Friday, August 15, 2014

For the Love of Literacy

Ok, so this post has absolutely nothing to do with food. Yeah I know... But I promise this is good stuff!

Totally RAD stuff! (almost as rad as this picture...) Aren't they the coolest?

So as you know I am a teacher; a second grade teacher to be exact. 

Here is an awkward picture of me trying to get my children to pose for a nice class pic...

Ahh! What happened to their faces??? haha... Yes I did that on purpose. It's called privacy. My kids from last year are adorable so just imagine what they look like. 

So as I was saying, the school year is approaching therefore I thought I would blog about all of the craziness going on in the next few weeks as I (and many other teachers) work our tails off trying to get everything ready for the little ones. 

The other day, I began leveling my books and attempting to organize them. This, as any teacher knows, is a true task

Now, I must admit, I could have done a better job with keeping my books more in order (and holding my kiddos accountable). I mean, this face just says it all right?

(You're welcome.)

But now let's move on to how I'm planning on starting this new school year on the right foot.

This year I am determined to have a new system going that truly works! (For the most part).
So as I was saying, I was leveling books... And then got word that I needed to move classrooms last minute... (EEEK!) 
So now in my new classroom (much bigger classroom I must say... (OH YES!)(take deep breath.. It's all goood).. 

I picked up the task of organizing and leveling my books... 

So obviously that looks great! Right?? Haha (obviously I'm joking).

So when going about leveling my books I used a FANTASTIC App from the Apple App Store called "Literacy Leveler" (it's the green bookish emblem).

If you type "Lexile" in the search box you'll see this one pop up immediately. It did cost $3.99 but is extremely worth the cost! 

Why is this app so amazing? Well, I am able to open this app and scan the bar code of a book or type in the title or author and BOOM, it gives me the Lexile level the book is on. Super easy. It's super fast too. Instead of sitting at a computer typing for hours I am able to pop the levels out faster than you can say "Lexile leveler" five times fast. 

Ok, so I organized my books two different ways. I have baskets that are strictly grouped by Lexile levels (counting by 100's) and then I have other baskets of books that are grouped by category (Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, Space books, Dinosaur books etc.) (but still lexiled too)

This pic isn't that great but you get my drift... 

Oh and these baskets are the BEST. I got them at Target (of course) for $2.99 a piece. I swear they are indestructible and I should've bought 3 times as many as I did. So worth the investment (which really, for what your getting, a great deal!)

My little reading "nook" is not complete. Leveling these books was a task in itself. Once I've decorated and yada yada, I'll post the finished product.

So you're probably thinking "well she spent all of that time leveling and the kids aren't even going to know where to put the books back". Right? 

SIDENOTE: true story: my first year of teaching, totally sorted my books out in cute little baskets by genre. Didn't think to sticker books or anything... Yeah, kids had no clue where books should go and it was a nightmare. 

Lesson learned and so i came up with this idea....

Labels! I made cute, little color coded labels for all of my categories and lexiles. Every book in each tub has a label alongside the written Lexile on the book.

Now, I can't guarantee this will work, but hey, it's worth a try. 

My dear mother came to help me with my classroom (bless her)...

...and she straight up told me she was so confused by what I was doing and that it didn't make sense. Sooo... Follow up blog post will be a must later on! 

Other great items? 
My wheely shelf thingy (the blue) from The Container Store:

I use it for my guided reading books and my attempt at organization. 

These baskets are from Dolla Dolla Tree (Dollar Tree)...

...and I am using them for the kid's personal book baskets. (Skeptical about durability but hey they were a dollar sooo yeah).

Last but not least, the other day I created my first ever Donor's Choose project. I know it should not have taken me 3 years to get around doing this, but it has. 

Besides the point, I was driven to set up this project so I could get different levels of beginning readers for my kiddos. You can read all about my students and why I am very passionate about this project on my Donor's Choose webpage that is up now: 

Finally, I want to end with this...

"Make your life spectacular." Love it. I hope in being a teacher I can do some small part in doing something (life altering or not) for all of my students. I know that I was called to teach and as long as this is my path then I will be there giving as much as I can give for my kiddos. 

I also am thinking about the impact that Robin Williams left on so many lives through his ability to bring joy and laughter to others. What a gift. 

We all have a special gift.
What's yours? 

Thanks for reading,

Robin Williams quote and photo is from: 


  1. I love this post of your classroom! The library is always a struggle for me too. I am jealous of the size of your classroom! It looks amazing. Can't wait to see the final pictures. I love Donors Choose! Good luck with your project! Hope it gets funded soon.

  2. Thanks so much Sarah! I appreciate it! Your ideas for the classroom are always very inspirational. Love it! As for my classroom size, it is definitely an upgrade this year from what I had last year so I am very grateful. Hopefully I will have everything ready by next Monday! Eeek! Have a great school year!!