Class visits are an amazing opportunity for the library to set the tone for kids’ experience with us. I view my outreach trips as an extremely valuable chance to give high energy interactive presentations about why the library is so awesome!
Generally my presentations happen in the school library to up to 3 grades, approximately 70 – 100 kids, at a time. The presentations are usually 45 minutes long, and have a major focus on interactivity, excitement, and visual cues. I do class visits to all grade levels, modifying the activities to suit the ages. Here are some activities I’ve incorporated into my visits:
It’s so simple, but so magical. I write a story about the library, and leave about 15 blanks for kids to fill in before we read the story. I flash a types of word (adjective, verb, sentence, animal, etc) needed on the screen, and kids raise their hands to make a suggestion. I read them the finished story, and without fail it results in hysterics!
For example, “All the kids from [name of school] were enjoying their summer vacation by [verb-ing] at the park, hanging out with their [adjective] friends, and obsessing over the newest book series: [unusual name] the [adjective] [animal]”
Could become, “All the kids from Fort Erie Public School were enjoying their summer vacation by dabbing at the park, hanging out with their fluffy friends, and obsessing over the newest book series: Smellypants the bloated chicken”
You can download and use my Mad Libs, but I would encourage librarians to try writing their own, and incorporate details that are specific to your library into the story! I also use Mad Libs as icebreakers for tween programs, and have included some of those below:
- Summer Reading Visit Mad Lib
- Summer Reading Mad Lib Presentation
- Sci Fi Mad Lib 1
- Suspence Mad Lib
- Class Visit Mad Lib Presentation
Personality tests are a great way to get kids personally invested and excited by your activity. To promote our summer robot club, I created a What Robot Are You quiz, and had volunteers from the audience come up and answer the questions. I made up personalities for each of our 4 main robots based on what skills they appeal to – Dash is interactive and friendly, Sphero is fast and adventurous, Ozobot is unconventional and creative, and Lego Mindstorms is constructive and mathematical. Every kid who did the test got a button with a picture of the robot they matched with. I’ve received feedback from teachers that they used the personality test in their classroom after the presentation to give every kid a turn.
I am planning secondary school outreach that involves everyone in the class taking a personality test, and resulting in book suggestions. It’s a quick easy way to hook teens into exciting book talks and book trailers.
I love using personality quizzes in the library – check out my post for more ideas: Personality Tests in the Library
This was a fun activity to get kids involved with Summer Reading Club promotion. I made a stop motion video using two 3D printed dragons. Then I asked for 2 volunteers from the audience – one to do the voices for each dragon. Everyone else in the audience got to do the sound effects. We practised roaring like dragons and making whooshing wing noises. Then we played the movie and made the sounds along with it. Tons of fun!
I usually have a playlist of 3D printing time-lapses running on the screen as kids come into the presentation – it gives them something to focus on, and captures their imaginations right away. Here’s a time-lapse we made at the library, but there are lots of cool ones out there.
I always have a game planned for the end of the presentation – it leaves things off on a very buzzy and happy note, and it’s super effective to say “If I can make it through the entire presentation, we get to play a game” aka “Listen up!” Trivia based games work very well for this type of large presentation since everyone can stay seated as they are. I have done a superhero trivia to promote our Superhero Party – I flashed a picture of the superhero and list off a few little facts about them. Kids had to raise their hands and name the hero – if they got it right they won a button. Most recently I did “The Emoji Challenge.” I put a combination of emojis on the screen and kids had to decipher the code to name the movie or book title.
Kids who are chosen and whop have the right answer get to come to the front and choose a button prize. Speaking of buttons…
Button Maker Outreach
I love taking the button maker to secondary schools to show and talk to teens about what they can do at the library. I set up in the high school’s library or other busy area during lunch with the button maker, pre-printed button images, and posters and flyers promoting our upcoming events. This has also been an effective way to recruit volunteers and promote the teen summer reading challenges. This would also be great in a middle school.
What are your class visit outreach secrets?