Thursday, September 1, 2011

Classroom Library-Organization to the Max!

So I don't know about you, but the one thing I can get a little anal about is how books are organized.  Maybe it came from working in a library all through school, but books are an important part of my life, and I like them to be accessible and easy to find.  I want the same to be true for my students.  Teaching in an area where there is no community library, I found that students weren't all too thrilled about being forced to read.  Latest stats show that kids need tons of selection and need access to books constantly coming in.  I do that through scouring used shops and by utilizing a public library (since I've moved though, I need to purchase a pass as I don't live in the area anymore-there's a good one 1/2 hour away so for $20 a year, it's worth it).

Because I have so many different levels of readers and readers who have only started to recognize what's a good choice for them, I had to make a plan to help them pick out books.  All books in our library are leveled either yellow, blue, or red, and have a large sticker of the color applied to the front of the book. See the picture below for an idea of what I mean by applying stickers to the front of the books.

Yellow is for the easy reading, which I consider for my group books ranging from about a K to Grade 1 Level.

Blue is about in the middle, somewhat easier, but definitely having some more difficult words.  This includes primary books, beginner chapter books, and regular chapter books (providing no more than 100 pages).  This level is about a Grade 2-3 level.

Red is the harder, more challenging level.  It consists of primarily chapter books and basically is a Grade 4 Reading level and higher.

All my fiction books are placed in buckets, based on their levels, as seen here in the picture.

I do have a couple separate boxes for popular series that we have many of, which have their own labels (The Magic Tree House, Geronimo Stilton, and graphic novels).

The labels I crafted using scrapbooking paper.  I laminated them and applied them using Velcro (you can see it on one bucket at the bottom right of the picture.  I applied the Velcro using a Shoo Glue (a brand), that will stick to nearly anything.  You get more for your buck than purchasing a special Velcro glue.  You do need to let the Velcro and glue dry before applying your labels.  You can buy a good wad of Velcro (the sew on kind) for only a couple of dollars at Walmart, and the same for a small bottle of the glue.  One major warning about the glue though is that it's quite toxic.  You don't want to apply it near children.

What's great about the Yellow, Blue, and Red System is that the kids know where to put the books back.  Yellow goes in the yellow bucket and so on.  There's no excuse for putting books in the wrong place.

With my non-fiction books, it's kinda the same and kind of different.  They are all labelled by yellow, blue, and red.  However, they are sorted by category, and at the bottom of the front cover, I have labelled all books by the name of their category.  Some of the categories include:  animals, hockey, science, and general non fiction.  As I get more books, I plan on adding more categories later on.

As you can see though, I still have a few more labels to make!

Now, just a quick note about what I used to store the books.

The bins are from Dollarama, and are just washing bins.  I believe I paid $1.25 or $1.50 each for them.  The shelving I pulled from my garage, and has worked so well, I'd like to get more of them.  The shelves can be found at Walmart usually near the bathroom and hardware parts of the store.  I believe the shelf was a 6 tier, that I just simply split apart.  They run anywhere between $35 and $45 for one, depending on the season and sale.  They are virtually indestructible though.  I have moved them across the province and they can bear a lot of weight.

I hope you've found this helpful and stay tuned to see a complete picture of how our classroom library looks in the near future!!

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