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End of the school year

Page history last edited by NMHS librarian 8 years ago

Help -- it's the end of the school year!


"Do you stop book sign outs for the year as the school year wraps up, and if so, what is your policy?" 


"Do you hand out summer reading lists? Can we share them?" [We started a page for this a few years ago!]


"What fool-proof lessons/stories/activities do you use at the end of the year?"


These types of things come up on a regular basis; let's collect all this wisdom in one handy location.




Book sign outs as the school year wraps up:

  • I'm stopping book sign-outs on June 6 here, and calling all books in at that time for inventory.  We're having our biannual book swap after that, so kids will have plenty of reading material.  On the last week of school, I let everybody in good standing check out 5 books for the summer. 
  • I let students take books home over the summer as described at this link:  http://richmondelementaryschool.posterous.com/summer-library-books  It was hugely popular and almost all the books came back - very low loss rate despite Tropic Storm Irene damage in my community. I am definitely doing it again.
  • I tend to "call" books back in a couple of weeks before the last day that I have them for class.  This way it gives those students who often have overdues get them taken care of before the last day of school.  If someone hasn't finished a book then I do let them keep it a bit longer to finish it up.  Also on the class day that the books are to be returned for their class, I call it no overdue book day for their class.  For those student that have brought their books back or paid for them get 5 tickets that they can put into bags for pries.  Chinese auction I think it is called.  I have at least 15 different prize packages they can put their tickets into and prizes are a wide range of things as I'm a K-6 school.  It is a lot of fun and certainly brings books back in!  :)
  • I will stop checkouts at the elementary school about two weeks before school ends.   At the HS I will track down the worst overdue offenders.  Responsible students may keep books they are still reading or check out for the summer.   
  • I also stop book sign out a week or two before the last day of school. Responsible students are allowed to sign out books for in class use only. During this time I also take a book cart around to all wings of the school every morning to pick up books. If I'm standing in front of students and the book is within arms reach it seems to get back to the library more quickly. I usually attach a bouquet of plastic flowers to the cart to keep the mood festive.
    We ask that all materials should be returned for the end of the school year. We are open in the summer when summer school begins. Students, parents, and staff can resume signing out books then.





End-of-year lessons / activities / stories:

A question that came up a few years ago -- these are the compiled responses. (I believe the original question was in regards to what to do with 3rd grade classes, so that is the target age for many of the suggestions.)


1)  Something I have tried this year and am having some success is taking recommendations for books to read over the summer.  The students sit in a circle and suggest great books they have read this year (no judgment from anyone including the librarian!) and since I have started this process a little sooner than the last day, I will make up bookmarks of their suggestions that will go home with the report cards.  Maybe you could adapt it and have them make a bookmark with their recommendations, then trade them, or pull them out of a hat? 


Another thing I did this year was the memory museum (with kindergartners so far, so not sure how it would work with 3rd grade).  The kids went around the room and there were clues and they had to see how many things they remembered (certain stories told, read, parts of the book, other lessons, etc.)


With the 6th graders, I am making a book to display next year -- they each make a page with one book they feel everyone should read before they graduate.  You could do that and tell them it will be ready in the fall for students to see next year.


There is always the game show type of class where you check their skills in a quiz show atmosphere...


2) I have my kids decorate/color their work folders (or a large manila envelope) decorating it with their name.  While they color I pass out all of their work for the year.  We put the work into the folders and check their barcodes sticks... if they have returned all of their books (which they have taken care of that long before hand) then they get to toss in a few stickers and a piece of candy.  It is my "last day" ritual. 


3) I always used to arrange to have RIF and coloring/craft for the last day!  
Umm...they could make bookmarks for their summer reading.  There was a whole summer reading program in Copycat (maybe '95!) where kids got a paper "cone" and "scoops of ice cream" to track how many summer books they read.  Maybe ice cream cone shaped bookmarks?  That's summery!  
Acting out Piggie Pie, Stinky Cheese Man, etc.   

Commercials for favorite books?


4) I don't know if you're automated or subscribe to Vermont Online Library - but we have been having an absolute blast with Kids Infobits.  I just sit the kids down at the computers, with some looking over shoulders (then switch later), and they are really enjoying the process of logging on, finding the database, using the visual interface, and trying out all the tabs, especially images, of course.  They enjoyed the concept of the "breadcrumb trail" 


5) My favorite end-of-the-year activity is to read Miss Rumphius and discuss beauty in the world, and make finger lupines.  Set the kids up with tempera paints in green, purple, white and yellow.  Orient the paper vertically, paint on stems and leaves, and then dip fingers in the paint, starting with thumbs at the bottom of the flower and working up to the pinky at the top, in a long triangle.  We've made a frieze out of these which is beautiful this time of year. 


6) First of all, I tell the teachers very nicely I'd rather not see their classes the last week (or 2) of school, unless they really need to get them off their hands. That takes care of most of ‘em, while I busy myself with bills, weeding and inventorying one section.  A couple of ‘em still come, which frankly is a good break from the crud work.    This afternoon, in a 1-2 class, I told ‘em it was quiet, free reading (what a concept) for 20 minutes, then come together for one last good story. . .Worked fine -- several read or pored over books/mags independently, I gathered a couple around me with some Ranger Ricks, an aide read to a couple of ‘em, a library volunteer dad read with a handful.


I also have an activity with fairy tale names in simple codes for them to figure out.  he codes were simple--some were the letter after the real one  -- Djoefsfmmb is Cinderella, or before--Bhmcdqdkkz is Cinderella--you could make up a quick worksheet.


Another one day activity that's been fun is Readers Theater.  There are some free scripts on the Net, many with lots of characters.


Or pass out old magazines, and have kids find an interesting fact, and turn it into a Did You Know? illustrated factoid.


Or arrange to have them choose books and send them to a younger class to read to them.


There are always movies!  There is that neat fairy tale series that Sissy Spacek did. 


7) Each of these resources has listed end of the year ideas -- maybe you can find a suitable one:







This edition of the ABCs (Anti-Bias Classroom) offers unique activities that honor classroom communities and celebrate connections. http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwY0F3


:: An ABCs Farewell (PreK-3) http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwZ0F4


:: Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (Gr. 4-6) http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwa0FC


:: Plant a Seed (Gr. 6-8) http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwb0FD


:: Make a Toast (Gr. 9-12) http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwc0FE


:: Summer Reading - Tips for Parents http://newsletter.tolerance.org/cgi-bin4/DM/y/m8G40Go7cj0E1S0FHwd0FF


9) I generally do a story and a craft with kids, ie; with 1st grade I read Roxaboxen and then have them create roxaboxens at their tables of four with pebbles, rocks, seashells.  My classes are 45 minutes long.  I also make story pouches with 3rd graders and then tell stories.  Puzzles are always good.  Showing them neat stuff on the computer is good for older kids. 


10) I have a very simple book called Fold a Poem that has simple poems and origami figures with each one. You have to have separate origami books to get directions. I made a little booklet from a variety of sources.


Last year I taught the 4th and 5th graders string figures and gave them each a booklet and a string and we learned 4 figures.  It worked for 50 minutes.  

Another year I did a progressive story with folded paper, you start a story and each group adds to it and passes it along.  It has a tendency to degenerate if you do not have stringent ground rules.  


I am previewing next year's Red Clover with the 5th graders who will be off to Jr. High.   


11) Take them outside to play ball games. Get to know their athletic selves. I do. I feel it gives everyone in my class a chance to excel. 


12) One year "in desperation" I had the kids design posters advertising their favorite books.  Title, author, BRIEF annotation, colorful picture.  All you need to supply is paper and drawing materials. I collected the posters and displayed them in September.  Two problems solved, since I had instant bulletin board & discussion stuff for the beginning of the year.


13) If you need an entertaining activity, you can reproduce bingo cards with a simple 9-space grid, then make a master list of vocabulary (maybe 25 words) you’ve introduced in the library for them to fill in on these cards. [ List words on board, or distribute lists to them]. Use little colored paper squares as markers, and play away. When someone calls bingo, they have to explain or define the words they covered to win.  You could award bookmarks to those winners, but give all others a simpler bookmark as well at the end if you like.  Or play for the fun of calling bingo and defining terms.


14) .  We play “library lingo” and I also have the kids share their favorite books.   I put all the names of the Caldecotts in a bowl and then we draw 2 or 3 to share.  (I cut up an older Follett poster). 


15)  At my school, where basketball rules, we play Biblioball. We have a real basket (on the floor) and a Nerf ball. We divide the class into two teams. They decide on a "batting" order -- this alone can take 5 to 10 minutes if you let it. Then the teams take turns sending a shooter up to the line.  I ask them a question about whatever it is I want to review with them (for third grade this is usually features of non-fiction writing.)  They are encouraged to consult with their team for the answer. If they get it right, they get a point.  Whether they get the point or not, they then have the chance to earn another point by sinking the ball in the basket.  My phys. ed. teacher lobbies against the practice of keeping score, but the kids love it.  Two additional rules are -- your team loses a point if you touch the ball when it's not your turn or if they get too rowdy.


I like it because the threat of losing points give me such superior crowd control, because sometimes the non-athletes actually do better with the Nerf ball than the micro-jocks, and because you can work in all kinds of weird and silly questions, as long as they are evenly distributed.


My third grade lobbied hard for a return of Biblioball this year, so that's what we're doing this week.


16)     I would suggest reading a great picture book or two to them.  I always plan that for my last class, and the kids consider it a treat. Suggestions of titles:

    Some of my favorites are Akiak, Round Trip (Jonas), Full Belly Bowl, Secret in the Matchbox, Jumanji, Two Bad Ants, Two Travelers, Summer of Stanley, Westlandia, Like Jake and Me (if the group is a bit more mature), Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear .  



17) I stop library classes two weeks before the end of school so that i can do things like weeding, inventory, etc....things that i promise the teachers will make for a more dynamic and sparkling collection next year. I know some other librarians in my district follow a similar policy. 


18) If you can use the computer lab I have some fun sites that I do with my kids or how about either a trivia or simple jeopardy game?  


19) I often read Weslandia to the 4th grade classes at the end of the year. Since it’s about what the main character does over his summer vacation, it’s a good story for this time of year.  One year I was really on the ball in the way I presented it and they LOVED it. The fact that it was a Red Clover book helped prime the pump, so to speak. And then when they asked if it had won, I said no, but it got a lot of votes from older kids because the younger ones didn’t “get” everything like 4th graders did. That tipped the scales nicely, since they all wanted to have that sort of mature taste in books.


Since we don't need to allow time for check-out, I try for things that take longer than my usual library class activities. One thing I often do at the end of the year is a buddy reading activity. I put out multiple copies of books (on the shelf tops in bookends) and, after I read them a story with some sort of reading theme, I have the kids partner up and choose a book to read with their buddy. I stick to books that are short enough to finish in the amount of time we have, with a mixture of picture book fiction, folk tales, poetry, and plenty of beginning reader books. I leave the same books out for all grade levels, to accommodate the wide range of abilities every class has. They usually like it, especially because I let them go into nooks and crannies in the library that they don’t usually sit and read in.







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