Thursday, September 17, 2015

Collaborative Rewards: A Supergreat Idea

Thanks to Abby Bussen from Cudahy Family Library for submitting this post!

After my first summer as a children’s librarian last year, I spent all fall and winter thinking: How can I do that better? Inspired by the superhero theme Every Hero Has a Story, I drew three life-size superheroes on white butcher block paper (thanks to the help of a truly ancient opaque projector that sounds like a freight train, but works like a peach). Each stood roughly 5 feet tall and were simple black-and-white line drawings. During school visits, I challenged the children in my community to fill in those drawings to earn a supergreat reward – a party with face painting, icy pops, cookies, window painting, and a superhero training school obstacle course.

Here’s how it worked: For every log the children (ages 0-12) turned in, we added one dot to a superhero. They could turn in one log every week throughout the summer. They received other rewards along the way for filling out their logs (books and coupons for their first return of the month, small prizes for every log they turned in after the first log), but I made sure to tell everyone that if those superheroes weren’t filled in, we would have NO party.

Here’s how we prepped: Aside from the drawing of the heroes, which took a couple hours due to the scale and frankly the tiredness of my arm, all we had to do in preparation for this was to cut out an epic amount of circles in various colors. We made the circles for Hulk slightly bigger than for Superman and Ms. Marvel because he’s just huge.

Will we do this again? Definitely! I’m already considering what color-ins we can use to complement the 2016. All told, it took 1,050 logs to complete all three superheroes, but we had many more logs turned in after Hulk was finished. The elementary-aged kids were particularly motivated by this collaborative reward and several went out of their way to encourage their friends to work harder so we could all have this great party at the end of the summer. The party landed on a rainy day, so we had to cancel the outdoor window painting, but the obstacle course was a hit. In the end, I painted so many smiling faces, I knew we’d made a positive step toward making summer reading a group effort.

1 comment:

Megan said...

This is marvelous. Thank you for sharing!