Book and Build
I love having time in my school library schedule for flexible enrichment workshops. It is hard to protect that time in the schedule, but those are some of my favorite activities. Like anyone else in a school, I wish I had more time for genuine collaboration with other teachers, but for now, my solution has been to offer some time windows and general activity descriptions, and classroom teachers sign up to bring their classes at those times. We are co-teaching without a lot of pre-planning, and I get to work with students for longer blocks of time than the regular library schedule allows.
Recently, I had a conference with a professor in my school library education program, and I described this part of my enrichment process to her. She thought Book and Build was a great name to use for a read-aloud book followed by a makerspace activity, so I'm sharing the idea here.
Although we have done others, my most recent Book and Build sessions have been with kindergarten and third grade classes. With kindergarten students, we read the story Box Meets Circle, which has a great lesson about finding ways to work together. It was a good way to have discussions about combining ideas instead of insisting on one way of doing things. In the story, Box wants to sit and Circle wants to bounce. For our Build activity, we wanted to give Box a bigger dream, so we wondered what else Box could become. In this kindergarten class, Box became a computer, a unicorn, a fire engine, a super hero, and more. Students had limited time and materials before they shared their new versions of Box with the rest of the group.
I love how you can see their engagement and confidence in the photos, and how they continue to be more comfortable with the engineering design process.
My recent Book and Build with third grade began with Chris Van Dusen's If I Built a School. The read-aloud itself was full of fun speculation and opportunities to notice details in the illustrations. The Build activity only included minimal materials - all consumable, nothing fancy - and students collaborated in small groups to develop and share an idea to make school even better.
Again, their confidence and engagement are evident in the pictures. Although two teachers were facilitating and supporting groups as needed, the students took the lead to solve the problem, communicate with each other, and present a solution with limited materials and time.
Our school is fortunate to have coding materials and technology, and those resources offer some great connections to read-alouds, too. Book and Build is a flexible model for connecting literature to problem-solving, and for incorporating manageable makerspace opportunities into students' learning.
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I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of students and families in IA, CT, NC, MO, TX, and Canada. I love being a teacher-librarian!