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Classroom library for a new teacher.

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Last year ds went to a school that had an elem. library, a high school library (the other half of the school had their own because it was a K-12 school) and each classroom had books. At the end of the school year I dropped off a book for a particular teacher's classroom. I found out she no longer worked there. I thought, "so how does that work? Does someone have to scramble to create a new library for that classroom?? If those were her books she probably took them with her to her next job..." Another teacher said, "I'll be teaching that grade" and I handed it to her. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be rotating to different grades and realize your class library is out of sync with your students! Ugh!

 

They did AR testing and a portion of each day?? if they were done with their work I guess they could read. So students probably kept books under their desk or picked one up from the room to read. Trips to the library were weekly as I recall. So if you finished your library book on Wed. and didn't go back to the library til Friday, I guess it would be useful to have some in the room. Or if you weren't interested in the ones in the library maybe you were interested in the ones in the classroom, or vice versa?

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If you post a city or at least a state, I am sure there are folks here who would love to donate and/or have ideas good for that area, we have lived in a bunch of different states and the best places to buy vary. You could give out the school address or give the address to nearby folks in PMs. I know a have a few things, but shipping is more than I paid for them and more than they are worth for the most part.

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As a veteran teacher (26 years and counting), I agree that it's easy for teachers to spend a lot of their own money on classroom decorations, or other trends that don't improve student learning.

 

But a classroom library of books that match students' reading levels and capture their interest isn't in that category.  Having books at their finger tips, where they can make a new choice as soon as they finish the old one, organized so they can easily find things that match their skill level and interest, is a powerful driver for developing both reading skill and a love of reading.  It's not a waste of money. 

 

 

Oh, I don't think books are ever a waste of money. But cost effectiveness of classroom libraries is certainly questionable. I was a voracious reader. But, I had teachers that let me go to the library whenever I needed reading material (if I finished a book I was reading, I could get a library pass right away and go), a well stocked school library and great librarians that were there to help me find books I liked. 

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Ah, I see, we're reading your sentence differently. Let me rephrase: The vast majority of books on the list, using the AR bookfinder as a guide*, come in at a fourth grade reading level. (The graphic novels all come in slightly lower, but I'm never sure if that's reliable when we're looking at graphic novels!)

 

* They have the most books listed on their website, in comparison to other sites that list different leveling systems.

Edited by Tanaqui

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Oh, I don't think books are ever a waste of money. But cost effectiveness of classroom libraries is certainly questionable. I was a voracious reader. But, I had teachers that let me go to the library whenever I needed reading material (if I finished a book I was reading, I could get a library pass right away and go), a well stocked school library and great librarians that were there to help me find books I liked. 

 

This requires them to not only have a room dedicated to books, but also have a staff member in there at all times. It also requires some trust that the student will not simply dawdle to get out of class but will go directly to the library and back.

Teachers spending their own money to stock their own shelves doesn't require that, and the school district can maintain the polite fiction that this isn't costing anything.

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This requires them to not only have a room dedicated to books, but also have a staff member in there at all times. It also requires some trust that the student will not simply dawdle to get out of class but will go directly to the library and back.

Teachers spending their own money to stock their own shelves doesn't require that, and the school district can maintain the polite fiction that this isn't costing anything.

Yes, it does require books, and it requires either a staff librarian or a team of dedicated volunteers. Most children can be trusted to do what they should be doing. In fact, it would encourage and recognize a child's independence and decision making abilities. But, I do suspect there's a great deal of truth to maintaining that polite fiction!

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If you post a city or at least a state, I am sure there are folks here who would love to donate and/or have ideas good for that area, we have lived in a bunch of different states and the best places to buy vary. You could give out the school address or give the address to nearby folks in PMs. I know a have a few things, but shipping is more than I paid for them and more than they are worth for the most part.

I live in the suburbs of Chicago and she lives in Florida.

Edited by Only me
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Thank you everyone for all of the help. I gave her the information and we are both going to look into it in our towns. I'm also going to look into buying some online. I just need to make another EBay and Paypal account since it's probably been 7-18 years since I've used it.

 

She hasn't seen her room yet. I think she will on Monday. She starts in 2 weeks so that deosnt give her a lot of time. Apparently she does get a small stipend but she has a lot she Needs for the classroom since she is expecting the furniture but not much else. She will need to supply anything else. Her pre-k classroom last year was a mess (different school). But at least they had a lot already in the classroom. This year she is excited to start from scratch since this is their first year having 4th grade. Unfortunately this also means there wont be a library or anything else. She was hoping they at least gave her math manipulatives. My daughter loves reading and feels it is a very important part of the class so she wants to provide them with a great classroom library. I told her that it is something she will have to build. There is no way she can have it all in 2 weeks.

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Edit: Still working on this!

 

So other commenters were right in that a lower-level library is also useful. The pitfall here is that a lot of easier books look like easier books - and kids can be so sensitive to being seen as "babyish" or "stupid". So here is my list of books that I think are easier (or at least shorter) and yet aren't embarrassing. YMMV. I was going to bold series books, but strike that, they're almost all series.

 

This is not super-duper diverse, but I did my best. I can also come up with a list of "diverse picture books on a 2nd - 4th grade level", but... to be honest, that won't be as up-to-date. It's been a while.

 

Dyamonde Daniel

 

Horrible Harry and Song Lee

 

Miami Jackson

 

Stories Julian Tells

 

Zapato Power

 

Get Ready for Gabi

 

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy (surprisingly low reading level considering how much of the plot involves Lamar having a crush on a girl and getting into wacky middle-school hijinks)

 

Calvin Coconut

 

Ruby and the Booker Boys

 

Alvin Ho

 

Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name

 

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs

 

Dragonbreath and Hamster Princess (Ursula Vernon is a genius)

 

Clubhouse Mysteries

 

The Last Kids on Earth

 

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone

 

President of the Whole Fifth Grade

 

The Carver Chronicles

 

(Some of the ones at the end are just ones I forgot to put in before. Sorry.)

 

Graphic Novels

 

Amelia Rules

 

Phoebe and Her Unicorn

 

Four Points

 

Amulet

 

Cleopatra in Space

 

Rapunzel's Revenge

 

Pretty much anything written by Doug TenNapel or Raina Telgemeier

 

Zita the Spacegirl

 

Chad and Mal

 

Babymouse and Squish

 

Lunch Lady

 

Nimona

 

Bone

 

Hilo

Edited by Tanaqui
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Do they have technology to use in the classroom? She can sign up for a free account on Epic: https://www.getepic.com/educators

 

It is free for teachers and she can make student accounts. They can read on their own devices at home also. I think for 4th grade she might find a decent selection to help her get started.

 

On ebay, this seller was having a sale of by one lot of books, get another for 20% off. 

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This is an aside - but sometimes I wonder if we have made classrooms far too complicated. Teachers are footing much of the bill for classroom set up and, as I have learned in this thread, classroom libraries. When did all of these things become a necessary part of education? Wouldn't a child learn just as well in a plainly adorned classroom with basic tools and resources? Why do they have to have such elaborate bulletin boards, door decorations, desk nametags, cubby nametags, special reading nooks (complete with carpet, bookshelves and beanbag chairs) and on and on. Why should a teacher have to maintain a classroom library when it is much more cost efficient to have a central school library? When I was in school, the librarians visited classrooms with carts for the younger children and then as they got older, they were brought to the library to learn about how it worked and how to make use of the resources there. 

 

It's bad enough that some teachers have to provide basic school supplies for some of their students due to economic circumstances (why don't we as a society support these students - why do we leave this up to the teachers?). Teachers are also expected (required? I don't know) provide basic learning resources such as library books. On top of that, we expect (require? I don't know) them to have elaborate classrooms. I wish we would invest in educational infrastructure, teacher enrichment and student supports as a society and stop expecting all of the excess. 

 

This past year, I was helping a teacher-friend work on some decluttering. When I suggested lessening the number of posters, etc. (because it was just crazily overwhelming to me), she said that she had been required to put more up--it was one of the things she was called down for. When I've seen those periodic photos on facebook comparing a plain room to the one the teacher has had to pay out of their own pocket to decorate, I actually prefer the plain rooms. Sure a couple of things to brighten up the room would be nice, but most are too overstimulating to me; I would never be able to concentrate in those rooms.

 

ETA: I do like a small classroom library though. Like I said above, it is partly what helped my son start to enjoy reading more.

Edited by Jaybee
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This past year, I was helping a teacher-friend work on some decluttering. When I suggested lessening the number of posters, etc. (because it was just crazily overwhelming to me), she said that she had been required to put more up--it was one of the things she was called down for. When I've seen those periodic photos on facebook comparing a plain room to the one the teacher has had to pay out of their own pocket to decorate, I actually prefer the plain rooms. Sure a couple of things to brighten up the room would be nice, but most are too overstimulating to me; I would never be able to concentrate in those rooms.

 

Sometimes I see teachers post what they have done with their rooms. They are proud and I want to pat them on the back but some of it is a bit overboard to me.

 

I wonder if there is a number of posters required for your friend's room. Or maybe a limited amount of empty wall space allowed (like if the walls are concrete bricks which kinda look prison-ish to me lol).

 

To clarify, I mean an exact number (you must have 10, not 9).

Edited by heartlikealion

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Sometimes I see teachers post what they have done with their rooms. They are proud and I want to pat them on the back but some of it is a bit overboard to me.

 

I wonder if there is a number of posters required for your friend's room. Or maybe a limited amount of empty wall space allowed (like if the walls are concrete bricks which kinda look prison-ish to me lol).

 

 

If I understood correctly, it wasn't the actual number of required posters, but rather the topics. There were lists of this and that all over the room as reminders of some concept or the other. But there was so much, that none of them stood out, so I seriously doubt that a child would be reminded of the particular concept they needed at any specific time.

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She could post on Facebook on local community pages. Just tell them what grade she'll be teaching and where. A friend did this and got about 200 books. She was able to use all but a few. 

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Oh, I don't think books are ever a waste of money. But cost effectiveness of classroom libraries is certainly questionable. I was a voracious reader. But, I had teachers that let me go to the library whenever I needed reading material (if I finished a book I was reading, I could get a library pass right away and go), a well stocked school library and great librarians that were there to help me find books I liked. 

 

I think that worked for us, when most of the reading we did in class was either in "reading books" (e.g. Dick and Jane type anthologies), textbooks, or novels that were assigned to the class as a whole, or to a "reading group" within a class.  So if we were reading our own book, and finishing them, it was likely either because we had finished our work, or it was some kind of free time, and the books we read were completely up to us.

 

Many of the current reading curriculums that school use, incorporate much heavier use of student selected leveled text.  I think there are lots of advantages to this kind of a system, but I won't go into them, but I can't imagine how such a curriculum would work if kids had to leave the room every time they needed new books.  It would be too many visits, and too much lost instructional time.  In addition, as the teacher who just conferenced with that kid, sometimes I want to be able to make the choice about what goes into their hand next (e.g. I know that if they liked W and  X they'll probably like Y, or that this particular title is a good choice for a kid who is straddling levels M and N with this strength and that weaknes).  A librarian isn't going to be able to make those nuanced suggestions, because they aren't there all day every day with the kids.

 

In addition, I think that on top of leveled, adult directed choices, kids need to make free choices, and having a library where things aren't arranged by levels, and you can pick whatever you want and spend an hour browsing, is a wonderful thing.  

 

Now, having said all that, I've never taught at a school where I've been expected to buy all the books in my library.  I currently teach HS, which is a different kettle of fish, but in my last school the school purchased a core collection for each class, and gave the teachers a couple hundred dollars a year to add titles of their choice. In addition, there was a book room full of both guided reading sets, and baskets of leveled texts that teachers could check out, so if you were doing a character study you'd pull a bunch of baskets that emphasized characters on different levels.  And when you were done you'd return them.  Teachers still paid for books and added them to their library, but they were a supplement not the core, and only the books that a teacher paid for herself, or that she acquired some other way, would travel with her when she left.  Having a teacher provide it all is ridiculous.

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My kids don't like going to the school library to pick books. They have trouble finding books they like. The librarians are wonderful -- it isn't that. There is just some kind of relationship my kids need or they need encouragement or something.

 

For my oldest, in theory he can go whenever he has free time in class and the teacher sets aside times when kids can go to the school library.

 

It is outside of his comfort zone for whatever reason.

 

My daughter is better and I think she will get better.

 

I think the school library is great for more independent kids, and for kids who are motivated.

 

Well some kids are on the clingy side and not so motivated.

 

I think there is a reason that teachers have classroom libraries even if many or most of their students could have their needs met in the school library.

 

But usually classroom teachers aren't in the library during a class's library time (at my kids' school). That is their plan time or something, going to the library is like going to PE or art or music, the librarians are doing things with the class.

 

If the student is needing someone to help them pick a book and provide that beginning encouragement -- I think it is easier to happen with the classroom library.

 

I personally was also a conscientious, motivated student as far as reading, and I did not desire help in the library, and I did not desire any input into what I read.... from a young age and *definitely not* in 4th grade.

 

My son at that age I still was encouraging him and reading him first pages or sometimes first chapters, reading him back covers, etc, when we went to the public library, to help him choose books. He was not good at browsing and finding books for himself.

 

Of course I wanted him to, and gave him opportunity and encouragement, etc.

 

Sixth grade is the first time he went to the school library and checked out a book on his own, deciding on his own what book he wanted, etc.

 

I also take him to the public library and he takes public library books to school. But sometimes his teacher is better at helping him find a book or encouraging him.

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This past year, I was helping a teacher-friend work on some decluttering. When I suggested lessening the number of posters, etc. (because it was just crazily overwhelming to me), she said that she had been required to put more up--it was one of the things she was called down for. When I've seen those periodic photos on facebook comparing a plain room to the one the teacher has had to pay out of their own pocket to decorate, I actually prefer the plain rooms. Sure a couple of things to brighten up the room would be nice, but most are too overstimulating to me; I would never be able to concentrate in those rooms.

 

ETA: I do like a small classroom library though. Like I said above, it is partly what helped my son start to enjoy reading more.

Yes! Last year I took a class that met weekly in a middle school history classroom. There was SO MUCH on the walls I was constantly distracted, I don't have ADHD but I could not focus in that room. It was lists of rules, posters, reminders, and I don't even remember what else but every single inch of wall was covered.
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Not the OP, but thank you so much for the ideas. I personally would like to donate to our local public school which is made of up of 99% of black students. Some of the items I have in my wish list for this include people from the "Who Was" series. They also have "What was/where is" books (The Underground Railroad, etc.). A couple on my list are Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and George Washington Carver.

 

OP, I cross references several books on arbookfind.com. They were on there. If their public school uses the Accelerated Reader program they will appreciate books the kids can earn points for reading.

I'm not sure what grade you are wanting to donate for but I love Ezra Jack Keet's picture books and Last Stop on Market Steet by Matt de la Pena. They would be good for K or 1st.

 

Sorry for getting off track OP.

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I'm not sure what grade you are wanting to donate for but I love Ezra Jack Keet's picture books and Last Stop on Market Steet by Matt de la Pena. They would be good for K or 1st.

 

Sorry for getting off track OP.

 

Misc. grades. I was looking more at the school that had elem. but I met a young teacher that just moved here via the Teach for America program and he told me that their school library was scarce and he wanted to do something about it. I thought that was a weird coincidence. He is assigned to a high school in the area. I am curious about the state of the other school libraries as well.

 

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Ah, no sooner do I post this then what pops up on my feed?

 

South Asian Kidlit for 2017! Some of these are appropriate for this age group. See also: Part 2, and the 2016 list.

 

I also remembered My Basmati Bat Mitzvah. Slightly older age group than these kids - none of whom, I assume, is quite old enough to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or a Confirmation! - but everything is appropriate for them to read. And of course, many kids prefer to read about children a bit older than they are. Makes them feel grown-up.

 

You might also try this list of books published this year featuring black male protagonists. I trust this person's reading judgment implicitly - she's a children's librarian, and also has a child of her own. Plus, I have always found her reviews to be exactly right.

 

...I may end up making a second list.

 

I love Fuse #8. She has two kids of her own. The oldest is my youngest's age and a younger son.

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Yes, when she was a librarian in NYC and I was following her Amazon reviews, I noticed she had a particular book on her wishlist. Since I had a copy of that book, I went down to the main branch where she worked and I left it there for her! (I mean, I asked first.) It's a good thing she wasn't there - I would've been so awkward and weird.

 

Somehow I didn't know about the second kid :)

Edited by Tanaqui
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We ordered some books suggested in this thread. The post office is trying to locate Snowy Day. They seemed to have labeled the tracking number on the wrong package so I gave them a second number to check. I found some more books dirt cheap recently at Books-A-Million in bargain bins (example $1 for Jackie and Me. Got dd a Madeline book for $2). I did not know educator discounts worked on top of bargain prices. The local BAM was also asking for donations for their local public schools. They had a shelf of books behind the counter of various price ranges that could be purchased for donation. I thought that was really cool.

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I would suggest that she talk to the school librarian.  The librarian may know of sources where people are getting rid of books that they are willing to donate to a classroom library.

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On 8/2/2017 at 5:06 PM, heartlikealion said:

 

Misc. grades. I was looking more at the school that had elem. but I met a young teacher that just moved here via the Teach for America program and he told me that their school library was scarce and he wanted to do something about it. I thought that was a weird coincidence. He is assigned to a high school in the area. I am curious about the state of the other school libraries as well.

 

 

It depends on the school. My jr high had no librarians, we students ran the library while the school secretary did the ordering and receiving.  My rural high school, less than 100 per cohort, did not have a librarian. It employed a study hall monitor and study hall was in the library...that monitor was responsible for reshelving, and we students did the checking in and out per a procedure.  One checked out books during one's study hall.  in both cases, Very very small library and the expectation was that one would visit the public library for material not assigned in school, and the public library was open at times that families could get there, not just during work times. 

In my current district, the school library could not keep up with the overcrowding.  Not enough books, not enough room and the remediation needs were so severe that most of the librarians were let go, traded for sn or enl teachers (quite literally that's how the superintendent put it).  The middle school and high school libraries are no longer called libraries, instead they are media centers.  Elementary students are expected to use online reading programs to gain fluency, as trade books without dictionary access or adult help are quite frustrating.  There just aren't enough peer tutors to help. 

 

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On 8/1/2017 at 8:48 AM, heartlikealion said:

Maybe someone you know can sign up for this and then donate the books after they have read them?

 

http://usa.imaginationlibrary.com/

Imagination library is from birth to age 5. They are awesome books, but probably won’t be the best fit for a 4th grade classroom. 

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By the way, the bulk of prek-5 books in my community are locked up in the school district all summer.  The district refuses to work with the town and make those books available thru the local public libraries. The district has been shamed into opening their libraries to every enrolled student during summer feeding station hours that coincide with the summer school program, after the classroom teachers have removed enough for their students' needs.  

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5 hours ago, HeighHo said:

By the way, the bulk of prek-5 books in my community are locked up in the school district all summer.  The district refuses to work with the town and make those books available thru the local public libraries. The district has been shamed into opening their libraries to every enrolled student during summer feeding station hours that coincide with the summer school program, after the classroom teachers have removed enough for their students' needs.  

I'm not understanding, why would the public library and the school library(ies) need to share books? Shouldn't they each have their own collection? 

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1 hour ago, heartlikealion said:

I'm not understanding, why would the public library and the school library(ies) need to share books? Shouldn't they each have their own collection? 

 

 The concept is called shared resources, and it was a way to cut costs that was proposed during the Recession..if we didn't duplicate services in both the town and the school district, it would be a win for all taxpayers.  So for ex, instead of the school having a swimming pool idle all summer, and the local govt having a swimming poool idle during the school year, both could jointly operate one pool and save taxpayer money without loss of services.  Similar for library.  School has the largest collection of preK-5 books, its not helpful having them all locked up all summer as learners need resources and the public library simply doesn't have enough books to serve all students.  So, the compromise is opening one or two school libraries for the time the summer feeding station in that school is open, rather than expanding the public library and duplicating the school collection. A money saver for the taxpayer and a win for the students.

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Ok so the books don't physically have to move to the library or vice versa? People just go into the school? Access them during summer school... they have summer school for elementary age? Is that normal? Or this is a program parents opt into as like a daycare? 

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You might be surprised by how many people will happily donate books if you post on your local facebook marketplace sites.  Just have her explain that she is a new teacher trying to fill her library for her students.  

Scholastic also does 50 book boxes.  Near the beginning of the school year they do specials and they are $50.  Sign up for emails and watch for the sale as it is a great way to stock up on popular current titles.

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they have summer school for elementary age? Is that normal?

 

In NYC we do have mandatory elementary summer school for struggling students - if they don't attend, or attend but don't pass, then they're kept back. It's four days a week for six weeks. And we have a variety of free optional summer enrichment programs for that same age group, but free summer lunch/breakfast is not provided at schools for students who aren't enrolled in those programs. The summer food program goes to playgrounds, pools, and libraries.

School libraries aren't open to the public at any time of year here.

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