Labeling, A Decision

So many interesting ideas for categorizing books! I have, however, come to a decision about how to categorize the literature in 207’s classroom library.  An important component of Third Grade Literacy is exposure to different genres.  For me, I need to know that after giving a book talk or exposing children to a particular genre, students can select book from that genre and try them out.  While I’ve seen many proponents of color coding baskets according to picture book/chapter book, my decision is to label books by standard genres found in Children’s Literature.

8160 1x2 5/8 inch Label

8160 1x2 5/8 inch Label

As I was trolling the web this morning, doing a bit of research, I came upon Southern Connecticut State University’s website by Mary E. Brown, Genre of Children’s Literature. Trying to teach Third Grade Learners (50% ELL), whose grasp of abstract and nuance, that biography books are a category under the umbrella of non-fiction is often challenging.  So, I’ve adapted the individual book labeling system as you see in the image.  The larger category is then broken into subcategories.  So, the larger category “Fiction”, encompasses “Fantasy”.  Within each category, depending on the quantity of books, I will possibly separate picture books from chapter books.  The blank area on the left of the label will be for a leveling sticker (thanks to Beth Newingham for this brilliant strategy!). Simplifying the level coding from 26 to 14 levels just has to result in a higher percentage of books being placed back where they belong!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am making a listing of every title in the library — those purchased by the school, those left to me by my predecessor, and those I personally have accumulated.  I used to guard my personal books, taking care to label them.  Lately, I’ve reached the conclusion that, what-the-heck…. when I finally do retire, will I really take all these books with me?  Absolutely not! So for me, including personal books in the classroom book inventory is no problem.

Painstakingly recording each book in the classroom has several purposes for me. One, I am able to compile a comprehensive inventory (required as part of our end-of-year closeout);Handwriting the List two, I am able to see where I have duplicates of books that could be shared with students who may not have books at home; and three, the list will result in a closer look at where there are gaps in levels and in genre.  I’m able to inventory one leveled basket and a couple of genre/category book boxes each day.

Little by little the organization is taking shape. Lots of work, but in the long run, worthwhile.

One thought on “Labeling, A Decision

  1. Hello there, Amy!

    My goodness ……… such a daunting task before you (I know … I’ve been there)! I’m not surprised that, as huge as it is, you’ve actually got a PLAN! Sounds great, and as you say … we’re talking a LOT of time invested in this project. Do you think that the ‘lay person’ on the street would ever have ANY idea about the scope and/or purpose of this project? I think not!

    You have the right idea about your future retirement ….. take nothing with you! I took so much ‘stuff,’ all in good-to-great condition, all paid for out of my own pocket, and I’m still giving it away. Kept some things for the grandkids and gave a bunch to my daughter who is also an elementary teacher. Now I pass things along when I hear teachers talking about themes and units and I know I have something related.

    So, trust me, you’re better off to leave it all there and make some ‘new’ teacher very, very happy!

    In the meantime …….. I’m enjoying your blog but I don’t want to hear any more talk of retirement from you! As a former colleague of yours, and a friend forever, our kids (schools) need Master teachers like yourself who are so committed and dedicated, especially in a mid-size urban school system. Take your time. Delegate some of that work to your students. Good luck with the whole process! And enjoy every day!

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