As I mentioned, my school year is about to start and I have spent the past few days in my classroom. This year, my goal is to start with my classroom completely organized. The best way for me to do this with 29 students, is to make sure that EVERYTHING has a clearly labeled home. Amazon must love the bulk ordering I do! 🙂
Yesterday, I started organizing my classroom library, which seems to grow exponentially every year! Recently, I came across this great post from Nerdy Book Club about introducing students to the classroom library. Since I rely heavily on procedures in my classroom, I realized that I could be better about modeling the expectations of the class library, rather than just how to check in/out books.
I use Booksource’s Classroom Organizer to electronically catalog my books. Yes, scanning each and every book was very time consuming. However, it is worth in the long run! Now when a student asks if I have a certain book, it is easy to look up which titles are in our class library and which are not. My students use our shared desktop computers to check in and out books, so they are more independent. Additionally, I am able to keep track of their reading habits. The procedure of checking in/out books is easy to introduce, but the organization component is quickly lost when taking out and putting books away.
I organize my books by genre, as there is a big emphasis on my 4th graders knowing the various genres of both informational and fictional texts. Last year, I organized the bins in our library myself. However, by the end of the year, the books were a mess and my students did not fully comprehend all genres. The control freak in me could not let this chaos continue another year.
With the new Common Core State Standards being introduced, there is a shift in the expectations of each grade level. As we are undergoing this change, I cannot expect that my incoming 4th graders are well versed in each of the genres. Therefore, I must teach them the names and characteristics of each genre. In the past, I have introduced the names, but we have not investigated the characteristics. As the Nerdy Book Club suggests, I will begin this year by reading a mentor text from each of the genres. We will then discuss the characteristics and keep notes in our Reader’s Notebooks.
Once I feel that the students have a grasp of the genre names and characteristics, I will then give each table group a few bins of books from our library. The group will have to work together to identify the genre and create a label for the bin. This process will encourage students to reflect on their learning, and apply it to a real life scenario.
As of right now,the books are a bit out of sort. With this routine, let’s hope that we can keep our library organized this year!