Whenever I have free time I get creative. This time I share how to organize the classroom library a little better according to the bilingual program.

At the end of the year when I keep all the books, I just put them in the cabinet where they fit. The problem is that, at the beginning of the year, I have to rearrange and accommodate them again. Since I store them in their filing boxes, it occurred to me to paint the filing boxes following the requirements of the bilingual program for easy identification and organization of the books. #thestruggleisreal

   Many years ago I found these cardboard filing boxes at IKEA and they have lasted me a lot of years! Yes, some have been broken by use, others have been damaged, but most have endured the passing of the years and the hands of my students. Fortunately they continue to sell them and every year I replace or add organizers.

  If you teach in a bilingual classroom in the United States or any other country, you may have to use different colors for each language of instruction. Generally in the United States, blue is used for the English language and red for Spanish. Based on this requirement, I classify my libraries in English and Spanish, so it occurred to me to paint my book card-stock bins red and blue to differentiate the books.

Above I put the books in Spanish and below I put the books in English, but you can see in the previous photo that my library lacks color. For years I have tried to invest in the plastic file holders, but they are very expensive, so I decided to invest in cardboard ones instead.

Here are a few steps to paint the cardboard boxes.

1. Buy cardboard magazine filing holders. My preference is the IKEA FLYTs. I've found them in packs of 5 for $ 1.99, so it doesn't hurt to invest in them.

2. Buy paint. There are two options: the first is spray paint and the second is acrylic paint. In my case, I used spray paint for cost and practicality. The cost of both paints is similar considering what they cover, and both paint the cardboard well. Actually, the difference is in how long you want to invest. I bought 12 oz. Gloss Apple Red General-Purpose Spray Paint and 12 oz. Gloss Brilliant Blue General Purpose Spray Paint.

I bought 3 cans of each color for $ 3.98 each and I had paint left over. A paint bucket was enough for me to paint 3-4 filing boxes.

3. On the floor, lay newspaper, construction paper, or any other thick paper that prevents the floor from getting stained. I painted my book holders in the garage because of the smell of paint and possible mess.

4. Place about 4 organizers that fit on the paper or cardboard. Spread them about an inch apart. Paint the face-up side and allow them to dry for about 20 minutes. Waiting for them to dry completely is super important. Then turn the filing organizers over and paint the other side. Wait for them to dry.

5. Assemble them and voila! I didn't spend time painting the inside of the book organizers to save paint but also to avoid spoiling the books with paint at the end of the year when I keep everything tight in the cabinets. If you want to step it up even more, add labels in the back.


Don't like the colors? Try metallic paint, white, black, neon or basically anything that goes with your classroom theme. If you paint your file organizers send us pictures of your libraries and will post them in our blog!

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