Main Curriculum Tie:
From the first day of classes, when kids ask where an informational book is - say "in number _____" and then guide them there.
Begin preparing for actual game weeks well in advance. Each section takes about 20 minutes, but can be extended to fit your schedule. 15 minutes is the least amount of time that works well. I find that long dry spell between Winter and Spring break is the best time hold this competition.
Note: If you wish, contact community businesses for a gift for your top classes of each grade and prepare certificates. (Consider Burger King or McDonald coupons for top class, book marks for second place and lollipops for 3rd.) Make a certificate of some kind for each class - Most Enthusiastic, Most Improved, Best Teamwork, etc. - something for the class to have in their room. Plan bulletin board which will have a picture of the DDC Champions for school year ... you may want to leave this up somewhere and add to it each year.
Begin with "when you ask me, where are the drawing books?" And I say: "in 743." What do I mean? What is 743?"
Explain why they need to know this both as the basis of game and future usage.
Discuss what libraries were like before Dewey:
Ask "Do you see what's happening? (Hold arms outspread wide and narrow with each statement) "I went from a very wide group and made it narrower and narrower. I can even go domestic animals that are dogs that are working dogs that were born in the US that were born in (your state) that were born in (your county) that were born in (your city) on (school's street or teacher's) on Thursday at 7:30 AM ... if I wanted to." (By this time, fingers are micro-distance apart.)
* Point out: "Here is the decimal part of the Dewey Decimal System."
Talk about how elementary schools rarely go past 2 digits; mid/high school usually about 4. In colleges, they use a different system, but the idea is the same. Tell them that they only have to work with the major categories for this game. (I usually tell them "Say Thank you (your name)" here with a big smile. (They do with great relief.) Point out this only applies to non-fiction books. During the game, you MIGHT throw in a FIC book just as a trick question. If you do, preface the title with some sort of clue like "OK, Smarties" or "Be careful here" and make certain itís a title you KNOW they have read.
Prepare: a copy of the Dewey Decimal handout for each child and one for the teacher to hang in her room. Go over the handout. Tell them to make notes in each section of what might be in there and give them ideas of what is in each group.
Explain what "Philology" is.
This first week is the hardest week because it's when you have to get the basics down. Use only 000-500 titles. Use kitchen timer set for desired time - 15 to 20 minutes
In advance --
Each team stands in the front of the room with their Dewey Decimal handouts (cheat sheets). When a title is called, they must talk among themselves until a group decision is made and then call out the Dewey number they believe the book belongs in. Give one point for each correct answer, but take away one point for each wrong answer. Since the group could end up with a minus score, this encourages them to act as a team and discuss it. Give each team about 10 seconds to come up with the title and always ask if the answer is a group decision. I usually give them 2 opportunities to get the correct answer. If they don't get it right, then I ask the class to help them out for no points.
Important: Take a point away if you hear someone in the audience answer, see someone signaling or if the team starts "name calling" or not acting like a team. Encourage "Atta boy!" talk - team spirit.
Let each team stay in front until they get one right answer for each team member. If there are 4 team mates, they have to get 4 correct answers. The teams can get up as many times as they can during the time limit you have set. At the end of the time, count up the rights and wrongs and subtract one from the other. Keep a running tally of the score each week.
Same as week 3 using only 500 to 900. Class is usually ready and raring to go this week. Let them!
Same as weeks 3 and 4 using 000 to 900. Add a few new ones just for variety.
Sometimes classes really want to do one more week. If they are that excited about dull old Dewey, extend the game if your schedule allows,
Announce winners. Present awards in the library or at a school wide ceremony. Be sure winners are announced in school paper.
Most important of all ... have fun with the game, get the teachers involved in their classrooms and let the kids explore!
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