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A New System for Anchor Charts

The corners of our anchor charts are peeling away from the walls. The once vivid marker strokes are faded and hard to read. If there was ever a cute graphic...

Managing Take-Home Books

The music begins to play, and readers return to the carpet to share the work they have been doing during reading workshop. The children have begun to settle into a...

Spring Cleaning

As a child, I spent a lot of time at Fannie Weaver’s house. Fannie was the matriarch of the Amish family who lived up the hill from my parents’ farm,...

Keeping the Classroom Library Current

If you walk past my room on many days during my planning period, you will see me standing in front of the shelves, pondering. Those are the days when I’ve...

Weeding a First-Grade Library

The stack of books on my counter sat for weeks, slowly getting taller and more disheveled despite my attempts to straighten it out every few days. These books were new...

Bin of the Week

“These books are actually dusty!” exclaimed Bob. Bob and I were putting some newly acquired books in the appropriate bins in his classroom library. During our work, we discovered that...

Flexible Seating: Mid-Year Tweaks with Book Nooks

Midwinter blah weather was creating cabin fever in my classroom, and I started thinking about design ideas to bring new life to our classroom. My students completed a Room Design...

Reaction and Intention: Rethinking the Library in Early Winter

I was browsing through my files in Google Drive, looking for something else, when I ran across a presentation that was a few years old. One slide confidently asserted that...

Visual Expectations in the Classroom

Turn left here. Now take a slight right. As adults, we listen to commands such as these while navigating new territories. Relying on our GPS, we not only listen to...

Guidelines for Posting Online

Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.  

Charts as Tools, Charts as Teachers

We’ve all been in (or, at times, have been) the classroom that has chart paper as wallpaper. Every open space, and maybe even open window, is occupied by a chart....

Introducing the Classroom Library

I introduce my students to classroom design and the layout of the library on the very first day of school. This room will be their home away from home for...

Superpowers and a Middle School Classroom Library

Reading choice matters because it shapes who you are. Choices are as much a part of reading as breathing is a part of life. I think Mrs. Rush has the...

Who Owns the Room?

A professor in my graduate work in elementary education taught me many years ago to look at the classroom and ask, “Who owns the room?” She cautioned that was “our”...

Prepping the Meeting Area for Success

Our meeting area is where all of our minilessons happen, and it happens to be surrounded by our classroom library. We have some of the typical things in our meeting...

Student Interest Board

Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.

Life Without the Big Teacher’s Desk

You’ve decided to get rid of your big teacher’s desk. There are some good reasons that support this decision. First of all, the big teacher’s desk is really a relic...

Creating a Space for Peace

A week after winter break, there were more tears than smiles in my classroom. Like most first-grade classrooms, we had our share of disagreements and upset feelings, but the difference...

Student-Centered Room Setup

There’s nothing quite like starting the school year. Even though it’s hard for us to say goodbye to summer, the feelings of newness and possibility that September bring are unique....

Gradual Release of the Library

Years ago, I spent a good amount of August reorganizing my classroom library. I invested in uniform book containers, and relabeled books and book bins. I replaced books that needed...

Adjusting the Classroom Library for Student Needs

It won’t work. Can I make it work? No, I can’t make it work. This was my circle of thought during the first month of school. I had recently finished...