Tuesday, May 24, 2016

balanced literacy classroom essentials

As the school year is wrapping up, I have been looking around at all the things I have in my classroom and was feeling so thankful that our district understands the importance of these items that truly make a Balanced Literacy Classroom flourish. This time of year, I'm sure you're like me in that you begin to think ahead, to envision your next year and everything you're going to do to make it better.

If you'd like to think about shopping, here's what I'd put in my cart for a perfect classroom:

The Library
I read a great quote once, about how the size of the library reflects the teacher's vision for literacy instruction. Totally agree. The bigger the better. Beg, borrow, steal. Ask your principal for money for books! Post ads on Craig's List, use Donor's Choose, ask in neighborhood facebook groups, just make it YUGE!

A Rug & Gathering Space

Again, ask your principal. You need a rug so you can sit together as a family and build community and talk about books. If asking doesn't get you anywhere, use Donor's Choose and get something gorgeous!

An Easel

You have to have one of these for teaching: having your anchor chart paper on one side, a magnetic whiteboard on the other. This one is awesome and has little buckets below, too, for storage. Just the other day I was making that chart with an intervention group and one of the firsties said, "I love this chart of words!" So, you can use this whole group or with a small group, but it's an essential!

Conferring Table

You have to have one of these kidney tables if you plan on conferring with kiddos over reading and writing. *Absolutely essential.

Benchmark Assessment System

You'll need this to figure out where kiddos are, what instruction to give them, and then to monitor their growth. There are many different tools like this, but Fountas and Pinnell is my favorite!

Magnetic Letters

Children, especially the youngest ones, need to manipulate items to learn best. You need these magnetic letters in your life so they can do just that. Also, pick up some little bowls by the tupperware at Target - you need to have everything prepped and ready before your lessons or you'll waste 5 minutes just taking the letters out!

Organizing Bins
Your life will be much easier if you have a little container for each child where they put their things. These have materials for our intervention group, but kiddos can also keep their Readers and/or Writer's Notebooks and Just Right books in them, too! Here's the ariel (sp?) view:

Literacy Idols
And of course, where would we be without our idols? I love having my people with me when I am stuck or maybe when someone else has a question or maybe just for inspiration! Calkins, Atwell, Fletcher, Richardson, Miller, and all the rest are at my side when I need them.

Don't forget some Sketcher Markers, notebooks, and good pens!
What am I missing? Leave a comment to share!


  1. LOVE this post! The classroom library is the 'lure' to hook students into reading. At least, I think so! :) I'm known by my family as "the book stalker". They know to grab enticing books for me from thrift stores, garage sales and so on. I have an Amazon wish list set up, too, so my family can view my "book wants" (or shall I say "needs"?). Once a reader, always a reader. P.S. I'm quite sure I have all of your literacy essentials in my room already. Score!
    Literacy Loving Gals

  2. Love the containers for each kiddo, and there picture on it! I also love your "literacy idols" cabinet.

    Mind Sparks

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