Monday, January 1, 2018

Fix/Flex Schedule

Happy New Year!
Today is the last day of my break, so I am scrambling to get all of my to dos in, as I have been EXTREMELY slackful this break! The month of December was so busy, so it was nice to actually take some time for myself and family.  I wrote about my personal year in review over at Bee in the Bookends.
In December:
-I got a grant to bring a ukulele program into the library (another blog about that coming soon!)
-I finished up my practicum and my last class at TWU
-I graduated!!!! I am officially a librarian!

I LOVED decorating my cap, there were some great ones in the crowd.  I wanted to get more pics on the TWU campus, but the rain said otherwise.
I love library land, and I love that I am growing and learning each day (and of courses through lots of mistakes!)  This year, after talking with my principal, I changed up how I do library a little bit.  In order for it to be successful, it does take some help on those amazing teachers part (and I could NOT have even attempted a fixed/flex schedule without them!)

A little bit of background.
-This is a kindergarten-5th grade school (about 650 students)
-I do not have an assistant.  I do have the most wonderful paraprofessional that comes in for about 30 minutes a day to help.
-I am not on a fixed schedule.

Is this a perfect system.. NOPE.. but it is working for me :) (and of course I have room to grow and change with other ideas and as I learn)

The first six weeks of school, was teaching students/teachers and staff how to check in and check out books, how to sort books once they have been checked in, how to use the computers and all of those little odds and ends to make the library run smooth.
This is my fixed day card.  Kindergarten is all on Wednesday and they have 45 minute slots.  This is for a lesson along with check in and check out.  Ever class, however, has a 30 minute time slot to check in and check out books.  I encourage all my teachers to come at least every other week, but of course I really like to see students weekly. Although there might be free blocks of time on the fixed check in/check out schedule... it might not look that way on the flex schedule!  During those first six weeks I also taught teachers how to run the circulation desk if I was working with another class during flex schedule.

The librarian has such an important role as an extra academic support on campus. I mean, we have the opportunity to work with every grade level, administration, and community members!
Last year, I did only the day card and every class had a 45 minute weekly slot.  On A week they would get a lesson and B week they would not, but would always have that 45 minute class.  Say it was a 4th grade class.  I would do the same lesson for 2 weeks for 4 different classes.  I spent lots of time on my lessons, I talked with the teachers, and I looked at curriculum.  They were good lessons.. but they could have been so much better and more appropriate for what the students needed at that time to be successful. I wanted to be more intentional in my lessons and working with classes this year, so I have a modified flex schedule.
EDIT- Update 1/2/18-
I did A/B week rotations last year.  I no longer do A/B week rotations.  The weekly schedule of fixed times for check out stays the same. I hope to see each class every week, but I really stress that they at least come every other week during their designated check in/out time.  I send out another weekly schedule for for all teachers to use for the flex lesson schedule.  The flex schedule looks different every week based on the needs of the staff and students.
Hopefully that makes more sense.

Each week I send out a link to a Google Doc that has times for teachers to sign up for 45 minute slots. Of course this is still a work in progress.  When I first started doing it, I only had a few takers for extra lessons. The library is still flowing with students for their fixed check in/check out time. But I have a TON of space for teachers to be able to use!
The blue is time that I am automatically scheduled with another class. The yellow is my kindergarten day, but other than that the slots can be filled up by anyone. Because of this modified flex schedule I have been able to work with other curriculum areas.

Now, it is an organized chaos (or at least I think it is organized) because there are times that I might have over 50 students in the library.  30 for a lesson in the flex schedule and 20 for a fixed check in/out schedule.

I continually look at the Google Doc and converse with teachers about what supports they need.  By doing the flex schedule my lessons are much more on target for what is going to be useful for a teacher and students.  Are my lessons always great.. OF COURSE NOT! We all have flops!

I also write all my lesson plans in Google so I can easily update and change as needed.  When working with teachers and students I want to be intentional in what I am doing. I am a planner.. so I need to have everything written out and prepared

One of my favorite days of this new system was.. I had one group of 30 students working on research with their teacher in my large work area, I had a group of 20 first graders working on a different project that I was teaching in my story time area, and then I had 2 different classes come in to check in/out their books.  Was it loud... of course.  Did everyone find what they needed.. probably not.  Was it showing that the library is a large classroom and the heart of the school.. it sure did make my heart happy.

So, even though there are spots in the fixed check out schedule and also spots in the flex schedule that are not filled.. I use those times to quickly organize books, shelf books, work on lesson plans, talk to teachers... and continually work on that list that I have.  I have lots to learn, but I am so thankful to work in a school that has such supportive teachers helping me grow as a librarian and instructional leader.

How do you make your schedule work?  What are your go to idea places?

Upcoming blogs- The Uke Can Do It Program, Extra activities that I do, and so much more!



Sunday, November 5, 2017

September and October in the Library

Well, here it is November.. and I realize I hadn't taken the time to catch up what is going on in Libraryland! There are LOTS of pictures in this post.. but I wanted to share! I have had some awesome volunteers that come in once a week, Dot Day, bulletin boards, pumpkin contests, book fair, book fairies and MORE!
Good news... I PASSED my certification test! I find out tomorrow if  I passed my portfolio.. after that it is just to finish up my practicum and one more large assignment for my public library class!

I first wanted to share what my awesome 18+3C kiddos have been doing! I have a group of 3 young adults that come in once a week.  They are students in a work based type program that have high functioning abilities. I LOVE THEM! They have taken over this cubby.  During the month of September they made an I spy board by cutting out pieces of magazines for students to find the different items.  During October they made this awesome word search.. and right now it is a bubble map of Thanksgiving items (I will try to post pictures later)

 These kiddos made the decorations for the specials trunk or treat car! It was There is a Frog in my Throat.  They made the teeth and tongue.. and my awesome art teacher made the frog!
 I try to have very organized tasks to be done.  This is a GREAT one!  I printed off letters and lay them out.  I then have the students sort the books by alphabetical order.  This is my green dot (easy reader books) but I also got super overwhelmed with my fiction books.. so they sorted those too!  They are so good at shelving these easy readers too!

I LOVE having this group of students come in and help me out!  They also help me set up for Destination ImagiNation and help me pull books for seasons.  They just pulled almost all of my Thanksgiving books.

We celebrated Dot Day during meet the teacher this year.  I am so thankful for my art teacher... because she is always up for an adventure!  For our sign in, we had students and parents make their own dot on a paper.  We only had 2 stations this year, but we had over 150 people come through!
One station we used a compass and a paint brush and the other used a different type of compass and pencils.  We had cardstock set out.. and the pieces of artwork turned out awesome!





We had new books come in, but I wanted to make sure to have a teacher preview first! This year the theme was Reading Takes Us Places. Last year I did a New Bookstache party.  I had a check in station where teachers wrote their name down and I did a drawing for Scholastic Book Fair gift certificates.  I also had In Flight Snacks-it had drinks, cookies and pretzels. I then put all the new books out for staff to peruse.  I really try to get all the staff in because I want them to be invested as well.





Had to share my October bulletin boards. We also had book character pumpkin contest.  I divide it by k/1/2, 3/4/5 and a family group.  It was hard for the judges to choose the winners, so we had several ties.  In October we also had Camp Read A Lot and book fair. This is a HUGE event!  During Camp Read A Lot the school sets up tents in the gym that are different genres.  We also have the book fair.  This year we added Trunk or Treat.. so the Instructional Leadership Team became book fairies!






The Instructional Leadership Team Book Fairies.. minus one.

OMG! I also got a ukulele!! I LOVE using it in kindergarten library time.. and I am currently working on a grant to get some ukes in the library! More info to come after I finish the grant process.

One more picture for good measure! Last year my husband came and read to the 1st graders for Halloween.  This year, however, it just wasn't going to work out.  However.. he DID make it to my Girl Scout meeting! I do believe the girls loved it!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Adventures in LibraryLand!

I am now a couple of weeks into my second year of libraryland, and I love it even more every day! I still have a TON to learn, but I feel so much more confident in what I am doing.  I am also in the last semester of grad school.. y'all I graduate in just a few months and OMG there is so much to do (like do my practicum, finish a portfolio, take a test, complete my last elective and about 100 other things too!)

But, I wanted to overload you with pictures of what is going on in the Elliott Library.
Our first day of school was the day of the Solar Eclipse.  I invited teachers to come and make a solar eclipse cookie.  I also had a place where they could drop their name in a drawing for a gift card to our next book fair and invited them to help me a make a eclipse playlist! (you can find the playlist here)






Lesson area for the younger grades. Still working on how this one is set up. (but isn't the library always a work in progress)

Everybody books.  The cart is for browsing for new books.

Amazing display that Mrs. Gamez made!


New computer set up! I will invite classes to bring chromebooks with them so we can have large group lessons.

Directions on expectations for placing holds.

Coming into the library (that large space.. it is going to be an I SPY board this month.. I am going to have the 18 plus program work on it!)

This is the check in station.  I have so many better ideas of procedures and organization this year. Don't worry, the empty bookshelf behind is totally full!


New Shelfie station

I love all the new letters and signage!

We just had a Bluebonnet Tasting.  

Did I mention how much I love my new signage!

When checking out, I created a stop sign to remind students where to stop so it doesn't stop traffic.  This is for kinders, but I have another one that is closer to the circulation desk to remind the 1st-5th graders.

Booksmarks! Students can have one per visit.  To keep count of kiddos, after they check out their books they drop a bead into the check out bucket.  If they came before, after or at another time other than the scheduled library time they drop a bead in that one.  I have library helpers count daily.

I have really good ears, but I tend to startle people when I come out of the office, backroom or pop up from behind a shelf from shelving.  This is a doorbell that I pull out if I am not right at the circulation desk. The teachers have appreciated it
I loved reading I Will Not Eat you from the 2x2 list.  The LIFE students made these dragons to go with it.

Dot Day is next week! This year Mrs. R (our AMAZING Art teacher) had the idea to make Dot Day headbands (last year we did shoes, but we have done shirts and scarves before too) I LOVE how they turned out! We invited staff down to make their own.


My finished headaband
I need to get back to homework, but wanted to share where the Elliott library was right now.  More blogs coming soon! What changes have you made to your library this year?  How do you stay organized? What are you doing for Dot Day?

Ohhh!! So, I am feeling more comfortable doing what I am doing and I have decided to make my kinder lessons more interactive.  I started last week with using a song from Jbrary (their stuff is wonderful!) One of my favorite things to do with Girl Scouts is sing songs.. so I am going to start adding in music.. AND.. guess what.. I am going to get a ukulele this week!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A New Year!

A new school year is just around the corner (really.. I go back on July 31st) and I am SO excited! I have a couple of weeks left of my summer classes, and then I only have one semester left to be a full fledged librarian! I will hopefully graduate in May.

Just like a teacher, as a librarian my brain has been moving fast as I think about next year.  How am I going to promote the library? What types of activities am I going to have? How am I going to work with teachers?

This summer I promoted the Irving Public Library activities by having a couple of Meet Me At the Library.  The Irving Public Libraries offer so many great programs through the summer and throughout the school year.  I am already excited about some guest authors that will be coming to a public library near me!


The first part of the summer I also spent working summer school programs at the library. It gave me a chance to still keep the library open, and also think about rearranging for next year. One of the things that I took time doing was creating new labels for the shelves. 
Old shelf labels- new ones coming soon!

I also moved some tables around, moved some book sections around, and also worked on weeding (which I couldn't do without some help!)

The month of July I chose to spend front loading some items, so I wouldn't be so behind (of course I will still be behind on some things.. oh wait.. who am I kidding.. lots of things!) 
-I have designed shirts for the beginning of the year and for Dr. Seuss day
-I cleaned up emails (do you know how good it feels to start at a zero inbox on 5 different email accounts.. AMAZING!)
-I have cleaned up my 3 different Google Drives
-I have backed up and cleaned my desktop
-I have decided what my theme will be this year.. going for the Travel theme

Although these all seem like little things, they make a big difference in organization. 

I also nabbed a couple of sets of these cuties.  I have not been a big fan of stuffed animals in the library..
but OMG.. it is Mo Willems!)

Some things I hope to incorporate in the library next year-
-more planned out Library Helper and volunteer opportunities
-more technology
-Sponsor a shelf

My word this year is Seek. I plan to Seek out new ideas, Seek out new opportunities, and most importantly Seek calmness as I take on new tasks and ideas!


What did you work on this summer?  What ideas do you have for next year that you for sure want to implement?  Do you have a word of the year?