ALEX Lesson Plan


Shopping with the Dewey Decimal System

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Melanie Davis
System: Baldwin County
School: Daphne East Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 15288


Shopping with the Dewey Decimal System


This lesson is an introduction to the ten main categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification System. The Dewey Decimal Classification System will be compared with the familiar layout of a grocery store. Students will organize grocery store items into related groups. This process will then be compared to the organization of books using the Dewey Decimal System.
 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Information Literacy
IL (1998)
Grade: K-12
1 ) The student who is information literate accesses information efficiently and effectively.

•  Recognizes the need for information.
•  Recognizes that accurate and comprehensive information is the basis for intelligent decision making.
•  Formulates questions based on information needs.
•  Identifies a variety of potential sources of information.
•  Develops and uses successful strategies for locating information.
Information Literacy
IL (1998)
Grade: K-12
3 ) The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.

•  Organizes information for practical application.
•  Integrates new information into one's own knowledge.
•  Applies information in critical thinking and problem solving.
•  Produces and communicates information and ideas in appropriate formats.
Information Literacy
IL (1998)
Grade: K-12
9 ) The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.

•  Shares knowledge and information with others.
•  Respects others' ideas and backgrounds and acknowledges their contributions
•  Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies, to identify information problems and to seek their solutions.
•  Collaborates with others, both in person and through technologies to design, develop, and evaluate information products and solutions.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the ten main categories used in the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Students will organize a selection of books in a library media center according to the Dewey Decimal Classification System.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work cooperatively in small groups.
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Grocery store items such as canned goods, fresh vegetables, breads, paper products, candy items, etc.(12 to 15 per group); area large enough to organize items from all groups; selection of library resources (10-12 per group); Dewey Decimal Poster - one per group (see attachment)

Technology Resources Needed:



Teacher will need to collect the grocery items for the activity.
1.)Set up 4-5 tables in the library media center containing a variety of grocery store items on each one (12-15).

2.)Divide the class into 4-5 small groups. Have each group circle around a table that contains grocery store items.

3.)Discuss the items on the tables with the class and talk about how a grocery store is designed so that specific products can be found easily. Have students share their own experiences.

4.)Have each small group organize the items on their table according to similarities. Have 4-5 different food categories.

5.)As a whole class, walk around the tables and discuss each group's items and they way they have been sorted.

6.)If time allows, combine all of the store items together and have students arrange them on the floor to resemble aisles in a grocery store.

7.)Come back together as a whole group and discuss the fact that a library media center is arranged in a similar way so that people can easily find the books they are looking for. Have students share their ideas about the way books are arranged.

8.)Introduce the ten main categories of the Dewey Decimal System. Explain to students that numbers are used to classify books into categories. Give some examples. Show students the poster of the Dewey Decimal Classification system. (See attachment)

9.)Organize into small groups. Provide each group with 10-12 books that can easily be categorized into the Dewey Decimal System classifications and have them organize their selections. Give each group a copy of the Dewey Decimal Poster to help them organize the books.

10.)Check each groups' books to see if students understand the concept of the Dewey Decimal System. As a whole group, discuss the results. Answer any questions and reteach as necessary.

11.)Once each group's work has been checked, have students list new words they learned during the lesson to create a word wall (i.e. classification, categories). Then have students name some of their favorite types of books and share what section of the media center they would find the book. Then allow students to go to that section and pick out a book.

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Assessment Strategies

The teacher will assess this lesson by observing whether students classified the items and books correctly.


During the following library class period students could be asked to complete a scavenger hunt using a "shopping list". The list would need to include books from several of the ten main classification categories. Students could even put their found books in a grocery bag to continue the theme.

Direct students to utilize a drawing program to design a book cover. They are to include the call number and the cutter number. They will challenge another student to file it correctly based on the Dewey Decimal Classification System.


Remediation can take place during the actual lesson. Clarification can be given to students who are having difficulty classifying the books. Remediation can also take place during the next library session when students are asked to complete the scavenger hunt. Students having problems can be paired with students who have good grasp of the classification system.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.