Monday, January 16, 2012

Organizing Books and Class Government

Hee, hee! Actually I'm not that bad as far as wigging out if there is a bit of disorder in my room. Where you have kids learning and doing there will be some sort of mess. But there is one trouble spot room that does get to me and it's my class library. I've gone back and forth on the organization of my books. I've organized by reading levels before but now have them ordered by genre since that is the way I present books during reading lessons. The baskets in my library are tagged this way. This is how it SHOULD look. I wish I had a shot of what it looks like on a typical day...believe me it can look like a tornado hit it! Books misplaced or let's be real and say "thrown in" or scattered on the floor and book chairs and pillows tossed in a heap!

It began to aggravate me to no end! Books have all been color coded to match the sign on the basket so there really is no excuse! I began to think it really is not MY problem it's THEIR problem so I decided to let them solve it.

Here is where our class government comes in. We set up our class government after learning about Greece and Rome and how they established the democracy from which our country's government is modeled. We learned about the representative democracy of Rome and as we were reading about it the kids were just looking at me with these dazed and confused looks. I could tell they were not getting it so I decided to set up a representative democracy in our class and make it "real" for them.

My students' desks are set up in groups that we have named after the continents. The first thing we needed to do was figure out who our class representatives would be. They had the option to run for the position of their table team's representative. Everyone chose to run for this office! They all made a campaign poster for themselves and we spread them around the room. On their posters they had to advertize themselves. Wish I had taken pictures...some were so good and funny too! Then we voted and elected representatives for each group. I was proud of my kids, they really did vote for people who would be fair and responsible. It was not a popularity contest! Good for them!

Now this group of representatives will meet with me when class problems arise or decisions need to be made. We meet for simple things like to determine what to do for indoor recess or problems to handle the mess at the book area

Even if a student is not a representative they have a right to present ideas. They do that by writing to their "leader". That would be me! I have a mailbox they can put their letters in and I check it after school

Do they have a lot to say? You BETCHA!

I will then call a quick meeting with my representatives and they will talk with me about possible ideas which they will go back and present to their teams. After that a vote is taken.

Here is our ballot box:

So what can be done about the problem in the book area? The kids decided that a Class Librarian job should be assigned to reorganize at the end of the day. It will get added to our Job Jar. They also said that class citizens must be more responsible about returning books properly and made it a class law to do so. Lawbreakers will need to pay a fine! Sounds like real life, don't you think!

We'll see how it goes! Do you have other suggestions on how to keep the book area tidy? Would love to hear!

Here are my class government documents. I always have a bunch on hand just in case we need to decide something. Feel free to use them if you wish!

Government Class

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh...I can't wait to see how this turns out! My library is just like yours...neat and organized after I have been through it, but a mess after the kids. If you take a book from the Bailey School Kids basket, how does it get put back into the Newbery basket? IDK!

    I agree that it is a good thing that it shows the kids are in the library, but it is crazy that it is always a mess. I have two students a week in charge of the library, but they don't do enough to help keep it "put together."

    I will be watching for your follow-up post!

    Lifelong Learning