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Sorry I took so long to gather "hot" this information on flex
scheduling. I am sure you all know about those end of the year
responsibilities and how they creep up on us. Anyway, I am in the
process of putting together what one of my principals calls a
"rationale" to staff on my proposal. I know the admin all support what I
am trying to do but in the long run no one really wnats to take the
"hit" for this. Fortunately, I do have Jan Buchanan"s book on Flex
Scheduling which was recommended by some of my lm_net colleagues. I will
be quoting from her and Info Power extensively no doubt. Again many
thanks to all of the awesome people on this list who sent words of
support and good wishes. LONG HIT follows.
Sandy Kelly
Westford, MA

Try and interlibrary loan a copy of Jan Buchanan's book, _Flexible
Access Library Media Programs_.  She fully explains how to go about
winning over teachers and even has a sample presentation in the appendix
to present to teachers. She suggests that you begin to build the program
by collaborating with a few respected teachers, do something really
awesome with them, and others will slowly follow.  Also, find out what
services your teachers want and do all you can to provide those

Kindly remind your teachers that a lot of schools have eased into this
and, though there may be bumps along the way, it will work (act
confident, but with kindness).

Some teachers as you know like regularity.  If you have a parially fixed
schedule where they can come weekly for book exchange and a story (20
minutes max) this will still open up your schedule for everyone else.
When I was at the elementary level each teacher each grading period was
'required' (although I wouldn't say that, but it equaled out the LMC
access) to come for 60 minutes (k-2) and 90 (3-5).  This could be two 45
minute times or three 30 minute times either weekly or consecutively.

Does your flex schedule allow for planning/grade level time?  Try to
work this in as you can remind teachers that you will be in there too
and how much you can accomplish (they can understand learning library
skills in isolation and how it won't be as effective as if it
accomplishes a curriculum objective).  Also, try
to plan lessons that do meet their curriculum objectives; it will help
take the edge off and see that you can be helpful.

To offset problems and a RUSH, I would suggest a
requirement that tchrs meet with you PRIOR to scheduling classes.
Require a week, or 2,3,4 day or some adequate turn around time between
planning and actual class time.  Also, YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE AND WILLING
so that tchrs feel this is GOOD and beneficial to kids (that's your
bottom line...good for kids!  not for you or tchrs).
Be willing to do almost anything at least at beginning even if it's not
your cup-of-tea.  Another point, will tchrs be required to be with class
or just you,,,decide that ahead of time so the word is out.
And when a tchr has a super idea for let's say grade 5, then tell other
grade 5 tchrs so all fifth graders get the same.  That would be a PLUS
for kids, tchrs & great PR.
You need to 'reach out' to all so they feel your domain includes them.
The way to everyone's heart is through their stomach... FOOD!...so have
some at your first introductory session.

I have had flex in 2 schools. one was 3-5 and the other
(current one) K-5. It is difficult at first since the teachers do lose a
planning time but what counts is what is best for the children. You
really need to be organized and present them with a detail of how the
flex will work.  Remind them that flex does not mean NO schedule.  I
teach a lot of classes and what really sold my teachers was after I
finished a lesson I asked to have any students come to me in a small
group who I felt did not really understand - this was they get
retraining etc. I have a form that teachers can request materials and I
try to fill these request the same day.  couldn't do that with rigid
sched. just be organized and make yourself indispensible and they will
wonder how they ever survived without

This was my 6th year at our elementary school, and my first to finally
persuade the principal to try flex.To make it an easy beginning for a
hesitant staff, the 3rd and 4th weeks of each grading period were fixed,
the other weeks were scheduled classes for library instruction. (This
arranmgement on Tues-Weds-Thurs) Mondays and Fridays are whole class
check-out days each week.It caught on gradually, until this period there
was not a minute left unscheduled (except my lunch and planning period)
on the flexible days and I had to turn people away. We accomplished some
great projects in some grades, but others have a long way to go to get
the idea.I'll keep the same schedule next year as I don't want to do too
much too fast - I want the teachers to request more flexible time, not
have it as a  mandate from the principal or me.

First of all know why you need flex scheduling...in my opinion it is so
that you can teach information literacy skills in the context of
studentlearning.  Read Phil Turner's book HELPING TEACHERS TEACH.  It
talks about a levels approach to working with teachers.  We tried this
and had many successes as we moved to flex scheduling.  Keep your
administrator informed about what is working well and how motivated
students are. Make sure you collaborate with teachers to make flex
work...otherwise it could become dedicated to all the myriad chores we
NEED to do and never seem to have time.  We asked teachers "How can I
help you?" and then FOLLOWED THROUGH or at least kept communicating with
the teachers that we were trying even if we couldn't get all the
resources we needed.  Collaboration is the key to flex scheduling
success.  It drives collection development and makes teachers such a
part of the selection process and allows you to showcase your talents as
a resource person and master teacher.  Co-teach with willing teachers.
If a teacher doesn't want to work with you take that as a blessing and
work with someone who is willing.  Be sure to communicate all the
wonderful things that are going on and display work that is generated
from collaborative units.  David Loertscher's book REINVENT YOUR
suggestions.  Collaboration without flex is almost impossible, but flex
without collaboration is useless so meet with those teachers and find
out what they are teaching, what they need and how you can help them
with information resources as well as technology and those teachers will
come around.  I know.  It happened to me.  Good luck.

I am in a 7-9 school and we use a schedule by day and period for the
teachers to sign up well in advance.  There are some noses that get out
of joint but it is first come, first served.  We also allow book
exchange for all classes at the beginning of every period.  We ask that
each class send only 3-4 students at a time for book exchange.

We have a fixed/flex schedule in our district.  It works like this.
Each class is scheduled for a 20 min. checkout period each week.  The
rest of the schedule is flex time.  If teachers need to use the LMC
during a scheduled checkout period for research....we reserve the right
to move classes to another time during that day if it exists or to
another time during the week.   This works both ways...ie if their class
is going on a field trip on the day they have checkout....we reschedule
them if it is possible.  Also, we do not reschedule classes that miss a
time due to days off from school.  Any flex time can be used by a class,
individual or small group.  Class use and small group use presumes that
there has been some pre-planning between the library media specialist
and the classroom teacher.  We have students coming and going all day
long.  As far as working with the staff.....seek out those who may be
willing to work with you.   Display their projects in the LMC and before
long, you will have others "hopping on the bandwagon."  It is a slow
process to get the flex to work the way you think it should.

Talk to your teachers about the need to work collaborativley with you to
plan and coteach research skills at the time of need, ie. when they are
studying whales, they need to schedule with you several days in a row to
do the research.  At that time you need to show students how to locate
access and manage the information they locate.  This is a great time to
introduce the Big 6 method of research and it works great team teaching
together with the librarian and the teacher.  You might also indicate
that score rise in schools that use flex scheduling and that the CO
study proved it.

A rigid schedule may be the best thing for the teachers but it is NOT
the best thing for the kids.North Carolina has a video that supports
flexible access. It has talking heads but really makes the point that
the teachers must plan with you before they come. They also need to
include you in the initial planning of a unit or project. They also must
get away from the idea that they must come to the Media Center once a
week. We have open access all day. I have a lot of classes but we still
do open check-out and small groups can come at anytime for research.
BTW, our 2nd through 5th graders check out their own
books. Begin with Information Power, then go to ALA website, then try
your state policies and state association.

I would suggest asking teachers if they teach reading or math or writing
the way they did 10 yrs. ago.  Hopefully they would all say no because
of what has been learned about how kids learn and national standards
etc. Then you can say well I can't teach information skills the old way
either. Point out how when the instructional need is driving the program
rather than the clock learning is more meaningful and successful.
Another thing I try to do is get teachers to use the media center during
content area lessons not just language arts times.  If a teacher begins
to monopolize one time I recruit another teacher for that time and break
the cycle.  I also try to work out activities to support differentiation
so I may have just the top kids or just the low ones to provide specific
skills they are ready for.  This lets the teacher work with another
focused group and all come out ahead.  Sometimes we will look at a whole
grade level (2 classes
for us) and group from both classes according to ability for specific
activities.  We differentiate book exchange activities from
instructional visits too. Kids have daily access to book exchange but
not in connection with instructional visits.  They come between the time
they come into the building in the morning and announcements (about a 20
min. window).  They also come from classes during DEAR time after
lunchand recess.  Hope this helps.  Keep after it it is important.

Be sure to have some sort of readily available scheduling device for the
entire day. Block out those fixed classes, lunch, etc. and then have the
teachers sign up for the times they need. The absolute rule has to be
"First come, first served." This will encourage planning ahead!

Thank you again everyone!

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