Marie-Kondo-ing the Literacy Center
May 25, 2021
I began shifting the contents of the literacy center in earnest over a month ago.
I began thinking about shifting the contents of the literacy center ten years ago.
An hour ago, the custodian said to me, Don’t you clear out this room every year?
Weeks ago, I started making sticky notes that say things like… Clear me out! Be Brutal!
I have made five or six lists and completed all the tasks.
I went through the teacher resource books and pitched almost everything not written in this decade.
I made a pile of six books that I thought everyone should read, put them in the teacher work room with some love notes.
I began weeding my personal “corner” of books. I took two boxes home where I thought perhaps they were going to ‘die’. Then I started giving the rest away.
I had to pause when I got to the picture books. My heart started to hurt.
I started with my first grade books, I have had them the longest. If they could brag, they would tell you how many young readers they pushed over the the brink into seeing themselves as readers. I mean, The Nosy Pup? Tiny? Bob said to me, what if they just pitch them?, after I gave them to a young teacher. I won’t know, I said. They won’t, I said. It’s ok, I said.
I gave a big pile of novels to a second-year teacher. Her class said, these were all Mrs. Kennedy’s books?! If they only knew, I thought. Just like Marie Kondo said, I considered did they give me joy? Would they bring more joy in someone else’s hands? Another big group became series offerings in the leveled readers. Roscoe Rules that I bought for that third grader who didn’t like anything. Ivy and Bean for that girl who didn’t think she could read. That funny mystery with the parrot that I saved for my boy groups in fourth grade… They will be close when I need them and others’ can use them, I thought.
I became a little sad and began to feel untethered. I kept going, dusting, and holding, looking and letting go. I went through all of my professional text and packed them up and took them home. I kept only four resource text at school. I move those school owned teacher books to the shelves where my books had been. I thought to myself, this might be the longest I’ve ever stayed at one school. Quickly, I didn’t even want to think that. Should I throw a little salt over my shoulder?
I emptied all our former benchmarking materials… Made a shelf of phonic readers. Moved the biographies and added all the newer fresher titles. I moved the fourth grade novels for historical fiction and their picture books down the hall to the fourth grade closet along with their friends, social issues book clubs, literary essays, and biographies.
Then the third grade mysteries went to the third grade closet along with their pollinator books. I made myself a spreadsheet of all the books. I ordered more book bins. Maybe I am making some progress.
I processed the huge grant book influx. I sent many of them to live in classrooms.
I decided to give myself 4 shelves for my personal books after the third teacher in an hour asked me for a particular book.
On and on I clean and clear, read and remember, and yet there is so much more to do.
When it’s finished, I’ll be lighter, the room will be brighter and all that joy will be spread around.
At least that’s what I hope.
I definitely need to set a deadline.