Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Classroom Library

I had been acquiring books for my library for many years when I stumbled across a blog by  Angela Bunyi (Scholastic Top Teacher Blog).  She shared her ideas on leveling books and organizing a classroom library. I had my books sorted by A.R. level, and was in need of a change because my library books no longer fit on the shelves.  She suggested organizing books by genre and/or authors, using baskets or crates to hold the books.

Favorite Authors Blue
Fiction Favorite Series, Genre
I started gathering crates and baskets for my books. Next, I began the overwhelming task of sorting books by genre or favorite author.  As I added more books, I realized I needed to a way to inventory books.   I spent three weeks inventorying the books using a bar code scanner. I had to make labels for many of the books, and decided to add my name as well.  During this time we decided to switch to departmentalize, and all fifth graders started using my library.  I ordered Scholastic Arrow books for three classrooms, so I was able to replace copies that were destroyed or lost.  The organization and inventory helped, but I still lost about about thirty books last year.  Compared to the 1,500+ books I had, I didn't think it was bad, but some of favorites were lost!
Multiple copies for literature circles and
Buddie Books and
Curriculum support/Non-fiction
I am looking into using my iPad or cell phone bar code reader to come up with a better inventory system, one kids can easily use. Maybe I even use a library card. If I cannot come up with someway to keep things organized, I may have to restrict the library to in classroom reading, or only allow my students to check out books.  I hate to do that, since I want to instill a love of books in all of my students.
Got any ideas?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This is my first post for the blog. I have been stalking some wonderful blogs for the last few months, and wanted to give it a try. I hope to share some valuable tips and ideas, like those of you that I follow. 

We departmentalized last year after being self contained for years. I now teach reading and spelling to all of fifth grade, and writing to my homeroom students. It was a personal struggle to switch to just language arts. I missed their interactive weather reports, green screen videos, and other projects that integrated technology. That said, 

I do love books, and have a large classroom library (that is organized by levels and by author/genre), so teaching reading is a good fit. I struggled last year to know how to get all of reading in during a very short 40 minute time frame. I found myself cutting all of the technology out of my teaching.

This year, I have about 65 minutes for reading and spelling. I am trying to incorporate more technology because I made that one of my education goals. I use technology to differentiate instruction for my various levels of students. I have Skyped with mixed results. I have tried podcasting, and LOVE my iPads, Smartboard, and document camera. I can once again honestly say I love my job!

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