Monday, February 25, 2008

look it up, god damnit!

every month my assistant and i are expected to create a calendar of daily programs for the children. often we have no idea what we will do, so we wind up making up some non-descript program name, and then we immediately move on and forget about it. for instance, last month when creating the february calendar we had a conversation that went like this:
assistant: let's do something about words
me: ok
assistant: i saw some kids show on pbs about words and it was really good
me: what was it called?
assistant: i don't know, something catchy like "word up," but it wasn't called that. it was called something else.
me: i'll put Word Up on the calendar and we'll figure it out later.
and that my dear blog readers is how amazing library programs are made. so today we had Word Up, which my assistant and i had failed to plan until about 3 pm today. the planning went something like this:
assistant: what are we doing today miss dewey decimal?
me: today is Word Up
assistant: oh man, we forgot to plan that
me: yeah, i know
assistant: i wish we could do something that teaches them how to use a dictionary. these kids can't look up anything, it's pathetic
this is very true. whenever the kids annoy me, asking me for the definition of a word, i always make them look it up (my mom did this to me and it was very irritating at the time, but now i am a better person for it). anyway, it takes them years to find anything in the dictionary.
me: (having stroke of genius) how about we have dictionary races! i'll give them a word and they can see who can look it up fastest!
and that is what we did. we had 8 kids, each with their own dictionary, racing to look up words like: sterilize, reign, convince, agreement, etc. and when they found the word they would read the definition aloud. you would think this might be a lame activity, but man do these kids like to compete at stuff. they will truly compete at anything. anything. so i printed up 25 words on separate pieces of paper and when i held each one up the kids would flip through the dictionary like mad trying to find the word first. there was one girl who was really good, she won so many rounds i eventually had to let the kids compete for second place each round. then there were two kids who were pretty good. but the other 5 were terrible. they barely understood the concept of alphabetical order. and the kid who hates hoboes barely even tried. apparently he hates the lexicon as well as hoboes.
anyway, the two top winners got star pins that light up. ooooh, exciting.
afterwards several kids said they felt like they got better at looking up stuff. so i think it was a very successful program and we may do it again in the future. what is the moral of the story?
1. i am a friggin' genius. i totally rule.
2. the dictionary is your friend


Her Mother said...

What a fab idea--- you really are EXCEPTIONAL. perhaps you got your love of the dictionary from your mother. Men come and go, but, the dictionary can always keep me warm!!!

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

my dictionary has yet to keep me warm. maybe i'm not using it right?

*Bitch Cakes* said...

oooh how fun! I think you should keep this in rotation. Those kids need you and your genius games, Ms Dewey Decimal!

Librarian4Change said...

This post is a classic.