Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 05 2011

YOU can help my classroom!

I sent out this email to as many people with steady jobs as I could think of today. If you are capable of helping me build my classroom library, please feel free to email me at [email protected]   Thank you!!

Hey y’all,

Ho-ly cow, I am going to attempt brevity here, because my brain is so full of excitement and enthusiasm for this school year I could type for eternity. I started teaching about 120 new Arkansas 6th graders in mid-August (my second year at this job already!), after a summer packed with traveling, catching up with friends and family, and remembering how to be human. I’m teaching the same subject (Language Arts) in the same school (Reed Elementary), in the same tiny Arkansas town (Dumas).

I love it.

This year, my students are engaged, excited, and intelligent. Their writing has already improved just in the first 8 weeks of school. On our first unit test, four out of five classes averaged higher than our class goal of 80%, with the fifth class just below. They are motivated, talented, and hysterical. I’ve been keeping track (a bit less than last year, sorry!) of my teaching endeavors on my teachforus blog, updating parents on my Lampinen Language blog, and every once in a while will put student work on my tumblr, like these paragraphs, which were from my unit 1 exam. Feel free to explore, keep up, and if you’re feeling friendly, COMMENT. :)

So why am I emailing? Just to gloat? No. Actually, I need some help.

Last year, I was exposed to and knew I should have a classroom library, but I failed at successfully implementing and creating one. This year, things are drastically different. My students love reading, and especially love checking out books from my library. I’ve already had some generous donations from friends, family, and students, but it’s just not enough. My best books are constantly checked out, to the point where students hound them and grab them before they even go back to the shelf. This means some students that need great books the most never get them.

I’m emailing specifically to ask for book donations, or money donations that will go exclusively to books. It is the most effective way you can have an immediate impact on my classroom. Expect thank you letters, and a note in the book explaining who it’s from and why (feel free to add your own note, too!) I need gently used, Salvation Army-found, new, or shipped-to-me books that are between 4th-8th grade reading levels. Any books will do, but very specifically I am looking for entire series’ of (or single books!):

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (students LOVE THIS BOOK and can read it really fast. They are ALWAYS checked out of my library.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (I’ve started introducing this to my students, and they’re begging me for each sequel… I only have 3 of the set, one copy of each!)
  • The Hunger Games (pleeeease! The perfect world would give me at least three sets of the series. I just read the first book and can personally say it is so engaging and students love it for good reason)
  • Harry Potter
  • Twilight
  • Amelia’s Notebook (This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I brought in a copy of her 6th Grade Notebook, and my ESL students find it non-threatening because of the pictures and casual writing, but “cool” because it’s about 6th grade and they can relate, I’d love as many copies as possible of any of these books– it’s a pretty big series)
  • Babysitters Club (even your old ones!)

Of course, any and all books are accepted, but these are the ones I think will have an immediate high-impact on my students. Hard cover will last the longest, but again, anything is appreciated! Please contact me if and what you are willing to donate. You can search in used book stores or Salvation Army, order off amazon or Barnes and Noble, send gift cards, checks, or anything else! My students will thank you for it!

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in helping my classroom.

Thank you!!

3 Responses

  1. Cindy

    Please avoid the last book in the Twilight series. Or all of them – argh! I don’t much like those books, especially for kiddos under 13. Instead, introduce those romance hungry kids to Maggie Stiefvater series Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver, Linger, Forever) – great writing, healthy relationships, amazing, longing, impossible love. Scoop up all the copies you can of the Rangers Apprentice series – great adventure stories, 11 in the series. And the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath – great steampunk adventure, and Westerfeld details his definition of steampunk and catalogs real history with what he invents for the stories.

    And, I’ll stop here – I have one or two more boxes of books for your school library – I love the idea of spreading my love for books to your classroom kids

    • Thank you for your sound sound wonderful advice!!

      • (Not to mention basically building my entire library thus far!! ahhhh!!)


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