Posted by: jockmackenzie | September 9, 2009

Classroom Design 3 – Class Set of Phone Books


September in Red Deer, Alberta means its time for new phone books. At this time of year old phone books are as plentiful as zucchini and people are as anxious to share them.

Half a class set of phone books (two students per book) is a handy addition to a classroom. I have used them for activities involving a variety of research skills:

  • Many students are surprised to discover an index to the yellow pages.
  • We have races to find phone numbers after a mini-lesson on the guide words shown at the top of each page in the white pages.
  • We consider synonyms when searching for someone to cut your hair (barbers? hair stylists? beauty salons?), to order pizza (pizza? take-out? restaurants?), etc.

I have also used the Yellow Pages as a resource during our Advertising Unit – Which ads are more appealing? What techniques have been used? How has lettering been employed?

And because our phone books are only a year old, they often provide current phone numbers of  community members who can offer information on topics of interest/discussion/debate in our daily activities. e.g. When we found ourselves involved in a heated debate over the idea of cloning, someone suggested calling a local college professor who had done considerable research. We phoned and were thrilled with the up-to-date information he shared.

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