Monday, August 13, 2018

My Classroom Library

Growing up, I never liked reading.  I remember my mom signing me up for the summer reading program and hating it.  Reading was a chore.  About 8 years ago, that all changed.  My school rearranged our homeroom time so that we had 20 minutes twice a week for "sustained silent reading", or SSR.  Teachers were also required to read during this time.  I asked my sister for a suggestion and she recommended The Hunger Games.  I finished it quickly, never wanting to put it down.  The good news was that the next two books in the series were already out, so I was able to keep reading.  I finished all 3 books in three weeks.  Prior to that, I probably didn't read 3 books in an entire year.  Filled will joy and excitement, my sister recommended Divergent.  I have been hooked on dystopian books ever since!

All teachers were asked to have a small classroom library for students needing a book during SSR.  I started going to Goodwill, Half Price Books, and local book sales to get books I had already read.  I also paid attention to what students were reading and bought those.  Students started giving me book recommendations, so I would get the book, read it, and then put it in my library (very important to screen books first!).   

Here is what my classroom library looks like today:

My books are sorted into "books in a series" and "non series", then alphabetized.  If they are in a series, I also add the number to the label.  I have a checkout clipboard, book return, and bucket of bookmarks for students to take.  I also put pictures of my favorite book covers on the bulletin board, because a student once told me she chooses books based on the cover.  I spend time every summer searching for new books and purging books students no longer are interested in (I take them to Scarce).

But the part I think is most important is that I have read almost every single book in my library.  Students come to me for book recommendations all the time.  As their math teacher, I am not telling them what they should  read.  Rather, I ask them what they're interested in or what they've read recently and make a recommendation (or two).  Last year, a former student was going on spring break and emailed me for a book recommendation--3 years after I had her in class!  Students have even told me I have the best classroom library in 7th grade :)  Their interest and happiness keep me going!

I keep a few Algebra 2 textbooks, math books (such as G is for Googol), and "Choose Your Own Adventure" on the bottom shelf.  I love having a variety of books available to my students at all times!

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