Are you struggling to teach young students to be quiet in the library? This idea is perfect for you! Amanda Ketterling shared these Quiet Library Critters in our Learning Librarians Facebook group, and she agreed to write this guest blog post for us! She says…
Before I share, the original idea of quiet critters was not mine… it’s been around for years so I cannot take credit, but I have adapted it to fit the needs of my students.
Critters in a Quiet Library
For grades K-2, each class starts out with 2-4 quiet critters at the front of the room and then I move them around (after the critters whisper to me with their magic ability of talking to teachers). If the kids are quiet and focused on working, the quiet critters will come out and sit on the tables to watch the students working. If the students are loud or off task, the quiet critters will whisper to the teacher and ask to jump off their table (the whispering to the teacher is where your acting ability comes in) and they will go to a quiet student to watch.
If the class as whole is too loud or out of control, they all jump back into the jar (this has only happened once in 5 years for me). The kids also know they can’t touch the critters while they are watching on the tables because they’re easily frightened.
At the end of class, if the quiet critter chooses to be in front of you when it’s time to line up, they have chosen you to take them home and care for them. They only eat the air, so there’s no need to feed them, but the kids have to promise they will take good care of them and read to them at home (which also promotes reading at home 😉)
When a student earns the privilege of taking the Quiet Critter home, I have them go over to the checkout desk to see my library aide. She gives them a little piece of paper to take home that explains the Quiet Critter to the parents and she then keeps track of who earns one on a spreadsheet. This way we can make sure that every child gets an opportunity to earn one for home. We make a key and change the color in the name box based on how many they have received. This is super easy and the kids absolutely love them! It’s quite amazing what a little pompom, a heart foam sticker and googly-eye can do.
You can also add holiday fun if you use an Elf on the Shelf in your library or school at Christmas because the elf is friends with the Quiet Critters. When the elves are at the school, the Quiet Critters can take a vacation to help the elves make presents.
Supplies for Quiet Library Critters
A poster with the Quiet Critter poem
Little cards to send home with kids
Roster spreadsheet to keep track of critters (or print out a class roster, and keep it on a clipboard)
A Jar (I use a mason jar)
Foam Hearts (with peel off sticker on the bottom)
Quiet Library Critter Downloads
Thank you, Amanda, for taking time to share this fun library experience that helps with classroom management! To help make this easier for librarians to implement, I’ve created a printable Quiet Library Critter poem and Quiet Library Critter cards that are free for you to download and use in your school library. Thanks to P4Clips Trioriginals for sharing the cute Pom Pom Pals Clip Art!
Amanda says: I am a book-loving, Library Media Specialist at Bonner Springs Elementary in Kansas. I’ve been teaching for 23 years now, including grades 1st through 4th in addition to teaching Library and Technology. My amazing library space makes you feel like you stepped into the magical world of Hogwarts, as it is covered in Harry Potter themed decor. It is definitely my happy place!
In 2022, I was chosen as the Region 3 Finalist and became part of the Kansas Teacher Of the Year team. We travelled around Kansas last school year, presenting to a majority of colleges throughout our state, along with community colleges and school districts to share our passions in education and lift up our profession. Currently, I am also on the KS Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council and am proud to be able to advocate for what teachers and students need to succeed. Recently, I have also started a new educational path as an adjunct professor with Fort Hays State University for their Masters In Education program.