With the holidays approaching, I find many of my students slacking off with their study habits. In other words, they have caught a bad case of “end-of-semester-itis.” A nasty, dreadful disease sweeping the nation, and one I hope to cure.
Winter break is still a few weeks away, but many students have overdue books and have scarcely darkened my doorway since Thanksgiving Break. I wanted to put the FUN back into READING (ok, so it wasn’t actually there in the first place…still you get my drift) and encourage students to continue reading for pleasure despite the upcoming holidays and end-of-semester-itis.
It began with a dream of a golden ticket. Really, I was watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If golden tickets could be found in chocolate bars and have the entire world in an uproar, why couldn’t I do that with books? I could. And I did. Except mine are Hidden Treasures. Approximately 50 golden treasure tickets were hidden in chapter books throughout my library. Every student second through sixth grade is eligible to win IF they accomplish every task on the ticket.
I chose a variety of books in which to hide the tickets. Some were aged books that hadn’t seen the light of a child’s face in a while. Some were new books that circulate constantly. Some books were seasonal; some were on display stands. All were fiction chapter books (I plan to do nonfiction some other time).
I keep a stash of “bruised books” I purchase from Scholastic Resource Catalog using money I have raised from book fairs. These books are also given away to all students during our One Child, One Book program in May. If a student completes the tasks as described on the ticket, they will get to choose a book from my stash to keep!
Another game I have started specifically for fifth and sixth grade is Book Bingo. I checked circulation statistics and AR testing records and noticed that these two grade levels seem to be suffering the most with end-of-semester-itis. Book Bingo works like any other Bingo game, except students can choose their path to winning! A simple straight Bingo will earn the student a secret message bracelet. If a student chooses to blackout bingo (fill in EVERY space), they will win a book from my stash.
In order to keep students from playing the system instead of playing the game, I did implement some extra rules. For example, once a student Bingo’s and turns in their card, they may not get another one. Students cannot count one book for two spaces; a fairy tale written by a female author cannot be counted on both of those spaces.
This game will continue until our winter break, which in total will be three weeks from start to finish.
I began the Hidden Treasure game in just fiction books, and I am hoping students playing Book Bingo will be encouraged to explore our nonfiction section, too!
I have seen various other library games and hope to implement more for the next round of end-of-semester-itis in May…and probably before spring-break-itis! For more gaming and end-of-semester-itis cures, check out my Pinterest board.
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.