Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Dewey Challenge

Third graders spent the first quarter of the school year learning about the Dewey Decimal system. While some may think it is outdated or unnecessary to learn, it is truly an inspired and ingenious method of organization. Every book has a home. Some people advocate for an organization more similar to a bookstore with topical headings - all the sports books over here and all of the science books over here. News flash! The DDS, not to be confused with DDR, DOES organize books by subject and even mine down further than that, grouping all the animals together and one step further all the mammals together and one step further all of the dolphins together and if you want to get really specific all the dolphin habitat books together. But I digress. In an effort to arm students with the skills they need to independently AND efficiently find materials in the library, they DID learn what the DDS is, how Dewey came up with it and why. They practiced grouping actual books together and are now undertaking the Dewey Challenge. It is relatively simple in concept. I created two sided bookmarks with spaces for students to fill in the titles of one book from each number section as well as one from fiction, picture books, and biography. There are six additional choice areas as well. The idea is for students to try something different. In order to complete the challenge, they only need to fill their bookmark with the titles they read. Then I ask them to select a favorite and I photograph the student with their favorite book to recommend to others. They discover new books, or at least books new to them, on the shelves and recommend them to others and the students gain a better understanding of what each section means by matching that title to the number. And it doesn't cost a thing. Students are be owing more independent patrons of the library and trying something new. Not a bad challenge to undertake at all!

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