After hearing about Breakout Edu at ISTE this summer I knew I had found my library orientation. I am opening a new STEAM middle school in my district this year and the library is set up by genre, which is very different than the libraries at the school my students would be coming from. My goals for the orientation breakout edu were:
- I wanted the students to explore the catalog (Destiny)
- I wanted the students to explore the genre fiction section and the non-fiction section
- It had to take under 20 minutes to crack the locks
I had not ordered a Breakout Edu kit from the website so I had to gather the materials myself. I found luck at Home Depot for most of the locks, the Dollar Tree store for the box and puzzle and Amazon for the rest.
I started by searching the breakouts on the BreakoutEDU website and I found one called Locked In The Library by Melanie Thompson (@22MThompson). She had some great clues for books, but I needed my breakout to be more specific to my library. I took a few of her clues (she has a gift for rhyming!) and I then created my own path to the clues.
I had 4 teams (to open 4 locks) and I gave each team an envelope with the first clue in it. I set the game up by reading a letter left to me by the Ghosts of Duluth Schools past. At the opening of our school, the namesake of our school made a big deal about how our school sits on a site where there has been a school since the early 1900’s so I took this idea and ran with it.
See the Letter here.
I then told the students that had 20 minutes to figure out the clues – and that the first clue would be found by going on the Destiny catalog.
Here is the link to my set up page – how I set up each clue. Many of the book clues came from Melanie Thompson’s breakout so use the link above to get to those.
What I learned
I wish I had done five locks instead of four, it would have made my groups much smaller since I have some large classes in some grades.
Most of the groups finished in 15 minutes but there were a few groups that I had to give hints to in order for them to finish.
I had to put a DO NOT CHECK OUT sign onto the books that I was using as clues – we lost one book when someone checked it out (I hunted it down quickly) I originally thought about checking the books out to myself but then in the catalog it shows the book as OUT and the students would not think to look for a book that was checked out.
A cheap puzzle from the dollar store does not last having 9 different classes come through to put it together and take it apart (but 24 pieces was the PERFECT size!)
All in all my goals of having the students use the catalog and explore their new media center was a success. The students loved this new way to orient them to the library and I have already had some teachers ask me how they can set up something like this for their class for other learning targets. Can’t wait to do this again!