.

 Do you have to teach "lessons" or can you read to them?  I have a fixed 
schedule and see our five 5th grades for 45 minutes a week.  I read to
them almost every week.  I read what I believe to be the "best" in
children's picture books.  I don't read to entertain - I share great
literature.   We
 compare variants of folktales, read historical fiction and biographies. 
 We tackle some tough topics using picture books - like the Holocaust, 
segregation, conflict resolution.  We look at illustrations critically.

 I also have a reading program for 4th and 5th graders in which they have
two months to read 4 books from a list of 30.  Books are from a variety of
genres and are at varying difficulty levels.  Some teachers encourage by
requiring that their students read Bookfest books, other offer silent
 reading time, others give no support at all.   I give miniquizzes.  They
earn pencils, stickers, and "zipper grippers" for  passing a certain
number  of quizzes.  At the end of the two months I let all qualifying
students eat
 lunch in the Media Center.  I provide pop and chips.  I also give gift
certificates to the book fair for the top readers and do some random gift
certificate drawings.

 There is no question that 5th grade can be a tough sell, especially after
spring break.  Then I pull out personal favorites - Shannon's Stories to
Solve books and Korman's D- Poems of Jeremy Bloom.  Good luck!

Wendy Lavenda-Carroll
Library Media Specialist
Ridgefield Park, NJ
Grant Elementary School (T&Th) K-6
Lincoln Elementary School (M-W-F) K-6

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