Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Library: Getting them to discover

We have a lot of story books in our library. We have also made a conscious choice of stocking our library with content heavy books on Science, Geography, Math and History . However, most of our students do not read these content heavy books naturally. One reason for the creation of the library was to make students take responsibility for their own learning by providing them an avenue where resources are available. We brainstormed quite a lot about how do we get our students to extract information out of them. We came up with projects.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have started giving them mini-projects. Projects are synonymous with fancy charts, art, glitter and models. Since I am a lazy geek, my projects are less of an exercise in display and more of an exercise in finding out information. My objectives - They realize that they should come to the library, find out the relevant shelf and then browse through the books.

Project 1 - Find out and draw (optional) means of transport.
Result - The childcraft books on science and technology were opened. I saw many versions of the rocket.

Project 2 - Find out names of the countries starting with each letter of the alphabet. Also write capitals.
Result - They know what an atlas is. Globe has been rotated continuously for the past week. They know at least some countries now. I gave a mental fist-pump when I walked into class and 40 agitated and worried kids complained about not finding any country with W or X. We had a discussion about why West Indies is not a country.

Project 3 - Find out any 5 rulers of India before 1857.
Result - All our new Illustrated History books were opened. We had a discussion on why I wasn't going to accept Ram, Krishna and the like. They learnt the word mythology.

Project 4 - Find out the names of 8 bones in the human body.
Result - I announced it today so I'll have to wait and see the effects of it.

Your ideas on this are highly appreciated. And once again, if you are interested in buying books for the library, check out my wishlist on flipkart.

On a separate note, Anurag Behar provides the best reading material on Indian education that I have discovered. Considering all the narrow-minded articles and opinions that I have heard and seen recently, his recent article resonates a lot and makes me want to write more. It's just that it's difficult for me to write if it's not an experience but a general opinion or argument. Education is such a complex issue that it's hard to isolate one factor and analyze it completely. I remain hopeful though. 


The Illuminator said...

It so happened that I never touched the history or science books of Childcraft either!! One book that I vividly remember is the one on the animal kingdom. You could get them to the book by asking "What are the different types of animals?" They will be surprised to know whale are mammals!

Reisender said...

I didn't know what Childcraft was until an year ago. And we have taught them that whales are mammals (as are dolphins). There are books on each of them in the library. However, if they know what are mammals is pretty doubtful.