This week, one of my expressive students exclaimed, “You’re one crazy book lady!” I can’t remember what exactly inspired this comment but I think I was searching intently for a book in one of many piles in my teacher resource area. Piles have grown. Some looked more like towers. Towers at risk of toppling. A recent donation meant some book shopping for early chapters and graphics (see photo below) and my children had let go of some series they were ready to pass on to my classroom. There were still unlabelled and unorganized books that I should have been able to deal with in the summer but the teacher strike meant limited time for classroom setup. Books, books, books. 🙂
Friday was a professional development day in my district and I decided to use it to 1) dive into these book piles 2) pull out titles from book bins that my now Grade 3 and 4 readers are ready for and 3) to talk books and strategies with some of my colleagues. This week, I celebrate, this much needed and very useful time.
Armed with stickers, notebooks, tape and bins, and of course, caffeinated reinforcements, I began. Before I book talk books, I like them to have stickers on the back (sealed with tape to ensure they stay there) so that students can return them to their correct bin.
I was able to get an entire bin of books ready to be book talked. Many titles landed in my specific themed baskets for future read alouds or writing mentor texts.
I made lists of new labels to make for bins being switched to accommodate new titles. Some series went into storage and some came out to be part of the classroom library.
But the best part? As I worked in the room and interacted with the books, ideas kept coming. Ideas for mini lessons in Reading Workshop, ideas for record keeping, ideas for new titles to add to our collection (of course!) and ideas about books to suggest to specific readers. Usually, I do all of this classroom library organization in the summer when students won’t be in the room for weeks and weeks. Yesterday, it was like my current class was right there with me and nudging me to think about things specifically for their particular reading needs. It was like I had little voices reminding me. Whispers of interests, ideas and needs:
“We need more chapter book fantasy stories because I am getting into that genre.”
“You should tell me about Iris and Walter stories and Mercy Watson titles because I am ready for early chapter books.”
“Find a place to hold and display some of the big fact books we can share for buddy reading.”
“Are there books in our classroom library that fit for me as I am transitioning to more challenging titles? I really like Fly Guy books!”
“I read lots of series last year but I think I am ready for some stand alone chapter books. But, where do I start?”
“We need a recording sheet to reflect how we are reading widely and exploring book boxes but make it simple and fun.”
“Display our Reader’s Statements in a new spot so we can refer to them as we browse books.”
“We forgot to add more ideas to our What kind of mood are we in? sheet last week. Let’s do more of this.”
This week, I celebrate time to be in my room, organizing and thinking about ways to make it more responsive for the readers that inhabit the space Monday to Friday. Yes, I do this daily with all of the students there with me. But, with the gift of a full day, time to reflect and just wisps of reader energies surrounding me, I accomplished so much. I can’t wait for another week of growing passionate and devoted readers in my room.
Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I love how being a part of this #celebratelu community reminds us weekly to look for the positive and take some time for gratitude.