It’s a Monday. The 9 year old students roll into my classroom groggy and excited. They have breakfast and we connect.
Ok students! I raise my voice as breakfast and our morning meeting has wound down. Let’s start the week with reading. Find a comfortable spot with your book box!
After 5, or 10, or 20 minutes, I bring our independent reading time to a close and we gather on the carpet for discussion and our first mini-lesson of the week. I check in with the student who is next on the booktalk sign up sheet. Yes, I’ll be ready to share later!
We return from PE and several students go to Speech or Special Education support. Hali shares her booktalk. I call a small group to the carpet area off to the side and I invite the other students to “shop for some new books.” The students use the strategies we’ve practiced to find a “just right book (Fountas and Pinnell).” As they go, most students return their prior books to the appropriately numbered bins and boxes in our space. It is March and they know the library well. If they are unsure, they ask a student librarian, or file the book in the crate up front. When they have completed book shopping, these students move on to independent work. As groups rotate, this process will repeat throughout the day.
Math has moved to independent work time. Jael says, “Mr. Wheeler, I was at speech earlier. Can I book shop?” “Of course, thanks for the reminder!” Self-advocacy is essential.
Two student helpers put away the extra books that haven’t been taken care of yet. If needed, they stamp new books with the special Mr. Wheeler’s Classroom stamp, put a sticker on the back, and decide where these new books should reside. Categories include Action, Mystery, Adventure, School, Friends/Family, Video Games, Sci Fi and more. Picture books have their own section, because they don’t fit in the same spaces.
Sometimes I describe our classroom library as the heart of the classroom. Like healthy routines for our physical heart, these routines sustain and maintain our healthy classroom library heart!
Recap: The routines
- An environment that values reading and time to read
- Time to look for new books for their book bins
- Books are sorted and labeled
- Student roles and self-advocacy