Monday, January 4, 2010

52 Teachers, 52 Lessons #38: Build a Classroom Library

This week's entry comes from M Dahms, who has taught gifted and talented students in Queensland Australia for three years.  Check out her blog, A Reader's Community, which focuses on making the most out of the Reader's Workshop model.

My advice is to build a classroom library. No matter what you teach, a classroom library can be a valuable addition to your classroom and to your teaching. When you have your own collection of books, students understand that you value books and therefore you value reading. Furthermore, you're able to keep a contained classroom, which the students can be proud of.

For any teachers who stay in the same classroom all the time, this is a lot easier. Collect some books; beg, borrow or steal some sort of book display device (book trolley, book shelves, random cupboard), arrange your books in an attractive display (I like to put them into containers so they face outwards, students are more likely to look through them then) and invite the children to use them. For teachers who move around, put together a small, quality collection and make use of trolleys to take it with you.

How can you use your classroom library? Well obviously for reading, whether you use it with the workshop method or for silent reading. For writing, you can provide reference and example books. For math, fill up with math dictionaries and reference texts, books on mathematicians and great moments in maths, for science and history books which are relevant to the topic. You can use them for research, for jigsaw activities, for debates, for fast finishers - the options are endless.

Arguably, the most important thing we can give students is the ability to read, and the knowledge that reading is important no matter what you do. A classroom library can help you give this to every student you teach!

Read more about this project here, then email your entries to teachforever AT gmail DOT com. Week 39 is scheduled for next Monday, January 11th, but there is no entry in the queue.  I will continue posting entries until the series is complete, but I won't be focusing on it as much as I did last year.

As promised, the download
version of Ten Cheap Lessons: Second Edition will be available for free all day today!