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Thanks to everyone who responded, I got some great ideas. Below is the hit
for everyone who asked for it.

Katie Farrington
Media Specialist, Grades 2-3
Hess Educational Complex
Mays Landing, NJ

Could you make centers for each of the  Dewey groups?  put books in each
center from that Dewey class.  create questions /activities about &
surrounding the books?  rotate every _____  minutes so each group will have
gotten to each center?  If space is a problem and you can not create centers
in your library, use the tables where students sit.

I'm not sure where I got this idea from (probably LM_Net) but I have my 3rd
graders do posters for the library for each major class.  We start by
individually going through the thinkquest,  "Dewey and the Alien."   Then I divide them into
small groups.  They first browse "their" section to see what kinds of books
there are.  Then I have magazines and old publishing catalogs to cut up and
use.  They also can write and draw on them.   After the posters are done,
they give a short presentation explaining how their poster represents that
class.  I hang the posters in the library under a title of "Do we know
Dewey?  Yes, we do!"  As a review, whenever we play Jeopardy, there is
always a Dewey category.

I like to concentrate on showing students some of the neat books from each
section and either read aloud a short one or do a short book talk on several
from each section....for example, 000s   have Loch Ness, UFOs, Big Foot,
etc.   Then I explain why these books are grouped here and show them how the
OPAC will point them to the exact number where they can find them.  I don't
really think the kids need to memorize the numbers, just know how to search
and that books are grouped by subject.

Take some index cards and write the call numbers of a book in the section
you want them to go to and have them practice finding non-fiction books
using Dewey in a "scavenger hunt." Send them in pairs or individuals. This
does involve re-shelving on your part at the end of the lesson!

Consider using the idea of neighborhoods for the different Dewey major
subject headings. "Poetry lives in the 811 neighborhood." You get the idea.
Think of the usual non-fiction topics 3rd graders frequent (dinosaurs,
animals, pets, drawing, comics, space, military, etc.) and tell them the
"address" for those neighborhoods.

Why don't you try breaking the kids up into groups and having them look in
each section and try to come up with categories for the dewey area?  This
way they would be involved with their learning and they could teach the
others.  You could fill in what they miss.

I am really trying to move away from direct instruction and have the kids
more involved as much as possible.  It helps them make better connections
and they are really motivated.

I have a lesson I love for Dewey.  I divide the students into small groups
and each group is assigned a "hundreds" section of the DDS.  They go to the
shelves and look at the titles and figure out what the BIG IDEA subjects are
based on the titles.  (e.g. tornadoes, storms, hurricanes = weather)  The
students then present their section to the rest of the class in the form of
a "commercial".  I even use my digital camera and record them.  That way I
can show the younger students as an introduction to Dewey and they can watch
themselves and their friends to reinforce what they've learned.  Then we
play a game to see how much they remember.  I don't worry so much that they
know what can be found at 636.6 as that they remember that Dewey groups
books by subject and can be located by following the correct number.

I can't rememer all the websites right now and I am not in a location where
I can easily get to them but I know I did a search for Dewey websites that
have some fun games for the students.  I put it on the Smart Board and the
kids take turns answering the questions.  The kids love it, are having fun,
and actually learning something.  The kids hated doing worksheets but the
minute something is on the Smart Board it is fun.  I have even scanned
worksheets into smart notebook.  The kids love it.  What was boring before
is not fun.

I'm doing an activiy on genre with 7th graders this week that you could
possibly modify..... There will be 5 paper sacks given to each group- a book
inside each one from historical fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction,
fairy tale, myths, etc...... Each bag will have a number on the outside and
they will classify each book (all in agreement from their table, of course)
while using a table we did this week from a powerpoint on fiction genre.
They will share their results with the large group.

I agree that teaching Dewey can be boring. Although I haven't tried this
yet, I did read a suggestion for teaching Dewey that I'd like to try. You'll
need magazines, posters, glue, scissors, etc. Divide class into groups with
each group being responsible for their dewey section. They are to create
poster collages showing what type of books are located in their section.
Example: Students responsible for 200 Religion can cut out various religious
artifacts, churches, mosques, crosses, pope, etc. and glue on the poster.
The bonus to this is you have student work to display in your library after
they are finished.

I've played stump the librarian with the students. I get them to tell me a
subject and I tell them what the dewey number is. They have caught me only a
couple of times. After
the students have given me the subject and I the dewey number, I have them
go to the shelf
to check the answer.

The students love trying to catch me with the wrong answer.

I have a box full of "stuff" related to the Dewey
sections.  For instance, I have a little stuffed dog
for the 600 pet section, a stuffed Loch Ness Monster
for the 100's, a little football for the 700's, a big
rock for the 500's, a little Italian phrase book for
the 400's, etc.  I toss them to the students and ask
them to put the object in front of the correct Dewey
poster.  I have some from Demco I put across my marker
board.  Even my 5th graders like this activity!!  Good
luck with your lesson.

P.S. - I'll also purchased a Melvil Dewey puppet from
mimi's motifs on the internet.  He is adorable and
helps the kids learn the Dewey sections.

Here's something I've done...after a brief overview, or the 2nd week if
I'm just introducing the Dewey Decimal stuff, I have little slips of
paper with each hundreds area "000-099", "100-199", etc. and have each
kid pick one from a basket, then we all go to where the books are and
stand next to our selected numbered area.  ...Spend some time studying
the books in that area, get an idea of what sorts of things are there.
Then each child creates a small (half an index card size) illustration
to represent that area of Dewey.  Illustration is glued to a poster that
I've prepared & labeled (i.e., 500-599, Science & Nature) for each
hundreds area in advance.  The posters then hang from the ceiling near
the books to help all the kids in the school. Some years we put the
posters together with rings to make a book for all to refer to. During
the first weeks of school I also have the older kids make small
illustrations that identify the areas and tape them to the edges of the
book shelves to help the younger kids find things. I've bought bookmarks
from Highsmith that are pretty basic and simple listing each area by
hundred with a short identifying phrase for each area.  These are
helpful too.  I've tried the power point approach and the Caveman story
approach and both seem to just lull the kids to sleep!!!  I think it's
something that has to be addressed and introduced to the kids, but not
necessarily drilled into them at the elementary level.  I'm always
looking for new ideas, so I hope you hear from some creative people.

As much hands-on as you can.  The more I talk to them and explain things,
the more kids I lose.  I have collected a pile of objects and ask the kids
to put them in one of the ten categories (posters I made with kid
translations of the subjects in each). It has taken several years to find
good objects.  Tag sales in the summer get a lot of them.  I'll give you a
list when I get to school if you want.

 Maybe having them go to the selves and figure out what is in each
division.  I give a bag of books (nonfic) with as many different subjects
as possible (collected from damaged, too old or donations that I can't use)
each bag has at least 10 books in it and I ask each team to create two
different ways to put them on a shelf, assuming that each book stands for
5-10 books on the same topic.

I start this whole unit with my mind reading performance.  I ask a child to
pick out a book from a crate of them in the front.  I make a big thing of
getting in tune with each volunteer (looking into their eyes, so I can
align with the brainwaves) and of keeping my eyes closed while they pick a
book.  When they have a book I ask them the color of the front, the first
letter of the author's name, how many words on the spince and oh by the
way, what is on the spine label...  Then I tell them what the book is
about.  If some wise guy says I've memorized all the books in the box, I
ask him to go to the shelves of the Number section (I refuse to call it
"Nonfiction" for a whole bunch of reasons).

I don't know how good of a lesson it would be for an observation b/c it can
get pretty chaotic, but as a DDS review (particularly w/ 3rd grade), a lot
of our librarians play Dewey Basketball...

1. class is divided into 3 teams
2. each student is given a very basic Dewey cheat sheet for reference
3. I stand next to the cart of unshelved books (b/c that is usually a good
random cross-section) and ask each team member (in turn) what Dewey area the
book is from.
4. If the student guesses correctly, his/her team gets one point
5. for a 2nd bonus point, he/she tries to shoot a nerf ball into a
wastebasket set several feet away
6. every student gets one chance to guess and one chance to shoot

I've also used it w/ 1st grade to identify fiction/non-fiction books.

Last year I had my third graders make posters for each 100 section of the
DDC. They worked in partners and researched a section by looking at the
books in the section and then created a collage by cutting out pictures from
magazines and putting them on the poster. I also had them label the
categories they included on the poster.

I don't think that students need to memorize the DDC sections, but they
should understand the concept of classification and how to find their
favorite books. The kids really liked working on the project.

I've been thinking of using clipart, instead of magazines. Sometimes it's
hard to find just the right pictures in a magazine.

I have tried so many, many times to get both dewey and
the alpha order of the picture book/fiction sections across.
Many tries, no real success until this year, with a new trick.
I printed out oversized call numbers, once section only,
on cardstock. Each one is about 1.5-2" tall, and 8.5" wide,
with large print. I have focused on one section at a time
(first was picture books). I have a stack of these. As kids
find the right place on the shelf and return to me, I take
the one they just used and give them another. I let them
go individually, or with friends if they are less sure/want

Sure signs that this is a better lesson than those I've
tried before are: 1) many kids come back over and over
until they've run through the whole stack, 2) LOTS of kids
enjoy doing this for fun, 3) I have learned some things
about what's clear/not from their questions.

For example, since my picture call #s tend to be of the
form 'E PIL' or 'E POLACCO', I note that the perennially
confused often look first at the E, and mentally have
trouble moving from there! 'E' of course just means
"go to the picture book section for starters". I also had
to point out that 'E WIL' is a find for any WIL author
(Willems, Williams, Wilhelm). I have pointed out to the
kids that as I get new books, I am using the full name,
and running it up the spine so that it's all readable. But
standard practice (first three letters, since tag was put
across the spine) will take a while to change!

My paperbacks are in baskets at the start of each letter
(they act as guideposts also), because they are all so
floppy and thin. So the tags can be 'PB E PEET' or 'E PEET',
for example. First is a paperback (in the P bin), 2nd is
a hardcover on the shelf, not all that far beyond the
P paperbacks bin.

This works MUCH, MUCH better than anything else I've
ever tried, and I've tried quite a bit! I also point out to the
kids that it takes 4-5 cards to get the hang of it, and I ask
them to stick with it at least that long. Then the lightbulb
goes on, and they want to keep going. :)

I will do the same with NF and FIC eventually, then get
tricky and mix them all up to send the kids all over the
library. :) The teachers have commented on this too, and
enjoyed literally seeing the kids get the hang of it. Like
so many other things with kids, having even a few who
'get it' and start double-timing it back for a new card
generates interest with classmates, and then all of them
get into it!


We make Dewey collage posters.  Each group draws a Dewey category and has to
make a collage of the kinds of thing you would find in the category.  Then
they had to present to the class as a whole.  (also a great way to use up
discarded magazines!)

We play Dewey Tag.  (this can get loud) I make signs with all of the Dewey
categories and place them around the library.  I hold up a book and start my
20 sec timer.  The students have to quickly go to the sign for the section
the book would go in.  This is great for those that struggle with the Dewey
because they can follow the group.  Once the time is up I have someone in
each group tell me why the book should be in the section they chose.  We get
into heated debates about dogs being animals or pets.

We play Dewey matchup.  I made multiple sets of Dewey matchup cards.  Each
set contains a card with 000-900 on it and a matching card that lists
subjects (and has pictures) that you might find in the category.  The
students get into pairs or groups of 3 (depends on how many students I have)
and play the game.  This can also get a little crazy because when the
students turn over 400s and have no clue what is in that section, the entire
group/pair usually goes to the 400s to try to figure it out.  The day I
played this with my 2nd grade, my parent volunteer commented that she had
never seen her son, Mr. Competitive, so involved in a library lesson.

cut pictures from many magazines and laminated them and put 25, but
you could put any number, in plastic zip lock bags. I gave each bag to
one pair ( my groups are usually 2 or 3 in a group ) the kids usually
choose their own groups, unless I see a problem there.

The objective is for the kids to give each picture the correct Dewey
number or the number they think is best.
Each picture has a number. So, for example, they would write:
#25 cat - domestic animal 636

It's interesting because sometimes the kids think the picture is
something other than what I thought it was.
Now that won't happen with a cat, but ...

It really doesn't matter, as long as their thinking is followed
through with the correct Dewey #.

Anyway, it's hands on and principals like that kind of thing.
The members of the group can discuss their ideas with eachother and
take turns being the one who writes etc.

Hi!  I give Dewey lessons to kids in grades 3-5.  We
start school with an introductory lesson on how to
find things in the library.  Then I do lessons on
fiction and non-fiction.  I start with stories that
are from someone's imagination and work on that first
- getting to the term "fiction".  Then I would spend
some time on books that are based on fact, and get
into the term "non-fiction".

Hands on might include a basket with mixed books and
sorting them into "stories from someone's imagination"
 and "stories based on facts"....

Scholastic has a new product that has fiction and
non-fiction pairings of books that would work for your
grade level.

I tell my kids that all the books in the library have
a Dewey number, just the other day I was explaining
that the fiction novels, even though they are located
separately, have a Dewey number...854... I asked the
kids what category that is...they got it! Literature!
These were 5th graders, a bit different for you.

As part of that lesson, I copied the Dewey Sheet from
one of the workbooks I have.  It also has titles on
it.  You read the titles and figure out its category.
So Frogs and Toads would go into Science - 500.

If I had some objects, I would think about what
category they could go into.
a jump rope --- sports
a frog --- science, fairy tales
a football  --- sports
a diorama of the solar system --- science
a plant --- science
a poem about fall ... poetry...literature, connect to

It's kind of the main idea - in the library.

I have a list posted in the Library, what category for
which 100...
000-099 - General
100-199 - Philosophy....
That way the kids can look up books in an interest
area.  My 3rd graders are great!  One little boy goes
right to the dinosaur section all by himself!

Do you have an OPAC - the kids could also do a
"finding game" - name two titles by author Seymour
Simon, what are the call numbers and which Dewey
category are they in?  ... They all love getting on
the computer!  Searching the OPAC is something else
they need to know how to do too!

Sometimes, I have a Library Squad to help me sort
books.  They look through to find the biographies,
they look through to find the fiction (those are
really easy for me to put away).  Then we get out the
cards.  I put them on a table.

 0  100   200   300   400

500  600   700   800   900

Then they sort them into the stacks.  Further and
further they go, to make it easier to put them away.

Take one the hundreds and then sorts them into tens...

 0  10   20   30   40

50  60   70   80   90

Then take the tens and sort then into ones, etc...

For a closure/review, you could play a game like Scavenger hunt.  You could
form teams and have one student from each team "run" to the shelf that has
whatever book/topic you call out.  So you could say "Football" and they
would need to find the area and then the shelf first.  We do this and they
love it.

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