Classroom Simple

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Organizing A Classroom Library

For the first twelve of my fifteen years of teaching, I searched to find the best way to organize our classroom library.  I have evolved in my thinking of the classroom library.  My first students probably wonder if I still keep them under lock and key (I didn't really do that, but I remember it crossing my mind).  Today's students probably wonder when my husband will put me on a book-buying-moratorium or when the fire marshal will condemn the sagging book shelves.  I. Love. Books.

Since I loop from second to third, I am still working on making that transition of our classroom library a bit better.  (Lugging home bags and bins of books I deem for third grade, is not ideal).  That said,  here is how we organize our classroom library:

-I really loved how The Sisters set up their library for Daily 5 framework.  The Daily Cafe (Disclaimer:  Some pieces of their site are members only, but if you have some extra moulah...they are completely worth it!)
-Based on The Sisters' ideas, our library is set up with book bins.  Each book bin has a card on the front naming the genre, series, or author.  There is also a number on this card.  Every book in that basket has the same basket number written on its backside in permanent marker.  For example: Bin #7 is Junie B. Jones and all of those books are labeled with the number seven on the back.  This makes it really easy for students to return books to the correct spot.
-I refuse choose not to label books with Lexile or Accelerated Reader levels because I do not like the mind set it puts children in when choosing books.  We work really hard to teach them how to choose those good-fit books.  (If you haven't read Donalyn Miller's "Book Whisperer", then you are missing out on a pivotal moment in your teaching career. Follow her on Twitter, too.)
-There are approximately sixty-five bins.  I typically start second grade with forty bins, so it is not quite as overwhelming for them and add as the year goes on, up to about fifty.

Due to the classroom makeover, the library is undergoing some adjustments right now.  However, after the reveal on August 21st, I will post some pictures of our system and its new "look".  Fresh coats of paint on some old worn bookshelves was the first step and new baskets is hopefully going to make the budget, too.

The latest piece we are working on in our classroom library is utilizing technology to catalog books.  Classroom Booksource has a FREE app (♥ that word) that you can put on your device.  We utilize the ipad and take a picture of the bar code on the book.  It scans it in to find the author, title, etc. I add the basket number that the book is located, too.  Students can check out the books using the ipad (we might try this feature out next year).  Another feature I appreciate is that I can access the account online, too.  As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

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