This past school year I taught Science and Writing. It was my 3rd year to teach 4th grade science---LOVE IT--- and my first year to teach Writing. Yes I know... Science and Writing??? What a weird combo!! But we did a LOT of journaling in Science, so when the writing position became available, I asked my principal for it and she said yes.
The one thing that I was most excited about was building my classroom library. After searching and finding Beth Newingham's website, I could NOT wait to go to the thrift stores, garage sales, and dig on the internet to find books my students would want to read.
If you have not seen Beth Newingham's website... YOU MUST GO NOW!!! Well finish reading... but then GO!!! Beth Newingham's Classroom Library....AMAZING!!
Anyway so I found tons of books, bought tons of books, and went back to my parents' home and brought back all the books my brothers and I used to read like Hank the Cowdog, Goosebumps, and all the Dr. Suess books I could find. Then came the tough part... organizing them all. Where on earth was I going to find cheap sturdy buckets?? Here is my secret... You may already know....
Dollar General. They have AWESOME buckets that range in size and color and cost about $2.50.
Walmart. Plastic shoe boxes are the perfect size for chapter books and are $1.00
Luckily, I had downloaded and printed all the labels for my buckets from Beth Newingham's website. I didn't use them all, just the ones that worked for me. Some I actually had to make, but I just hand wrote them in marker rather than create them on the computer. My goal this summer is to create all new labels for my buckets (even though I'm 6th grade Math and Science, I just cant part with my library)
I also put stickers on each book and put the same sticker on the label. I assigned 2 librarians at the beginning of the year and they would make sure books were returned and in the right spot. I never had the problem of having to throw all my books onto the carpet and reorganize them again!! And the kids loved the library!!! It was our favorite place. I get sad now just thinking about how much I am going to miss reading to them at the end of the day ;(
Last of all... the check out system. There is no point in having a classroom library if the kids cant take the book home and read them. I bought almost all of these books and my primary concern was what if the students didn't return them? So I devised a checkout system and I think I only lost 5 total books, but if I am losing it to a kid who really needs it, then I really didn't lose it at all.
However, with the help of vistaprint, I have fine tuned my check out system this summer.
These are postcards that each student will get. They will fill it out and give it to me when they want to check out at book. To get their card back, they have to return the book.
Here is the banner I am hanging over my library. It has the rules on it so hopefully they can take advantage of the library without too many problems.
Even though I am not teaching ELA at all next year, the classroom library was also my special place with the kids. My hope and prayer is that it can still be that way with my 6th graders.