Introduction to Dewey - Where do they live?
This lesson is designed to be used with students who are first being introduced to the Dewey Decimal System of classification for non-fiction books. It should be used after students have an understanding of the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
Larger signs that name each hundred as a town. Names should apply to the content. Ex: 600s could be Technology Town - population 639
Sturdy paper cut-outs in the general shape of a house, large enough to see at a distance. Each house should have an address printed on it.
Ex: 636 Dog Drive or 612 Body Boulevard
1. As a class the students will sit in the non-fiction area that has been clearly defined to them. They will be reminded that non-fiction books are informational resources with true facts in them.
2. Excitedly ask the class if they know how the numbers get on the books call number sticker.
3. Tell them about the Dewey Decimal System (DDS) and a bit about before it was used and the way books were arranged and found.
4. Ask them to think of their own address and turn and whisper it to their neighbor. Then ask anyone with a very descriptive street name to share the name and, if known, how the street got that name. If the reason is not known, have the class brainstorm ways the street could have gotten that name, for example Cherry Tree Lane having cherry trees along, behind, or above it.
5. Tell the students that the DDS is broken into the hundreds and that you are going to begin an exciting journey learning about those numbers by taking a trip through the hundreds towns.
6. Walk around your non-fiction section placing the Town Signs on the shelving, reading each one. Point out that each town has a population such as Technology Town - pop. 639 (because it is the 600s).
7. Next tell the students that they will each get the chance to place one (or two) houses in the town they belong by matching the address on their house to the town name, population, and/or any signage that already exists in your library media center.
8. Choose a rather attentive and previously successful child to go first, but ask them if they mind going first. Then just go around the group in order of the way they are sitting. My students are at tables, surrounded by a U of non-fiction books which lends itself perfectly to just go on to the next table.
9. Remind the student looking that they can get help if needed and also remind the spectators of their responsibilites, that help is only help if you want it and that it is always hardest when it is your turn! Try to give the struggling students numbers that are more obvious, close to them or have been done just a few seconds ago. Give the more confident students the first used number. Always remember to read all of the house numbers out loud. Second graders are reading at such a wide range of levels, it gives more confidence instantly, especially since, to make the activity most meaningful, some semi-technical terms will be used.
Students will be assessed at the time of their activity. Successfully placing their house in the correct hundred shows that they were listening, following directions and grasping the concept of the lesson.
Furthermore, watching students choose non-fiction books directly after this lesson will show you how much they absorbed because of the way they look with newly educated eyes.