Last year I committed to updating our school’s Book Room. Back then the “Book Room” was housed in a very small space in the school. The Book Room housed all of our guided reading materials and teacher mentor texts. I knew that this was a great space that had the potential to be even greater.
Here are 5 steps I used that helped to move my project along in the right direction:
- Survey your staff. – I used this GoogleForms as my survey.
- Create a timeline – Having a plan helped keep me on track.
- Be organized! – As is with most projects it is critical to stay organized!
- Communicate Often – I sent out regular emails to keep staff informed of the progress being made.
- Celebrate! – The best part of completing a long-term project is to share out all the efforts made!
Card pockets used to inventory each book in our Book Room
Colorful posters that express our love for reading!
Pebble Go and Mac computers available for teacher and students
Our labeling system to easily find any book
Mentor text library for teachers
Our PBIS mentor text library is growing!
I recently finished up a great year-long professional development opportunity that was offered to me by my school district. Towards the end of the last November I was nominated along with several other colleagues in my district to participate in the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE-D) Grant funded by NYSED. The STLE-D Grant funded projects to principals, teacher leaders, and aspiring principals to provide schools with the resources that are necessary to focus on improving curriculum and expanding instructional strategies. Each participant was encouraged to create a signature practice that would enhance not only the entire school community, but also refine personal leadership skills. Learn more about the grant here.
I focused my efforts on improving pedagogical practices and creating a shared vision around literacy practices. I wanted to take a space in our school that was dedicated to housing our guided reading materials and re-envision the space to become more organized, accessible, and more effective to teachers. Over the next year I plan to take our school’s “Book Room” and transform it to become the “Guided Reading Lab” where teachers can access guided reading materials and students can have access to digital tools to further their learning about different topics they are reading about. My goal is to create a space for teachers that is more inviting than our current space that stores our books. I want teachers to openly dialogue about their own best practices and to share their ideas about literacy lessons that have proven effective in their own classrooms. Books are such a valuable resource in the lives of our young students and to strengthen their importance is something I feel very strongly about. Over the next year I’ll share the progress that our Guided Reading Lab is making and how my grant project has taken shape in my school.
Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a teacher, blogger, and author, shared some great thoughts on classroom libraries and their value in teachers’ and students’ lives. She says, “I believe that a classroom library is the heartbeat of a teacher’s environment. It is the window into an educator’s own personality, and it reflects the importance of literacy in the classroom. I believe that every teacher — no matter what subject he or she teaches — should have one.” If this is Heather’s thoughts on a classroom library, imagine the power that a school book room can unlock for teachers and students; this is what I hope to do for my own school.
Libraries are the heartbeat of the classroom.