Today I tried out an library experience that I had never hosted before...a book-tasting party! The students had a blast reviewing genres, taking "bites" of their books, writing recommendations, and creating bookmarks. I did this with a 7th grade class, but I think you can modify the activity to work with pretty much every grade level. It was also be a great event for a public library to host for children and adults.
Here is the procedure:
1. Greet the students as if they are visiting a restaurant. I wore an apron, made a sign, decorated
the tables, and played classical music.
I bought aprons for my paraprofessional and myself in our school color to wear during the lesson. During a visit to the local Dollar Tree I found balloon weights to use as centerpieces, "silver" platters to serve the books on, and oak tag to transform into placemats. My new best friend is the personal Scotch thermal laminator that I bought at Target for $20. You can find boxes of lamination pouches on Amazon at low prices. The Tolsby picture frames from IKEA are the perfect size for table signs. I listed the "Chef's Specials" (procedure for the lesson) on each to keep my students on task. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime there are thousands of songs and musical selections that you can stream for free.
2. Review the various genres of fictional there are in your library.
There are 9 different genres in my library: realistic fiction, historical fiction, romance, adventure, sports, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. Each novel has a genre sticker on the spine, except for realistic fiction. The students listed all 9 genres on their "menus" and explained which was their favorite and why.
3. The students "tasted" three books at their table.
The students had only 3 minutes to explore their books and to complete the graphic organizer. Ideally, the students should have 5 minutes. The online stopwatch website comes in handy to keep the students (and me!) on pace.
The last 3 procedures took place simultaneously.
4. The students checked their book out with either me or my paraprofessional.
5. The students wrote a short book recommendation on a padlet Padlet is a web tool that has been around for a while, but it is so simple to find new ways to use it. I created a padlet for each class today. Their English teacher can use this information when recommending to her students, and to better understand her students' literary preferences. Remind your students to only enter their first name for privacy so you can share your padet through social media.
6. Whenever I visit Lowe's or Home Depot I always take home a bunch of paint swatches. For this lesson, I directed my students to create a bookmark by writing 3 questions that they can reflect on while reading. They could develop their own or copy any of the 20 guided questions for fiction that I had put on the back of the placemat.
Overall, the lesson worked well. There are many ways to modify it depending on grade and abiity level. Here are some forms that you might find handy:
Chef's Specials "Agenda"
Guided Questions for Reading Fiction
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian
Bunhead With Duct Tape
PRAISE FOR "HACKING SCHOOL LIBRARIES"
"Hacking School Libraries is the practical book that I have been waiting for a teacher-librarian to publish! This is the book I will be recommending to school librarians who want constructive and attainable suggestions on how to not only transform their library space, but also their library practices and in turn, their school. The stories and ideas from Stony, Kristina, and other respected colleagues in the school library world spotlight tried-and-true practices that have transformed school library programs across the nation."
"I really like the quick reading style and the focus banners for each hack. This is a very useful guide for new school library professionals or those thirsting for easy, practical, and inexpensive ideas to revitalize their school libraries. My highest praise is that it's written by practitioners FOR practitioners."
The book is clear and understandable and helps put their "hacks" into perspective by introducing a problem and possible solution. I especially like the "What you can do tomorrow" section and even though I am not a new librarian, I plan to incorporate some of these ideas tomorrow!
"WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK IS THAT IT BREAKS EVERYTHING DOWN INTO MANAGEABLE SECTIONS. IN THOSE SECTIONS YOU ARE GIVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY! SUCH AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE ESPECIALLY AS MEDIA SPECIALISTS ARE ALWAYS STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT. THIS BOOK REALLY HELPS!" - CATHY CASTELLI
"THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR SEEING INTO WHAT WE ARE AND OUR MISSION! WELL WRITTEN AND GREAT IDEAS THAT SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS! I LOVE THIS RESOURCE!" - CAROL EVERHART CRITCHER
"THIS BOOK IS INVITING, WELL-ORGANIZED, AND CONTATINS IDEAS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? FROM THE SKETCHNOTE-LIKE ICONS ON THE COVER TO THE CLEAR TABLE OF CONTENTS, THIS INFORMATION IS ON THE RIGHT track for school librarians. no offense to phd candidates, but i'd rather read something that gives me quick usable ideas i can use right now than someone's research dissertation on learning commons model. i have students to help, teachers to collaborate with, and a million other things I am juggling and trying to keep in the air at the same time. - CHARITY S. HARBECK, School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Literacy Coach at Franklinton High School in Franklinton, NC
PRAISE FOR KRISTINA'S WORK
"I am super excited to learn about both high tech and low tech ways to promote literature.
I feel that over the years, I lost myself and my students with the primary focus always being on research. I want to go back to book talks and making library enjoyable (again).
Thank you for your inspiration!"
- Cara Lauber, library media specialist
"Kristina is a librarian's librarian!"
- Ali Schilpp, 2018 SLJ School Librarian of the Year
"Kristina is an engaging guest speaker who offers rich and varied approaches for participants to take part in and contribute. My graduate students leave the classroom feeling motivated, excited and ready to put their learning into practice in their own classrooms."
Dr. Karen Megay-Nespoli, Director of the Literacy and Cognition Graduate Program,
St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue
"i have followed kristina holzweiss on social media for many years. she's always on the cutting edge of the newest tools and activities in education. she was one of the first school librarians i saw who had her students using flipgrid, breakout edu, bloxels, and so many other great resources. i am awestruck by her ingenuity and her passion for helping students and educators thrive. i also appreciate her ideas for empathy and diversity." - tonya fletcher