Special activities and programs in the library can often be great times for advocacy. Recently, our library hosted breakout sessions in preparation for Hour of Code. These sessions took place during our celebration of National Game and Puzzle Month. I always try to send out an email blast to our administrators and school board members inviting them to attend our programs. Not only does this demonstrate our active school library, but it also shows students’ excitement for our activities, programs, and lessons.
BreakoutEDU Sessions are short learning sessions in which students work in small groups to “break” into a box locked with multiple combination locks. Students solve a series of puzzles and/or riddles to get the combination to each lock. BreakoutEDU has kits prepared with the back stories, clues, boxes, and locks. To fit our needs, we put together our own boxes and created our own clues. Each clue centered around a component of computer science and coding.
In our sessions, our principal had baked cookies for the students and locked them inside the boxes. Students used a set of computer science and coding clues to solve each lock. For the directional lock, our students used the binary alphabet to solve the code for the directions. The numerical combination lock code was solved by utilizing an infographic for the steps to boot-up a computer. The key to the last lock was hidden around the library. Students utilized our card catalog online to identify a book that described the job of a computer program engineer. The clue stated that a book held the key. Inside the book was a Post-It note containing the location of each group’s key.
Turning It into Advocacy
We invited our administration to attend the sessions. After our principal observed our lesson and what our students were learning, she invited us to present at the school board meeting that evening. It was an amazing avenue for advocacy of our program and to demonstrate use of technology in the library!
After the school board meeting, many members of the board stopped to speak with Denise Hogan, our computer lab instructor, and me about our program. All in all, by taking a few minutes to share and advocate for our students and their school library program, our school board is now more aware of students’ success through active and engaging school library programs.
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.