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Library Games #2: Library Basketball

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will review some of the highlights of their year in the library.  They will record their ideas on small slips of paper, scrunch the paper into small “basketballs,” then shoot the hoop!  I usually play “Boys vs. Girls” to wrap-up the year with thoughtful reflection and good, old-fashioned fun!

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To reflect on the year in the library, lessons learned, projects completed, activities and experiences.  (IB Key Concept:  Reflection.)

Suggested Time:

40-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will think about and answer five short questions about his or her experiences in the library program this school year.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Explain to the children that today they will get to play Library Basketball.  In Library Basketball, you get to make a basketball for every question you answer.  Then, you “shoot the hoop” with your balls.  One point will be awarded for every ball that makes it into the bucket.  The competition is girls against boys (or whichever way you wish to divide the class).  Sportsmanship counts!  Be respectful, do your best, and have fun!

2. Main:

Have each child pick up a packet of papers and a pencil.  Prepare a “court”, which is a waste can or bucket in the center of a large space.  Use pieces of tape or string to mark a circle around the bucket.  I like the circle to be as big as you can make it so that there are no easy shots!  Students can shoot from any point in the library outside the circle.  Usually I do not let the kids climb on furniture although they are welcome to do a jump shot from the ground.

Ask the children to write their names on EACH slip of paper.  Any paper that makes it into the bucket without a name will not count for a point!  Ask the children five questions.  For each question, the students will write their answers on one of the slips of paper, crumple the paper into a ball, then take turns shooting for the “basket.”  I usually ask them to write their answers and crumple their answers into a ball, but wait to shoot until everyone is ready to shoot.  All boys shoot together, all girls shoot together.  There is only one shot per ball, so once they shoot, the balls that didn’t make it into the bucket lie on the ground.

I often use questions like:

  1. What was your favorite library lesson this year? (You may have to prompt their memories.  I find that kids DO have favorites but sometimes need a few hints to remember.)
  2. What book did a friend recommend to you?
  3. What book did you recommend to a friend?
  4. What did you read that this year that was not a book?
  5. What is the name of our library catalog?
  6. If you could change one thing about our library, what would it be?
  7. Which genre is your favorite?
  8. Which genre would you like to try next year?
  9. Which author (illustrator) visited our school this year?
  10. Who is your favorite author?
  11. Who is your favorite illustrator?

(You’ll probably only have time for 5 questions.  Choose whichever questions would be most meaningful for your kids.)

The lesson typically follows this pattern:

  • Kids mark their NAMES on all five slips of paper first.
  • ASK a question. Everyone answers.
  • Everyone pulls that slip of paper out of the packet by gently tearing it off the staple.
  • Kids Make their basketballs.
  • Boys shoot their basketballs all at the same time.
  • Girls shoot their basketballs all at the same time. (Reverse the order on the next question.)
  • Balls that do not make it in the bucket stay on the floor. No second shots!!

3. Conclusion:

After the last group of children shoots their basketballs, quickly grab the bucket so that no more balls find their way in.  All children then clean up the library floor and dispose of the basketballs that didn’t make it into the bucket.

The score is then determined.  Ask a boy/girl pair to unfold and read the papers and another boy/girl team to record the answers and tally the points.  Determine a winner, but emphasize that everyone worked together and enjoyed the game as a class.

  1. Paper packets. I cut sheets of scrap paper into four parts.  Then, I staple five pieces of scrap paper together.  Each child needs a stapled pack of five slips of paper.
  2. Extra slips of paper, because there will be a few who do not follow instructions or who rip their papers up.
  3. Pencils, pens.
  4. A bucket or open-top rubbish bin to serve as the “basket.”
  5. Tape or string to mark the “no shoot” zone around the basket.
  6. List of questions for your students to answer.
  7. Flip chart and markers to record the responses and tally the score.

This lesson is usually loud, rambunctious, and great fun!  Don’t let the kids take it too seriously.  It’s just a chance to think about the year and look forward to the following year.

If you have small treats or rewards to give the kids, this would be a great time to do that.  The very last lesson of the year should be a presentation of the summer reading program.  But, if you are not running a summer reading program, this works well as a final library lesson.

Recommended books for this lesson:


Key Terms:

Games, Basketball, Reflection