Rolling out your classroom library this fall is sure to spark a reading frenzy in your classroom. While this positive energy sets independent reading in motion, it can also entail management woes for teachers weeding through bins of misplaced books. If Harry Potter is hiding out in the “Magical Stories” bin when it should be in the “Favorite Series” basket, here is a tip to help!
Krista Stalzer, a grade four teacher in Epping School District of Epping New Hampshire organizes her classroom library in bins with descriptive labels that entice her students to genres, authors, topics, and areas of interest. Krista attaches a Velcro strip to each bin and provides each student with several uniquely numbered poker chips with Velcro on one side. The poker chips are reused each year as only numbers, rather than names are used. When a student “checks out” a book from the classroom library, he or she adheres their uniquely numbered Velcro chip to that bin.
Bins with lots of chips and attract attention from other students in the class who then gravitate to the basket to find out what compelling titles might be inside. Krista tried this strategy with clothespins in the past, but found they easily broke or popped off.
Using the numbered poker chips, Krista can also quickly scan the bins to see what types of texts her students are selecting. She can track these selections easily with an organizer correlating student numbers to their names and identify reading patterns (e.g. genres, authors) or needs, such as branching out into informational text, over the course of the year. Upon finishing a book, students return books to the appropriate baskets by referencing photographic maps Krista has posted of her library and locating their numbered poker chip on the correct bin.
Do you have a clever system for helping keep your classroom library organized? Let us know in your comments!