Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Library is Open for Business

I have spent the majority of the first trimester of this school year attempting to organize our classroom library - if you could even call it that.

The books were haphazardly strewn across the shelves of an old bookcase that was falling apart by the minute. There was no organization to the books. Most of the books had been items I had found when I took over the classroom back in August 2013 - most were neglected, falling apart, or outdated.

I wondered if I would ever get the "mess" that was my library under control.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and "invest" in some (expensive) book boxes for my classroom. Once they arrived, the real work began.

The classroom "library" with newly purchased book boxes
Any free time my classroom staff and I had was devoted to leveling my classroom library. We used a couple of different apps to help do this - Level It, Scholastic's Book Wizard, and Lit Leveler. If the book wasn't in one of the apps, we would go to the next and so on.

The trouble came when the book wasn't in any of three apps - which happened quite often, especially with older books. We decided to get the AR book level (see here) and then convert the AR level to the Fountas and Pinnell system that we wanted to use in the classroom.

Once the hard part was over, the rest came easily. We color-coded the books and organized the boxes in a storage cubicle that I had bought at Big Lots. I decided that I would only start with levels A-R - one, because I didn't have the space in the 3x3 cubicle and two, because I highly doubt any of my students will be reading past the R level.

And finally the day came when all our books were labeled (books that we couldn't label were sent next door to our library) and our library was open for business!

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