Monday, December 5, 2011

The love of my life….my classroom library.

I spent literally all summer working on my classroom library, hence why I feel such a kinship with it. Before the remodeling of my library, there was no organization to speak of. Pictures books were haphazardly placed on a book case that swiveled around and chapter books were placed in large bins. Then last summer I decided I would organize my chapter books by AR level. So I did..and things were looking up, except students would throw any book into any bin;  an issue that was troubling and would often frustrate me when I would sort through the bins.
Then, at the end of the last school year I decided I wanted to organize by library by genre. I knew this mission would take BRUTE force, serious determination, lots of man hours, and the occasional frequent pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I started right at the beginning of summer. I went into my class and loaded my teacher cart with as many picture books as I could fit. The cart was a PAIN to pick up into the car and can you guess..YES OF COURSE, the cart spilled over in the car and books went flying in every direction. Already I was feeling the sense of being “over it,” and I technically hadn’t even started it.
Unfortunately, it only got worse from there…I have warmhearted memories of sitting on the living floor with piles of books engulfing me and feeling as though I was being buried alive by my own gusto and CRAZY goals. Was I in over my head? For days these piles sat in my living room. Penny would randomly knock some over when playing fetch and at times you would hear wails of pain from Mark as he would stub his toe on a pile in the middle of the night. I wanted to work on my mission..but I was totally clueless.... 
It was the STARTING POINT. Isn’t it always?  I couldn’t figure out where to start. When in doubt and when you have no direction or any hope..turn to your trusty and loyal friend (unless the Internet is down)….GOOGLE. So I did. And the answer to my prayers (and then some) popped up in the search results.
BETH NEWINGHAM…a teacher that has a GREAT website and even BETTER ideas. She is my HERO and she’s someone I will mention a lot in my blogs. She had pictures and ideas for her classroom library and she steered me in the right direction. She even motivated me enough to create my own book bin labels to suit my classroom needs. It took months to get everything together but it was well worth it. I feel the need to share my book bin labels and the layout of my library with fellow teachers. A fellow teacher helped me and I want to do the same. Gone are the days where I search and search for a book because I have no idea where some kid stuck it. Now I just go to the correct genre and/or subtopic and with a few flicks of my hand, there it is! The students love it too. Everything is so organized, that it helps them organize their reading interests and preferences.
What did I use to furnish and organize my classroom library? Here is a list…
Bookcases - $15.00 at Walmart
Book bin labels -  Below is the link to the attachment. I would print them on card stock and then take then to Office Deport to be laminated. I opted for Office Depot’s laminating because it’s very durable and won’t easily bend. I would visit Office Deport every 2 days during my library the ladies at the print department know me as the “library girl.” Charming….
Binder Rings – I used these to attach the book bin labels to the bins. I would hole punch them and hook two rings around the bins to secure the labels. I got the colorful ones from Staples. I believe they are $4.00 for 16.
Bins – MY GREATEST find of the summer. I got these from Dollar Tree. They are so squared, cute and colorful...I adore them.
Labels for the back of the books – To ensure that my students place the book back into the correct bin, I put labels on the back of each book. For example: if a book belongs under “Fiction Christmas Books,” on the back of the book there is a label that says “Fiction Christmas Book.” This took A LOT of time but in the end so worth it. If you want these labels, please feel free to contact me.
If you are looking to do a remodeling, take it day by day and embrace it! I am always here for support…and remember Chunky Monkey is the best Ben and Jerry’s flavor. J
Pictures of my library...

Click on the last photo for the link to the book bin labels.

*Note: On google docs, the images on the labels look a little off but when you
open the document the formatting is fine.*
P.S. Sorry Mark about the blog title. :) Take care all.

9 Bucket Fillers:

travelingteacher said...

Wow!! This library is fantastic and SERIOUSLY organized! Your students are so lucky to have this--it's always sad when I go into classrooms where the libraries are not organized and not utilized.

Way to maximize your library!!

Tales from a Traveling Teacher


Heather said...

It looks amazing! Mine is on my very long (first year teacher long) to-do list! Thank you for sharing your resources, but when I clicked on the pic, google docs said it couldn't find the file or I didn't have permission to view it. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Love your library! It's sooo organized. I have the same dollar store bins- although I'm envious of all your colors- they only had 2 when I found them! Hope they stock more this year, they're so perfect and cheap!

Amy Rider said...

Thank you so much for linking up! I love your library! It is super organized and inviting. Loved hearing the story of how it became the love of your life. : ) Looks awesome!


Freckleteacher said...

I am gearing up to organize my book library this summer and I LOVE your post about getting yours ready. The crates you found are awesome and it all looks so great! Thanks for sharing!

Leila Hastings said...

Ok this is exactly what I have always tried to do in my classroom but it has never come out as great as yours! Is there a way for you to send the labels out. I would love to get started since the clock is ticking. School starts in only a few weeks :-) Such a wonderful way to keep the library organized. I love recommending books to my students and this would be such an easy way for them to find one. :-)
thank you

Tanya V. said...

Leila - check out my TN shop. I posted the labels on there for free. :)

Maria Elena said...

Your Story describes me before you started. I will follow in your foot steps. I was so happy to find your post, I no longer feel hopeless in organinzing my huge collection of books. Thank you so much for sharing

Laura Fountain said...

Thank you! Thank you! for the binder ring idea. I have the exact same book bins (loved that Dollar Tree find too!) but have been struggling to keep my labels on. Problem will be solved next school year!

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