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Classroom Library Organization & Management

Classroom libraries are a wonderful thing!  Children can't wait to get to the books and discover new and exciting worlds in the pages.  But managing all those books and who has them can be a challenge!

I have used this system now for several years and it works really well for me.  Each student has a pocket in the Check Out chart.  

Inside the pockets are what makes the system work!  My students' reading levels are all over the range of A-Z using the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system.  I needed a way to make choosing a just right book a bit easier and more manageable for the students.  

Each student gets a blue construction paper card listing the basket levels from which they can choose books.  I give them a range of baskets to choose from and these basket levels change over the year as their independent reading levels change and improve.  The blue card stays in the pocket.  An index card with the name and level of the book also goes into the pocket after the student checks out the book by writing their name and date on the front.

On the front of each book, we have a sticker listing the level so students know what basket it goes into.

Each book gets a library pocket (or envelope cut in half) glued into the back of the book.  An index card with the title and level of the book listed on the front is placed into the pocket in the back of the book.  

After the book is read and enjoyed at home, students bring it back, remove the check out card from their pocket, put the card back into the book and then the book goes back into the correct basket.  I train the students at the beginning of the year how to do this.  It is quite easy for them and makes it easy for me to see who has a book out just by glancing at the Check Out chart.  

I use Fountas & Pinnell leveling because I have found that it tends to be accurate for my needs.  They have a book out to help you level books and you can also use Book Wizard on to look up books.

Classroom Reveal: Blue, Teal & Lime Green

teacher desk decoration

I'm a bit behind some of you with my classroom reveal.  I finally got pictures taken of my classroom.  This front and back shot of my desk may be the only time it's this clean!  Small secret- I put some paperwork in my desk drawer for the photo!

I keep my book sets in baskets on this shelf for my small group reading.  The sets are leveled according to Fountas and Pinnell.  Some of the books I use for read alouds are in the baskets underneath.

My computer area.  I was finally able to get rid of my unbelievably slow desktop this year.  See my AirLiner?  Love using that for my Smartboard!

I bought new baskets this year from Dollar Tree for my classroom library and printed new basket tags.

More books and some supplies.  Some of the baskets are empty for now.  I am sure I will quickly find a way to fill them!

Just a wider shot of our classroom library and meeting area.  We meet her when I read to the groups and when I introduce a new comprehension skill.  I was reading I Like Myself this day and we were practicing Turn & Talk with your partner about what we like about ourselves.

This is my classroom library check out system.  I will be posting later about how I use this and how I have a large number of students checking out books.

This small shelf holds our Interactive Reader's Notebooks.  Love, love using these notebooks for students to organize their learning.  Great way to show parents what students are learning and how their learning is progressing through out the year.  

One of our reading areas.  Students cannot get enough of these rocking, blue chairs!

My Focus Wall....this is where we do a lot of quick analyzing of our texts and I post a reminder of what our comprehension focus is that week with the comprehension posters.  Having this Focus Wall really does help us get these quick focus points in each week.  Great way to manage these skills!

classroom set up

Our small group reading area.  A lot of reading and deep thinking goes on here!  These are my wipe off tables that so many of you have asked about that students can mark on with dry erase markers.  Our iPads stay at the top of the table ready to be used for each group.  We use them almost every single day.

classroom reveal

Just a little decoration hanging from the ceiling.  

I hope you enjoyed having a small peek into my room this year!  

Back to School with David!

We are ready to blast off a great new school year with some really good literacy ideas for you!  If you have hopped through the blog, you are visiting from Literacy Loving Gals.  So glad that you came by!

book activities for back to school

One of my favorite characters to go back to school with is David!  Who wouldn't love David?  I think kids identify and enjoy this funny,  mischievous little guy!

author study chart

One easy activity for my younger students is a simple Author's Study chart.  It's an easy way to learn about author and illustrator and a great way to introduce characters and setting.

create a graph of your favorite book

Kids love for their opinions to be heard and for their opinions to count.  Making a favorite David book graph is a fun visual way of doing that!

step by step how to draw David

These are some step by step drawings.  They had so much fun drawing David!  I started with a template of the head and ears and they did the rest.

drawing David and writing about the rules he breaks

These cute drawings were also completed step by step with modeling.  Students really do well with that!  The students wrote about what rules were being broken by David- which of course they think is either just so funny or some think some of what David does is just downright scandalous behavior!

draw David and write about the rules he breaks

After writing about the rules David breaks, it's a great time to have a discussion about the rules and expectations for your students in your classroom.  The David books provide a great way to start this conversation at the beginning of the year.

I like how the David books are written showing that although he makes some mistakes, the people in his life still love him!  The teacher or mother character in the books change from feeling exasperated with his behavior to finding joy in him again.

This is a freebie for you about character changes and showing evidence of the character traits.  You can grab it by clicking the picture or click here.

Now you are ready for the next stop in our back to school blog hop!  Head on over to Reading is Elementary for more great literacy ideas!  

Paint Strips: Not Just For Painting!

It is time for another Bright Idea for your classroom!  Have you discovered the colorful fun of using paint strips in your class?  There are so many different ways to use them!

There are different sizes and number of boxes on the strips.  The bright colors will appeal to your students as well as just keeping it new and fresh for them to have a new way of writing.  Keeping kids engaged is half the battle!

Using paint strips for character traits and beginning, middle, and end

The three boxes strips are just the right size for Beginning, Middle, and End of the story.  They also work great for using evidence to prove your answers.

Using paint strips for main idea and supporting details in reader's notebooks

I don't have my students do a lot of gluing or coloring in our reader's notebooks.  We just don't have the time.  But the paint strips can be glued into the notebooks.  Easy way to add interest and color!  The strips with four boxes work great for main idea and supporting details.

using paint strips for word families

The longer strips with more boxes work really well for word families.

using paint strips for better word choice

We talk a lot about better word choice in my room and not using the same words over and over.  The paint strips are just right for this!

using paint strips for sound boxes

I also like the idea of using the paint strips for sound boxes.  So easy- just hand them out with some buttons.  If your students are ready to add letters, then the paint strips can be written on too!

I really hope you have enjoyed my Bright Idea for August!  Please join me on Facebook, Instagram, and my TpT store so you can stay informed of other great ideas!

For more Bright Ideas from my blogger friends, please take a look through the link-up below.  You are going to find a lot of great ideas!

Teacher Survival Kits

Back to School!!  Oh wow, this is happening for me this week!  I really don't know where my summer went...well, maybe I do:  summer school, Vegas, trip to Colorado.  And boom!  Suddenly summer is done.  Gone. Time for school!

Along with school starting up, it's time to be sure I have everything in my room ready for the new year.  Part of that is having a Teacher Survival Kit supplied and tucked away for those times I might need it.

Here is my kit.  I want items in it that I might need in a pinch.  Or just something that might make my day go a bit easier!

Do you keep some kind of snack in your room?  I do like to keep a few things in my room that won't spoil for those days I rushed out of the house and forgot my lunch.  Or I am just needing an extra bit of something to eat to get me through the day.  Granola bars or snack crackers are small and fit easily into a container.  Aspirin (Excedrin for me) is a must to keep in your kit for those days your head feels like it could explode and the bottle you keep in your purse has mysteriously turned up empty!  Allergy & sinus medicine is another good thing to keep on hand.  Here are a few other things worth keeping in your kit:
*  Chap Stick
*  hand lotion
*  mints (especially if you have eaten onions with lunch and you have been
    called into an unexpected meeting)
*  safety pins & needle and thread for wardrobe malfunctions
*  nail clippers and nail file
*  spare pair of earrings ( I hate figuring out after I have gotten to school that 
    I forgot to put earrings on!)

What about tools?  Do you keep a took kit at school?  I don't keep much at school but there are times I need a few things so I can just handle the job myself rather than having to ask for maintenance to handle it.  My most used tools would be screwdrivers and the razor to scrape hot glue off of walls.

I, of course, keep a brush and some hairspray at school too.  They just don't fit in this container.  What do you keep at school to help you through those days when things aren't going according to plan and you need a little extra help?  

Notebooks For Organized Learning

Using an interactive reader's notebook that's different

I like organization and I like for student work to be all together to show progression in their skills.  So I use an interactive reader's notebook.  But I don't use one with lots of cutting, gluing and coloring.  Those look great, but I don't have but 30 minutes with my reading groups, so the notebook I use requires very little of that.  

using an interactive reader's notebook that is different

I have 4 sections to my notebook to keep things organized:  Word Work, My Thoughts (comprehension section), Vocabulary, and My Books.

using an interactive reader's notebook

Each section has different pages to help students organize their learning.

using an interactive reader's notebook

Comprehension was a section used over and over. Plus, if you find a graphic organizer you like, you can add that in since these are kept in a 3-ring notebook.

You can click any of the pictures or here to see My Interactive Reader's Notebook.

using anecdotal records to drive instruction

I also need to keep myself organized with what students have learned and still need to learn.  Anecdotal records are a way of doing that.

using anecdotal records notebook to keep organized and drive instruction

We do a lot of work on sight words in my room.  I want the students to know them inside and out!

using anecdotal Records notebook to drive instruction

I also like to keep running records on my students and make notes of what strategies they are using and still need to apply.

using anecdotal records notebook to drive instruction and stay organized

I have so many students in and out of my room that I really need these records.  I cannot keep each student's information in my head and I truly feel it is important to really know what each student can do and where they are at so I can move them forward and not waste any time.  You can click here or on the pictures above to see this notebook also.  

As you can see, notebooks help my class run smoothly, stay organized, and keep me informed about my students.  Which is a huge help for conferencing with parents, administration, and meetings with teachers.  These notebooks will be on sale for the Back to School Sale.  I hope they help you!

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