Thank you for everyone who suggested great ideas! Still not sure which I'll
use, probably a bit of everything. Thank you!
Our upper elementary (grades 5th/6th, some 4th) will be staring something
new this fall. I rarely saw them last year for any kind of library lessons;
their schedules were so ‘full’.
“We will have three sets of electives throughout the year (like a
trimester). Teachers can choose to teach the same elective 3 times or can
teach different electives. Some ideas we talked about were tinkering,
photography, cartooning, painting, board games....your interests/affinities
can guide your thinking!!”
I was thinking of having centers in the library but I have no idea what
those centers should be. I haven’t done any maker spaces ideas yet and was
thinking of doing that but I have no idea where or how to begin. Any
suggestions would greatly appreciated and any other ideas of what to do
with students for this 50 minute class time once a week.
Before working as a public librarian, I was a middle school language arts
teacher. Our school implemented a "flex period" Mon-Thu from 3:01-3:25 for
our 6th-8th grade; K-5 kiddos had last recess then (was a k-8 school).
I worked with 6th graders on podcasting but we had Chromebooks. We would do
some of this in classrooms/some in the library media center. Other popular
choices: Pinterest designs, trading cards (baseball was popular), book
club, art club. We also did remediation skills some days for students who
The school I taught at might have this on their website. It is
www.sigbson.k12.in.us - click on Ft. Branch Comm. School.
Lots of files
ou can read The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires and let them come
up with an idea/invention to create, providing various materials. I have
also done Roy Makes a Car by Mary E. Lyons (a folktale) and have them
create the next car.
Just found this website that may be of some help to you on STEM.
Reading Centers for Upper Elementary
Love to Read Library Center and Bulletin Board
November Library Centers
Greetings. found some web sites about library centers/stations
15 Ideas for Library Centers
I think this is probably it, see attached. This year my most popular
yarn and beads, with instructions to make several kinds of friendship
Legos, with building challenges. I give small rewards for completed
Monthly bookmark creation contest--I give them a template, markers and
*Library Learners blog, Cari Young - *http://librarylearners.com/
*Elementary Librarian, Jocelyn Sams* -
-- Lesson plans for purchase and MANY free materials,
example: Library Rules Prezi
-- Webinars <http://elementarylibrarian.com/webinar-info/>
*The View From Here wiki, Lori June **-*
From Ms. Vibbert
Specialty Books: I Spy, Popup, Board books, 3D books (I got my glasses on
Independent Reading with: book buddies (stuffed animals, usually from
Kohl's), whisperphones (directions here:
Listening Centers: use a little table in a corner with cassette tapes or
CDS, or make portable ones with iPods (I recommend the Shuffles because of
the clip you can zip tie them to a handle). I get my books with CD from
Scholastic Book Orders (usually 4 books and C for $20)
Not so Solitary Reading:
Flannel/Magnet Boards: Use spray adhesive to stick a piece of flannel to
the back side of small cookie sheets. Dual use for flannel stories or
magnetic letters, words, or other pieces
Finger puppets: Ikea has some cheap sets. Cut out a little stage. Be sure
to go over finger puppet directions.
Readers Theater Scripts: keep them short--such as Click, Clack, Moo
Comics Center: set out comic strip paper and students illustrate their own.
MadLibs: look for short ones that use fewer parts of speech for younger
Lego Poetry: stick words onto Lego blocks
Grow stuff! Get some dirt and plant seeds or just stick some veggies in the
ground. I've grown lemon seeds and potatoes successfully
Animals: If you can get an animal on loan--go for it. You might also look
at Pets in the Classroom for a grant
Magnifying glasses: look at bugs, water, small stuff
Globes: Use wet erase markers to label a globe. Ask students a challenge
question and have them write answers.
Desk Maps: Cut out pieces related to a story (such as: See the World and
Make an Apple Pie [not the right title]). Students move the pieces to the
Cardboard sculptures: Cut a cardboard box into 3x3 squares on a good paper
cutter. Snip notches out of the sides randomly.
Photography: Set up a photo booth for students to take their own pictures.
Where's Waldo: Hide Waldo on a library shelf. Students write down a call
number from the shelf and enter to win. Move Waldo regularly.
Question of the Week: Available for two grade ranges from Mrs. Lodge at TPT
Puzzles: Big floor puzzles are great! So are small puzzles from Dollar
Tree. Pair with books.
Library trivial Jenga: Available from Mrs. Lodge on TPT
Checkers: Find a big set like they have at Cracker Barrel
For fall I have word search pumpkins, life cycle of a pumpkin, pumpkin
magic squares, Halloween "Would you Rather" questions
Vote: give students a choice of favorite books, genre, character, etc. and
have them vote
Post a question of the week and have students respond with post it notes
General Storage: I keep my centers in containers that sit on my library
shelves. I boost the lowest shelf up 4-5 inches so there is space to slide
in flat boxes for puzzles and games. Other activities go in Dollar Tree
bins that sit on the shelves between book sections at the end of each day.
There are so many more centers you can do!! I hope your students love these
as much as mine do!
I Love That Teaching Idea – Learning Centers Ideas
Complete Library Curriculum CENTERS.pptx
Complete Library Curriculum.pptx
D5Overview of Centers.pptx
Games Ideas for Photo Cards Activities.pdf
Library centers Winter.pdf
Library Stations How I Use.docx
Library Stations Fixed Schedules and Limited Space Stopping You.docx
No David Yes David game by making questions.doc
No no never rule strips.doc
Reading Independently Center - PDF.pdf
starting Centers in School Libraries.docx
Starting Library Centers.pptx
Starting Library Centers.pptx.pdf
Winter Library centers.pdf
I love the idea of board games just because it allows you to see which
children are struggling with math or money (Monopoly), reading (Life) etc.
As far as a Makerspace, until I have space I don't have one, but would love
There are some good sites on the web. Here are a couple:
Every fall I saw all of our 9th graders once a week in the library for
lessons. They could easily be adapted for younger students.
I will look up the schedule of what I covered, but basically it started
with intro to the library resources, and then included an online/Internet
safety lesson, robotics, a Breakout challenge, MeL, Learning Express (SAT
resources), Medal of Honor, mentoring, etc. The final lesson was a giant
bookmark challenge - which was the exam.
Each lesson was interactive and included lessons within the lessons -
Google Docs exercise with the Internet safety that included a collaborative
write - character and integrity lessons woven throughout - Kahoot - and so
I just retired - so don't have everything at my fingertips - but if you
want the outline I can locate it.
What about teaching digital citizenship or media literacy using something
like Common Sense Media or other curriculum? I am finding that students
don’t know the difference between news, opinion, ads, or ‘sponsored
content,’ and this would be the perfect age to introduce this. If you don’t
want them online, just save old newspapers to use.
Could you do something with Google’s Internet Awesome for digital
citizenship? How about 21 Things for Students? Coding with Google CS First?
These wouldn’t require much equipment, just computers.
I do centers in my library for grades 2-5. They LOVE it! I have done:
Legos (I print off age appropriate challenge cards from Teachers Pay
Teachers or just search for challenge ideas for them).
IPads- I have 20 ipads and have done various challenges with them. They
used a photo app last year to take pictures of themselves and make a
collage to show me who they are, they've played math games, and they've
researched a narrowed topic of their choice (I would give them 7 questions
to answer about their political candidate of choice, animal of their
I have them scissors, glue, and scrap paper with instructions and samples
of pop ups to make their own pop up cards.
I gave them several fun poetry books and asked them to create their own
I bought index cards cheaply and asked them to engineer the tallest tower
possible (I started out also giving them tape...that went badly. Now I
recommend cards only).
Anyway, you should be able to find challenges online for library centers.
You can let them be as collaborative or as independent as you'd like. For a
50 minute class, maybe let them rotate once? I had 5 colors of tables and
each child knew his permanent color. I rotated activities between them each
week. This gave me 5 weeks at a time with each group of centers (unless a
center was a major bust and I couldn't figure out how to save it! Ha.)
My students also knew that using the library and finding a quiet corner to
read were always options. If they didn't like their group's center for the
day, they could go free read. I know I did other centers (oh! like
puzzles!) but I can't think of them right now. Seriously, I just Googled
Good luck! Would you mind sharing a HIT for some other cool ideas?!
There are great conversations on a closed Facebook group: Future Ready
One TL was trying to pair a short picture/non-fiction book with a maker
activity. It was suggested she compliment what the 5th/6th are exploring in
class. If that isn't realistic in your circumstance, I still thought it a
great idea to share a short book and pair with activities.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today = LED greeting card to cheer another
Our Tree Named Steve = water filtration, construction, storms...
Not a Box = Create something out of a box etc.
Some favorite supplies in my STEAM Challenge Center includes:
Wood items such as popsicle sticks, 1x1 blocks, clothespins and challenges
to build a bridge, a tower, a trophy...
Straws. Yes, straws and some Scotch tape. I have to peel the students away.
LEGO (Do a brick drive. If every student brought in 2 bricks - easily the
amount you vacuum up - you would have a great start)
Duct Tape (consumable)
Aluminum foil sculpture (consumable)
Discarded graphic novels, blank bookmarks, scissors and glue - can offer to
I'm adding an UNmaker space with broken electronics (an old VCR, home blood
pressure monitor, car radio...) and discarded books for book art, poetry,
We taught classes in Dearborn for a full class period year round at the
elementary level. K-5. Each class and even special ed-hearing impaired. I
found it actually easy and in the teachers favor, to cue my classes to the
curriculum that the students were learning. This involved shorter periods
of a particular theme, like you mention. Take fairy tales and folklore,
students should know where they are in the library. They should recognize
as a genre. They should write one using mentor texts.
They can also write a play based on the fairy tale or folklore and present
it to an audience. Parts can have two students for each speaking part.
Invite the principal for a presentation. One of the reasons for writing is
For older students, read a text set based on where they are in American
history . Read in your class. Use the reciprocal questioning or
anticipatory method. After, groups of students write questions, teams are
formed to answer. Quiz games. Simple questions or a Jeopardy type. Whatever
the curriculum, it can be delved into, some time on task makes it easier to
learn. Administrators can drop by. Publishing Center, with peer
conferencing, use the computer lab to print. Simple stapling to bind. Put
the "books" in the media center on a reserved shelf. Keep an inventory so
you can retrieve and have visible proof of what they are doing. End of year
they can be sent home or kept in the media center as a teaching tool the
next semester or school year.
You have to do what you have to do, but see as an opportunity and key into
curriculum and support Common Core. I would even delve into Common Core and
find just when subject area and skill I am supporting. One of our jobs as
Media Specialists is to support the curriculum. Of Course.
Thank you again for all your help!
Michelle Levy, MLIS
School Library Media Specialist
Eton Academy <http://www.etonacademy.org/%20> (1st-12th grades)
Birmingham, MI 48009
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I am a proud member since 2007 of the following associations:
Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME <http://www.mimame.org/>)
MAME PPIC SIG Chair (Feb 2018-present)
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