Totally not ready!
I just finished teaching summer school and the summer is almost half over and I haven’t even made a dent in my list. You know the list of which I speak? The list of things that if you finished you would achieve Nirvana! At least that is what I assume, I have never actually finished the list before a new list was hatched.
One of my priorities is scheduling the library visits for the school year. Although I work in a 6, 7, 8 building, I still try to schedule language arts/reading classes to come into the library on a regular basis. Students are allowed to get passes and walk into the library but I love the chance to spend time teaching skills and talking to students.
Anyhow, last year I scheduled classes in but since I also am mandated by the district to teach/facilitate multiple research projects, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped (feel free to interpret that as total chaos and mutiny).
I vowed that next year would be different! (Feel free to add the “bum bum buhhhhh” music in the background of that last sentence)
Our district is an Office 365 district so I decided to use that technology to help with my scheduling. I got out all the notes that I had taken when speaking with the language arts/reading teachers and scheduled all of them on biweekly or monthly rotations depending on what they preferred. I started out on a paper calendar with many, many rolls of washi tape to make it beautiful.
After I made the schedule, I got on my handy dandy district provided Surface and began to input all the dates. Here is what I did to make it more than just a regular calendar:
- I gave each different grade level a category color and then added a fourth category for my ESL and ACP classes (those students have mixed grade LA/reading classes.
- For each event, I invited the individual teachers so that it would automatically generate on their Outlook calendars
- I set reminders to pop up on both my calendar and the teachers’ calendars a week before so that they can begin reminding their students to bring their books back.
- The day before the class was supposed to come to the library, the teacher will also receive an email that reminds them of the visit and gives the specific time they are to come to the library. (I usually have two classes come in during the 87 minute block- a first half/second half kind of deal)
- When I put in the times, I also left a 10-15 minute open space in between to cover contingencies and to give my para and I time to reshelve books and to reset the stations for the next class. (this is super important because I did not leave a gap last year and IT DID NOT GO WELL)
- After scheduling all the teachers, I went back and then added the lesson themes for those rotations on the calendar in another color so both the teachers and I could see what the plan was (teachers can request a different lesson or just choose to do checkouts if they feel their students need something else- I just like having a plan).
- As a last ditch effort to make sure that both the teachers and myself were on the same page, I actually shared my entire calendar with them!
I am hoping that spending time on the front end working on my calendar will make the year go smoother. Last year I did schedule in advance but left it up to the individual teachers to put it on their calendars and remember to come. I tried to send out reminders but I would get busy and forget. As a result, some teachers were really good about coming but others would forget. I became really frustrated because I would have the library prepped for a lesson and I would have no students OR I would have students but because they missed the previous lesson, the lesson I now had planned was no longer viable.