How do you prepare your classroom for summer? When I was a classroom teacher, I would invite students to help me prepare for my new class of students on the last day of school. We would do things like test the markers and recycle the dried ones, stack Unifix cubes back into towers of ten, and make sure the Fundations boards and math decks were in order. Some students would ask to take down the bulletin boards and others would help put the books away in the library.
An idea for this spring is to do more than put the books away. I invite you to clean your classroom library. On your own or with your students, pull out one bin at a time. Wipe the dust and other strange classroom debris that always miraculously ends up in bins and really take a look at what books are there. Here are some questions you might consider while evaluating the contents of a bin:
- Are students excited to read these books or do they sit on the shelf?
- What’s the copyright date? If it is more than 10 years old, is there a good reason to keep it?
- Are there any stereotypes in the book (subtle or obvious)?
- Are any of the books damaged? You might have a student or two able to help mend books with a good roll of tape.
Before you get rid of anything for good, here are a few things to ask:
- Is there another grade/classroom in the building who may use the titles?
- Are there students in the class/building who may want to take the book(s) home to keep?
Finally, keep a look out for the book donation bins in local parking lots as you drive home from work. Anything that didn’t find a new home can be donated if appropriate or recycled if that makes better sense.