Amazing Kids

Amazing Kids

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A REAL Classroom Library

My day started as one of the worst days ever. Really. Terrible. Awful. Yucky. Beyond-words-horrible. I finally gathered myself and went into my classroom, which I desperately needed to do in order to organize and prepare lesson plans.

I began looking at all of the books that have found a home in my classroom, thanks to gifts, donations, and making a little extra money on the side teaching piano and voice lessons. The bookshelves I scrounged up from all over the building at the beginning of the school year (thanks to Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer) seemed to be more than enough when I hauled them into the room. But over the past several weeks (maybe months) we have not been able to squeeze all of the realistic fiction on their designated shelves. Or the fantasy/science fiction. Or historical fiction. Shelves were bulging, books were spewing out, kids had given up and put them any old place due to lack of space. It's been tragic. Okay, not tragic. Wonderful. Yes...wonderful. (Although, the mystery section is still pathetically thin, in case you're looking to donate!)

Knowing things would have to be moved and another bookshelf - or more - would need to be conscripted into service, my mind was probing any possibility. I unshelved picture books I keep carefully guarded as read-alouds, put them on the piano bench temporarily, and reassigned that case for fantasy. After moving the piano and two other bookcases, the "new" bookcase found its home.  Ivan was happy, as were Charlotte, the BFG, Prince Caspian, Origami Yoda, Marty McGuire, Baby Mouse, and a host of their comrades. They could breathe! They could all be found by anxious fourth grade readers!

As this type of renewal continued my view on life was given a bit of a lift. The authors of these books have lifted me, all through their stories (and some through Twitter as well). Thinking of the kids' reaction on Monday lifted me, because I know they will be excited to explore. Finding - or re-finding - books I have yet to read lifted me, too. I brought one home to read tomorrow so I can encourage my kids to read it!

I should have taken a picture of my "updated" classroom library to share with you. Maybe I still will. It's wonderful. Yeah, it has some weaknesses (mystery books), but it's growing.

Never in a million years would I have thought we would have so many wonderful friends gracing our classroom like this. We have a genuine classroom library, with books that span generations of Newbery awards, including TWO copies (thank you, Mr. Schu, for one of them!) of this year's winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, several copies of Wonder (R.J. Palacio), along with wonderful titles from Linda Urban, Kate Messner, Barbara O'Connor, Jenni Holm, Stephen McCranie, Tom Angleberger (oh, I knew I wouldn't be able to stop once I got started!)... and the list goes on!

This day was made better by being in my classroom - with a library  - even though my kids weren't there.

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