Thursday, October 10, 2013

Classroom Library Organization? There's an app for that...

One of the things I needed to do this year was update my classroom library to include Lexile levels.  The school I where I'm teaching uses a reading test three times each year which gives us each student's Lexile range.  I'm used to the Guided Reading levels.  No matter what you may find about how those two systems work, they don't actually align well.  They use totally different features to determine reading level.

So anyway, I needed to make labels for my books that had Lexile levels included.  (I also included Guided Reading and Accelerated Reader if I could find them.)  I'm so glad I found two AMAZING resources to find these levels.

First, I used "Classroom Organizer."  Check it out here: 

I was able to quickly scan the barcode on the back of each book with the smartphone app.  The site then provided me with an Excel spreadsheet of every piece of information they had about the book (title, author, levels, genre, list price, etc.).  Some books had tons of information.  Other books had very little information.  Since it was all in a spreadsheet, though, I could easily sort the books and use other resources to find the missing pieces.

Scholastic has their "Book Wizard."  This is the resource I went to when I needed more information.  Check it out here: 

Next, I took the spreadsheet and created a "mail merge" document in MS Word.  I used the address labels feature and placed Title, Lexile level, GR level, AR level and AR points all on a small label and printed them.

Now, you can purchase labels and try to get everything to line up just right, or you can print on paper and then run it through a sticker machine.  What?  You don't have one?  You've got to check out the Xyron machines.  I use them for everything!!

Product SmallImageXyron

You can find these in many of the big box craft stores, online, or sometimes at your local scrapbooking stores.  They will do not only sticker-making, but also laminate and make magnets.  If it's flat, it can become a sticker!   No electricity needed -- you crank the handle by hand and out slides  your project.  The machines come in many sizes.  This 9 inch version is my favorite machine at home, but I also have the 5 inch version in my classroom and the 1.5 inch version at home.

So, with just a few minutes of scanning with a phone, an hour of searching for missing book levels, a few minutes to mail merge a document and print,  and seconds to crank them into stickers, I have labels ready for several hundred books.  Now, if I could just remember to bring them to school, I could start attaching them to my library.  :)

Hope this Helps!
Heather Q

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