Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Classroom Library Week {Part 2} How to Organize Your Classroom Library

Good morning everyone! :)

Today I want to talk with you-all about organizing your classroom library.  Please note that there are SO many ways to organize your classroom library-you just have to choose the way that suits you best.  I am going to show you how I organize my classroom library.

Some people like to let their students sort the books into different genres- I am not opposed to this, however, I do not let my students sort the books, I do this at the beginning of the year.  This is for a number of reasons.  First of all, this year I will have 3 different LA classes instead of one...so that means some of my students might not get as much practice with sorting the books into the appropriate genre baskets.  Secondly, when my students walk into my classroom for the first time, I want them to know that I keep things organized and in their place, and I expect my students to do the same.  It also helps me to feel like my room is complete and not disorganized.  Remember, this is just my opinion, and if you choose to do it a different way, that's totally fine :)

How to Sort Your Books
I like to sort my chapter books by genre and my picture books by subject.   I put each genre or subject into its own basket (sometimes it takes more than one basket).  After that, I make a label for each basket and attach it to the front of the basket.

This was my classroom library last year (I was fortunate enough to have a lot of shelf space!).  The sets of books were used for my book clubs and students were not allowed to choose these books.  The picture books on the right hand side are my mentor texts for lessons.  Students are also not allowed to choose these books as most of them are meant to be a cold text (and I want the story to be interesting and special when I read it aloud to them).  But any of the books in the baskets were for students to read.  I've found that putting the books in baskets like this helps keep the books organized and it also gives you a little more space (especially with the chapter books).  It is also easy for a student to pull out one or two of the baskets to look for a book instead of just standing in front of the shelf the whole time.

Book Basket Labels
My book basket labels were nothing fancy- I just took neon index cards and wrote the genre on them.  Then I laminated them, hole punched them in two places on the top and then my wonderful husband put a string through the holes of the card and the holes of the basket and tied it in a knot.  This method worked well and I never had any of the genre cards fall off.

However, they aren't very pretty.  So this year, I decided to change it up!  I found some FREE book basket labels online.  Click HERE to access them.  I'm pretty sure these are the ones I'm going to use this year.  She's included every genre and topic that you'll need... and I like the pictures that go along with them as well!  She suggests printing them on cardstock and then she puts them in a floppy disk protector...but my baskets have holes in them and I don't think they'll stick that well.  So, I found this awesome idea on another website:

She uses binder rings (found at any wal-mart or target) to attach the book labels to the baskets!  (of course laminating the card first).  But how cool is that! So simple, yet so awesome!  If something happened to your label you could just easily replace it! I also think it would allow the card to swing more freely and would hopefully allow the card not to be damaged! :)  The idea came from Teaching in Room 6's blog.  I HIGHLY recommend her blog...so full of SO MANY great ideas! 

If you didn't like the labels above, I found these for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found THESE super cute labels that are also free! And also know that there are many other book basket labels out there... they just aren't free :).  Although, if you've found some great FREE labels, please share the link in a comment below! :)

Genre Stickers
Last year, I had a terrible time with my students forgetting which basket a book belonged in.  So this year, to solve that problem, I am going to have one classroom librarian who will put all of the books away after they have been returned.  (In the next couple of days I will be talking about my check-out and return procedures.)   I am also going to put a small round sticker dot (like a yard-sale sticker dot) on the back of each of my classroom books with a genre code on it.  For example:  if it is a Realistic Fiction book, then the sticker dot on the back of the book will say "RF."  I will also have this same "RF" sticker dot on the book basket label.  This way, the classroom librarian will know exactly which basket to return the book to and will be able to do so quickly.   I am also going to be teaching genres a whole lot more in depth this year as a lot of students seem to have a hard time grasping the concept...

Anywho, that's my classroom library set-up! :) Hope this was helpful!   If you have any great classroom library set-up tips, please leave a comment below! :) Thanks for sharing!

Happy Reading,

Ok...while Googling for more book basket label choices for you, I came across this Pinterest Board called Labels.  Check it out for lots of free labels for things in your classroom!  Just thought I would share! :)