Monday, October 3, 2016

Challenge Tubs and Skill Tubs

In my last post I talked about the kids coming to the library during their center time from their classrooms.  We worked with their teachers to kinda set some rules about what they should be doing. We want them to always have the option of checking out a book.  However sometimes they don't need a new one yet and we want them to have the freedom of using the centers in the library.  We call them Cozy Corners but this year we added many things.  We wanted some specific skills that the students can work on that go along with what they are doing in class.  To start this I attend all the grade level planning meetings to find out how we can help and what we can do to extend their skills in the library.  That is how our Skills Tubs were born.

We started with the basic retelling of a story with First Grade and rhyming words with Kindergarten.   We have many props and felt board pieces that can be used for retelling a story.  My aide, Becca is also a genius at making things from nothing.  If I come up with a big idea she can make it happen.
For instance imagine making patterns in math.  She came up with making a tree out of pipe cleaners and using colored beads for the kids to make patterns on the branches.  We also include "Challenge Yourself" cards in as many of the boxes as we can.

Skill Tubs have "Challenge Yourself" cards in them

We put the items in a clear plastic size shoe box, which is what we use for all of our tubs in the library.  We found a perfect spot on the bottom of the Easy section.  That little wasted space is no longer wasted.  We marked the boxes with the grade and Skill tub and bam you have a perfect skill tub.  When we are ready to rotate them out we just take the skill tub tag off and reuse the parts for something else or let the teachers use them in their classrooms.

Using the bottom shelves to store these

Sensory tubs are also a big deal in our library and you would be shocked to know that the 5th graders love them just as much and the Kindergartners do.  If you want to learn more about them you can read the blog post from last year here. 

These are just a few that are in the works.

Our Challenge Lab is new this year.  I have continued to struggle with running a good makerspace area where I felt the kids were really learning?  I've spent plenty of money on building things like Magnatiles, K'Nex and of course legos.  I always let the kids "play" with them but I thought maybe there needed to be some more structure or direction.  That is where the idea of a Challenge Lab came from.  Our gifted and talented teacher is doing challenges in here classroom for the entire school every week and I realized I could build off of this concept and really transform my makerspace area.

We still have a green screen wall that can be used but we also have one in another room in the building.  We have 4 different areas in there (as soon as our new bookshelves get here we will.) We will have the Challenge Tub area, the Build area, the Can you Make area, and the Electronic area.

The Challenge tubs will challenge the kids to build things with the materials provided. Each tub has a ring of pictures for them to look at and try to build.  This is where the challenge part comes in.  Everybody can build a tall tower,  but try building a 3-D object or a trap.  We have tubs with a deck or cards, unifix cubes, dixie cups, popsicle sticks and other things. There are also math challenge tubs included. 

Challenge tub cards

The Build tubs have building materials like lego's, K'NEX, Magnatiles, Straw Connectors and other building blocks. These can be used to build the same structures we have in the Challenge tubs or just free building.

The Can you Make tubs have things like sewing, bookmarks, greeting cards, weaving, rainbow loom and origami.

The electronic things are all of our robot and coding things.  

I hope you get some great ideas from this or just see what our kids are doing.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your presentation at Lib2tell yesterday. I wasn't able to access the link to your presentation during the session. I would really appreciate being able to access it for future reference. My email address is

    Thank you!

    Marty DeVarennes
    Librarian-Amos Elementary