Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Sale and A Last Minute VACAY!

A Sale...and who doesn't love a SALE!

I'm also throwing a SALE on my TPT Store.  It's 20% off, but just tomorrow.

If you'd like to view the sale...Click I WANT 20% OFF!

A Mini-Last Minute Vacay...before the first day!

Teachers in my city head back to school Monday, August 25th.  I'm heading out the door tomorrow to the 7 Springs Wine and Food Festival this weekend in Pennsylvania for a last minute mini-VACAY with the family and the college roomies.

Last year was so much fun...can't wait to do it again.

I'll talk to you next week.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Room Re-Do...ALMOST Done!

For the most part, I’m done.

I have a few things to tweak here and there and a few things to decorate.  I have enlisted help from friends and family and I’m feeling really good about the outcome.


I hated how overwhelming it looked from the doorway.  The Fiction Big Books seemed to be everywhere.  They started going down the left wall, bounced over to the right wall, and finished by being on top of the Non-Fiction Big Book racks.  I moved them to the back of the room and grouped them.


Across the back of the room were very nice metal shelves.  They were grouped by reading, math, and gifted education.  However, some of the materials were mixed up.  There were also games with missing pieces, ditto masters for games covered in layers of dust and a box of Keep Books© hidden in the shelves.  Who knew?  I moved the games and support materials to the left wall.  I added the 2 racks of Really Good Stuff© centers from my office (?) to the 2 racks of centers that were in the book room.  I also moved all the math materials to one place.  (Yes, I know I said math.)  There was another group of shelves that had math materials and math leveled readers.  I moved all the math materials and books to one spot…the math aisle.


I decided the big books could fit on the metal shelves in the back.  I had my oldest son move the shelf height so it would fit.  These shelves contain the Fiction Big Books.  On the right side of the picture you can see I removed the 2 bottom shelves and moved the big book carts.

Now the 2 big book carts from the front are on the back wall with the titles alphabetized.  These carts contain the Non-Fiction Big Books.  I also put extra Rigby kits on the top shelves.


Opposite the big book carts, I added the extra shelves and made these shelves for the Keep Books©.  They were in so many places.  I found some in a box on the “Resource Shelf,” some were on extra shelves in the kindergarten wing, and some were in a box in the cabinet in the book room.


You remember those awful labels.  They have been replaced.  Thank Goodness!  Each box contains a library pocket.  My mom put the library pockets on the boxes.  (What would we do without our moms?)  Each label contains the titles in the box and the number of books in the box.  My plan is to add books in alphabetical order…IF there is room in the box.  If not, I will add another box to the end of the row.  Each bag of books also has a label with the level, the title, and the number of titles in the bag. I also wrote with permanent marker the box number on the bag.  (Next week, I’ll post pictures of the check-out procedure.)


The Professional Library filled 28 buckets and 9 shelves.  Each bucket was beautifully labeled and contained books on a specific topic.  It was organized, but it took up a lot of space.  I took the baskets, used some for the Keep Books©, and got the books on 2 shelves.  I moved the math professional books to the math shelf.  I moved the science and social studies professional books to their own shelves, as well.  I used old boards and labels to divide the professional books easily.  I even found 3 books to help with fluency I didn't realize we had.  I’m sure I can use some of the information in the books for our RtI.

Finally, after being asked not to throw the SRA kits out, I hid them on the top shelf above the big books…shhh, don’t tell anyone.


I forgot to take a picture of the Books on Tape.  The containers for these sets were crammed full and sketchy.  Some of the bags had literally dry-rotted.  Some had books with no tapes.  Some contained tapes with notes saying the tape didn’t work.  Some contained a self-recorded tape so old you couldn't read the titles.  I cleaned it up, threw some tapes away, and even put the book sets in the leveled library if it was possible.

I’m happy with the outcome.  My custodian asked if I was going to actually let the teachers use it…hmmmm?


That remains to be seen.

Special thanks to My Cute Graphics.  I love her clipart!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Classroom Libraries ~ Check It Out!

Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

Setting up a Classroom Library

The focal point of a classroom should be a classroom library.  Allowing students time for independent reading with self-selected book choice is essential in all classrooms today.  I have had classroom libraries set up in many ways over the years and I LOVE helping teachers create a reading area for their classroom.
Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

First, find your buckets.

Using any found buckets or coordinating dish pans from Wal-Mart or buckets from Dollar Tree, as long as students know what you have, it doesn’t matter what container they are in.
Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

Second, sort your books.

Using the labels at the end of this blog or labels you’ve personally made, creating a variety of book choices is the key.  The labels are on 2x4 Avery 5163.  I printed the labels, put them on black construction paper 2 ½ x 4 ½ and laminated the labels.  I punched two holes in the label and attached the label to my basket.  Easy peasy lemon squeesy.
Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

Third, find a place.

Depending on the size of your classroom, you will want to create a library that is inviting and welcoming.  One classroom didn’t allow for a full library to be available at all times, so I rotated the books according to the time of the year or the units we were studying.
Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

Fourth, teach your students how to USE the library.

If you have a filing system, make sure they use it.  If you have a check-out system, make sure they know it.  If you have book limit, make sure they count them.  They don’t KNOW how to take care of your library, if you don’t teach them.
Classroom libraries are an essential part of every learning environment.

Fifth, ask them what they want.

I’m always looking to add books to my library, but I want to add books they students want.  I know I’ve told you before…thrift stores are my favorite place for books, but also send a list of book subjects you are looking for in your class newsletter.  If parents know what you want, they may help you out.

I hope this helps you get ready for this school year.  If you'd like labels, CLICK HERE.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Five For Friday - The Freak Out and the Finds!

This has been a busy week.  I love linking with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a new Five for Friday.

1.  Book Room Freak Out

I was freaking out just a bit about getting my book room done. My mom came three days and helped put library pockets on the book boxes.  I’ve worked diligently all summer, but looking at the calendar there isn’t much time left.  However, today it all came together.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the completed project, but I did take a picture of my youngest son and his girlfriend helping me label boxes (I told you I was freaking out).  I’ll have to post those next week.

2.  Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA)

I am so excited to start the new school year with the Virginia State Reading Association.  I am currently the Immediate Past President.  We have our Leadership next week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We have been working with the International Reading Association to create a solid organization. We work with teachers, administrators, media specialists, reading specialists and college educators (just to name a few) to promote literacy across the state and around the world.  Our membership year starts today.  I encourage everyone to join their state reading association or ours!  Click here to join a wonderful professional organization for $30.

Click Here to Become a Member

3.  My $10 Table

I did two DIY projects this week.  I wanted a table for my office and decided to fix one I already had.  We bought this table many years ago and it was on our screened porch.  It was weathered and damaged.  I decided to sand it down and stain it again.  It cost $8.00 for the stain and $1.50 for the throw away brush.   I’m pretty happy with it.

4.  My First Spray Paint Job

Who could turn this down.  I found this file box for $5.25 at Goodwill.  It had all the shelves and all the pegs.  It didn’t have a back.  I hot glued a heavy cardboard to the back and spray painted the whole thing.  I like it. (I think I may be addicted to spray paint ~ in a good way.  Hmmm?  What to spray paint next?)

5.  Happy Birthday, Daddy.

My dad’s 74th birthday is Saturday, but we’ll get together with our family to celebrate Sunday.  He is such a great husband, dad, granddad and role model!

In honor of my dad's birthday, here's a free Father's Day Word List.  (I know it's too late for the OTHER Father's Day, but Sunday is my Father's (Birth)Day.