Classroom library

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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 10:26 am
This is going to be my first year teaching in a 2nd grade classroom

I am buying everything that I will need in the classroom (supplies, bulletin boards, classroom prizes, etc)

I have been looking at ebay to buy books for a classroom library and there are pretty good offers like $60 for 40 books (which my son would be able to read 15 of them). I would assume that I could get at least 30 of them approved for the classroom.

How important is a library considering that I am already spending a lot to set up my classroom?
Also for my first year, how many books do I need in the library? I've spoken to other teachers and they said it's taken years to build up the library that they have.

Am I better off skimping on other stuff for the classroom or even asking parents to buy some of my supplies (ex of child supply list: buy 24 #2 pencils, markers & crayons - instead of just one)
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 10:55 am
Good luck on you first year teaching 2nd grade! I'm a reading specialist, and I taught first grade for 4 years. IMHO, you classroom library should take priority over other supplies/decorations you invest in. Of course, you want your room to look inviting and colorful, but you library is most important. I would say that if you can try to ask parents to bring in some supplies, or charge them for getting stuff for their kids so they don't have the hassle of getting it themselves, you'd be making a good choice. Also, I'd recommend only buying the minimum in terms of posters. Get an ABC sign, numbers sign, a calendar, etc. (find out if your school provides bulletin board backing and border). The rest of the signs you can create yourself together with the students as a shared writing experience. Then you can laminate them and hang them on the wall. These signs are usually much more meaningful for the students and you will find that they will interact with them, go over to them and read them during recess, etc. since they helped create them and they had a sense of ownership. In terms of getting cheap books, ebay sounds good, but you can also find decent used books at used bookstores, Goodwill, (I'm no sure what your location is), or even the library. I also found that once I started giving out Scholastic book orders and students ordered books, I accumilated points which I mostly redeemed for books. (Not sure if your school will allow Scholastic book orders, though...some don't). In general, you will need to allow yourself a few years to build up a library. Ask your school to order books for you--If you are in NYC there is funding for that and its free for the school. Perhaps the teacher who is leaving left some. Or, what I used to do was send home a note asking parents to lend/donate books they read already to our library. I also used to take out books from the public library and renew them a few times, especially if I was doing a thematic unit and needed specific books that my school didn't have and couldn't order. You're definitely going to want to have a library of at least 300 books at some point... but don't panic... you need to start somewhere! Good luck!
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 10:55 am
I can't imagine teaching ELA without a classroom library. It's definitely more important than some extra pencils. And, you can keep updating it over the years. See if there are other teachers you can borrow from or if you can buy libraries old books. Good luck.

A classroom library helps you teach. What ELA program are you using?
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 11:11 am
OP here:

we use the "open court" system. So from what I understand (havent started my training yet) is the in-class reading is all provided by the curriculum. The 3 book reports that are assigned through the year are books chosen by the students outside of the classroom. However, the books in the classroom library are for reading during "quiet time" in the classroom.

how many books is a good amount to start off with?

I dont know an exactly number yet but I'll have 20-25 students in my class

another question I have is that my sons teacher last year had a very inviting library with a rug, bean bag chairs, nice book shelf, etc. As a parent I appreciated it a lot, and would like to have it inviting like that, what do you think I need? should I just have a bookshelf for this year and decorate the library for next year?

(just as a side point there is a library in the school which the students attend every other week. the school is in the process of making it available as a regular library since they dont want you taking your kids to the public library.)
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 11:21 am
The open court program is good, but no program is the same as holding a real book in your hand. Kids learn to read and become better readers by reading real books. The books in your library should also be used to take home on a regular basis--more often than the ones they will take out of the school library. In terms of how many books, it's hard to say a number... it will never be enough, but I'd guess 100 or more if you can. This may sound like a lot to you, but some kids are still reading short books they will finish is less than 10 minutes and will have gone through all your books in a matter of weeks....Having a comfy library corner is great and ideal, but that's a huge investment in the beginning... I'd just start with some shelves (I would assume your school has shelves) and maybe some cheap rug you can find, and then keep your eyes open for inexpensive stuff (pillows, chairs-if you have room) over the next few years. Especially since your students may not be going to the public library, the more exposure they have to books, the better it will be for them.... sorry about my long megillahs... I do tend to get pretty passionate about this stuff Smile
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 11:52 am
some resources to consider:
Donorschoose.org- a website that allows you to create projects for your classroom that can then be funded by different private sponsors
Project Cicero- a totally free event where you can grab as many books as you can fit in a suitcase and leave with them.

I have done both and got a ton of books for my classroom. I think its so important to promote independent reading for your students, especially with books on their reading level
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 12:27 pm
Go to places like Goodwill or Savers -- you can find lots of kids' books for very low prices, as well as stuff you can use to furnish your classroom. An Odd Lots/Big Lots type of place might have low-priced rugs and beanbags. If you have a local thrift store you can ask them to look out for stuff like that and call you when it comes in; sometimes they'll give you a discount if it's for your classroom. If the parent body of your school has some means, you might be able to submit a "wish list" of things you'd like donated to your classroom.
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Post  Fri, Jul 22 2011, 12:31 pm
If the school has their own library, could you borrow books from there for your classroom library? That way your selection gets rotated without having to do too much buying. You could start with your own small library and take out an additional 20 books or so from the school library every month or so.
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Mrs Bissli


Post  Sat, Jul 23 2011, 9:06 pm
Any chance you can get the parents to get involved in, esp ones with older children? Every home seems to have books the children had outgrown. Also can you do "donate a class library" scheme with parents? I've done that for my children's birthdays which were well appreciated by teachers/school and parents (who don't have to worry about buying presents). To avoid duplication, you will need to privide a "wish list" of books. Also I found that age-group has diverse reading skills, so aim wide to capture slow readers to more able readers.
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