Games – Dewey Decimal System and Shelf Order

My students are like most students – they love to play games. As librarian, I love to have them play games that help teach library skills. I have served as a school librarian for many years so some of my games come from old books.
KnowTheSystemFun-Brarian: Games, Activities, & Ideas to Liven Up Your Library! (an affiliate link) is one of those books. In helping my fourth graders learn the Dewey Decimal System, we played “Know the System” taken from Fun-Brarian. This is a charades-type game. The teams are given a topic along with it’s classification number. The team then acts it out and the other teams have to guess what they are acting out and then which 100’s classification the topic belongs to. I allow the students to use a “cheat sheet” taken from the book as well as my Dewey posters on the wall. The students aren’t always the best at conveying their topic but their classmates usually guess the correct classification with a little help.


Another of my favorite oldies books is Teaching Library Skills in Grades K Through 6: A How to Do It Manual (How to Do It Manuals for Librarians) (affiliate link). My third graders are learning about proper placement of books on the shelves. We play Fiction Book Relay to help them learn how to find call letters.  I have sets of these slips in three different colors. Before class, I plant the slips in books making a scavenger hunt. For example a player on a team may start with the slip F – CLE in a book with that call letter they will find another red slip with a different call letter, say F WIL. The next player has to find the red slip in a book with that call letter. The teams continue in relay format until they get the slip that states “Congratulations! Your team has found all the Spine Labels. Now put them in Alphabetical Order. I keep an “answer sheet” so that I can find the slips if the students jump out of order or just look for their color rather than the correct call letters. I find this game really does help the students learn about placement on the shelves – the “C” labels are near the beginning of the fiction. It also helps me know that they can place books in the proper shelf order.

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What are some library skills games you like to play with your students?