#reflectiveteacher – 9/5 – Help Me Build My Classroom Library

Reflective Teacher Blog Challenge

Note: I am participating in a 30-day blog challenge as part of Reflective Teacher Month at Teach Thought. I am looking forward to learning more about myself, my pedagogy and my colleagues.

Day 5 Prompt: Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

Back wall of m classroom

I have been very blessed this year to teach in a school where I have a brand new classroom. The walls are freshly painted, the floor is carpeted, sewage is not trickling down the back wall, light is streaming through the windows, and the overhead light bulbs aren’t burned out or flickering.

What I don’t see are books.

My goal is to build a classroom library. I was able to start that process my first year as a teacher. Using my own funds, I bought books that would interest my high school students. However, since I moved to middle school, my family’s financial situation has changed and I have not been able to fund my own library.

Additionally, at my current school, the library is small, has few books, and the books they do have are ancient. (In the few times I’ve been able to peruse the shelves, the newest books I saw were at least 10 years old.)

I would like to offer my students more recent, more interesting, and highly engaging books that they’ll clamor to check out from right inside my class. This is especially important to my literature class, but my English Language Arts students will also benefit from reading books they love. After all, how else does one learn to write well , but by reading interesting writing?

I have talked to some of my colleagues, including Claudia Swisher, who taught Reading for Pleasure classes and who had build a classroom library with thousands of books. She provided me with several recommendations for building my library, including:

  • From Claudia: I stole an idea from Kelly Gallagher and ask for donations from students. I created a “donated by” PowerPoint slide/bookplate for kids to sign and glue in the front of the book.
  • Request donations from parents buying books via Scholastic book fairs, or via their order forms.
  • Search Craig’s List and garage sales for books.
  • Watch for libraries to sell books.
  • Request books via Donor’s Choose.

Here are some more sources for ideas:



Related topics: Reflective Teacher

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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