K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more

Related pages

  • The wolf in children's books: Students will explore the ways wolves are represented in children's stories. They will decide if the wolf is a protagonist or an antagonist in the story. They will also attempt to determine if these representations are scientifically accurate. The first in a two-part lesson.
  • Story shackles: Linking students to written text: Chain your students to reading a given text critically! Story Shackles is an imaginative and stimulating way for students to acquire the ability to retell events of a story or text, sequence the action or happenings in a story, or to simply summarize the plot, main ideas with supporting details, or general information of a story or text.
  • Reading guides: Groups will develop a Reading Guide for each non-fiction resource book for units in science, social studies, and other curriculum areas. Students will identify useful features each book and where the important information will be found. Reviewing non-fiction features of print resources will familiarize the class with material on reserve for the unit. Overviewing and identifying text features will help students determine how to approach the various formats of text relevant to the topic.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn the basics of the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
  • learn the major informational categories in each section.
  • easily locate resources in the library media center.
  • use creativity and writing skills, as well as their social skills, in a collaborative manner to develop a group’s commercial on a particular segment of Dewey.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

80 minutes


  • library media center
  • poster of Dewey Decimal System & main categories
  • flip chart (to write students’ ideas of what they might find in a particular section)
  • sheet of paper for them to write about their Dewey Assignment (with directions to work as a team to scan a section of Dewey in the library media center)
  • pencils
  • notebook paper
  • handout Sell me on Dewey!
  • observation rubric

Technology resources

video camera with tripod (optional)


Students will need a general knowledge of the physical layout of their school’s library media center.


  1. Students arrive in the library media center (LMC).
  2. Teacher/Library Media Specialist initiates discussion about finding books on specific topics. Students share how they find information about books in the school’s LMC.
  3. Teacher discusses impetus for the Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC).
  4. Teacher displays chart regarding broad categories of DDC. Discussion ensues, with teacher inquiring what might be found in each section and writes notes on chart.
  5. Hand out attached document Sell me on Dewey!. Students are divided into groups of 3 to 4 (as many groups as you can given class size to match DDS categories. You may combine the 001-199 & the 200-299 in one group as those sections can be small.)
  6. Students are work together to divide up the shelves within their section and scan the types of information and books found in “their section.”
  7. They list this information and select a few books that typify their section.
  8. Students share this information with other members of their group.
  9. The group collaborates on writing a short, snappy commercial to deliver to the class about their section of Dewey. Their goal is to not only to “sell” this section of Dewey but also inform the audience about what can be found there, why they would want to use it, and how to find it.
  10. Students informally present their commercials to the class and the teacher, or videotape them for later viewing. To keep the lesson to 40 minutes you do not have to videotape the commercials.
  11. The students may need to have the additional time to work out group dynamics and to scan the shelves. They can use the additional time to work on their commercials and decide what “props” if any they want to use for the videotaping and the commercials.
  12. It is recommended this be a two-class session since the videotaped product would be useful at Library Media Center Orientation for grades 3-5.


Use this mini quiz to answer the following and/or use the Observation Rubric.

  1. What is the Dewey Decimal System?
  2. Why was it developed?
  3. List how the DDC is set up. Beside each numerical category list the types of information that can be found there.

Evaluations based on observation: Teacher may evaluate from observation during class time and end product the following:

  • how well the students worked together (social skills)
  • whether they met their objective to sell and inform their audience on their Dewey section in the finished commercial (creativity and writing skills)

Supplemental information


This lesson is a fun way to introduce dry but necessary subject matter to enable students to become independent seekers of information. It is a lively lesson and appeals to multiple learning styles. At the end you will have a product that you can use with other classes and in orientation.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 4

        • 4.SI.1 Apply criteria to determine appropriate information resources for specific topics and purposes. 4.SI.1.1 Use various types of resources to gather information (including print and online media). 4.SI.1.2 Use relevant sources of information for an assigned...
      • Grade 5

        • 5.SI.1 Apply criteria to determine appropriate information resources for specific topics and purposes. 5.SI.1.1 Use various types of resources to gather information (including print and online media). 5.SI.1.2 Use relevant sources of information for an assigned...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 4

  • Goal 2: The learner will IDENTIFY and USE criteria for excellence to evaluate information and formats.
    • Objective 2.02: Apply identified criteria to select resources.
  • Goal 4: The learner will EXPLORE and USE research processes to meet information needs.
    • Objective 4.05: Gather information.
  • Goal 5: The learner will COMMUNICATE reading, listening, and viewing experiences.
    • Objective 5.02: Produce media in various formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia) appropriate to audience and purpose.