Monday, July 14, 2014

Classroom Library Makeover {Plus a Giveaway!}

This year will be my 7th year teaching.  My first two years I was a reading specialist and taught K-1 music {not by choice, might I add}. Then I got RIFed from my corporation due to budget cuts and was fortunate enough to get hired at a smaller district as a 1st grade teacher.  Since my 4 years of being in the classroom, I have gradually worked to improve things and learned thru trial and error what worked and what didn't.

I am a complete bookworm.  Have been since I was a kid. My parents used to always give me a hard time because no matter where we went, I always took a book, or four.  Ya know, just in case I got finished with the other three in our short trip to run some errands. And I wouldn't even finish the book I was reading. But I always wanted to be prepared and I always had a book in my hands.  My parents knew how much my books meant to me as a kid and were nice enough to store them for me until I got my own classroom.  Now, the books that were a part of my collection at home, are now a part of my classroom library.  In addition to hundreds that I bought at our twice a year local public library book sales, publisher warehouse dollar sales, and of course Scholastic.  When I was in college, I worked for a daycare. Whatever room I was in, I would get the Scholastic book order flyers from that teacher and order some books each time for my future classroom.  I was only supposed to allow myself about $30 each order, but given my obsession with reading and books that obviously never happened. It was more in the neighborhood of $100. #majorfailbyme

Anyways...When I finally did get my own classroom, I had already established a collection of just over 2,000 books.  And let me just tell!  Still does! Of course my obsession over books has not gone away and I have WAY more books than are probably necessary, but I hope that I can give my firsties an opportunity to read a wide range of books and to instill a love and passion for reading like I had when I was their age.

My classroom library is one of those things that has constantly been a work in progress.  Each year I added or changed some things that I thought might make it better and more manageable. By the end of my second year, I knew what I needed wanted to do but I was dreading it because I knew it would be a bear to tackle.

So I started with the book bin labels. I made labels for all of my books based on popular characters, authors, and themes that I had in my collection of books.  Adding just the book bin labels helped with organization and allowing the kids to easier find where the books needed returned, but there were still books all over the place and in the wrong bins. I'm not gonna lie-IT.DROVE.ME.CRAAAAAZZZY! Honestly, I paid A LOT of money for these books, and I wanted them to be taken care of and put back nicely and neatly.

Insert the labels for the books.  I added these last summer and they were a game changer! Whitney, at The Crazy Schoolteacher, and I team teach.  We dedicated about 2-3 days {maybe 4} to sorting all of our books by the characters/authors/themes from the book bin labels.  We printed off all of our labels and started putting them on every. single. book.  We wanted to put the labels in the same spot of every book so that it was consistent and so that our firsties knew exactly where to look every time they weren't sure where a book went.  We decided to put all the labels on the top left hand corner on the back of the book.  Now, if one of our firsties grabbed a book, read it, and wasn't sure where it needed to be returned, all they have to do is look at that label on the back of the book and find the book bin that has the matching label.

Yes. It was time consuming. Yes. It was a lot of work. Yes. We realized we had have a serious book obsession. But I'm not kidding you at all when I say it was SO worth it.  I'm pretty sure the number of gray hairs that I gained this year from being asked where a book went and telling the class a book wasn't in the correct spot, decreased drastically in comparison to past years. It just was not a huge issue this year, where in years past it had been a constant, nagging pain in my neck!

So enough babbling by me.  Here's my labor of love.

 These labels are printed on standard Avery5167 mailing address labels. There are a couple of pictures per label to help maximize the use and number of the labels.
These book bin labels just need printed, laminated, and cut out to be ready to put on your book bins. The book bin labels are made specifically to fit the skinny book bins from Really Good Stuff found here, because that's what the majority of the book bins are in our classroom.  However, we also have an assortment of bins from Dollar Tree, the Target dollar spot, and Walmart that they fit perfectly as well. I just put the laminated book bin label in the label holder on the Really Good Stuff book bins and glue them with rubber cement to any other book bins.

Since they are a new product they are marked 50% off making them $7.50 for the first 48 hours.  There is still plenty of time this summer for you to get this done for next school year. I promise you will not be disappointed and it will make your life SO much easier! Here's the link to them in my TPT store.

I also have just the book bin labels for sale in my TPT store if you're not interested in putting the labels on every single book you own.  They are also marked 50% off for the next 48 hours for $4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I feel your pain when I went to pack my classroom up for the summer ~ I.FOUND.BOOKS.EVERYWHERE! I think I have tried every system and the only one that makes sense AND is easy for very on is sorting by genre ~ like you do. I'm glad I'm not the only book nerd who's parents complained there was always a book in my hand. Now I beg students to put books in their hands.

  2. I organize my gazillion books by genre/series/authors like you do. I am feeling the need to put matching stickers on each book, but it's a daunting task...I know it'll be worth it though...

  3. I organize mine very much like yours, but I am quickly running out of room! Yikes! Not sure if I need to buy more baskets for thin out some of the ones the kids rarely pick up. Thanks for the chance to win these labels. They look great!