all in a week’s . . .

August 17, 2014

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Sometimes the most effective lessons don’t start as a plan. This week I stumbled into one of the best start-of-the-year ideas I’ve had as a teaching librarian.
It began with a Pre-Kindergarten lesson in what to do and not to do in the library. I used a popular children’s book about what a child gets in trouble for a lot at home, and what he then learns about how much his mother loves him in the midst of the scolding. For each of the scenarios, I acted out a library-version of what he might get in trouble for. This led to some laughs, as one might imagine. I ended, however, on a more « serious » note, telling them how much I love having them all in the library, and how excited I am for a new year of library class.
What got a bit more interesting, for me at least, was when one of the upper elementary classes came in. At the last minute, I scrapped the lesson I did have in mind. Instead, I played up how « old » and « experienced » they all were now in the ways things work around here . . .
You guys are now the TOP DOGS of elementary, aren’t you? You already know the way things work. You don’t need to hear all the rules . . . But you know what? I bet you guys would do an awesome job teaching those little kindergarteners all the things you know—wouldn’t you?
A series of eager nods ensued.
Why don’t we pretend now that you all are showing them how it’s done? Let’s read a book to to them — imagine all those cute little ones sitting right over here — and use it to show THEM all the things you already know? 
I then proceeded with a production that looked very similar to the one done for the littlest ones . . . except this time my antics provided a great deal more amusement to the audience.
What I realized, after the fact, was that this was probably the most effective way I could have begun the year with this age group. They would likely have had a short attention span for any proper rule reminders, thinking that indeed they already know it all. But with some being new to the school, this allowed me to sneak in all the rules, for the newbies as well as for the « oldies » who just might actually need that rule reminder after all :-)
Today at fellowship we talked, in the kids’ room, about things we were « asking » for this next school year. I « asked » for the wisdom to know what I do best, as a teacher and a librarian, and the confidence to do it. Perhaps not a standard way of interacting with ones’ own students but I don’t mind. When it comes down to it, I think that little ones need to see us being real. We all, for that matter, need to see each other being real.
After fellowship I requested that we all sit in a circle for a photo op. They asked me why I wanted a picture of their feet and I admitted that I wasn’t sure why I did . . but here we are :-)

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One Response to “all in a week’s . . .”

  1. Nancy said

    Dear Anna, You have proved that out of the box is often the most wonderful way of learning. The unexpected and humorous. Love ya.

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