LM_NET: Library Media Networking

Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

Thanks to all of you who responded to my concerns about teacher
collaboration with flexible scheduling.  I truly appreciate all your
support.  I received some good ideas, but it is especially gratifying to
realize my experience is not unique.  I came across a book myself that I am
finding inspiring.  I am sure it is not new to many of you, but it was for
me:  Gary Zingher's *At the Pirate Academy: Adventures with Language in the
Library Media Center*.  I'm thinking some of his activities may be just the
spark to ignite excitement among staff.

The following is a Hit of the responses I received.  Thanks again everyone.
I use my Banana Split lesson plan to show the process of Big 6 (Mike
Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz). It is a fun way for teachers to understand
the process. After they eat I seduce them with an opportunity for planning
a collaborative lesson with me. Team teaching, chocolate, sugar, what could
be better?

If you want a copy of the lesson plan (I put it together in a booklet of 58
pages of ideas for Big 6) I ask for $5.00 in advance to cover copying and
postage. I have had positive response using this with the staff.

Tami Little
 I am in my 4th year and each year we learn to work together in better
ways. ...I am starting my 2nd year with flex with k-2. My experiences
parallel your first year experiences. I am already into my second year
(began July 8) and already am building on last years successes.
Flexible/collaboration is NOT a one year program!
I was very interested to read your post. I am an MLS grad student at Texas
Women's University in Denton, TX, but have been teaching elementary school
music for the past 12 years. My school's librarian (who is also my mentor)
has had similar problems in converting our school to flexible scheduling.
Some of the teachers love it, while others seem reluctant to participate
and only bring their kids to the library when they're forced to. Because
this problem seems to occur at other schools in our district as well (the
Richardson ISD in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex) I have decided to tackle
this problem for my thesis/professional paper. I intend to survey schools
and then target the teachers who are dissatisfied with flexible scheduling.
They will be asked to complete a further survey and an interview, if they
are willing. I'm hoping to come up with some common threads that will shed
light on this problem and, hopefully, help librarians to overcome the
reluctance on the part of these teachers to fully adapt to the flexible
schedule. If you get some responses from other teachers, please post a hit,
or forward them to me at <deb1@airmail.net> I would really appreciate the
help, as I'm trying to create a professional paper that would meet a real
need, not just satisfy a graduation requirement. Good luck this year with
your new ideas -- I'd love to know what works best for you, as I'll be
starting as a librarian in the 1997-98 school year.

Debbi Richard
Lake Highlands Elementary School
Yes, I have had trouble getting teachers to participate in collaborative
teaching. I went to the classroom during their planning time, left notes in
their boxes, did show and tell during faculty meetings....I never got them
all to work with me. A few would work with me but then they'd get busy and
forget about me. It seemed like feast or famine. After 8 years I went back
to scheduled classes.
I'm not absolutely certain as to what you refer to as flexible scheduling,
but I'm certain I DON"T have it at my school. However, I, too, get
extremely frustrated with the lack of collaboration. I know I could assist
teachers in many ways, as well as offer a variety of opportunities for
students and teachers. I think most of the teachers very scheduled library
time as simply a "break" for them. Please post a HIT if you get a positive
response, and/or please send me any of your ideas. Thanks in advance!
Several years ago I started flexible scheduling with a similar grade range.
I started promoting it by doing a unit in centers with one teacher in the
grade on a certain unit. I usually had about 4 or 5 centers around 9 or 10
min each which would last about an hour and each center got to rotate.
Usually the teacher would pass on the info to the other teachers and they
would request to do the same center since they usually taught the same
material near the same time.Then you could have them all in one day and
then take the centers down.I made a notebook on science and usually ss for
each grade with the material or a note about what I did so that I could do
it the next year. I tried to pull classes in with that or another way about
once a month in the beginning. They loved it.I told them that they could
come as a group to the mc anytime they wanted to as many and more than they
could when we had fixed classes.Teacher usually came with the class and
manned one of the centers and I sometimes asked for a volunteer to manage a
center and of course i did a center.Sometimes I asked an older student to
manage a center.Worked great.
Now I don't have a rush on centers anymore unless sometimes I feel that I
need to pull a class in that are not getting what i think they
should.Sometimes I feel unfullfilled and I do them again. However with so
much technology I noo longer have time to do as much of that kind of work.
However, this year I think I will do more of that and at the same time use
the compute lab for a center and especailly introduce the new teachers to
computer software that they have not tried and you can correlate word
processing in with just about any center.Our teachers still like to
schedule the computer lab but i feel that we should get away from that if
we can.New teachers also need to be introduced to workings in the mc. By
the way-for the last two years I have done orientation at the beginning a
different way. I bring older classes in one at a time and we video how to
for certain things that they already know about. Then I play the video at a
different time and they loved to watch themselves on video and I also have
a video that new students most watch when they enter the school during the
Also, I went to team meetings by grade so that I could sit in on planning
and make suggestions about how i could help.I try to steer away from just
pulling material and instead work with the teacgers at the computer pulling
up lists of resources letting them help pull materials.That planning is
very important.
I am at a high school and we have always had flexible scheduling. This is
my fifth year as the librarian there. Like you, I do not feel that there is
much true collaboration. The reasons are much the same as you list. I feel
that I have a good relationship with most of the teachers and certainly
with those who bring their classes to the library. Somehow, I have not been
able to convince them that part of my job is helping to teach library and
research skills. All we can do is to continue to be advocates of
collaboration and to continue to assist, collaborate when and how we can.
We went to flexible scheduling seven years ago. In one of my media classes
my professor told us that the best way to make flexible scheudling work was
to start small, don't try to over-do-it, and win over those who are
skeptical. One thing you will have to realize is that you may not win over
some... After seven years I have some...esp. the upper grades who I still
haven't won over. I have some who I used as my guinea pigs to do units with
that they really enjoyed and they still come back to me and say sometimes
they liked how "library used to be done." I guess the biggest thing is to
not give up hope and keep doing what you are doing. One thing that some of
us in my system did that I felt helped was that we visited some schools in
a nearby county where they already practiced flexible scheduling. Good
luck... as you win over one teacher...another one will see how great
flexible scheduling can be!!!
Remember change takes time. Sounds like things are very normal for you. I
have insitiuted flex program in three schools and every time it takes a few
yrs. for "total" change in behaviors. Let the kindred spirits lead the way.
As you infer ideas spread and very soon you will be struggling with how can
I fit it all in. If services meet teacher needs they will come. It doesn't
really matter as much what you say as what other classroom teachers say to
each other about their experiences. Hang in there. With the election you
might consider an all school project in which kids register for a party
(Illustrators or Authors) nominate candidates (Book characters) hold party
conventions to select slate, campaign and finally elect. Number of
delegates from each class that go to the conventions are determined by
number of kids in the class. They have to vote in accordance with primary
election mandate first round etc. You can create a meaningful election
experience for young children and make a complete parallel experience. We
did this last time and had a big buy in to it. It was the first yr. I was
at the school and it introduced a total change of program. Good luck and
keep at it.
Your situation sounds like the one at our school to a tee. I am not sure
why the resistance exists...unless it is the fear of loss of control you
mention and/or fear of sharing the stage ;-).

Our 1-3 teachers will, for the most part, take advantage of the
opportunities and sharing that flex scheduling offers; 4-6 think the ideal
is to "send" 1/2 the class to the library at a time to "use the computers
and get books." I am not sure how to combat this. The one fifth grade
teacher who was really into the whole idea transferred to another building.
You are on the right track! I am an elem. media specialist and have been
trying to get flexible scheduling going for *4 years!* What a battle it has
been. The best way to explain everything that has happened to me is to
refer you to the Spring 1996 issue of School Library Media Quarterly as it
seems to be describing my actual school library program without mentioning
my school.
My friend is another building said she felt the same way.
We began the scheduling for 2 years with everyone on a fixed schedule and
4th-5th on a flexible. That bombed because there wasn't enough available
"free" time for the 4th-5th gr. teachers to select from when they wanted to
come down. Then, we switched all but 3rd grade (they're big union members
and wouldn't budge on the prep time thing) to flex sched. and have had more
success. It is extrememly time consuming on the part of the media
specialist to search out teachers each week, find out what they are doing
in the classroom and figure out where library/search skills fit in and
almost make up your own lesson plans! That's where I figure just
continually keep meeting with teachers at every corner so they can help
plan and co-teach. I am embarrassed to say I really don't think any of the
units we've done so far are anything to write home about. I really need to
get last year's lesson plan book out to see what I did but here are a
couple things I seem to remember.....
K - very hard, but I try to do a story and activity about every other week
with them--usually lasts about 40 min. However, they come every week to
check out. I'm going to try *really* hard to see if K -1 teachers will just
plan to bring their entire classes down 2 times per week for book check-out
next year.
1 - Book cover unit; when studying dinosuars, we saw viewed a Reading
Rainb. video, looked at book covers, what was own them, etc. I pre-printed
out a color sheet of dinosaurs from Print Shop and the kids each made up
their own title, author, illustrator for the bk. Of course, this was 2nd
semester after they learned to read and write a little.

Bettie Fisher
9628 Daisy Lane
Dexter, MI  48130

LM_NET Archive Home