Student Book Budgets 2015-16: The Final Lists

 

narrowing (7)

Since early November, a group of 30 students has been hard at work spending a student book budget.  This year’s budget was funded through a generous grant from James Patterson.  Students created a survey in Google forms, surveyed the school, analyzed the results, set goals, met with vendors, and created consideration lists.

narrowing (8)

You can read more about their work in these posts:

Getting started

Meeting with Capstone

Meeting with Gumdrop

Meeting with Avid

narrowing (5)

Over the past week, students have worked to narrow those consideration lists down until they had books that met our goals and were within our budget.  There were many tough decisions as usual.  Students had to consider how many of each kind of book to order.  Should we order more superhero books than anything else?  Should we order copies of books that we already have in the collection?  Should we include books that we knew students would like but didn’t actually meet one of the goals we set in the beginning?  Should we spend more money with a certain vendor in order to earn additional free books?  As usual, I saw students go to bat for a book because of something they heard other students ask for.  For example, there was a Frozen drawing book with Gumdrop Books.  One of the 5th grade boys said, “I don’t personally like Frozen, but I know a lot of students who do.  I think we should order another copy of this book so that more students can enjoy it.”  I’m always amazed by the conversations that surface during this project.

narrowing (2)

After cutting books from the list, I sent the student choices to Avid Bookshop, Capstone, and Gumdrop books to give us final quotes.  They each emailed me a final list for students to see.  Students met for one final time before the holidays to give a stamp of approval to the final lists.  There were a few minor changes to the lists in the end.  We added an additional Wimpy Kid book and some additional books in series.

Now, all of the lists have been sent to the vendors.  We met our goal of finishing before the holidays and students spent the entire $5,000 James Patterson Grant and managed to stretch that budget to an additional $750 thanks to Capstone Rewards.  Now we wait.  The books should arrive in January.  At that time, we’ll meet again to unpack the books, market them to the school, and enjoy a first look and checkout before the rest of the school.

Capstone List

Gumdrop List

Avid List

Great work student book budget team!

Student Book Budgets 2015-16: Getting Started

surveying (1)

For several years, I have dedicated a portion of our library budget to be completely controlled by students.  This project has come to be one of my favorite ways of empowering the voices of the students in our school.  It’s so much more than just asking students what they think I should buy for the library.  It gives students a voice in every aspect of the decision making and purchasing process.  Each year is a bit different, so here’s a look at how we started the project this year.

Where did we get the money?

Some years our budget comes straight from my state budget.  Some years it’s part of book fair profits.  Some years it’s a grant. This past spring, I applied for the James Patterson Partnership grant where he gave $1.75 million dollars to school libraries.  I was one of the lucky libraries to receive this grant in the amount of $5,000.  This will be our budget this year along with rewards dollars that I have collected through Capstone Rewards.

How did I choose students?

This year I created a Google form and emailed it to students.  I primarily pull students from 3rd-5th grade for this project and these students regularly check their email.  I kept the form open for 5 days for students to apply.  The beginning of the form included some details about book budgets followed by a video intro.

For students who marked that they might be willing to give up some recess time to participate, I followed up with individual emails and conversations.  I accepted every student into the group unless they decided they didn’t want to do it.  I created a group of all of the students in my email contacts so that I could easily send messages to them all.  On my initial emails to the group, I included the teachers so that they were in the loop with what they were doing and why they were coming to the library instead of recess.

First Week

On Monday, students came to the library at 11, 11:30, and 12:00 depending on their grade level.  I did a quick overview of the purpose of the book budget group and the steps that we would most likely go through across the course of the project.  They also had a chance to ask questions.  Then, we jumped into the work.

Our first goal was to gather reading interests from every grade level in the school.  We made a copy of last year’s Google form.

Then, students talked about each question and whether or not they wanted to make changes to the wording from last year.  Each grade level added to and revised the form until it was ready.

They made several changes, including asking students about their preferences in types of books such as picture book, chapter book, and informational books.  They added some new categories of books and revised the language to be more clear.

During the 5th grade group, we went ahead and emailed the form out to students to begin collecting responses.  We also created a QR code so that students who were surveying younger grades with iPads could easily pull up the form.

I emailed an update to the entire group to let them know that surveying needed to begin, and they started coming in before school, during lunch, during recess, and during any extra moments of the day to start surveying.  All along the way, we could check our progress.

 

Throughout the week, I emailed updates to the group as well as sent reminders to teachers to let students fill out the survey.  We will meet one more time this week to examine our results so far and decide if we have enough data to set goals or if we need to survey more people.

I’m very proud of this year’s group already and I know they are going to do miraculous things this year!

Book Choice Champions Unpacking Time

Today, the 11 boys of the Book Choice Champions enrichment cluster gathered today to unpack the first shipment of books that they ordered for the library.  Each student had a job to do during this process which included:

  • Unpacking books and checking for damage and correct processing
  • Highlighting the packing slip
  • Stamping books with the media center stamp
  • Displaying books on tables
  • Taking pictures of books for marketing on BTV and our enrichment fair
  • Repacking books into boxes for the enrichment fair

It was an efficient process that took about 20-25 minutes.  Two students agreed to come back during their lunch & recess to work on an Animoto video of the books and a video of the process.  Here’s their final products:

 

The Book Choice Champions will share their process at our enrichment fair tomorrow Tuesday November 29, 2011 at 5:25PM at Barrow Elementary.  Once the fair is over, these students will have first choice of the books to checkout and the remaining books will be available for checkout Wednesday morning.  I can’t wait to see how fast they all get checked out this time!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Book Choice Champions Final Steps

The Book Choice Champions, a group of 11 boys in 2nd-5th grades, finalized their project today.  Their job has been to use a budget of $1500 to purchase books for the media center that are about topics that students are interested in.  They’ve been through a long process, including surveying 199 students at our school.  Last week, they finalized their book order and now we are waiting on it to come in.  Today, the boys made some final pieces to advertise the books as well as show people the process they went through.  Some worked on posters.  Others made a commercial for BTV, while others worked on an Animoto of the process.  Even though today was our last official meeting, several of the boys want to continue meeting to plan ways to promote the books to the school.  One idea was to take pictures of all of the books and make another Animoto for BTV.  Here is the Animoto that they made today to show the process that they went through.

Book Choice Champions.