Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A New Beginning!

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One of my favorite quotes is from the movie "Hope Floats"...
"...momma always says...that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too..."
Beginnings are scary. After twenty one years in the classroom, beginning are still scary! 

I was so worried about getting everything done. I don't have any other time to set up my classroom library...what happens if it doesn't get done? How will I finish? Worries plagued me as I tried to sleep.

At 7:30 I crept into room C10. I haven't stepped foot in school since last June. The hallways were dark, the floors gleaming as I opened the door to my beloved classroom...took a deep breath and smiled.
It felt like coming home. Quickly I moved in some new bookcases and started arranging the furniture. 

Other teachers were getting some work done and I got to visit for a teachers were already back to work. I love meeting the new much energy!!!

At exactly nine o'clock, my trusty helpers arrived. Tori, Emily and Jessica. I taught Tori and Emily in sixth grade (they are now SENIORS in high school) and I met Jessica today. Our task was simple but daunting, move all of my classroom library books from the book room (a hallway away) to my classroom and then organize them in alphabetical order. (I'm trying something new this year.) My classroom library consists of over a thousand books!

The girls got right to work. We found carts and loaded them up. It took three girls with three carts three trips to move all of the books. That took about thirty minutes.
Piles of books as far as the eye could see and they all needed to be sorted. I took a deep breath and wondered if it was a silly idea, but the girls dove right in! 
I'm alphabetizing my books this year as an experiment. Sorting by genre wasn't working for me and I struggled with where some books belong as they fit many genres. Also some of the "genres" were made-up categories by me. I want this to be as authentic as possible, so we are trying alphabetical this year.

Off they went, moving around piling books into piles talking and laughing. I was convinced we'd never have enough time and boy was I wrong! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! They arrived to my classroom at 9am. They moved the books, organized the books and shelved the books, AND ate some pizza. They finished by 1:00pm. 

The books look beautiful and I had a lovely time with these three smart, funny, beautiful young women! I am so blessed. Thank you Tori, Emily & Jessica! You guys are the best!!


  1. Looks like you are off to a great start. Your helpers look like so much fun to be around.

  2. I love that quote! It's such a good reminder. The pictures are great! Your library looks amazing. I find myself a bundle of nerves the first day but usually relax after the students come in. Like riding a bike, it all comes back!

  3. Your students are lucky to have such a great classroom library at their disposal...and lucky you, having "librarians" on hand to get that set up. You'll have to let us know how the alphabetized collection works in your room this year!

  4. So awesome to have help with a duanting task. They actually seemed to have a lot of fun. I can almost hear them, "Oh, I remember this book!" I've never been successful with any kind of order. I want to hear how this system works out for you.

  5. Love this and remember that summer when I lovingly alphabetized my books and on our first teacher inservice day found out that my room was moving - that day! No room for bookshelves!

    Helping hands - - - and the joy of reconnecting with former students! That's a legacy for all of us!

  6. First, I love this quote. It is now one of my own...and your book idea....I get how hard the genre sorting I will look forward to how your alphabetizing works. We cannot get back in YET.....due to construction...but the itch is there...and the smiles of a settled classroom waiting occupants is always a hopeful sign!

  7. I really connect to this slice right now! Thirty-five years of collecting books makes for a challenge (a GOOD challenge) in a number of ways. Any chance you are renting out Tori, Emily and Jessica? I'm mean, you've already trained them, you may as well rent them out!

  8. Michelle, what a day you and the girls had. Daunting but doable-a great mantra to own after a hard day's work. 1000 books all ready for eager reader to dive into is a great gift to give your students as they enter your classroom. (Authenticity-love the word-I have a graphic attached to my post that you might want to look at.

  9. Love the photos, Michelle! You've got some great girls helping, and just think of the example you are showing them. You may have future educators or librarians on your hands!

  10. The shelves look fabulous, Michelle, so happy your shared the photos too. Lucky you, lucky students who got to help you. I imagine they enjoyed it, and what a help it was! When I took over the classroom last year the teacher had arranged "sort of" by genre & we struggled finding anything. I bet alphabetizing will be very helpful. Enjoy that room, and thanks for the wonderful quote. So, so true!

  11. I read your post early this morning and I have been thinking about my classroom and books all day! Your library looks amazing!!! You have given me an idea that might make more sense in my room as well! Happy teaching!!

  12. Awesome helpers! Doesn't it feel good to get organized?? I should really try that.... :)

  13. Wow! I wrote about beginnings today too AND about moving! I promise no peeking either. I love that our posts align. True friendship right there. The shelves look awsome! What great helpers you had today. Happy new school year, Michelle.

  14. Love this post. So fun to see your classroom take shape, especially with great helpers like you had. Many hands make light work! Love your quote, a good reminder that even though beginnings are scary, we just need to give hope a chance to float up! Can't wait to see how your alphabetical arrangement works. I'm assuming the baskets on top are some of the favorite books?

  15. Love this library idea. I too struggle with genres, presenting books and space! I have my books in my classroom I think you and your kiddos will love it. I'm going to send you a picture of a library (not mine) that had simple cardboard markers to describe sections. You might have something like this. I'll tweet it.


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