Saturday, May 17, 2008

Classroom Inventories...Preparation for Next School Year

As the school year swiftly comes to a close, the coaches' job remains as busy as any other month of the year. However, the shift has been made between being a classroom supporter, instructional specialist, learning facilitator, and school leader to being a resource provider. A resource provider, not in the sense of ordering and handing out materials, rather a resource collector to ensure that as next year begins you have the professional resources needed to fully support the teachers' implementation of their content workshops.

In ELA, this is an important process because you are dealing with leveled libraries, genre libraries, genre study kits, vocabulary kits, author studies, touchtone texts, and professional literature that are grade level specific. Add to that, teachers looping between multiple grade levels, and a growing number of classrooms at specific grade levels, and the process of cataloging and distributing materials at the start of a year could be almost impossible. Therefore, the coach must spend time thinking ahead to next year, collecting materials, ordering new materials if necessary, and redistributing resources to ensure a smooth transition.

To start, it is easiest to have a detailed inventory of materials for each grade level. Not simply to list on the inventory, poetry genre study, but to list the teacher guide and all children's literature that goes with it. For example,

Climb Inside a Poem Genre Study
Teacher Manual: Reading and Writing Poetry Across the Year
Teacher Manual: Lessons for Climb Inside a Poem
Big Book for Climb Inside a Poem

Children's Literature for Poetry Genre Study
All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth
Fireflies in Midnight by Marilyn Singer
Mites to Mastodons: A Book of Animal Poems by Maxine Kumin
Pocket Poems by Bobbi Katz
Ride a Purple Pelican by Jack Prelutsky
Sing to the Sun by Ashley Bryan
Surprises by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Talking Like the Rain by X.J. Kennedy
Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O'Connell George
When a City Leans Against the Sky by Allan A. DeFina
One Hundred Years of Poetry For Children by Michael Harrison
Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? by Kenneth Koch
A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy
The Giant Book of Poetry CD by William Roetzheim
The Other Way to Listen by Bryd Baylor
Color Me A Rhyme by Jane Yolen

The next step is to hold a Teacher Meeting to pass out the inventory, explain all the items on the inventory, and how items will be cataloged and redistributed. The key to this is being very specific. In second grade, for example, they were asked to box leveled books and genre books, report the number of books respectively, and pass the library on to a specific 2nd grade teacher. With respect to other materials, which are housed in plastic bins with lids, they were asked to inventory and bring them to me. I will collect them, sign off on their inventories, and redistribute items.

With this inventory process in place, the coach can ensure that teachers have the necessary materials and resources to delve into workshop instruction in the year to come, and that items do not walk or get lost from one year to the next. At grade levels where this process has been perfected (K-2 at Chets) the transition from one year to the next happens with ease. In other grade levels here, we are working hard to get this in place.

To see a complete 2nd Grade ELA inventory, click on the widget below.

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