Once again, I’ve set out on a journey with a group of students to make decisions on what books are purchased for the library in a project called Book Choice Champions. This year, I set aside $1500 in book fair profits for a budget that is completely decided on by students. Once again, our school is doing enrichment clusters on Wednesdays, so from 9-10AM I have a group of 11 students in grades 2nd-5th that come to the library to work on this project until late November. The students self-selected which enrichment cluster they would be in based on their interest in the cluster topic. The surprising part of this is that the group of students I’m working with is all boys.
On day 1, the boys immediately noticed that no girls were in the group and they saw this as a problem. How would they buy books that were supposed to be for the whole school without having girl representation in the group? They decided to survey students from the whole school and felt that it was important to know how many boys and how many girls answered the survey. They also wanted to know what grades students were in so that all grades were represented in the decisions. Two students in the group were in a similar group last year and they talked about the problems that we had with surveying, especially using blank paper and simply asking people what they liked to read. For this reason, they decided to develop a Google survey that could be done on laptops, desktops, smartboards, and iPads. They felt it was important to ask about various categories of books such as animals/sports/fairies/etc, kinds of books such as chapter/picture/informational/etc, and to give students a chance to request specific books or series.
The next problem was when would students take the survey. We knew we didn’t want to interrupt instruction, so we thought of the least disruptive process we could. They came up with several idea that they are now trying:
- Ask their teachers when they could come get an iPad from the media center to survey their own classes
- Ask 3rd-5th grades to take surveys on the iPads and desktop computers in the media center during morning arrival time before going to homerooms.
- Ask K-2nd grades to take the surveys on iPads in the art room during morning arrival time before going to class.
- See which grade levels seem to be missing from the survey results and ask specific teachers if there is a time to come into their room to do surveys
- If needed, email the survey to teachers to use on their smartboards