Organizing my classroom library

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mrsammieb, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    What a daunting job! At first I was writing the level of each book, then decided not to level them but just put them in categories. There are so many ways you could categorize books! Ugh! Huge job.

    Since I am moving down, I am going to have one of my 5th graders from last year come and scan all the books into my Book Retriever app, but first I have to group them!

    Does anyone else find this job difficult? Do you have a simple answer for me to make it easier? Would you level them? The app actually does that, but it won't be written in the book.
     
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  3. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    I'm interested in seeing these answer. It's my first year in my own classroom. I have a ton of book already that I need to sort through so I can have the ones suitable for 2nd grade. I know my cooperating teacher had her library separated by genre.
     
  4. Banana0

    Banana0 Rookie

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    I'm also starting my first year with a good number of books and I'm interested to hear what people say. I was thinking of probably using Scholastic Book Wizard.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Yes! Every year I try to do something about my sad classroom library but it never sticks. Next year I will do this with my students in the beginning of the year as we learn routines and how to work in a small group.
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    In my (little experience) opinion, make your first choice for grouping of the books on what your kids will be thinking first. For me, that was genre. Then decide how you want to sort from there (alphabetical by title/author, by specific level, by a range of levels, by more specific categories, etc...)
    Since you are 1st grade, I'd say keep it simple for the kids - by category, for example (animals, geography, etc...)
     
  7. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    Thanks! Your answer helped me as well. I figured keeping it simple would be best. I will do it by genre, and then categorize the genre for each basket of books I have. I have been dreading going through my 5+ tubs of books to sort, but I guess it is time to get my butt in gear this weekend!
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I found that using return address labels (the kind you can print on your computer printer) with the categories preprinted really helps. You pick up a book once, decide that it is a poetry book, and slap a "poetry" sticker on the front cover. Then, once all the books have the label on the front, anyone can organize them. It really helps the kids know where to return the books, and it helps you know if something is out-of-place right away.

    Good luck!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You might want to consider leveling at least SOME of your books..as the year goes on you can work on leveling more...my fiction library s mostly leveled...some books are in series baskets (ex Magic Treehouse but also as a level on it) other books might be in bakers such as genre or author study, but the books in the baskets are aso marked with a level. My nonfiction library isn't really evened...just in topic baskets.
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    When I organized my classroom library, I used colored garage sale stickers on the spine and made a key. Each color was a different genre. I also put packing tape down the spine over the sticker to 1) keep the stickers from falling off and 2) reinforce the covers so they wouldn't rip. This was in 5th grade with lots of chapter books.

    I have seen 1st grade teachers organize their book collection by academic themes so the books were easy to rotate in and out of the book corner and stay relevant.
     
  11. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I organized my library by topic, genre, and series last year. I made it super easy for my second grade students to know where to return a book by putting a sticker with a number on the book and the corresponding number on the basket where the book was supposed to go. I didn't label the books or baskets with the topic, genre, or series, but I suppose you could do that if you wanted. I figured the school and public libraries don't usually label books that way; they only use numbers (dewey decimal system) or letters (by author's name), so why should I? I decided to keep it consistent and authentic. I did level my books, but I only wrote the level on the inside front cover for my own personal use, not really for the students' use, and I didn't organize any books by level. I taught them to use the "five-finger" rule when finding a "just-right" book, thinking again that this would be the same way they would locate a book at the school or public library. I still wanted the levels easily accessible for me in case I was helping them to find an appropriate book, but I didn't want them to focus on the levels when choosing a book. Although it took a LONG time to settle on that method and organize the books into baskets, I think this was really the best method I've used over the years. It was simple for the students to return books, and, even without labels for the topic, genre, and series, they still knew where to find the books that interested them.
     
  12. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    So glad this question was asked. I have about 12 separate baskets of books sorted today and tons more I am going to do tomorrow. Thanks!
     
  13. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Stating to work on mine as well. This is my first year teaching and is 4th grade. My thoughts:

    1. Bins by genres
    2. Bins by series
    3. Bins by specific author

    Now I'm thinking about leveling... what do you think about using those round colored circle stickers? Should the kids know the sticker levels or not since I don't want any of the children to be embarrassed by choosing a lower level? And since this is 4th grade, can I include any picture books, possibly in a separate section or is this to low?

    Thanks! : )
     
  14. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Re: the last post
    Since I have mine facing like a city library does, I actually use blank white labels, turned sideways - about 1/5 of the height when turned vertical, and have the book level and points. Then I have a color genre sticker underneath, and that part of the bookcase is labeled as such if you're facing it outward and not sideways, the circle stickers should work well.

    And yes, they should know what the colors/labels mean...they need to know / you will teach them that everyone will be reading books that will help them learn (progress over current level).
     
  15. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    Ok I think I've found a system.I started just separating the tubs of books I have by genres, authors, and series. After I have the books I chose all categorized I think I'm going to use Book Wizard to level as many of the books as I can and sticker the books so that a color signifies the certain level since I'm working with second graders. I think it will take a while but I don't want to feel totally disorganized. I can't get into my classroom yet so I have the time to do this.

    shoreline02: I am new like you as well, so don't take my word for it. However, I am keeping in mind that I will have students reading on many different levels, so I try to provide tons of different types of books with varying levels. Use your best judgement if you think books are too low, but keep in mind not every student in 4th grade reads on a fourth grade level. Then again, this whole process is new to me too!!
     
  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Just know that hours now will save even more time down the line! I spent 5-6 hours binder-Ing my math curriculum differently and printing related resources to fit with each topic...it'll save me a good bit of time each day next year though!
     
  17. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Also, what method should I level by?

    I was going to level them by the guided reading level from Scholastic's book wizard and have them color coded.
     
  18. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    There is a really cool app you can get on your cellphone called Book Retriever. Basically, you just scan the ISBN number and it will put it into your library for you. I've scanned a few of my books and most went in. A few I had to put in title and author etc. But it levels it using exile and dra, and AR levels. This app lets you have kids check in and out books too but I don't think I will use that feature. The app does cost 1.99 but I think it is pretty worth it!
     
  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I teach math now so most of my library has been packed up to make room for my math stations. (Before I get blasted, I do have math literature and science books available to the kids!)

    When I had an ELAR class, my books were labeled by level and by topic. I had leveled boxes and topic boxes. As long as the book was put back in one of the two places, I was happy. My leveled boxes actually got the most action though. I think the kids liked knowing they'd be assured to find a book they could read. The dinosaur and space boxes were also hit pretty hard.
     
  20. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Arbookfind.com is also another easy resource to use for leveling.
     
  21. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    My library is half leveled/half genre or series.

    I taught third grade for the last two years, so I had leveled baskets from ...J (meaning my J basket was also the catch-all for H and I books for my kiddos way below grade-level) through Q... (meaning R and S books were also there for my gifted kids). I also had baskets for mysteries, realistic fiction, fantasy, humor, poetry, science, social studies, informational, non-fictional animals, oh and a basket for Mrs. L's Favorites! ;) On top of my shelves I had baskets of chapter books... Magic Treehouse, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc.

    I'm planning to do something similar this year in first grade. For my leveled books I had a lot of luck with the Scholastic Book Wizard.
     
  22. Stlteach89

    Stlteach89 Rookie

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    I am doing the same thing but only for SOME of my books and only for levels that correspond with 2nd grade (and about two below and above grade level as well). I'm going to use Book Wizard or something similar and color code using the chart by Scholastic:

    http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/guidedreading/leveling_chart.htm

    As far as the leveling system, I am planning to do something similar to this for the most part:

    http://hil.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/library Organization.htm
     
  23. Lainy2121

    Lainy2121 Rookie

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    Thanks for the info! That sounds like an app I need to invest in! Personally, I found duct tape on the spine by genre to be the easiest way to organize. Over the years, I have tried baskets, dots on the front, everything you can imagine, but the library never stayed organized. Last year for the first time, I never had to ask someone to organize the library!
     
  24. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Is the Goosebumps series appropriate for 4th grade?
     

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