I had to do a follow up post to my last post because I think it is important to share what has happened since gaining approval to run sessions with the students as Miss A's school.
The school had organised library visits for the year 2/3, 3/4 and 5/6 classes. However, the weather had other ideas and due to the extreme conditions, I said that I could visit the classes at the school rather than have the students walk to the library in the horizontal rain and wind.
At these visits, I had the students divide into their project questions/topics. I provided each group some butchers paper and different covered felt pens (textas). I then asked the students to label the paper with their project topic and write all the words and questions they could think of when it came to their topic. E.g. for those doing shipwrecks they put ship, boat, rocks, storm, where did the boat/ship come from?, what was the boat/ship carrying?, where was the ship/boat going? etc.
I then handed out a kids guide to Dewey Decimal Classification that I had modified to be more Australian.
We went through how the Dewey Decimal Classification worked using a comparision with supermarket shopping and how all the fruit and vegetables are together and all the meat is together and all the bread is together, etc.
I then asked them to look at their words on their butchers paper and go through the Dewey Decimal Classification handout and write down any Dewey Decimal numbers that they thought matched their words.
By this time, I had run out of time with them - I only had half an hour with each class. But the end product was butchers paper full of keywords and possible Dewey Decimal numbers they could go to when visiting the library.
Luckily for me, the teachers arranged for library visits once the weather had cleared.
During the library visit, I gave a quick tour of the library. We then sat down and I asked what parts of a book they could look at to find out if the book would have anything about their topic. The students were really cluey about this and all could answer - the blurb at the back, the contents page and the index.
I had put aside books to do with their topics and made sure they couldn't be loaned to allow all students equal access to the resources. We all know what can happen if you have one student or parent of a student who is quick of the mark and borrows all the books about a particular topic resulting in the other students having access to nothing.
The students were then allowed to look through the books and photocopy (for free) any pages they thought that would help then with their projects - with a limit of 10 pages!
All in all it has been a success. The teachers were really impressed and have already talked to me about making this a regular thing.
The principal even put a small article in the school newsletter talking about the partnership with the school and local library and how wonderful it was for the students to learn about how they can access learning resources from a place within their community outside of school.
Now all I have to do is continue working on the other 6 primary schools and 2 high schools in our region - which I have been hammering away at since I started in this job 5 years ago.