We've been blogging and Instagram-ing so much summer stuff, I thought it was time to start adding B2S setup ideas. Yes, I know...no one wants to quite think about getting back in the swing of things yet but it is coming up quickly. Based on Instagram, some people are already back!
This will be my 16th year (gasp) teaching. I have no idea how I have stayed in my mid-20's and have that many years in (wink-wink) but I have learned a lot of things in that time. I am no expert by any means and I still learn what works and what doesn't each year. However one thing that I would say I feel I have mastered is the classroom library.
Flashback to year #1....I was just excited to have books to put on shelves for my very first second graders. I didn't have the abundance I do now but I had enough to start. I went to garage sales, took books others were done with, and stocked up monthly with book orders. But the MESS. Oh the MESS of my bookshelves. Too often I would spend hours making nice neat rows of books....just like in a real library. I would gush at how neat they all looked. The next day...back to a disaster. I didn't understand....couldn't these cute little kiddos just take one and nicely slide one back into the row? Ummm...hello 16 year ago self...NO. They couldn't.
I am totally OCD so I knew part of it was "letting go" a little and allowing a little mess. This I learned early on. I tried many ways of organizing my books. I tried rows, bins, DRA sorted bins, bins with pictures, but every year would be the same. Nothing ended up in the right place and I spent even more time organizing. Until a few years ago....
It finally came to me (and I may have seen it somewhere also...ha ha). My students needed the books organized- yes. So bins with labels like I liked did work. But some students didn't understand my thinking in what went where. Others just thought Fish went in the "Animals" bin not the "Sea Life" bin. And yet others- they were just too in a hurry to look where the it should really go.
Enter amazing solution that works 99.5% of the time (there are still "I'm too in a hurry" students)!
My classroom library which now houses at least 5x as many books as it did that first year, is organized into bins. Good bye to the neat library rows that just don't work in a classroom setting. Each bin is labeled by topic/category/character. For example...I have a Clifford bin, a Berenstain Bears bin, an Arthur bin, a science bin, Land Animals bin, Ocean Animals bin, Alphabet Books bin, etc. Each bin label is ALSO assigned a number. In each bin I have all of the books labeled on the back with a small round sticker that has the same number on it. That way all the kids have to do is match the numbers when returning their books. I get the organization that works for me and looks neat and my kiddos get an each system of number matching. Arthur books are all in a bin labeled Arthur #1 and every Arthur book in there also has a sticker on the back with a #1 on it. That way they know exactly where each book goes.
Some of you may be saying...."Well of course!" but it took me about 12 years to get it right so for those few out there that are looking for something that works well....there it is!
My classroom right now is filled with lots of teal (some of you may remember my slight obsession with the color from my last post). Here are the book bin labels I am using in my classroom right now. I used to have black borders with cute clip art/pictures also but last year when I made these I changed the color scheme of my room and made these to match some border I was using. They might work for you to use or give you some inspiration for making your own. I made all of the text editable so if you want to use the teal polka-dot labels that I made, you can, but you are still able to edit the bin label numbers and titles. Just so you know the text I used is from Kevin and Amanda's "Pea Fonts" and it is called Pea Angedawn. This is the font that will open correctly on your computer so download it if you don't already have it. You can always change the font using the editable boxes.