Friday, January 13, 2017

library organization

Over the years, I've had many different ideas for organizing my classroom library. For the better part of my first 5 years, I didn't really pay any attention to it, an so similarly, neither did the students. Then, in grad school I got that the library is the heartbeat of your classroom, and that the more effort and energy you put into it, the more the students would use it. The library really is a great reflection of a teacher's beliefs about student-selected independent reading!

In the past, I had lots of baskets of books, by genre, by author, by topic, and so on. The baskets were numbered so it made reorganizing it easy for students to help with. Here's a pic from my library back in 2009, not exactly up close, but you get the idea:

Since coming back to the middle school, I have been able to rethink the library again. I decided I didn't want to use the numbering system because I wanted kids to be thinking about genres more. So, I got some color coding labels and here is what I came up with:

Pink labels represent fiction.
Green labels represent nonfiction.
Yellow labels represent poetry.

Then, within each color, I also label a more specific genre:

Fantasy, with an F on the pink label --

Realistic Fiction, with an RF on the pink label --

Informational Nonfiction, with an I on the green label --
I also have biography, which is not pictured here.

Poetry, just a P for poetry on the yellow label --

And this year, one of my new additions in fiction, Young Adult, with a YA on the pink label --

I started to get some of my old books out of the basement (they were stored at home while I was at the elementary school) and I'm finding that I still might need some baskets. I have a bunch of the Percy Jackson books, Harry Potter, and Cirque du Freak that should probably stay together, but I'm glad I've got this color coding and genre listed on the spine of the books.

I'm just reminded that it takes time for students to get into the books. I was so excited to have all these new YA books for kids, but then no one was reading them. Beautiful, brand new books, mostly hardcover! Some of my seventh and eighth graders are still going back to the Wimpy Kid and Big Nate books, which are fine, but with the elementary perspective I now have, I know that kiddos in third and fourth grade read those, and so what I want for my kids is to be reading books that are more age appropriate.

So, we will continue with our book talks, and I will keep pushing kids to try new books. It's one thing to hear a book talk from your teacher. It's another when a friend recommends a book.

How is your library looking this year? Any new insights into organizational tips? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Happy Friday!


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