Recently I saw a pin on Pinterest for a "Blind date with a book" and I loved the idea of kids picking a book and being surprised by their choice. The only thing is that I teach at an elementary school, so I didn't think dating would go over well with my little guys. I thought about it and thought about it until I had a brilliant idea! I would pull book-alike books from my shelf that were similar to books I get asked about all the time, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Wonder, Magic Treehouse, Dork Diaries, and Junie B. Jones. Then I would put a heart-shaped tag on each of them that says "If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, then you'll LOVE this book!"; it was brilliant! Next I had to figure out a system to check the books out to the students, but the catch was I wanted them to have to leave the library with their book wrapped. This would eliminate them unwrapping the book and immediately changing their mind, as well as stir up interest from the other students in their class. So, I created a spreadsheet that assigned each book a number that I put on the book's tag as well as recorded the barcode of the book (thank God for scanners!) for check-out purposes. The students tell the circulation desk attendant the number of their book and their lunch number so it can be checked out to them after they leave the library. Today I discovered that I needed more book-alike types and added fairy tales, Rainbow Fairy series, sports, animals, and teacher faves.
This morning I announced the surprise book project on our morning announcements, and the response was overwhelming! Before I could get a picture of my cute wrapped books on my library shelves, students were grabbing them up and taking them away! I even convinced a group of fifth grade boys to walk away from the technology and choose a wrapped book to take to class.
I loved hearing students saying to each other: "I can't wait to unwrap it!" "I wonder what book I got!" "I think mine and yours are the same. They are exactly the same size!" "That's our timer! Let's go back to class and unwrap our books!"
There was some confusion, as I had to repeatedly answer the questions "Which one of these wrapped books is the green Wimpy Kid book?" (answer: none, they are all similar, but none were the actual book.) and "Do I get to keep this book?" (answer: I will check it out to you, but you have to return it just like a regular library book.). But mostly the excitement over the mystery of a wrapped book was contagious and brought a smile to my face and the faces of my teachers and students all day! I just hope I can keep up with the demand for the rest of the week!
Book Lovers Rule the school!!