Friday, June 28, 2013

Classroom Library Organization 101

Well, I feel like I finally have the chance to sit down and blog! My students had their last day of school last week, then last Friday and this Monday, we had some grade level meetings to plan for next year. My room now looks like this:

(Yes, those are rough drafts of anchor charts - the version I do in front of the kids before rewriting them neatly - covering my shelves on the right. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? :))

As I was packing up, the one area of the room that I could honestly sit back and say, "I love how this part of my room is set up!" is my classroom library. It's kind of evolved through the years, and it's definitely in the most manageable version yet as it is right now.

When I first started teaching first grade, I used a labeling system much like Beth Newingham's, in which each book had a detailed label (return address size) on the upper left corner. (I tried to find a picture but couldn't!) It was a bit challenging for my firsties to get their books back in the right bins.

So, over the course of a summer, I brought library books home for a relabel (which, trust me, isn't too fun!).

I used Un-du to peel off the old labels (this actually works pretty darn well! It's like Goo Gone but it works on paper).
(You can get it at scrapbook stores or on Amazon.)

Then I decided on the colors I'd use to label each major section of my library. I decided on yellow for my fiction books that aren't in series, green for my fiction books that are within a series or author (Biscuit books, books by Kevin Henkes, etc.), and blue for nonfiction books. I also have a small number of chapter books, which I labeled with pink stickers, and a bin of books in Spanish (both fiction and nonfiction), which I labeled with orange.

These are my fiction books (with yellow stickers), plus my leveled books. (The awesome Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files has FREE printable leveled book bin labels for both books and book bins.)
Some of my series books (with green labels).
Some of my nonfiction books (with blue labels). After I took the picture I realized that Abraham Lincoln book was majorly crooked, and it's driving me nuts in this picture!
Each of my book bin labels (see this post to download them free) has the colored, numbered sticker on it. I figured out what each of my book bins would be, then sorted them into fiction, series/author, and nonfiction, then just went in order numerically. The one problem is that it would be hard to add a bin into fiction, say, since the next bin after the last fiction bin is a series bin. Does that make sense?

Now, here's the key... Label each and every book with the same color sticker and number you used on the bin. I repeat... Label each book! I have had many teachers ask me how I get the books returned to the right bin, and this is absolutely key. I train students at the beginning of the year to understand the library organization, and within a couple weeks, my first graders can do this easily. (I have a librarian each week as a class job who is in charge of returning books to the library bins.)

A close up of a very popular bin (Elephant and Piggie). Note the numbered sticker on the bin.

And note the matching sticker on the book!
While you can get those colored dot stickers at office supply stores, I liked that I could buy them in individual color sets through Demco, a library supply site. They have bunches of sizes and colors. I also buy the clear stickers that are a little bigger to cover the number stickers.

Organizing my library was a major investment of time (almost entirely because I changed systems partway through my teaching career... Had I started from the beginning with this system, it would have been easy peasy!), but TOTALLY worth it, as even my young first graders can easily navigate the library, find books they need, and return books independently.

Hope this helps some of you get your library set up - or revamped! - for a new school year!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Movin' on Over to Bloglovin'!

Well, I've finally emerged from the piles and piles of files, cumulative records, student work to return, awards for students... You get the picture! We just had our last day on Thursday, but then we had two more days of professional development. Today was the first day of summer for me!

So, I've known that Google Reader is disappearing for some time... So sad, right? Well, there's something to fill the void... Bloglovin'! I'm superduper new to this. But alas, Teaching in High Heels has a great, easy tutorial HERE. If you're ready to switch and want to keep following my blog, just click below!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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