Even though I'm the literacy coach at the middle school I work at, I teach one 80 minutes section of 8th grade language arts daily. This is my choice. Last year I team-taught, and I also had the option of not teaching at all. I chose to stay in the classroom because it's truly my favorite place to be, and it also puts literacy into reality for me. It gives me a perspective on what I say and do in coaching sessions and professional development sessions with the language arts teachers in my school.
I'm sharing a classroom this year with a co-worker, who happens to also be a good friend, named Samantha. Samantha and I spent quite a bit of summertime together organizing our classroom library so that it would be the best resource possible for students come the beginning of the school year. Check out how it turned out from the pictures below:
We started by completely dismantling the original library to organize all of the books more concisely as you can see above. We put little post-it notes around the room and sorted every book into it's appropriate genre. We also piled books that have "seen their day" to donate to our local Boy's and Girl's Club. The different categories that we used were: Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Sports Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller, Biography, Nonfiction, Memoir, Classics, Short Stories, Multi Cultural, Graphic Novels, and we also had bins for book series and for books by popular authors such as Gary Paulsen and Walter Dean Myers.
From there, we wrote the genre of the bin that each book would match on the inside cover of EVERY SINGLE book. This way when students return books to the classroom library, they're able to return the book to the book return bin and study hall students will be able to put the books away in the correct locations. Pictures of how the classroom library turned out are below:
Finally, to have students get into our classroom library and check-out the books, I created a "Getting to Know our Classroom Library" activity. I have it as a freebie on my TpT store if you'd like to download it from the link below. It's a set of ten books/genre bins that students have to find in the classroom library based on their reading preferences. After doing this activity, I am already noticing my students using the classroom library more frequently than in previous years.
Getting to Know our Classroom Library