Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Amazing Library Race

From the time I started teaching, one of my number one goals has always been, make it fun! I've always believed that if I can get the kids to look forward to school and enjoy every day they are there, I could teach them anything. To that end, when I moved into the library I took a look at the teaching guidelines and immediately started designing games to teach the skills. One of the few things I remember a librarian trying to teach me, was the Dewey Decimal system, and I could never figure out why. Now, before all of my librarian friends take a collective GASP! let me explain. I could never figure out why it was important to know what numbers went with what subjects when I was just going to look inn the card catalog (remember those?) and then go to the number it told me. I was capable of counting and understand decimals so I was always able to find the shelf address I needed. That's how I've approached it in the library now that I'm teaching the Dewey Decimal. I don't really care that the kids don't know that animals are in the 500s, can you find the 500s? Can you find 599.72 or whatever? Well, to help them with this skill, I designed The Amazing Library Race patterned after my favorite show, The Amazing Race on CBS. I was cheering for Dallas and his mom...anyway, here' how it works and some pix of the most recent version in the library.

It's simple really, I wrote four sets of clues that make the kids use their skills of finding books on the shelf. Each set has 5 clues and a roadblock challenge. The teams designated by the color of their bandannas get their first clue and are off to find the next clue hidden in the book found by using the call number. At some point they will hit the roadblock challenge which could be anything from putting a set of cards in alphabetical order and having one of our secretaries check their work, to counting painted tiles on the wall. Each team has a different color stop watch and the times over the four legs of the race are combined for a winner. I give a prize to the fastest team in each fifth grade class, and a bigger prize to the overall winner in fifth grade. Yes the kids are loud as they look for clues, yes they run in the hall to complete the roadblock challenge, and yes, I think they have fun.


  1. Really--what would i do without you? Can you bring these to the next library meeting? Would you mind sharing? I LOVE this idea.


  2. My favorite part is watching the teams figure out how to wear those babushkas! Gosh, they LOVE it!

  3. Hey I notice some of those students in the pictures! The students are a "buzz" all day when they come back from library. They LOVE it and learn something imagine that? Maria

  4. Thank you, thank you!
    This is just what I was looking to do as I move to NEW LMS position(yes in the middle of the year - long story).
    Would you mind sharing the clues you've used?

  5. I would love to share the clues, however, there are two issues. One: they are rather lengthy to share in the blog space and two: they will need to be specific to the books you have in your library.

  6. Library skills: FUN?!?!?! SHOCKING!

    Now, do tell how you teach guide words!

  7. What a great idea! I love your enthusiasm and creativity!

  8. Would love to have you email me your clues
    I want to get an idea of how you do your clues in order to come up with my own.