Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Setting Up Your Balanced Literacy Classroom

Once you have your materials....

It takes time and thought to create an effective classroom layout.  I often change my mind and end up sliding book shelves around the room.  It is well worth the time to sit down and sketch out your classroom layout.

Organizing Your Library: 
You will need many books to support independent reading in your classroom.  The goal of the library for independent reading should be to allow students to choose books easily.  You will want to consider organizing your books by levels, topic, author, or genre.  These choices will need to be made based on your instructional goals.

*Leveled Library
    - Allows students to easily access books at their level.
    - Makes it easy for you to monitor students' book choices.
    - Scaffolds students' choosing Just Right Books.  (I put their level on their book box.)
*Topic/Genre Library
    - Some books level is unavailable or fits better into a "topic/genre" section of the library.
        For example, Poetry books.
    -All the books of one topic are gathered together in a bin.

   *You can make your own, or there are many commercially created labels out there.
    -Include the word "Animals" as well as a small picture.
    -Label the outside of each bin.
    -Label each book.  Keep the label in a consistent place.  (I put my stickers in the top right corner) That way students will always know where to look when trying to return books.

I've made my own labels in the past with a ink jet printer and mailing labels.
I just got a donors choose for these Book Labels.
A good place to start is to create labels for the books you have.  However, at you can download the lables below at this teacher's website. Labels to Download

*Book Shelf Placement
    -Keep your library "open".   Avoid creating barriers with bookshelves that might make it hard for you to see students while they are in the library area.

Do This: 

Not This: 

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