While working at Jackson Elementary in York, PA I saw many students using work stations. One of my favorites was the “Dental Health” station. Kids practiced flossing with yarn and a large model of teeth. There were several familiar books about teeth in this station, too. I love when I see well-organized classroom libraries with labeled baskets to help students choose their “just-right” books. One classroom library had response supports to help kids write about and post responses to what they’d read there. And, last but not least, it’s always very helpful to see kid-friendly objectives displayed in a classroom to help teachers and kids stay on track and get the most they can from the day!
Posts Tagged ‘classroom library’
Does your school have a book room or leveled book library for guided reading? Recently, I worked at Lovett Elementary in HISD (Houston) where they have a wonderful book room with guided reading books for teachers to check out. We held planning meetings in this room on my visit. So handy for being able to quickly refer to texts as we learned together about improving small group instruction.
Several years ago I worked with Spring Branch ISD in Houston and visited every elementary to help set up a leveled book library tailored to the needs of that school. It was such an interesting project! There were so many ways in which to organize the space and the books.
Here are a few photos of leveled book libraries used by entire schools.
As I wrote this week in my “Month of Giving” post on Facebook, I’m setting up a 2nd grade classroom library. This classroom is in an old, poorly lit portable building. Not done yet, but here is a before picture and the first few photos I’ve taken. Love the new seats made from crates with cushions on top. Added white plastic shelves from WalMart and dollar store baskets. Books must still be sorted and labeled. More to come…
Yesterday in Rolla, MO several teachers asked me how to keep classroom libraries organized. As I wrote about in Literacy Work Stations on p. 31, I recommend that you do this by setting up the library with your students. This is great to do early in the school year.
Start with empty bookshelves. Clear a shelf at a time, if you’d like. I like to have the whole class sort and organize the books into two piles– fiction and nonfiction. Seat your class in a circle on the floor. Then think aloud about what makes a book fiction (made-up story, characters and setting, problem and solution…) and what makes a book nonfiction (facts, photos, true information). Place labels (index cards work well) for FICTION and NONFICTION on the floor and show kids how to sort the books into these two piles. Pass out several books to two children at a time. Ask them to look at the book together and determine if it’s ficiton or nonfiction. Then go around the circle, have the pairs tell which kind of book theirs is, and have them put it into the appropriate pile. This may take several class periods to accomplish. Store the books in labeled boxes each day. After the books are sorted into fiction and nonfiction, work together to sort the nonfiction books into smaller groups. Children will come up with ideas, such as weather books, animal books, poetry books, and people books. Make category cards for labeling the classroom library baskets. Add illustrations. (I like to use Google images.) Likewise, sort the fiction books into groups with the children. These may be sorted by author, genre, easy-to-read, chapter books, leveled books, etc. You might designate one classroom library area for fiction and another for nonfiction.
In upper grades, you might want to add genre posters to your classroom library as you teach different genres. You can find wonderful genre posters on this website. I’d love to hear about and see your classroom library! Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received some more great pictures of classroom libraries recently. Take a look at these pics from Cathy McLaughlin, who teaches kindergarten at St. Luke’s in Glenside, PA. You can still submit your pictures, just send them to email@example.com and I will post them here on my blog!
In a recent post I wrote about some lovely classroom libraries I saw while doing a workshop in Reading, PA. A couple of you sent me pictures of your libraries. This one is from Adriana Shetsky who teaches in a first grade bilingual classroom at Gordon Elementary School in Bellaire, Texas. Her bookshelves might look empty now, but she is having her students help her sort the books during the first few weeks of school.
Today we’ll look at classrooms just for Pre-K and K students. While visiting Ford Elementary in Denver, I saw great things set up in spaces for the youngest learners. Their 4-year-olds are in an ECE room. Kindergarten is housed in another classroom. Such kid-friendly environments! Everything was just the right size for little ones. The word wall was low, interactive, and in the whole-group teaching area so students could easily see and manipulate the new words they are learning. Libraries were inviting. Children were comfortable in this space designed just for them.
This past week I visited Ford Elementary in Denver, CO. Teachers there are committed to creating welcoming classroom environments. We visited classrooms from ECE (4-year-olds) to 5th grade and moved a bit of furniture along the way. I recommend starting with classroom environment at the beginning of the year. It sets the foundation for all the teaching we will do throughout. When we have a well-organized whole-group teaching/meeting area, it is easier to help students focus on what we are teaching.
Likewise, a smal-group teaching area (with everything we need at our fingertips) helps our small-group lessons stay focused and within our time budget. We can minimize interruptions and distractions. One thing to keep in mind is to be sure you can easily see every child in the classroom from your small-group table.
A third space to focus on at this time of year is your classroom library. Does it invite students in to read a book? Is it easy for children to choose just right books and return them to the library for others to easily find? Does the library support reading comprehension, too? You might have a set of fiction shelves and a separate set of nonfiction shelves to get students thinking about genre.
Here are some pictures of our work at Ford:
While doing back to school inservice at Mt. Penn Elementary Center in Antietam School District in Reading, PA, a few 6th grade teachers asked me to peek in their classrooms.
I saw some lovely classroom libraries! One teacher had organized books with a fiction section and a separate nonfiction section, as I suggest in my book, Practice with Purpose. The other has a well-defined, comfortable space set up and will have her students help organize the books next week when they return to school. Labels on baskets help students find and return books easily.
Would love to see pictures of your classroom library if you have one! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them. Make sure that you include your name, where and what you teach, and a short description of your library.