Sunday, February 16, 2014

Love in the library ...

Valentines day fell into last weeks calendar, and like many of you we participated in speed dating through the week. I had done this at my previous school on a small scale with just one teacher and her classes, however this was going to be on a much grander scale! A couple of weeks prior we invited all the english teachers to sign their classes up for a session via a schedule on google doc. Most did and were really looking forward to the time. Any who missed out came to us wanting to find a time, especially after hearing from the other teachers how much fun it was.

As the days of dating approached, I created an instructional video to ensure every class received the same information and message. (After one does these things for the 10th time, instructions do get forgotten or presumed knowledge). We also had just received a huge shipment of over 700 new books which would make up the core of the preselected 'dates'.

As the classes moved into the library space I played a love song "Love is in the air" By John Paul Young with the youtube clip from Strictly Ballroom and encouraged them to move to the music... We had a bit of a chat about the age of the song,  the movie it was rejuvenated through and anything else about love they came up with.

At the end of the chat I showed the instructional video, to get them into the mood of love.

We then launched into the speed dating which they thoroughly enjoyed. I used an online countdown time and had love songs playing through the 3 minutes as background music, I stopped the music when the minute was up and it was time to move to another table.

It was interesting across the year groups the different reactions. Year 7's were very excited and took more than one date home, year 8 & 9 more cautious about the preselected books and were more prepared to be given a blind date, year 10 were too cool to show excitement, and year 11 were very happy to be full participants, even throwing in some innuendos about how much experience their book date has by looking at the date due slips. After they had their relationship solemnised by borrowing it, the students had the opportunity to get the know their date better by reading for 20 minutes. Some chose to exchange - "it just isn't working", 'it isn't them, its me", "I need something a little more exciting" and we managed to fix them up with  date they were happy to work on developing a relationship with.

The teachers also enjoyed it, with some taking away the idea of speed dating to apply to different activities in the classroom to help with their teaching.

We still have 2 more very full days of speed dating to go, but it has been a success with exposing students to books they may not normally have picked off the shelves to read, it has created a bit of buzz about reading especially in the older year levels with over 1500 books for 700 students borrowed over the 5 days. Students have already come back looking for more 'by the same author' or 'similar books to this', and the best thing is it has led to teachers wanting more input from the library staff for their classes.

Something else we did was ask the teachers what their favourite books were as a teenager, and set it up as a display as the students walked in. This generated some interest and students were invited to participate by placing their own hearts with favourite books on the boards.

We also had a morning tea for staff with chocolates and strawberries and a selection of books applicable to their department on display ... a short animoto is here about the morning tea ...

Even though we haven't quite finished (with 30 classes to get through it does take a bit of time), it has been a success, and we will repeat it next year, and hopefully we have a bit more lead time as the Chinese New Year holiday will not be at the same time.


Scott Cameron said...

Wow that is such a great idea! And I'm glad that the teachers..and most of the students jumped on board with it!

As a kid I always loved sci-fi books, and would love to collaborate my class with the library to do a speed dating sci-fi book only (as it would connect to my science class loosely)

Dianne said...

Hi Scott,
Talk to your teacher or school librarian - I am sure they would be delighted to help you find enough titles to do this for your classes!

You could even follow up to have discussions on whether the science in the science is probable, possible or just downright fantasy based on scientific concepts that the students could research or already know about ... oh what what fun could be had!

I think I will take that idea to our science department for some MYP fun in the final term ....


Stephen said...

Love it! This is a great idea to get discussion going.