Monday, June 25, 2012

Gamifying Dewey

Yeah! Using manipulatives, technology, and their brains, my fourth graders investigated Dewey categories, made their argument for when they disagreed with the system, and had fun.

Step 1: Investigate Categories

I set the students loose in the 500s, 600s, 700s, and 900s, the sections with the most books and the most nonfiction circulations. Working in groups, they selected a variety of books on different topics from their assigned 100s ... and then tried to figure out just what their category was. We entered some of the topics into Wordle for visual hints.

Step 2:  Assign Categories to Topics

The next week, we reversed the process. Each table received a stack of cards* with information like "You want to find crafts to make at your birthday party" and "You want to find a map of Japan." Students worked together to figure out where they'd go to find the information and paste them into the correct column of their "gameboard."

There were some heated discussions. Where would cats go versus tigers and lions? What about the history of dinosaurs? Even if students didn't put a card in the right column, they got credit for having a good reason for choosing the one they selected. We don't all think the same way as Melvil Dewey!

Step 3: Review and Learn the Rest 

The final week of the unit, students played a variety of games to test their knowledge and stretch to learn more 100s categories. The name the numbers game, pictured below, was scored and timed, which spurred the kids to try and beat other people's scores. One student came back the following week and asked if he could try and make up for his "epic fail" the time before. Another student remarked, "If you're going to fail, you might as well do it epically." I am happy to say that T. blew away everyone else's stats his second time around. I wonder if he was practicing at home??
Review Quiz


Matching Books to 100s - Easy
Matching Books to 100s - Medium
MatchingBooks to 100s - Hard

Name the numbers

Multiple Choice

* Sources: Anne Oelke via LMNet for the cards in Step 2 and for some of the links in Step 3.

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