Sunday, September 2, 2012

Library Material Organization & Routines

This week I worked more on establishing checkout routines with students and organizing the library so that students would know where to go and what to do.
Library Materials Organization
I like to make things as easily accessible to the students as possible.  I have a designated materials section where students can find crayons, paper, extra sharpened pencils, tissues etc. 

Current Materials Center
Additionally, at each table students have a small pencil bucket, white board and dry erase marker, and table sign with seat numbers. 

For me, assigning students to a seat, and creating a seating chart, is one of those things that helps everyone know where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do.  I often assign students a task by seat number and that helps with the general flow of instruction.  My tables will accommodate 6 students, but  Iike to keep groups to 4 students each, so the 5&6 numbers are at seats that I likely won’t fill.

Example of table sign.  I glue it to construction paper, trim it all down and laminate

Additionally, on each table there will be a set of shelf markers for easy access and plastic name badges for library cards.  I made shelf markers out of laminated card stock.  I'm not sure that they'll surivive very long, but they each have a unique number on them so students can identify which one they are using. I have students put their library cards in a name badge for three reasons – 1) to keep the card from getting ripped up, and 2) it makes it easy to find it to scan it, 3) it acts as a name tag.  I bought the badges with metal clips through a school supply store - but you could get them at any office supply store.  The name badges get pretty abused throughout the year because I use the same set of badges for all classes, so I always buy about 100, so I can replace them as needed.  To get library cards out quickly to students, I keep them filed by class; then each table has a laminated envelope where their cards are stored with their teacher’s name and their table letter on it.
I have three days worth of checkouts under my belt, and one thing is for sure – I have some fine tuning to do.  I have 35 minutes to get kids seated, do a lesson, and I need to allow time for kids to pick out books and get checked out.  I’m down five minutes from last year, and I am really feeling it; it’s actually funny how big of a deal five minutes can be!  Next week I’m going to set a timer on my phone so that I can keep myself on track better.  I guess I’ll have to keep doing that until the I get the timing down.
Week 2 of lessons

For the second week of classes, I focused on some basic check out procedures and book care.  With first – fifth grade, I introduced the use of a shelf marker (with the help of a YouTube video embedded in a prezi) and my procedures for using library cards.  Check out my Prezi Library Organization Week 2.  We pretty much made it through everything except I skimmed over the website information.  I also skipped the book care video with the older kids to save some time – but the K-2 students loved it! 
What suggestions do you have for organizing your space and what are your favorite routines?


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  2. LOVE your table organization! I have one year under my belt now but I am so conflicted about seating charts! I felt like it would be necessary and started the year with them but mid-way I abandoned the idea, it felt like a waste of time. Assigning them to a TABLE might be a happy medium! I could keep it up on the whiteboard before each class begins so they can see and sit. Another challenge was the addition of CENTERS; this format went over like gangbusters BUT "whole group instruction" was limited to the reading rug since all my tables were being used for centers.

    Pencils were a real issue this year, keeping a cup in the center seems like a simple solution.

    Do you do lesson then checkout?

    1. Yes- I do lesson then checkout. The pencil thing can be a nightmare - I added a sharpened and unsharpened cup to a materials table to reduce the "sharpener" distraction.

      I didn't do centers last year because of time issues, but when I did, I stored center materials in large expandable folders and kept them in a central location. Students then came and grabbed the center stuff and took it to their tables when they needed it. If the center materials were too big for folders, I found crates worked well for storing and moving them quickly:)