Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Increase Book Fair Time, Request Early Delivery

Fall Book Fair, 2007 (Woodland Springs Elementary, Keller, TX)
 I know what you're thinking: Book fair is crazy-time. WHY would I want a longer book fair? Well, for me, the most stressful thing about my book fairs (both elementary and middle school) is TIME. In a large school, getting every class in for both a preview and purchase time is incredibly difficult, especially when the last day tends to be shorter so you can take everything down and settle up financially.

In a school of 800 students, if you schedule both a preview and purchasing time for each class, you are essentially trying to squeeze 80 classes into four days. That's 20 classes EACH DAY--no wonder we are tired!

My current school has approximately 850 students enrolled. Three years ago, I just happened to receive my fair on the Tuesday before my fair was scheduled to start. Normally, I would have left the book fair sitting in a corner somewhere until setup on Thursday or Friday afternoon. When I received my book fair that Tuesday, I went ahead and started setting up. Since the book fair was announced for the following week, I took my time setting up, doing it over the course of a couple of days, between my regularly-scheduled classes.

As my classes came in for their regular library time, I allowed them to look around the partially set-up area. Advantages to early set-up:

  • Students can preview as you set up. No, it won't be everything in the fair, but they'll still be excited about it.
  • Students LOVE to help out! Get them involved by allowing them to move tables and chairs, set up table displays, tape down small items near the cash register (see #4 below), number and hang the posters, and put up book fair posters around school.
  •  There's no rush to set-up. I have all week.
  • As I set-up, I get to really browse the fair, so I know what books we have and where they are located.
  • I am almost always finished with set-up by Thursday or Friday, which gives my students extra time for browsing and sales.
  • I don't have to come up with a lesson for my regularly-scheduled classes. The book fair browse/checkout IS their lesson. If nothing else, pop in the book fair video for them to watch.

I liked the early set-up so much that I now request my fair be delivered "as early as possible," which is usually on the Monday or Tuesday prior to my scheduled week (giving me 2-3 extra days to spread out my classes).

Next tip: Abolish preview day! 

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  1. I'll have to think about having more time this year, depending on if I am able to schedule classes at all this year. Our Sustained Silent Reading classes were dropped, so now I will have to schedule study halls to come for books. We'll see. Glad this worked for you!

  2. Wow. SSR dropped and barely any time for library? Let me guess--they did it to increase test scores?

  3. My youngest daughter is 7, this year she started getting an allowance. She bought 2 books with her own money. She was so proud of herself. At her school there is only 78 students total. We live in a small county. Her school still does quiet reading time during class, which I am truly happy they do. I hope they don't cut it out. I'm glad you got everything ready, and I hope all goes well. :)

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  4. Do you ever have a book fair crew and do a lot of decorations for the fair?


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