Once or twice a year I visit the entire sixth grade at the middle school (approximately 200 kids). I try to go around Dec/Jan and in late May/June for summer reading. This is how I generally plan for this mammoth school visit.
- Go through slideshows of new books, lists from previous visits, new items still in processing and browse the shelves to choose approximately 50 books.
- Put together a list and slideshow for the other staff (when kids come in to ask for the books) and for the school librarian (she also hands it out to teachers).
- As I check out the items and load them into my milk crate and collapsible dolly, I put together a mental booktalk for each title.
- Put together publicity, flyers, and other handouts to take to the school.
- I start each presentation with a quick introduction, talk about upcoming programs, then the kids get to pick what books I will booktalk and I finish with a few minutes for them to come up and look and touch.
- I see 3 groups of 2 classes each in the library and one full team (about 100 kids) in their pod. I have 30 minutes with each small group, 20 minutes for the pod. First group at 8, pod at 9, second group at 10, third group at 12. Some classes can stay longer and then we chat about the books and programs.
This is how it really works:
- Put together stacks of books. While packing them and getting ready to make the list, kid vomits all over the children's area and then I get stuck with someone's inane computer questions. Decide to make the list later. Hope that booktalks for some of the titles I am not sure on will magically appear.
- Leave late. Realize I am out of gas. Have 5 minutes to set up for first group. They are sleepy. I am sleepy.
- Repack and trundle books downstairs to the pod. Set up. Hang out for 30 minutes. Realize I'm on the wrong side of the pod (due to yesterday's craziness I didn't bring my schedule). Teacher and kids help carry the tables with books to the other side, everything is a little out of whack. One class stays behind to help me repack (and get a longer look at the books)
- Trundle everything back upstairs. Get display into the original order I had planned, with sections for each group of books. Hope no teachers are upset by my book of roadkill poetry.
- Run back to the library for more flyers and handouts, get gas, drop flyers off at high school, back to the middle school for last presentation.
- Depart with the enthusiasm of sixth graders and teachers and their awesome librarian ringing in my ears.