Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Boxcar Children

I am so excited to share with all of you a FREE book club packet that you can use with your students. I created this a few years ago when I finished my reading series early and needed a few fun activities to do at the end of the year. My kiddos really enjoyed listening to me read aloud The Boxcar Children. After I read aloud a chapter, they would complete the response page for that chapter. This book club packet could also easily be used in a small group or even as an independent activity. I hope that you enjoy it and hope to be able to post more book club packets soon!

Click on the link to download this freebie!

Monday, May 16, 2011

All About Alligators

In Science, we have been busy learning about plants and animals. My students LOVE science more than any other time of the day! As an extension to one our lessons, I plan to read aloud the book All About Alligators by Jim Arnosky.

My students just can't seem to get enough of non-fiction books! I love using anticipation guides before reading non-fiction stories to activate my students' prior knowledge and build curiosity about a topic. Here is an anticipation guide that I created to go along with the book, All About Alligators by Jim Arnosky.

If you would like a blank anticipation guide, this website has two great templates that you can print.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Win Cool Bags

Who doesn't love to win free stuff? If you haven't checked out the giveaway at Finally in First, you need to go over and check it out. Jenn Bates has an awesome blog with great ideas, and now she is giving away a super cute set from Mixed Bags Designs. These bags would also make a great fundraiser for your school!

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Classroom Library - Continued

Allowing children to check books out of the classroom library is important but finding a way to keep it organized and non-time consuming is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Over the last few years, I have modified the way I have children check books out of the classroom library and I think I finally have came up with a method that it simple, organized, and doesn't seem to take up a lot of my time.

I purchased this nifty little red bulletin board at the Goodwill for only $2. (Great deal, huh?) I purchased the library card pockets at the dollar tree. Each pocket has a child's name on it. Then I added an index card to each pocket. The index cards are also labeled with a child's name.

I use the index cards to write which books each child checks out. ( I actually let them check out two books at a time - one that they can read all by themselves and one that they would enjoy having someone at home read to them.) I cross the books off of their index cards when the books are returned.

In addition to the index cards, each child has a large zip lock bag labeled with their name.

If it is their turn to check out books, I place the empty bag on their desk and their job is to choose two books from the classroom library for morning work. Then they place the bag on my desk, I record which books they checked out, and give the bag back to them to take home. I also have a basket labeled returned books for when they bring their bag back. I then check the books back into the classroom library, cross the list of books off of their list, and the process begins all over again.

If I notice that a child has had a book checked out for a little while, I send home this friendly reminder notice so that he/she can check out more!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Classroom Library

I love my classroom library and I am continually working on organizing and re-organizing it. Most of my books are sorted according to subject/genre/or author. Over time, I have combined some categories in order to make room for more books. I also have books that don't really fit a category, so I have a section of books sorted according to level. I really like having them organized this way and I also like having my library surround our meeting area on the carpet. Here are some pictures:

If you are a new teacher looking to start a classroom library, some of the best places to find books are the goodwill or thrift stores and also yard sales. Most of my books are previously used from thrift stores and yard sales! The book bins that I use are from the dollar tree and Kmart. (The ones from Kmart were more expensive, but they have lasted longer.)

The summer is also great time to get your books organized!
If you would like to download my book bin labels, click here: