It is interesting how each of the classrooms in the project has taken on a life of their own. With this post, I will be focusing on just one of the classrooms, and then in future posts, I will highlight additional classroom progressions. The fifth-grade students have been the most energetic, thoughtful, and innovative. They have had many conversations regarding room design, sharing favorite reads, and on the organization of books. Here are some of their latest discussions.
Two main points were discussed in regards to room design. First and foremost a comfy reading nook and then making the currently open library area into a more enclosed space. This will be partially accomplished with the beautiful new seating that will be ordered through a very generous donation from Ripple on Donor’s Choose. If you are on Twitter check out the hashtag #BestSchoolDay! Over 35,000 projects were funded in one enormous $29 million dollar act of generosity. Every teacher that had a project was funded! That means that two projects we had proposed for the Classroom Library Project were fully funded!!! Check out some of the awesome seating that will be arriving in some of the classrooms! What a wonderful way to support teachers and students.
Sharing Favorite Reads
While leaving one of the elementary buildings last week I spied a metal book display stand that rotates. It was in mint condition, without any books on it, and just sitting in the hallway. I stopped in my tracks and hovered around it for a little while. Someone surely wasn’t just getting rid of this book stand I thought. After a couple of inquiries, I found out it was up for grabs. So I brought it down to store in my office, as I knew I would find a good home for it. It didn’t take long, the fifth graders decided to have a “Must Read” rack. Perfect, it had found a home! Once students finish a book that they thought another classmate might enjoy they will add it to the display on the new rack. One step further with this idea, the students would like to paint an existing metal heater cover, which is about eight feet wide and 3 feet tall, with whiteboard paint. The heater would be a place students could share their ideas about their recommendations and hopefully hook a few readers to grab their next read. Fantastic idea – right?
Organization of Books
After a few growing pains, (finding books that have been relocated in the library) they decided to keep the fiction and nonfiction books in separate locations within the library. In each section, the books will be stored in labeled bins. The fiction section would be organized primarily by series and author. In the nonfiction section, the books will be organized by topic or theme, with each bin alphabetized on the shelf. Sets of three to four books of the same title, that are used for book clubs currently take up “prime real estate” space in the library and will be moved to a different area out of the way. It was decided that each book will be labeled with a colored label on the spine of the book. Some books may have multiple labels if they fit into more than one bin. A color coded chart will be displayed in the library and also available to students in their individual binders to direct readers as they make independent reading choices. Wow, what great organizational ideas and all student driven!
Last but not least, Rewarding Reading with… Reading! The students are going to create a large Kerplunk game in the reading area. If you are younger than 40 you may have not played this game before. In my younger days, it was a family favorite. When someone finishes a book, one read at home or at school, they will pull a stick out which will loosen the balls resting on the sticks. The student then writes their name on a list. Once many sticks have been pulled and all the balls drop there will be a reward for all the readers! Some of the rewards that were discussed were, having the principal come and read her favorite book. Perhaps having a flashlight party while the classroom lights are dimmed and everyone reads by flashlight. Have an entire school day devoted to choice reading, hard copy texts or audio books. Inviting a local author to come in and have them read to the class. Buddy reading with a younger class is always a treat. These are just a few ideas. Please share any of your ideas you have tried with rewarding reading with READING!