Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hunger Games Experiment

My school's teacher-librarian and I were discussing the popularity of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and came up with an idea to get more students reading. Ms. Jandric, our T-L, has been getting many requests (and fights!) for the book; her two library copies are in constant demand. Students also gravitate to the library and librarian to discuss their thoughts about the trilogy and predictions about the movie. This is a pattern I love to see, ever shifting as new books trend among teenagers. As she does with any popular book or book-based movie release, a themed display goes up, the book is pushed out, conversations started (impromptu book clubs gathered around the circulation desk), and sometimes a special event is planned for the library. Our "learning commons" is a dynamic place, the best of research-driven library practice combined with caring, personalized attention to students through conversation, literacy, and digital media. The library has become a place that students naturally associate with discourse, support for their aspirations and challenges to their thinking. It is one of the few places where multi-age, cross-curricular learning takes place without being staged or contrived. Wrote about that already.

So here's our idea.  Our librarian bought five copies last night, and she has affixed a sticker to the front that reads: "This is a travelling book. Read quick. Pass it on. Tweet your thoughts with hashtag #hgdpts. Return to DPTS library by June 11, 2012."

What will happen? These books do not have barcodes, and may or may not come back, so it will be interesting to see how the honour system works. How many students will get involved, how many times will these books be read between now and June? What (if anything) will they have to say about it on twitter? We've had some great school-wide discussions about twitter recently, so this might be one of those things that gets students thinking about positive uses of social media. Anyone else have cool ideas about leveraging social media for literacy? Could this work with an ebook? The principal predicts that none will come back, the librarian predicts 3 (but will be happy with 2), I'm going with 4, yet we're all interested to see how this $45 experiment will turn out.

Please let us know here with a comment, by email, or in person, if other teacher-librarians try something like this with Hunger Games or any other book.

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