2018 Student Book Budget: First Steps

It’s time for one of my favorite projects of the year: Student Book Budget. Every year, I reserve a part of the library budget that is under complete control by students. This budget comes from many places.  Sometimes it’s a grant and other times it is part of our regular budget.  This year their budget comes from the profit we made from book fair.  The book budget is their chance to make sure that books are added to our library that represent their interests.  They go through a long process to make sure that many voices are represented in their purchases.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing their process.  Here are some of the steps that are already happening.

First, I created a Google form application for students to apply to be in the group.  The form was available for one week for students in grade 3-5.  Every student who applied and had a genuine reason for being in the group was accepted.  Our group this year is 40 students strong and has a great mix of boys and girls.

Next, we held our 1st meetings. I met with each grade level group separately and answered all of their questions about the group. Then, in small groups or pairs, they brainstormed things that they thought we should ask on a reading interest survey for the whole school.

Then, I took their ideas and put them into a Google form survey.

I sent the survey to all of the students on the book budget team so that they could review it and decide if it matched their comments.  We made some minor adjustments and were ready for the school to be surveyed.

I sent the survey via email to our 3rd-5th grade students who each have their on device. The Student Book Budget Team was responsible for surveying Prek-2nd grade. On our 2nd meeting, we scanned QR codes to get to the survey on an iPad and went to recess and lunch to survey as many people as possible.

The students were so professional and I loved standing back and watching them work.  It truly was their project and they were taking it very seriously.

In just one day, we have already surveyed 216 students.  We will continue this process and then take the next step of looking at the results.  I love how we can check along the way to see which grades need to be surveyed more so that we have a somewhat even distribution of voices.

Be on the lookout for our next steps.  We are off to a great start.

Book Tasting with Kindergarten Using IPICK

ipick kinder (3) The Daily 5 I-PICK Strategy is a tool that many of our teachers use with students to find a “just right” book.  I’ve found this strategy to be so much better than using the 5-finger rule because it takes into account the many ways that we all choose books.  Usually 1st grade teachers are among the first to teach this strategy, but this year Kindergarten is very interested in what this might look like for our youngest students.

I-PICK stands for:

  • I choose my books
  • Purpose:  Why am I reading?
  • Interest:  What do I like to read?
  • Comprehend:  Do I understand?
  • Know:  Do I know most of the words?ipick kinder (4)

For Kindergarten, most of these pieces are obtainable except for knowing most of the words.  We’ve also been teaching the students the ways that we read which have included reading the pictures, reading the words, and retelling the story.

After some email conversation with a Kindergarten teacher, I proposed that we leave off the “know” part of IPICK for most of the students.  In class, students reviewed all of the steps of IPICK, but they specifically focused on “interest”.  Each student was interviewed about what they like to read and the teacher and other helpers wrote down about 3 interests for each student.  These cards were then given to me in the media center.

IPICK Kinder (10)I took each card and created a personal stack of books for each student.  I tried to find books that matched the interest and had plenty of pictures for students to practice reading pictures in a book.  I won’t lie.  This was very time consuming.  It took me about 45 minutes per class to pull books.  However, for the first time I could honestly say that I helped every student in a class find the books that they were interested in.

We kept our lesson very short.  On the floor, I reviewed IPICK and set our focus on comprehension.  We looked at some previously read books like Chalk to remind ourselves how to read the pictures in a book.  We also looked at informational text to practice reading a photograph and attempting to read the captions on pictures.

Just like in a cafe where you place your order and they call out your name, I called each student’s name and handed them the stack of books.  I reminded them that sometimes in restaurants we don’t like what we ordered and that it is ok to send it back or spit it out.  I reminded them that they would probably find several books that they liked but they needed to pick the one that tasted the best.IPICK Kinder (9)

As students sat at tables, the teachers and I walked around and had conversations with students about their books.  They told us what they were reading in the pictures.  If we saw a student quickly breezing through pages, we had a longer conversation and modeled how to slow down and carefully read a picture.  I loved how finding the book didn’t get in the way and we were actually able to have quality conversations rather than spending our time running around the shelves looking for books.

ipick kinder (6)In the end, each student chose a book.  When we asked them why they chose the book, interest was usually the winning reason.  It just reminded me of how important it is for students to find the books that they love to read even if it is Spongebob or Disney Princesses.  Every student left with a smile on their face.  I know that students missed the experience of actually finding the book on the shelf, but in the end, I felt like this experience was positive and rewarding in other ways for the students.  This is not something that I would or could do for every session, but I think it’s important for students to come to the library and find the perfect match of a book at least part of the time.ipick kinder (1)