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"....my principal says I must see all classes every week because of teacher
breaktime. What do I do with students where the teacher is unwilling to
plan with me? I really don't want to plan units where there is no
classroom relevance. .."

Isn't it wonderful being  the babysitter?
I think the flexible scheduling is an idea that needs a lot of promotion
and success before it is accepted by the classroom teachers. It is seen
as 'horning in' and extra work by many.
A careful reading of your district policy and contract may give you some
flexibility. First, a classified may be able to supervise a SSR time,
giving the classroom teacher their 'break' (and if that happened to be a
time you could plan with....). The specialists provide planning time for the
classroom teacher, along with 2 sessions a week each for music and PE, I
get them for 1 period. Hmmmm, something doesn't quite sound academmically
excellent here....
One thing I am doing (and several other librarian-teachers in our
district) is 'preaching to the converted'. Find a classroom teacher or
2-3 that find the idea of integrated planning appealing and work up a
unit just with those teachers. Let them tell the others how well it
worked. It also helps to work in whatever favorite schema the C-T works
under, brain compatible learning, 7 intell, etc so they see it work in
'your' setting.
If you do Big Six, this is an excellent opportunity to show how
information research/school/life/problemsolving all tie together.

A small success story:
A 1-2 teacher was doing Rain forest/endangered animals. She had a
miniature rainforst in her room (not really miniature, it took up a
corner and half of two walls) During her planning time (kids were at PE)
she was in the library to look for books to take back to the room to work
on the animals. I suggested that I show them some stuff , and work up
some questions for them to research with. The next time they came to the
library, we brainstormed the questions THEY wanted to find out (yes, it
was guided to fit in some ones they didn't think of at first) (and yes, I
was thrown by the request to 'find out how they have babies'. Which
turned out to be 'Does mommy and daddy stay with the babies after they're
I then made a 'guided reading worksheet for the class, they picked out
animals in the classroom.
Then Leslie brought the kids down, we helped them find their animal in
Endangered Species Encyclopedia. And the kids went to work, In the mean
time they also learned how ToC and indices work (alpha) learned some
content reading skills (headings) and left an hour later ready to write!
And Leslie learned, 1>we have reference books 2nd graders can use, 2>
that her unit was capable of even more integrating than she thought, 3>
That if I know what is going on in their room, I can make 'special
Yes, some kids weren't done on time and came down for more help, Yes I
spent an extra hour with kids. But her kids and the teachers also are
starting this year with a better idea what the library can really do.

Bob Eiffert Librarian at Image Elementary

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