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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Too many Cooks? No way?!

Our book fair is about 4 weeks away and I realized I needed to organize my volunteer group. Since this is my first year in the middle school, I’m still adjusting to the lack of involved parents IN the school every day. There are parents that will help out when directly approached, but don’t come asking if they can help you. Some parents pray that their children will ever bring any paper home, let alone a newsletter asking for volunteers. How do you solve these problems?

I have attended sports events and PTSO meetings. I put up the book fair web page with links from our school web page, but I’m not even sure anyone has seen it. Since the promotion materials suggest using a student crew, I decided to give it a try. I produced the posters asking for student CREW volunteers and printed 80 applications. I approached the reading and language arts teachers for 7th and 8th grade and handed out applications. Then I printed more. . . And more. . . And still more…

The sixth graders were feeling quite left out in our building because they cannot participate in sports, the school dance, etc. So I went to each of the sixth grade home room teachers and explained the program. Then I printed more volunteer applications. 

I couldn’t leave out the special education classrooms because they NEED the success of involvement so I, you guessed it, printed more applications. Then I realized while helping students identify their skills, that *I* needed the ESL/ELL/ELD population to help, so I printed more applications and went to their teacher.

Right now it looks like I have:

74 applications from 6th graders
70 applications from 7th graders
61 aplications from 8th graders
and they keep arriving….

Have any of you ever tried to organize this many volunteers? How can I turn a single person away? You should read their applications. They WANT to help. Their pleas for inclusion are touching. Now, to figure out how to balance this. 

I’m also going to want to reward every person with something. This year our prize funds are cut, cut, cut!!! Half as much for teachers who watch the DVD or decorate their wishlist this year. Nowhere near as much for prizes. 

I’ll keep you posted as we stumble through the production of a book fair.


  1. teacherninja says:

    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how it went.

  2. Applications are still arriving… Before I left for the YALSA Literature Symposium Friday, I assigned jobs to 253 students… and the aps are still coming.