As I gear up for ah-hem...Back to School, I've tried to do a few things I've been meaning to do to help manage my classroom more efficiently. One of those things is organizing my classroom library. I have an addiction to purchasing books like most reading specialists, and I definitely can not pass up a good book for a great price. Alas, it means I have A LOT, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Sadly though, each year, I lose books due to my own disorganization. I fail to hold my students accountable for returning what they borrow (mainly because I'm too busy planning, prepping, and teaching), but I believe I have a solution to this dilemma thanks to some wonderful input via my Facebook page.
Last week, I asked my readers for a little help in finding a way to level, inventory, and manage my books. My plan is to have a library that looks like this one from Kinder Craze Blog when school starts.
The first step is to determine what system you'd like to use for leveling. I asked my readers, and I got wonderful feedback and very helpful advice as well as many who tagged the conversation for future reading. If you're interested in reading what my readers suggested, you can locate that thread [here]. The responses overwhelmingly suggested using Scholastic Book Wizard, but because the app was not available in the Google Play store, I chose to go with Classroom Organizer from Book Source.com. Below are the steps you need to follow to do the same in your classroom.
Step #1-Download the app you choose from Google Play or I-Tunes
The first thing I did was download the barcode scanner and Classroom Organizer from Google Play. You need the scanner in order to enter the information into the database on Classroom Organizer. The scanner reads the ISBN number on the back of the books and identifies the book title. The other pieces of information come from Book Source's database. One piece of information that was very clear from the feedback I received is that no one system has every book in its database, so what I like about Book Source's system is that I can enter titles manually that are not in their system and have a complete inventory.
Step #2-Set up your Classroom Library with your computer using www.booksource.com.
In our school, Accelerated Reader levels are used primarily, but I personally prefer Fountas and Pinnell. What I decided to do is enter both options when I set up the database. As books are scanned, the information I set up is recorded in a spreadsheet. Here's a glimpse at the screen shots to show how it works. (very simple)
|When you log in, you select either teacher or student page. If you are a student, you are prompted to log in. Teachers have a secure login as well which accesses the database of books.|
|This shows the teacher the set up tab and library tab.|
|Teachers set up the rules for student check out, and students can use both a computer or phone that has been set up. I believe an I-pod would work as well which is something I will be exploring since we have a class set of them.|
|This shows the information that I wanted to pull into the spreadsheet. I narrowed the list just to keep things manageable for me.|
As I scanned my books, I began sorting them by level. Once I complete scanning and enter manually those that were not in the database, then I'll print the spreadsheet for the organizing part.
Step#4-Organize the books in bins according to level, genre, series or topic.
In my classroom, I have some books grouped by series, some by genre, some by level, and some by topic. This is definitely teacher preference. I know it helps my students to know which bin to visit. I can quickly make recommendations and point them in the right direction when I have a feel of what they like.
Step #5-Train your students on how to check out and return books.
Last spring, I got the privilege of hearing Donalyn Miller speak, and I loved hearing her tips on how she helps students select and manage their books. She picks a few very organized students to be the library managers. They receive in the returns, check them in, and shelve them. With this system, I hope that it will be an efficient process that will help me avoid having our librarians miss instruction. That is my only concern with check outs and returns, but I guess in time I'll know. Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet and test the water, right??
As I complete this "adventure", I will return with pictures of my classroom library. They may not look like the dream library I showed you, but I am determined it will be very, very close.
Now, before you go, I'm a bit late, but I thought I'd add in two discounted items in this week's Two for Tuesday. Since I'm so late adding them, they will remain discounted until Thursday morning. One set I'm discounting is my latest creation, Poetry for Your Pockets Yearly Bundle. This is priced at $8.00 and includes 37 poems in Black and White and Color (for printing and projecting). These are wonderful for working on fluency. I've used several this summer with my summer reading camp, and I was so pleased that the kids loved them. I even got to tell them that I wrote them myself (and a parent event commented that they good which made my day!) Here is the preview.
The second discounted item is my Patricia Polacco bundle which includes twelve titles and 150 pages. Each unit is fully developed, and this bundle could be used throughout the year with read alouds, mentor texts for writing, or with guided reading groups. All units are set up in a before, during, and after format to provide higher level thinking skills and writing opportunities. You can purchase it for $14.00 which is $4.00 off.
Have a great week, and until next time...enjoy your summer!