The beginning of the school year means that it’s time for class visits! During the Summer I got to do a few School Visits at the local Head Start. Those were simple and fun. Two pre-school summer classes only equaled about 25 kids, plus their teachers. I picked up a lot of good tricks from one of the Head Start teachers who was excellent. I felt like I should take a class from her on child development. School visits are fun because you get out of the library and bring it to the kids. With younger kids, though, its sometimes hard for them to connect the physical place of the library with you as the representative if they haven’t been there. For the older kids, though, if you can get them jazzed enough, they’ll no doubt bug their parents until they get to go to the library. Or at least bug their teacher to take them back.
Enter the Class Visit. So far, I’ve done two 3rd grade class visits. These consist of a storytime and a tour of the library. In the Storytime, I like to talk about some of the rules of the library and share with them different types of stories. I had them tell me the story of the three little pigs while I put up the flannel pieces to go along with their story. Then I read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs which is one of my all-time favorites. Then I shared with them a participation story, How Chipmunk Got His Stripes. The kids always crack up when I make them speak in squirrelese, which is really high pitched English and they have to battle against the deep voiced bears. I wasn’t sure how it would go over, if they would think its too baby, but I decided to try out a Draw-And-Tell about a boy who bakes a banana pie and it turns out he’s a monkey. The kids LOVED it. Some of them caught on about the monkey schtick, but many of them were so absorbed in the story and watching me draw that they didn’t see the whole picture. I feel like there’s a study in there somewhere.
The tour needs work from my vantage. I was beat! I followed the path of my colleague and used many of her key points since she does such a fabulous job, but I had a hard time getting the kids to give me personal space and to stay quiet in the library. I know that each class is different and the second class I had was especially difficult to control because it was 2 classes and about 60 kids plus their parents, but by the time we toured the adult section and got back to the kids area, I was pooped and they just wanted to have fun and look at books. My problem probably is that I couldn’t spent the whole tour time just in the Children’s Room and not even touched the rest of the library. I guess I have to figure out what my priorities are and what my limitations are.
Another class visit I got to do last week was with a local pre-school. They got a storytime filled with library tips from books such as Lola Loves Stories and Read It, Don’t Eat It and then a nice short tour around the Children’s Room. This tour went splendidly. I picked out the non-fiction areas that would interest them most, like Fairy Tales, Planets, Dinosaurs, and Animals, and then showed them where their picture books were. So simple. They must have enjoyed themselves because they sent me this great Thank You card!
I have another 4th grade class and pre-school to host this month, so let’s hope they go as successfully as the previous ones have.
Class and School visits are one of my favorite things to do as a Children’s Librarian. The kids are a captive audience who are just happy to be out of school and are willing to be excited. I love it when they race each other to their favorite areas and discover just what the library has to offer them.