The Dewey Decimal System was devised by librarian Melvil Dewey in the late 19th Century. He was unsatisfied with the way libraries were organized, or rather unorganized. So he devised the Dewey Decimal Classification system, which is still used in libraries all over the world. The Dewey Decimal system deals with the numbers 0-999. There are ten categories, each focusing on a certain topic, with multiple subcategories. If you want to look into the various categories you can click HERE.
We play a fun game to help keep the Dewey Decimal System fresh in our mind. We break up into teams, this year we did boys vs girls, then I ask them where I'd find a book on ________. They have 30 seconds to answer before the next team has a chance to steal the question. Then we have a speed round where I ask the students if a book is Fiction or NonFiction. Any correct answers are worth 2 points. It is great fun & students learn how to inference where material is in the library based on its subject.
Students also learn the difference between Fiction and NonFiction. This can be a very difficult idea to grasp. The easiest way for kids to remember this is focusing on the sounds at the beginning of the words. Fiction=Fake (Make Believe) and NonFiction=Not Fake (Real). Students learn that Fiction is organized by alphabetical order only. James and the Giant Peach would be cataloged as FIC DAH. FIC because it is fiction & DAH because those are the first three letters of the author's last name. While NonFiction is organized primarily in numerical order, then by alphabetical order. A factual book on wolves by Jesse Gordon would be located in 599 GOR. 599 because that is the specific Dewey Decimal number for books about wolves and GOR because that is the first three letters of the author's last name. Then we practice putting things in alphabetical and numerical order.
It sounds very confusing, but these kids are smart as whips & have caught on very quickly. We've worked on it a good chunk this first quarter. Starting next quarter students are going to start delving into research projects. It'll be fun, as always!