Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wow, What a Week!

Although it was a very hectic week, I feel much more at ease with what action research is all about.  At first, I couldn't see how my topic and/or questions would be seemed so abstract.  After this week's readings, web conference, and assignment pieces, I understand what it will take to get my questions answered.  The great part about it is that whatever I find out may help others.  I really liked the analogy at the beginning of Chapter 5.  The last part of action research is sharing the information with stakeholders.  Dana paints a vivid picture of the importance of sharing the hard work and time put into action research.  Dana (2009) suggests the following:

Imagine that you notice a large pond that is stagnant and that you are enticed to create some type of movement or change in the water.  As you near the edge, you notice that the pond is surrounded by numerous stones.  You reach down, pick up a stone, and toss it as far out into the center of the pond as your strength allows.  While lying beside the pond, the stone had no impact on the water, but once tossed in, it disturbs not only the stillness of the water where it lands but also emanates ripples from its landing place that eventually reach the perimeter of the pond. (p. 135)

This is a great analogy to represent the impact that sharing action research can have and how not sharing would be a disservice to the stakeholders that would benefit.

Strangely enough, I am really looking forward to beginning the project, collecting the data, and seeing how creating more engaging curriculum will affect student achievement!

Dana, N. F. (2009).  Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action Researcher.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Action Research Plan - Take 2

Action Research Plan

I tried copying the table using Option 1, but I was unable to do so.  I'm a little disappointed.  I really wanted the actual table, not a link.  Anyone out there that can help?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Plan (at least for now)

For my action research project, I will be studying how to create engaging curriculum that will ensure a deeper understanding of material by all students.  Some of our curriculum groups have gotten into the boring rut of notes, worksheets, quizzes, and tests.  This method has produced the necessary results in the TAKS world.   I’m afraid that we may fall short in the STAAR world as it involves questioning on a deeper level.  In addition, I feel that the teachers have become bored with the current curriculum which produces bored students with surface level understanding at best.  My current questions to explore are:

1)      In what ways will the creation of more engaging and exciting lessons increase student learning at a deeper level?

2)      In what ways will using differentiated instruction meet the needs for all learners as well as prepare them for the new state assessment?

3)      How do I facilitate the development of a more engaging curriculum with new and veteran teachers, while maintaining a high level of respect for the educators’ experience and abilities?

4)      How can the 5E model work into creating the curriculum?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lessons Learned from EDLD 5301 Week 2

I have just finished week 2 in my EDLD 5301 graduate class.  This week was filled with viewing and reading about action research conducted in education.  Some of the highlights of my learning follow.
  • Teachers should read in their area to constantly grow.  I feel that if you don't read and stay on top of the latest news and information regarding education, you have the tendency to get into a rut.  I did, but I am happy to say that I have found my passion again!  I feel like I did 16 years ago when I first began teaching.  I am fired up and I can't wait to use some of my passion to improve the quality of education in my class, school, and district!
  • Be data driven!  Let the data show you where the needs are and make decisions concerning your next step in instruction based on the results.  If you discover a problem area from the data, research it to find out if others have had the same problem and how they solved need to reinvent the wheel!
  • I recieved confirmation, this week about the idea that I had for having the students learn to be data driven as well.  The confirmation came after viewing an interview of Dr. Timothy Chargois, the Director of Research, Planning and Development in Beaumont ISD.  Dr. Chargois was encouraging teachers to be data driven.  I will also try to get the students to be data driven.  Each student will be responsible for setting goals, looking at the results from a pre-test and a post-test, and reflecting on this data.  The questions will include: “Did you reach your goal?”, “What specific actions did you take to reach your goal [or not reach it]?”, and “What can you do in the next unit to improve?”  In essence, the student will be conducting action research on his/her individual data. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How Educational Leaders Might Use Blogs

Educational leaders might use blogs to simply journal for themselves thoughts that keep them awake at night.  Days, weeks, or months later, the leader may have time to review those thoughts and develop them further into realities.  Leaders, who may otherwise never meet, could connect via the blog and bounce their ideas off of each other.  A leader may find that he/she has experience in one of those “fleeting” thoughts and can give insight from his/her experience.

What is Action Research, and How Will I Use Action Research in the Future?

Action research is the process of investigating a problem or concern through questioning and reading relevant literature, finding possible solutions to the problem or concern, taking action on the solution that best fits the situation and stakeholders, and sharing the results with others.  Action research enables teachers and administrators to stay current on educational topics, model life-long learning, and strive for excellence in an ever-changing world.  Action research encourages professional growth as it requires the participant to reflect on his own practice and make changes to improve student learning.  It also requires teachers and administrators to participate in meaningful conversations.  I see action research as the ultimate "How-To" for individual student improvement. 

I look forward to using action research in the EDLD 5301 class to gain the perspectives of my classmates on increasing our students’ deep level of understanding of course material while trying to connect with students performing at all levels.  I will also encourage the use of protocols in my content areas in the next school year.  Protocols are used to “ensure focused, deliberate conversation and dialogue by teachers about student work and student learning” (Fichman, 2009, p.22).  The protocol will have us look at a student expectation, ask clarifying questions about the expectation, state student and teacher difficulties (as seen from past experience) related to the expectation, state possible strategies for presenting the information, and choose the best strategy.  After the expectation has been taught, the group will get back together again to see how well it worked and what might need to be changed the next time.  I feel that using the protocol will allow best practices to shine through for the benefit of all students.


Fichman, Nancy Dana (2009).  Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action Researcher.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You learn something new everyday!

I am 37 years old and still learning!  I have recently gone back to school to get my master's in educational leadership.  I have learned how to use a Wiki.  I have seen my superintendent's blog throughout the year and thought it was very interesting.  Now, I have the opportunity to see the benefits of blogging first-hand.  Super exciting!!! :)