This is my fifth year teaching. Although it still FEELS like I am, I can now say I am not new anymore. I have my own set of routines and procedures that are unique to my little room, I can run with the "big dogs" on my team (aka veteran teachers), I know what I want to keep and throw away each year, etc. BUT with that said, I still love to try new things. Even better, is the addition of a for real new teacher on our team last year. This is her second year now and she, too, has become comfortable in her new shoes and has some pretty sweet ideas. Of course, they aren't original. Like all the rest of us teachers, she is a thief. No reinventing the wheel for her. She is a blog fiend and can sniff out a cute idea like nobody's business. Fonts, organizers, you name it, she's found it and claimed it for her own. Not without showing off to us, of course... after which, we steal it for ourselves and take all the credit for it, right? Hee hee. Of course not. One idea she shared with us was a way to keep our classroom libraries organized. Classroom. Library. Organized. Three of the most terrifying words I have ever said or heard. It's taken me five years just to BUILD a classroom library, and keeping it organized. Sweet, Jesus. Forgive me, but my library looks like World War 3... until two weeks ago. Now, I tried this idea of hers at the beginning of the year and it blew up in my face because I did it wrong. I will explain what not to do after I show a picture... Anyways, this magical way of organizing your library all starts with something as simple as this:

Yes, that's a clothespin.

I give each child a number at the beginning of the year. They write their number on everything from their classwork, to their books. I have a clothespin with each child's number on it. They do not get to keep these pins at their desks... that's where I messed up at the beginning of the year. That resulted in clothespins on ears, clothespins on the floor, clothespins in three pieces, and one very perturbed teacher. I finally corrected my mistake and confiscated all clothespins and tried again. The successful second try looks something like this:

Sorry about the horrendous quality of the picture. My camera and I are not on speaking terms right now. As you can see, the kids keep their clothespins on a ribbon. They may take their clothespins off when they find a book they want to read. They then clip their clothespin on the basket they got the book from. That way, they will remember where it belongs when they are finished reading. PRAISE THE LORD. HALLELUJAH. TEACHER AND STUDENT LIGHT BULB MOMENT. Here is what this blissfully organized procedure looks like:

Not only can I see what books the kids are or aren't reading, I can also see which KIDS aren't reading at all. And then there's the whole issue of being organized. Folks, I haven't touched a book in two weeks. Excuse me, *insert blowing nose here*. I just shed a tear. Can you believe it? Amazing. Simple. Amazingly simple. Thanks to our wonderful addition to our team, I now have a perfectly organized library.