One of the main struggles I have had to contend with in my library since beginning is the state of utter disarray the library is usually in at the end of a Wednesday, when I teach K-1, K-2, and special needs throughout the day. The little kids are excited about book checkout, and in their rush to find the perfect book, they have an unfortunate tendency of leaving books strewn about all over the floor and the shelves, leaving me or one of my student workers to clean up after them. I've tried talking to them and reminding them as they search to put books back, but it never seems to sink in.
That's when I decided I would experiment with shelf markers. The librarian I worked with for my elementary practicum used them to mixed results, but I figured something would be better than nothing. Using tips gleaned from Cari at The Centered School Library, I asked for paint stirrers at Home Depot (they handed over an armful), bought a $3 tin of trial paint in a vibrant shade of orange, and snagged some cute back-to-school themed cardstock and Modge Podge at Michael's. I started by painting the sticks on both sides, two coats each. I learned the hard way that unless you're careful, you're going to get newspaper stuck to your sticks, but I managed to get the worst of it off.
Next, I modge-podged the cardstock onto the top of each stick for decorative purposes - one layer on the wood, then another over the paper. Once they dried, they looked really nice. And best of all, after incorporating a short demonstration on how to use them, the kids managed to use them more or less as intended, and when the day was done, I had about a 95% improvement in tidiness - I still had to put away a few books, but it was a much easier task than the massive cleanups I'd been doing at the end of the day before. I will definitely be using these again (but first I have to remember I have them!), because the time it took to make them is a small investment compared to how much time (and stress) is saved by using them.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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