Classroom Library

Today we will be talking about classroom libraries! The Saskatchewan Reads document states that “libraries play an important role in supporting and engaging students as readers. “They provide environments rich in information, literature, and technology that, together with effective instruction, enable students to achieve curriculum learning outcomes and acquire the attitudes and skills for lifelong learning” (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 1).” It is recommended to have books around the room, in addition to on the shelf, and students can assist with this book selection. I plan to display books on top of the shelves once I have read them aloud to the students. Another option is to switch out books based on current units of study and/or student interests. Routman (2014) states that “excellent classroom libraries” should be of top priority “ahead of the latest technology, resources, programs and standards. It is only through wide, self-selected reading that we will produce proficient and joyful readers as well as writers” (p. 99). It has been one of my main back-to-school priorities, as I know the importance of a well-stocked and organized classroom library for student literacy achievement.

 

My classroom library has both leveled books (blue bins) and interest books (green bins). Students select from both blue and green bins to fill their individual pouches so that during guided reading they have books to keep them engaged and improving during read-to-self and partner reading. Having students self-select these books regularly helps avoid interruptions to my guided reading lessons, as students are excited to read. Students get to choose where to sit, whether it is the reading cubbies, couch, Tipi, swivel chair, standing desk, carpet, or pretty much anywhere but the roof! We even get to enjoy the outdoor classroom space in the fall and summer.

 

When students are both comfortable and interested, classroom management takes care of itself. Well… pretty much. We do have to go over stamina training (graphing time on-task to meet a class duration goal) and lessons on the “Right Fit” books using the 5 Finger strategy. 

Scholastic notes that “experts claim a classroom library should have at least 20 books per student, so a typical class of 28 students would have a classroom library of close to 600 books.” While that may seem like a lot of books, 20 books per student is on the lower end, especially when considering the diverse learning needs in our classrooms. I am proud to say that I have grown my classroom library to 500 books over the past three years. I found the best sources are garage sales, family members and friends with young children, and talking to administration. As a Student Support Teacher, the number of students that I serve varies so 500 books feels like the right amount… for now!

The changes I made this year to my classroom library were to my green bins, or interest book sections. I created more sections so that books can be found easier. I used to put multiple categories in a bin but this just didn’t work for student put-back. Using the labels I found, I created 12 categories: Friends, Family, Cultures/Canada, ABCs, Math, Weather/Seasons, Animals, Fiction, Feelings, Good Character, School Stories, and rhymes and poetry. There are many other categories but I found these worked best with my previous system. The labels were easy to use and I printed the bin labels on Avery 8168 labels. The corresponding book labels were printed on Avery 8293. Everything printed well and it looks visually appealing but not too distracting (in case you are interested in these labels for your own classroom).

 

My hope is that students will be able to select books that they are interested in and also put them back in the correct bins. I will explicitly show them how to select and re-shelf books. At this time, I will also explore with students the books that can be found in each section and we will move books around if needed so that it makes sense to the kids. The system is self-explanatory enough that educational assistants, substitute teachers, co-teachers, administrators, and parents will be able to come into my room and select and re-shelf books to read with learners without me having to explain things. This should help books stay where they should.

My blue bins, or leveled books, are relatively the same as last year with a color-coded dot that roughly correlates to 2 levels of Fountas and Pinnell. I am not too worried about each book being precisely leveled as students will learn how to select “Just Right” books. The idea is that they are reading books that are within their level so that they can build fluency, maintain comprehension, and feel successful, albeit while still being challenged.

Class 18

I am beyond excited to share the classroom library with a new set of learners and some returning friends! As I always say, reading is succeeding!

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Positive Learning Environments

Positive Hallway Space – featuring school reading goal visual and student cubbies

Reading Goals BulletinPositive Hallway Spaces20141201_16294420141201_162846

Student Lunchroom

Student Lunchroom

Art Room (My Cooperating Teacher’s Room). Also, an SST strategy poster for reading!

Art RoomExamplars in the Art RoomReading Strategies in the SST Room

Student Exemplars and Writing Process Visual Idea in the Art Room

Classroom Rules, In and Out Buckets, Information by GradeWriting Process Idea

Grade 1/2 Classroom – featuring classroom rules, curtains, SLOs, hall pass system idea, and desks in pods.

Grade 1 Classroom RulesInteractive Table, Covered Resources in the Grade 1 RoomGrade 1 Room OrganizationBirthday Calendar; Desks in Pods in the Grade 1 RoomSLO's in the Grade 1 RoomBathroom Break System

Kindergarten Room – featuring visual schedules, attendance ideas, behavioral rules, SLOs at all activity stations, reading corners, picture labels for clean up, and hallway walking procedure (Marshmallow Mouths).

Kindergarten OrganizationVisual Schedule in KindergartenAttendance IdeaKindergarten Behaviour ChartSLO's at Learning Stations in KindergartenKindergarten Reading CornerPicture Labels to Assist K's CleaningScience Area in KindergartenArt Area in KindergartenArt Area in KindergartenKitchen Area in KindergartenVisual SLO's in KindergartenMarshmallow Mouths in Kindergarten

Grade 5/6 Room – featuring a science/rock center, lots of plants, fish tanks, curtains, individual student work stations with daily schedules, shared resources and supplies, sand/calming area, and guided reading station with positive message. Also, the desks are arranged in a horseshoe-like way!  This is a room of exploring!

Science/Rock Area Grades 5/6Fish Tanks in the 5/6 RoomDaily Schedule and Individual Work Station in 5/6Plants and Resources in 5/6Cool Classroom Setup 5/6Cloth Covers in 5/6Sand Area in 5/6Shared Supplies in 5/6Guided Reading Station 5/6

Grade 3/4 Room – featuring SLOs visuals, organization ideas, curtains, large student working spaces, individual working tables, and a guided reading station. Very organized, non-chaotic room!

Student Outcome VisualCool Organizational Idea 3/4Grade 3/4 Organization and SLO

Desk Setup 3/4Work Tables and Curtains 3/4Teacher Organization/Work SpaceReading Station 3/4

High School Classrooms – featuring “What Did I Miss” handout sections, SLOs visuals, due date boards, reading strategies, standing desks, desks in rows, handout stations, etc.

Missing Class? Folders High SchoolSLO's High SchoolCreating Student Independence High SchoolHigh School Posters and Visuals

(My Cooperating Teacher’s Room for ELA)

ELA RoomReading Strategies in the ELA RoomStanding Desk in ELA RoomELA OrganizationDid You Miss Class? Bucket in ELA Room

LIT Goals/Circle of Courage/Reading Data

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Link

“We shouldn’t be putting them asleep, we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves!”

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

This link looks at the history and organization of our schools. Also, it focuses on medicating students with ADHD, standardized testing and divergent. Adapted from Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Paradigms”