Friday, October 24, 2014

Built-in Self-Regulation: A DOAWK Book Launch Story

*All GIFs are Diary of Wimpy Kid quotes by Jeff Kinney ran through the Madden Giferator. You're welcome.

I held a DOAWK "The Long Haul" party a few weeks ago,and I was originally going to write that up. I still will, here, with a free downloadable PPT so you can make one too; but it was what I added last-minute the night before (isn't that always the case?) that I really want to talk about.

SO. DOAWK at my library has a wide appeal, and a very small but incredibly fandom-like hoard who attend our DOAWK programs each and every year. This year, there were around 15 kids in attendance. I go back and forth about whether I want to keep doing these for 15 kids, but I'm glad I did this year.

Anyway, wanting to keep it fresh and also appropriately geeked-out, I went for something I hadn't tried before:

For the majority of the time, I had them sitting down.

Not that this is something new for the whole of libraries, it's just new to me. I know some stuff about kid attention spans and unless they're in a classroom setting (like during an outreach) I try to move them around as much as possible.

But by the time I got through creating my PPT with everything I wanted them to geek out about... they were sitting for about 20 minutes.

This is too much fun.
BUT it was all stuff I knew they'd enjoy:
--a cover reveal
--listening to Jeff Kinney talk about the book, and watching some trailers
--reading from the leaked excerpt in The Guardian
--playing a trivia game from the event kit and earning Hero points
--only then were we to move around with a scavenger hunt.

So, I had to think of a way to break it up for the kids so they wouldn't get squirrely.

Thus, The Wimpy Drill was born.
The Wimpy Drill is not canon and has no basis in Wimpy Kid lore. I used to do something similar when teaching, and was inspired by The Long Haul's car setting to bring it out of retirement. That's because it's not unlike a Car Fire Drill. 

Here's how the Wimpy Drill works:
Every couple of slides we went through, there was a slide that said WIMPY DRILL!
And when they saw it, all the kids had to get up and run around the room while I counted to five. And when I got to five, they had to be seated in a different spot than they were sitting before.

Of course, we practiced before we started the program, so that they knew exactly what to look for and what to do.

And you know what? It worked really well. Getting kids moving resets their attention span so you can hold it for longer. It also engages their circulatory system which gives their brain a boost (check out pages 6 and 7 here).

It actually worked so well that, when I asked, the kids overwhelmingly chose to sit and listen twice as long to the excerpt than I had prepared. Good thing I had printed off the rest!
We seriously read for so long that I had to send them home with the event kit version of M.A.SH. because we ran out of time! 

Want to try this in your library? Doesn't have to be a Wimpy Drill, could be a [insert literally anything here] Drill!

Click on the link to see how it looked in the powerpoint:

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