Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carl Harvey II -Thurs. Sept. 18th to Sat. Sept. 20, 2008

This year we are fortunate to have as another of our virtual guests, Carl Harvey II, library media specialist at North Elementary School (Noblesville, IN).

Carl holds leadership roles at the state and national level, has written several journal articles, authored two books, and is a frequent presenter at professional conferences. He is the current President of the Indiana Library Federation. Carl is a "go-to" person who often assists and mentors others who are becoming active in the professional field.

Learn more about Carl's professional activities and accomplishments at http://eduscapes.com/sms/overview/harvey.html

44 comments:

  1. Hello everyone! I'm excited to be blogging with you for the next few days! Hope we will have some great conversations!

    Carl

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  2. Hi Carl! I was perusing your media center website, which is fantastic, and I noticed a button for a wiki. I just recently helped host a program at the SAMS conference last month on Blogs and Wikis, and I'm wondering what role the media center is hoping the wiki will perform. Thank you!

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  3. Hi Alicia -

    Thank you for the kind comments about our website. We continue to work and play with it. One of my goals this summer was to expand more in the 2.0 world, so you'll notice some links for a wiki, podcasts, etc. Much of this is in the exploration stage at this point. I'm focusing my professional development this year for the teachers on using technology during their literacy stations, so at this point we're putting all that information up on the wiki. Last year we did one project with a grade level on a wiki, so I'd like to expand that project and add some more. I'm also contemplating using the wiki to reorganize our grade level links pages. I think it would give the teachers the ability to add links and we could embed resources in them, so those are some of the ideas on the horizon for us.

    Carl

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  4. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Hi Carl,
    My question is on the issue of using reading incentive programs. In a class discussion about Reading Counts, the program was controversial. Some felt it encouraged only surface reading, not deep comprehension. Others questioned the use of extrinsic prizes to motivate reading. But some felt it was a useful tool to encourage reading if used in the right way.

    Do you use Reading Counts or some other reading incentive program at all? What are your thoughts on this?

    Keithia

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  5. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Hi Carl!

    I read the information about you and viewed your library web site. I am so amazed! How do you find time for all the things you do?!

    I guess that leads me to my first question. What is a typical week like for you? Do you cover preps, or has your school jumped on the bandwagon with flexible scheduling and making your collaboration and co-teaching priority? How much time do you typically have per week for the clerical types of things your job requires? I guess all of these questions could be summed up with one: What is your schedule?

    Sedondly, I noticed that your grade level resources only cover grades 1-4. Are these the only grades at your school? I'm curious because Richmond Community Schools where I work as a teacher have been discussing reorganizing their currently K-6 schools into schools that cover certain grade levels. I think that's a good idea and will enable better collaboration and focus. I am wondering what your thoughts are.

    Third, I notice that you have a link for Fountas & Pinnell leveled books. Do you do literacy collaborative at your school? That's what we are learning to do in our school system. If that is what you do at yours, I am seeking tips on how to best support that as a teacher librarian.

    I can't wait to hear from you!

    Thanks a bunch!
    Sandy Brown

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  6. Hi Keithia -

    We do have Scholastic Reading Counts. It was here when I started, and I've modified it greatly. We use to have all the little prizes, points, etc. I never thought that was effective. We usually add about 20 quizzes a year for our Young Hoosier Books. I use it for that (although this year we told our students they could either take the quiz or participate in a Moodle for discussion with another school). I have some teachers that use it as part of their literacy stations, but not all of them do. We see it is as one tool, but not the only tool we have available to use. I liked SRC over AR, but now there are some big issues with upgrades and increased costs, so I'm really not sure where we will go with it next. So, I guess I would say it is here, but certainly it does not drive what we do!

    Carl

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  7. Hi Sandy

    I put your questions in my reply, so I could make sure I addressed them all.

    ***How do you find time for all the things you do?!

    I never have a good answer for this. For me, I don't know any other way to do it. Obviously the day job with the kids is the most important, but I never want to be caught in a rut or not be constantly learning something new. I find the isolation our job creates for us makes it even more imperative that I'm active in the profession. All of the opportunities to write, speak, attend conferences, etc. are all a result of someone asking and I saying "yes". Each thing led to a new opportunity. I am so appreciative of my Indiana colleagues and my friends all over the country because they provide such a support mechanism. I would be lost without. I also have a strong sense of giving back to a profession that has given me so much.


    ** I guess all of these questions could be summed up with one: What is your schedule?

    My schedule is a total flexible schedule. I am not part of the specials; I do not cover preps; and teachers stay with their classes while in the LMC.

    I divide our world up into two parts - circulation and Instruction. For circulation, we have no schedule. The building expectation is that ever student comes down at least once a week to check out materials. Most come as a class more than that and we have lots of individuals that come on their own, too. Sometimes we have two, three, or more classes checking out all at once. That's ok with me. Bothers a few teachers, but I tell them they can just come another time if that distracts them. Not having a schedule makes it easy to deal with holidays, programs, etc. If something happens when they usually come, they can just pick another time. Most of my teachers really enjoy that flexibility.

    My schedule is posted, and all of the lessons, projects, etc. are collaborative planned projects. Each grade level meets once a week to plan for the next week. I attempt to go to as many of those plannings as I can get. I'm right there to throw out ideas, schedule classes immediately, suggest resources. It really works well for us. It usually goes in spurts. Like next week is a big Kdg. project and lots of little first grade projects. But, that pretty much filled my calendar. After that, I think 2nd grade will be starting a big project, so that will fill the calendar, next. We really like how that works for us. I think a flexible schedule is much harder because you have to have that constant communication with teachers, but it is so worth it.

    *** Secondly, I noticed that your grade level resources only cover grades 1-4. Are these the only grades at your school?

    We are a K-4 school looking at going K-5 maybe in 2010. Each grade level in my building already has the mindset of working as a team, so fitting in the library component was easy for them. In addition to myself, most of the time the resource teachers also attend the planning sessions, so it really is a team approach.

    *** Do you do literacy collaborative at your school?

    No, we use Fountas and Pinnell as our leveling system for students and our leveled library. I manage the leveled library and sometimes will work with small groups if my schedule allows. We use a balanced literacy approach with our instruction. During Leveled Reading our students are at literacy stations. I'm really focused on those this year and getting teachers to see ways to use technology as those stations.

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  8. Julie3:01 PM

    Hi Carl,
    In my education course, I am studying critical literacy and content for grades K-12. You mentioned Scholastic Reading Counts and Accelerated Reader programs as one way to gauge a student's comprehension. What are some of the advantages of SRC over AR in your professional opinion? Do classroom teachers and SLMS view AR and ARC differently in regards to determining a student's academic development?

    Thanks,
    Julie S671 student

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  9. Julie3:05 PM

    I have done some reading on wikis and blogs being used for students' classroom projects. There is some opposition to this in regards to privacy issues and who has access to go online and edit the content. Do you think wikis and blogs pose a problem for student privacy and safety? Also, do you feel wikis and blogs are better in assisting students in the research and inquiry process over the use of traditional pathfinders and WebQuests?

    Thank you,
    Julie

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  10. Julie3:08 PM

    One final question, Mr. Harvey. As a future school librarian, how and when is the best time to start writing articles for journals? How do you take that "first step" to get published and where should one go?

    Thank you,
    Julie

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  11. Hello,
    I looked through your website and found several subscription databases listed. How do you budget for these? Do you have a special budget for these subscriptions?
    Cindy

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  12. Anonymous6:47 PM

    Carl,

    Thanks for your prompt, thorough reply!

    I would like to know more about your leveled reading blocks and literacy stations. How does that work? What sorts of things do you have at literacy stations? Where are they set up? Do you and classroom teachers do this together?

    Do you have enough computers in your library for a class of students? Or do you have to schedule computer time in a shared computer room?

    Did your media center have flexible scheduling before you got there, or is that something you had to sell everybody on?

    Thanks!
    Sandy Brown

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  13. Hi Julie -

    We opted for SRC over AR at that time we made a choice because there were more questions available per book and there was a little more flexibility in the management component. Really, both programs work the same way, so it just comes down to which one you like better.

    I think there probably are different ways to view AR or SRC. Even within my building, I have teachers who use it more than others. I think the most important element is that SRC should never be the only element of a Reading Program in a library media center and it shouldn't be the only data used to assess students either. I think there are places where teachers, LMS, and/or administrators put more weight with SRC. I tend to be of the opinion that it is one tool. We have it, and if teachers feel it can be helpful to their students we have that resource as an option. If they feel there are better way to assess after finishing a book, I'm ok with that, too.

    Carl

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  14. Julie -
    Student privacy and safety are always a top concern. However, I think we have to realize these tools are out there and as part of education it makes more sense to show them how to use them appropriately and ethically. It is probably safe to assume they'll be using these tools on their own anyway, so why not take the opportunity to hook them with technology they crave and show them appropriate uses at the same time. Students will be more engaged and we'll have helped them learn how to use these tools on their own, too. Our students are going to be using these tools in their jobs as well, so if we don't teach them the potential in school, how can we say we are preparing them for the work force? Sometimes the fear in the unknown can make it impossible to see the potential.

    Carl

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  15. Hi Julie -

    Best time to start writing articles and getting published? Hmm...well, all I can share with you is my story of my first article. I had my first article published before I had a job. Where I student taught, we did a big professional development project, and the library media specialist I worked with said it would make a great article. I wrote it up and mailed it off to a magazine and it was accepted and published. It was a huge thrill for me and a whole new experience. I learned about during that first article about how you submit articles, honorariums for writing articles, etc. So, I continued to write and submit and would try various magazines from time to time. I find the writing very reflective and a good chance to evaluate the project or idea I had. So, even if something isn't accepted, it helps me to process all that happened. So, for me it was all the gentle nudge of a supervising teacher and my writing career began.

    I would encourage you if you have an idea, write it up and submit it. There is little to loose and you never know if you don't try. Read the major journals out there. You can see what types of articles and writing styles they publish and send it to the one that best matches your idea and style. Be prepared that they may opt not to publish it, and realize it is all a learning experience and try again with something else down the road.

    Carl

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  16. Hi Cindy -

    Most of the databases we have are funded by the district for everyone and do not come out of my budget. I also can use part of my budget at the building level if there is something specific we want or need. For example, I subscribe to Enchanted Learning every year, and then this year I decided to add Book Flix for our literacy stations, so those two are coming out of my budget.

    Carl

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  17. Hi Sandy -

    ** Literacy Stations

    Each of our classes has a leveled reading block of time where the teacher is working with a small group and the rest of the students are at literacy stations throughout the room. We don't have stations actually in the library, but we do have lots of resources and kits that we've purchased with grant funds that teachers can use at literacy stations. Sometimes during planning each week I throw out ideas they could do during that time. Sometimes we might even plan a project that is one of the stations that week. So lots of options for collaboration and discussion! :)

    ** Computers

    We have a lab right across the hall from the LMC. I also have 7 student machines in the library. We're hoping for a cart of laptops eventually. It really does seem to work well for us at this point. The lab computers have a schedule near the LMC schedule where the teachers can reserve it.

    ** Did your media center have flexible scheduling before you got there, or is that something you had to sell everybody on?

    The LMC was already flexible scheduled when I arrived. They did have one time a week that they signed up for checkout, but that wasn't tied to me or instruction. So, I got rid of that sign up and just said, "Come whenever it works bst for you!" That took a little adjusting, but we love it. At a previous school, I had to spent a lot more time selling it. I met with teachers in small groups to share what I could do for them and explain flexible scheduling to them. I find that works much better than a large staff meeting. The plus for our schedule now is that even the Related Arts teachers (Art, Music, PE) would advocate for the flexible schedule. The music teacher and I do several projects each year, so it is imperative to her that I have that flexibility in my schedule. The biggest thing is to remember it doesn't happen over night. Even with the flex schedule in place, it took almost a year or so before we realy were staring to roll. Teachers need time to build their relationship with you and feel like they can trust you. Once that heppens, then collaboration can grow and bloom.

    Carl

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  18. Hi Carl. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to blog with us.

    What strategies do you use to encourage kids to read for enjoyment? I teach high school English and for many of my "regular" seniors (non-AP students), I am the first teacher to get them excited about and focused on reading for something other than a test!

    I know it's much different for an elementary school than for a high school, but I'm always intrigued by the different strategies good librarians use to get kids excited about reading. What strategies have you found work best? Why do you think kids respond to those strategies?

    Thanks again-
    Brian Moline

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  19. Hi Brian -

    I think one of best strategies to use is for you to be excited about reading. As much as I can, I will mill around while classes are checking out and offer suggestions or help. I tell them about the books I loved reading, and I always ask them to come back and tell me about the book after they read.

    We are very free in our checkout policies as well. We really don't limit where they can check out from in the library other than most Kdg and 1st aren't checking out chapter books. Otherwise we really stress to the teachers that kids should be free to check out from anywhere in the library. We also don't have any limits on the number of books they can check out. We spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year talking about checking out as many things as they can be responsible for having at one time. Since our students could come everyday if they wanted to, there really isn't a need to check out a ton at a time.

    Students know that they are always welcome to come to my office and get me if I'm not out there and they need help. We try to make displays and other connections to entice students. I'm hoping our Moodle activities this year will help pull in some of those that like the technology connection.

    We do participate in the Young Hoosier Book Award Program as well as host an annual author visit. The author visit really gives us a chance as a whole school to focus on reading, writing, and illustrating.

    Those are some things that come to mind quickly. Again, the most important thing is for you to show them how excited you are about reading.

    Carl

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  20. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Hi Carl!

    My question goes along with one Sandy asked you, about how you find time for everything. Do you ever find yourself stretched to thin? You are envolved in a lot of different organizations. Do these ever get in the way of your daily duties? If not, how to you budget your time for your commitments to both your work and professional memberships?
    Thanks
    Jamie B.

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  21. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Hi Carl,

    I thought of another question right as I sent the last one!
    In your brief bio listed, it says that you like to focus on research stations in your library. What is one of the biggest problems you face with trying to teach technology to students today, especailly since they have all grown up with the internet and what it can do?

    Thanks again,
    Jamie B.

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  22. Hi Jamie -

    I always have a hard time answering this question. But, as I was thinking on it I did some searching and found this quote by Charles Buxton. I think this explains it best. He said, "You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it."

    For me, I make the time because it matters to me. I know that being active in the state and national professions, writing for publication, sharing on blogs with classes like this, sitting on advisory boards, attending conferences, etc. has all made me a better media specialists for my students and staff. I learn so much from the networking opportunities with other library media specialist. Especially for our field where we likely are the only person in the building who does our job, we need to make those connections out there to have colleagues to share with and support us.

    Most of my work is done outside of school, but usually the projects have different deadlines or busy seasons, so that helps. Also, while the list of things I've worked on is a bit long, they weren't all something I was doing at once. Now, I do have a bad case of "unable to say no" complex, and every once in a while wonder what I was thinking (planning a state and national conference three weeks a part is one I might not recommend). I do find now that I look at a calendar a bit and think in terms of can I handle that project, committee, etc.

    However, here's what I've found. Each opportunity to get involved has led to another experience. I started out the YHBA committee, then I was asked to chair it, and then from there I was asked to be AIME President, and that provided a chance to go to ALA and AASL and got involved there.

    To me, it is just part of the job and it makes me a better library media specialist because I can bring back all those discussions, ideas, and connections and put them to work for my students and staff.

    Barbara Pedersen, President of C.L.A.S.S. (Brain-based literacy model), says it the best. "As good as we are; we can always get better!" I so believe that, and the professional involvement is how I work to get better!

    Carl

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  23. Jamie -

    For me the most frustrating thing about technology is time. There just is never enough time in our units and projects to use as much technology as I want. I am constantly throwing out ideas and we use it a lot, but there is always so much more I would like to do.

    Carl

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  24. Carl,

    Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. It's really interesting to get a peek at your life as a LMS because you seem to embody so much of the theory that we've been learning about in class. Like some of my classmates, I'm amazed at how you're able to balance all the aspects of your job (leadership, collaboration, technology, etc.) - you're an inspiration to us soon-to-be media specialists.

    I'm very interested in the comment you made about working with the music teacher on a regular basis. I have a music background, so I'd love to hear more about those projects.

    Also, you mentioned that your focus for professional development for teachers this year is on using technology in literacy stations. What does that look like? Do you have time set aside for organized trainings, or do you just try to incorporate professional development into the work you do with teachers on a daily basis?

    Thanks,
    Mandy

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  25. Hi Mandy -

    We have at this point got some sort of project with each grade level and music. The biggest is a research project where the students research about a composer and turn that into a board game. The others are smaller things like making an inspiration of instrument families, an instrumental trading card, and one other that is escaping me right this second. Some of the projects I helped her get started and now she does on her own. We're looking at other ideas we might try this year with maybe some podcasting. I keep looking for connections with the other special areas, but we've not found anything that works just yet. But, we'll keep trying.

    One thing I have is a binder that has the year long curriculum plan/maps for each grade level and special areas, so I can kind of keep up with those in addition to the weekly planning meetings so I'm ready to offer ideas in advance sometimes.

    I try to offer professional development in lots of ways. This year I've set-up a calendar where once a month before school we'll offer a short 30 minute training on resources and tools to use for literacy stations. I also asked to have one of our prof. dev. 1/2 days, so we'll focus that entire afternoon on technology and literacy stations. Besides that I send out a weekly website, periodically emails about various new books, new materials preview days, monthly newsletter, and lots of one on one stuff. Some of the best PD are the projects we plan because like I mentioned about the music teacher, some of those techie pieces she wasn't comfortable with (inspiration for example), but now she can handle those projects on her own and it frees me up to work with others or on a different project with her.

    Carl

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  26. Hello Carl,
    I have to admit I was surprised to read that you are doing Flexible Scheduling and happy with it. I thought I had read one of your articles that stated you prefer an Inflexible schedule. I went back to look for the article and realized my mistake. I was thinking of the following article by Doug Johnson.

    Make Your Point-It's Good to Be Inflexible
    Are flexible library schedules better than fixed ones? Not necessarily
    By Doug Johnson –School Library Journal, 11/1/2001 http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA179495.html


    Just curious, now that I know you didn’t write it, what is your take on the article?
    I am the Elementary Media Specialist for Franklin Community School Corporation (the town not the township.) I direct 5 elementary schools, and then we have a media specialist at each of the Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools. All the schools are flexible except the elementary of course. In the elementary schools library is used as a teacher prep time. (I really have a hard time with that!!) Anyway, I fought to get a flexible schedule pilot in one of the schools. It was a rough fight, but I won. Now that it has begun, many of the teachers are starting to see why I fought so hard. They still have everything they had before, but now the possibilities are endless. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few naysayers (aren’t there always), but for the most part everyone is loving it.
    Now that flexible scheduling has started, I want to make sure I can do everything I can to keep it growing, and not let it die at the end of the year, as just another pilot. Do you have any advice for me? Some information I am most interested in is:
    Do you have set lessons you do with each grade level?
    Are all the elementary schools in your district Flexible Scheduled?
    Can you help me understand the rolls of the media-tech assistants? I notice you have 2 scheduled at all times, so I am assuming they are more than circ clerks.
    With all the emphasis on raising reading levels, either by lexile or grade level, how do you meet the needs in your library? I have teachers coming to me all the time saying that they would like there students to get books at their specific reading level. Our library is not leveled. Some books are marked with RC information, but with the purchase of the new Enterprise Ed, there is really no way I can mark all the books. We also have the standard beginning reader section and beginning chapter book sections, but that in no way covers the reading level of all our students.

    I will stop there for now, but I do have a multitude of more questions I would love to ask. Do you believe it would be possible for me to come observe you and your library in action?

    Melisa McCain

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  27. One of my classmates mentioned research centers. Do you have research centers in the media center? If so, how do these work?
    Are your collaborative projects held in the media center or in classrooms?
    Cindy

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  28. Hi Carl:

    We are just beginning to use Moodle in our corporation. Last year, the Elementary media specialist in our corporation developed a Moodle to teach the students about e-mail and help them sign up for a student friendly e-mail account (Gaggle). The Elementary media specialist and I are in the process of developing a Moodle for students to share their thoughts about Young Hoosier books. I’m curious as to how you plan to utilize Moodle in your school.

    You mention your “unable to say no” illness. Likewise, I have a tendency to want to do everything at once. I want to become more involved in my professional realm (being an active member in an association), but am a bit overwhelmed with my new job as a media specialist. In your opinion, where should I start?

    You mention Reading Counts in one of your responses. Do you have a building wide reading incentive program? If so, is it built around RC points or requirements?

    I am a new media specialist in a new intermediate school. My library collection is sparse, with most of the materials being worn. My biggest challenge is to build my collection with limited funds. Can you give me directions in finding grants and tips on writing grants?

    I promise to ask only one more question (in this post)…… Do you help with WNOR studio announcements? I’m in the process of starting live announcements in my building and would appreciate any advice that can be given. Do your students help write the announcements? Do the same students give the announcements all year? If not, how often do they rotate.

    Thanks so much for giving your time to us. I realize how valuable time can be.

    Lee Ann

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  29. Hi Melisa -
    First off, you are welcome to come visit us at North. We always love having visitors!

    As for the flexible schedule, your right I didn't write that article. I have been lucky that in all 11 years I've been an LMS, I've always had a flexible schedule and I am intent to keep it that way.

    I do disagree with my friend Doug about flexible scheduling. He makes several good points, but I think where I disagree is that good instructional practices for students would dictate the flexible schedule as most appropriate for students. It makes no sense to have a lesson about encyclopedias and then have no real world application for it. Teaching these skills in isolation isn't effective for kids. Doing a research project when you see a class for 30 minutes a week could take years and they would be onto three or four other topics in their classroom by then. Point of need is key. For example, next week I have first grade for about three different lessons/projects, Kdg, and maybe a second grade read aloud we squeezed in their. 3rd and 4th are still taking the ISTEP, so they don't need me next week. Doug's point is that you sometimes miss classes when you don't see them all. I push that hard. If we do a project with one class, I really try to sell it to to the whole grade level -- which always works for us because our grade levels plan collaboratively each week anyway. When we work on a research project, I see that class every day for a week or more. It makes much more sense for that to be compacted, rather than drug out over a specials rotation. Lastly, our school is big into thematic instruction, brain-compatible learning, so all of our projects connect to the curriculum and classroom themes. That is a key part to learning for students is making connections, so when all the instruction (both in the classroom and library media center) align, it makes it easier for students to learn.

    What will be key for your pilot is to stress that this isn't a one year adventure. It truly takes a couple of years to build a LMS program. Fleixble scheduling takes confidence on the part of the teachers and LMS to work together. There is a huge trust factor that has to develop. With some teachers that comes quickly; with others it takes time.

    As for circulation, I think I've shared that is a building expectation that they come down a minimum of once a week. Most come more than that.

    Having administrative supports helps drastically, and flexible schedules are a lot of work for LMS because of the planning and keeping up with what the teachers are doing, but I really believe it is what is best for kids. I think we would be hard pressed for my teachers to want to go back to a scheduled library media center.

    All of our libraries in Noblesville operate on a flexible schedule as that is a district policy.

    My support staff is structure so that we have a full time person who is now called a Tech Asst. and two part time Media-Tech Assts. We work really well as a team. We are the first level tech support in the building as well as support for the library media center. The part time people overlap to ensure that the full-time folks get lunch.

    As for levels, etc., we have a leveled library down the hall (I call it my branch library) with leveled sets that they use for their leveled reading time. It is all cataloged in our system and we circulation/reschedule it. That is our leveled component. We do NOT level anything in the general library collection. I have some teachers who may say they need to have at least one book they can read, but I am very adament that we don't limit children in that regard. Part of our mission is to develop the love of reading and so if a kid wants to try a book, I'm all for it. Maybe a parent at home or an older sibling might decide to read it with them. We don't know all the options that are out there, so we do not organize the library by levels, they aren't labeled by levels, and students aren't restricted by levels. We do have a Lexile search as part of our automation system, but as we look at resources and ways to save money I wonder if that might go away and I'd be ok with that. (Ok, off that soap box!)

    Carl

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  30. Hi Cindy -
    Our research stations are in the LMC and are part of a project usually. I find with elementary kids that we don't have resources for them all to go to the same place at the same time and that they sometimes all want to gravitate towards the Internet. We use the stations to rotate them through various places (Internet, Encyclopedias, Non-Fiction books, etc.) It depends on the project what stations we have for them. So, this way they get a chance to use a lot of different resources for their project. Sometimes a stations doesn't have anything for them and we show them that happens sometime and they need to go to another stations. We're really flexible on that. It just helps us organize our research time so that we don't have 25 kids just running around for the same places.

    I would say I teach a lot in the LMC, but if spaces are booked or if it makes more sense for me to go the classroom, I will do that, too! :)

    Carl

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  31. Hi Lee Ann -

    We are new to moodle, too. Right now we are using it to connect with another school for discussions about YHBA books. We used it once with a class for a novel study. So, we're still just getting our feet wet with it, too.

    The best way to start is to attend the state conference. You meet lots of people and connect with all types of folks. Another way is to pick an area or something that interests you that maybe already connects with your job. For me, I started on the YHBA committee because we were doing YHBA in my school. It made that committee appealing to me because it also helped with my job. If that committee isn't up your ally, there are other places. Contact the President and volunteer and I'm sure they could find the right place for you to get started! :) I think, too, I need to share that what works for me, may not work for others. Some starting out may need/want to focus their time for a few years getting themselves organized in their own programs. I think that can make a lot of sense. So, you need to do what works best for you, but don't let that become an excuse for never getting involved. In my estimation there is always much to be done and even 11 years into this there are days I'm overwhelmed or trying to figure out what it is I'm doing. I think it is what I love about the job is the constant variety. So at some point, you just have to take that plunge outside your LMS into the professional realm.

    We have Reading Counts. We don't do points (I turned that off) and it is not part of any formal reading program other than our YHBA program for 4th graders. Those students can choose to take the test or participate in the Moodle.

    For grants, I don't have a place that I know of to just send you. We try and take advantage of our local educational foundation grants. My best advice is when you find a grant, follow the directions to the letter. Be creative and really stress the connections with the students. For example, don't write I need a collection of audiobooks, but rather We're going to audiobooks with our readers to give them the opportunity to hear fluent readers and practice their own reading skills. For elementary school, book fairs are a great source of money. We also get support from our PTO for programs and materials from time to time. Another way to get additional materials is to write reviews for magazines like Library Media Connection. I get a couple of boxes a year, write the reviews, and then those books are added to the collection.

    WNOR studio is one of our projects in the LMC. It started out as one camera, and thanks to some award money we now have three cameras, a digial mixer, and are having a ball. We have 10 kids on a team for about 5 weeks and then a new crew comes on. Right now every 4th grader who wanted that opportunity to be on WNOR had that chance. We rotate them between all the jobs, and it really helps build confidence in some of our struggling readers. We really can see the growth over those five weeks. We have a template for the script and one of the students jobs is to update that for the next day. It has been a work in progress and we're always adding and tweaking. This week we got a green screen going with a weather map behind them. They loved it! I was having a lot of fun, too!

    Carl

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  32. Carl,
    Thank you for all of the great insights into your world as media specialist. What would be the one key piece of advise you would give a media specialist in his/her first year on the job?
    Cindy

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  33. Julie6:51 AM

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, particularly about Reading Counts and writing and getting published in the school librarian profession. Your insight and comments are greatly appreciated for this future SLMS newbie! :)

    Thank you again,
    Julie

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  34. Carl, Thank you for your insight. What is the best way to contact you to set up a visit? I would like to try to bring some administration and maybe a coworker with me, so they can see Flexible Scheduling in action. Thank you for being so open to visits.

    Also, I have a question in response to your blog with Lee Ann. How are you using Moodle with YHBA? Is it mainly for forums... How do you get them started... etc. Lee Ann and I are working together on a YHBA Moodle now, and would love any suggestions you might have. Also, because Moodle is on a school server, our IT dept has blocked access unless you are a FCSC student/staff with a Network Login. Is this similar in your school? When you say you are using it to connect with another school for discussion, do you mean another school within your district, or do you have an open access Moodle?

    Thanks for taking the time to do this Blog. I know I for one am very greatful!!

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  35. Carl:

    Thanks so much for your detailed responses. You have been most helpful.

    I, too, would like to come visit. I'm always looking for great ideas. I'm especially interested in investigating WNOR in action. I believe I read somewhere that you do live announcements. Is this the case? Do you do any other projects in your studio?

    I'm also curious as to how you get your parents involved. Any advice would be helpful.

    Thanks so much,
    Lee Ann

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  36. Hi Cindy -
    My one piece of advice would be "build trust". One of the biggest parts of building a successful library media specialist is to build trust with your administrators, build trust with your teacher, and build trust with your students. You have to be approachable, helpful, knowledgeable, and persistent with all three groups. Once you have their trust, I believe a program can soar and grow. If there isn't trust, there isn't collaboration with teachers, their isn't support from administrators, and their isn't that desire for students to want to come to the library media center. So, for me trust is the key!

    Carl

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  37. Hi Julie -
    Glad the conversations have been helpful. I've learned a lot, too. I find it very reflective to write and think about why you do the things you do, so this blogging opportunity provides me that chance to think about our program and that can only help to make it better.

    Carl

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  38. Hi Melisa -

    The easiest way to get a hold of me to set-up a visit is probably via email. My email address is carl@carl-harvey.com. We are always happy to have visitors, and I'm sure if my principal's free he would be willing to share with your folks for a few minutes, too. He is very supportive of our school library media program which is WONDERFUL!!!

    As for our Moodle we set-up a forum for each book and added two or three discussion questions. We used the YHBA Activity Guide Book as a starting place. We wanted questions that were less one word or specific answers, and more thinking questions. We set it up for our 4th graders this year. We're taking them to the lab to show them how to login and their password and to model how the forum works. Our Moodle is open only to Noblesville Schools, so yes this project is done with another school in our district. It was a good way to show our teachers some of the potential of Moodle, too. This is our first attempt and likely the main way we'll use this Moodle this year. But, hopefully it will grow and lead to other projects down the road.

    Carl

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  39. Hi Lee Ann -
    You are welcome to come and visit. My email was in the earlier reply to Melisa's question, and that's the easiest way to get in contact with me.

    We do a live morning announcement show each day at 8:40am. The main use of our studio is the news, but we're hoping now that we've added a lot of equipment and backdrops to branch out into other projects through out the year. As with all of our adventures, it has been a learning experience and it continues to grow and expand.

    Carl

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  40. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Carl,

    I'm intrigued. What sorts of programs do you and the music teacher plan together? I wouldn't have thought of that.

    From where do you purchase a lot of your library materials, especially the literacy kits you speak of? Are you allowed to tell me approximately how much budget you get per year and approximately how many students your school has? When I return to work next fall as a teacher librarian (hopefully), I'm going to have to campaign for both flexible scheduling/collaboration and budget money. It's always good to get ideas about what a decent budget might be so I can start thinking about where to start. Is your budget a set amount, or do you write a collection development plan to justify your need?

    Thanks!
    Sandy

    Do you write a formal

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  41. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Carl,

    I just thought of a P.S. to the message I must sent.

    How do you and your colleagues feel that collaboration has affected academic achievement and standardized test scores at your school?

    Also, do teachers feel collaboration has somewhat eased the burden they would normally carry alone? Do they feel quality has improved and stress is less?

    Thanks again!
    Sandy

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  42. Hi Sandy -

    I think in one of my replies I explained the music projects, so you might scroll up and see if you can find it. I also wrote an article about it in School Library Media Activities Monthly that probably has more detail than I can squeeze into these blog postings. My thought about working with music, art, P.E. are that they are a subjects taught in school and we should be collaborating and working with everyone because those information literacy skills we work with apply to all the disciplines. I work a lot with our special education teachers, too. We modify some of our projects to work with their students or sometimes create things all on their own. One of the teacher often remarks that no other LMS had ever work with her kids. It is a nice compliment, but also just shocks me that others wouldn't work with those teachers and students, too.

    For library materials, the majority come from one of the major book jobbers. I also have a few salesman over the years that I like their materials and enjoy working with them. I'm very selective because I don't have time to see all the salesman that are out there. Then, I also order from time to time from an independent bookstore, or I may see something in a catalog and opt to order direct from the publisher if I can get a better deal. So, it just depends.

    I'd prefer not to write my budget amount just because I'm not sure this is an appropriate forum. But, I can tell you that budgets range across the spectrum in Indiana. There never is enough money for everything I want or need, so you are constantly advocating for it. One thing I would recommend as you build your case for more funds, don't just say the library needs more money. Take it terms of specific examples. We need additional high interest/low leveling reading materials to help our struggling readers. We need more materials on Civil War because we have nothing to support the social studies course. Tie it to specific needs for the students, as I think that is more powerful. It also can be good when writing grants as well to have a specific focus or need.

    I think our budgets are based on per student. It is set at the district level for all of us, so principals don't set the amount.

    Carl

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  43. Hi Sandy -

    On your additional questions, I would say that I think my teachers value what we do in the library and do believe it has an impact on student achievement. You have a hard time finding a way to measure that, but everything we do as part of the library media program aligns to the classroom and Indiana Academic Standards, so it would be hard not for it to have an impact.

    Teachers (and LMS) are always stressed and sometimes collaboration can make it harder because there has to be good communication, BUT I think we know it is good for kids and often allow us to do something one teacher on their own could never do. I think collaboration also helps push them to try new things with technology and library media, too, and be comfortable to do that because I'm there as well.

    A couple of years ago we had two veteran teachers switch grade levels. It was all new to them, so my attending their planning sessions gave us lots of opportunities to try new things, for me to share resources and ideas, and I think it really helped all of us create some dynamic learning opportunities for those students.

    As I'm writing and pondering, I guess I don't think my teachers see collaboration as an extra or something that saves them time either way, but rather this is just how we do things in our building and the collaboration is a critical part to our success.

    Carl

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  44. Hi Lee Ann,

    I just realized I missed your question about parents. Sorry about that!

    We would be LOST without our parent volunteers. They do the vast amount of our shelving. I joke that my assistants have an aversion to shelving, but really we have so much going on and so much being checked out that we can't keep up without the volunteers. Our PTO also runs the book fair with parent volunteers, and all the funds come to the LMC! Yahoo! We have a great group of parents that does that for us. Depending on the parent or what we have going on, some help with circulation and some help process materials. But, mostly we rely on them for the shelving!

    I make sure to attend PTO meetings, sending things home in the newsletter, etc. to keep parents informed. I always talk at each grade levels back to school night. But, the way I love most for parents to hear about our program is from the kids. I know we've done something great when a parent comes in talking about what their child told them happened in the LMC!

    Carl

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