Passive Programming: Book in a Jar

The teen librarian I work with got the idea from this post to cut up/shred/deconstruct a book and have the teens guess the title; winning answers would be entered in a prize drawing.

I put the jar together. I took a book that I had duplicate copies of and ran it through a paper shredder (which prompted curious from some others in the circ workroom). If I had to do it over, I would trim the excess white space from the edge of each page. There is far less text in my version than the one from the inspiration post. It would be easier to cut along the lines if using a manual paper cutter, I suppose, but this would also be far more time consuming. Luckily, the book is a well-known one and there are sufficient clues to narrow down the exact title clearly visible. In fact, it took the youth services manager less than a minute to identify the book.

The best part of the program? I didn’t work the day it was set out, and the other YA assistant emailed me and said that it had sparked numerous conversations at the desk and sent lots of kids running off to do research to figure it out, and they hadn’t even been told what the prize would be. (It’s usually just the winning that motivates them, rather than the actual prize.) So the kids were actually excited about it and not telling each other the answers.

Can you guess the title from the photos? Here’s the answer—but let me know in the comments if you want to guess.

This was a trial run of a larger program we talked about doing for Banned Books Week. We thought we’d have a bunch of banned books shredded—either from old and beat up weeded copies or photocopies—and have teens match them up. Instead of jars I thought Ziploc freezer bags would be more malleable and let them interact with the paper so they could search for clues and research some of the books.

This was a fun, easy program to put together that could easily be done, and it’s actually related to books and reading and using the library, which is always a bonus!


9 thoughts on “Passive Programming: Book in a Jar

  1. When I first saw this post, I thought about filling a jar with dry white rice and small objects that represent characters and ideas from books. The students could manipulate the jar, moving the rice around, to try to figure out the book title.
    After reading the post, I am intrigued! We have many books that “retire” at our school because they are “tired”. I can use them.

    I will be trying both these ideas in my classroom! Hopefully my students will take over and lead this for the school.

  2. I love passive programming ideas, Molly, and this is a fantastic one! I DID figure out the series from your pics, but wasn’t 100% on which one (I would have had to look more like the kids). Love the thought of doing something similar for Banned Book Week.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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