My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

March 10, 2012

Book "Collectors" SOLC #10

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I have a few book collectors this year.  These are the students who check out books from my library and aren't the best at returning them so other students can have a turn.

Now, I should remind you (and myself) about the title of this blog ... Reading Amid the Chaos.  Yes, I have the   resource room library that is a mish-mosh of books, magazines and graphic novels.  I have only sorted books by fiction/non-fiction, AR vs. not AR (I'm sorry - my kids begged me... that's a whole other post).  I haven't taken the time or bought the supplies to properly sort out the books to make them kid friendly, and grouped by topics or authors.  I'm hoping to do this sooner versus later.  

I also have a terrible check out system:  none.  <Sigh>

So, my dilemma is now how to get books back from the students who have them at home.  I do realize that they have similar organizational challenges that I face.  I'm thinking that if I hand each of them a canvas shopping bag with a cute note stapled to it, I might recoup some of the books.  I'm also thinking of giving each student a friendly call that evening to remind them to fill up the bag.  Wish me luck!

I've been teaching nearly 10 years now.  I've learned that the more proactive you are, the less reactive you have to be, but I'm still not very good at it!


  1. Hey, Chris. I DO have a checkout system (not a very good one), but I still have to hound the kids to get my books back. Even though I know it's a pain, isn't it wonderful that they are taking BOOKS! Hope you get yours back soon. Thanks for letting me peek into your classroom.

  2. I have a similar problem. BUT I realized that with my high schoolers, I need to organize my collection better, too. The kids are great at leaving me notes on my desk: "Abi has _______" or "Kris borrowed _____________." But the notes were tiring to keep track of.
    I think, over the summer, I'll spend some time really figuring out how to do this right. I have my retired Droid phone (which is taking on a second life in my classroom since I figured out I can connect it with the school's wi-fi) and I'm working on uploading my collection to Booksource Classroom Organizer so I can keep track of who has what. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't really tell you how it will work. Just know you're not alone.
    For now, I just send out a Twitter message to my students (I teach HS and they follow the class account via text messages) asking them to bring back their books. That seems to work.

  3. Book checkout system...I still use an old fashioned clip board with a simple sign out sheet. Write down your name, title of the book, date you checked it out and the date you returned it. This far it has worked well. (Mostly for high school students). I only lose 1-5 books in a year!! I think that is pretty good!
    I would love to know about a better system (maybe even involving technology).

  4. Chris, after struggling with this same problem for several years, I hit upon a system that works and is still working! Because I teach middle school, I needed a quick system and didn't like looking through many checkout pages for student names. So I give each student a page in our library checkout notebook. Everyone fills out his/her own page at the beginning of the year. Then I file these in a notebook alphabetically by first name. I use alphabetical dividers to keep this very organized.
    It's easy for a student to pick up the notebook and flip to his/her page. All they have to record is the date checked out and title of the book.
    When the book is returned, it gets dropped into our return
    book bin (a plastic bin), and the librarians (it's a two person classroom job) mark the book checked in by drawing a line through the date and title.
    I still lose books, but I remind the students of my "no questions asked" policy. If you find one of my books, just abandon it in the classroom. I'm always happy to have books come home!
    I love to tell the story of returning one year in August and discovering that one of my book collectors (I love your use of this term) had left me a sack of books filled to the brim outside my classroom door with a Starbucks card perched on top! I'm always glad to get my books back, and I celebrate with my students any time a wandering book comes home!
    Good luck with coming up with a system that works for you!

    1. Ramona - thanks for this suggestion. This seems like something I might be able to manage.

  5. I've been teaching for almost 29 years, and have yet to come up with a system that is not time intensive, but will allow me to know where books have gone. The current checkout system in our room is, "May I take this book home, please?" To which I respond, "Of course!" Any hope of remembering who took what is foolish on my part. :)

  6. I am a literacy coach, and I lend my books to teachers and kids a lot. My biggest system: if I don't want to lose the book, I don't lend it. I have gold address labels on each cover. The kids recognize it and return. I know it's not the same as what you were asking, so I hope you find a system. Glad you support reading so much in your class.