Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Revolving Door

On twitter, a PLN friend asked for suggestions on implementing a 6 day rotation in the library.  When I started in my position, it was the first year of a 6 year rotation.  Previously, if a student came on a Monday, they always came on a Monday.  Moving forward, they would come on A day.  This can be pretty confusing for 5 year olds.  Then again, Monday can be tricky too.  Anywho, it was a good time to make some changes being mindful of how exactly we might keep things running smoothly in our library.  We did a few things.

1) I got these rolling carts.
I got six of them, one per grade level.  In the end, we only really use them now for grades K-2 (so we only need 3) who have classes in the afternoon.  This is something that would be tweaked for each school's needs.  

The concept is for book return.  But it has served other purposes, including a reminder to the class that they have library on the next school day.  It also cuts back on students forgetting their book in their classroom and having to trek back to get it, though not entirely.  

Each grade level cart has its own signage.  There is a stack of card stock labelled KA, KB, KC etc. for Kindergarten, 1A/2A for First and Second Grades respectively.  I hole punched the top corners and used binder rings to attach the signs to the front of each cart. On the back of each page, I attached a post-it with the teacher's name that had library on that day.  So, for the KA sign, the post-it on the back had the name of the Kindergarten teacher whose class came to the library on A day.  

After lunch, the cart would sit outside of the classroom which would indicate to the class (and their teacher) that they have library the next school day, so if this class had library on B day and B day was on Tuesday, the cart would come to their classroom on Monday afternoon and sit in the hallway right outside the door.  

As part of the morning routine on Tuesday/B day, the students in this class will put their library books to return into the cart.  {When I first did this, I included a pencil and a post-it note pad with each cart and asked students to post it the word renew if they wanted to renew their book.  This didn't always work out, so now we ask students to bring the book with them if they would like to renew, though most K-2 students are ready to check out a new book anyway.}

During morning classes, the carts are picked up and brought to the library when there is more time to check books in and shelve them.  Currently, our library assistant retrieves the book carts.  Also, students from older classes can be assigned to pick up books or the teachers in the younger classes can assign book return as a class job, much like students might bring notes to the office.  With this procedure, books are checked in before K-2 classes come to the library in the afternoon so you are aware of any students that you might need to follow up with about overdue books and if students are waiting on a book, it can more readily be sent to the next student or placed on the hold shelf for the next student.  When there are holds placed on a book in K-2, we find it is most often within the same class where excitement has built for a particular title.

If you try a system like this or do something similar, please comment below to share!

2) I made up bookmarks as reminders for books that need to be returned.  In the past, a summary was printed for each student with the title of the book.  That's a lot of paper!  Often, parents (and students) just need a reminder that their book is still out and they already know what it is and exactly where it is and just need to remember to put it in a school bag.  Or, as sometimes happens, take it out of their school bag upon arrival at school.  These bookmarks served as that reminder.  The bookmarks also have a link to our school library catalog which students can log into from home and check their own account to see the title of the book checked out if they are drawing a blank.  When a student has a book still checked out, they can put a book on hold.  When they return their book with the bookmark in it, it signals to us that they have a book on hold and we can send it up to the class for the student.  They can still utilize the book return cart too!  It is in their grade level hallway, just outside of the next class' door.

These strategies cut down on students missing instructional time in the classroom and maximizes their time in the library.  Our schedule is tight with six classes per day.  It truly is a revolving door in the library, and we wouldn't have it any other way

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