Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wow! Week 3 was a Doozy!

Well, I'd have to say that this week's assignment has been the most strenuous, in my opinion!  I had some technology issues with posting my plan to my blog too -- but I finally found a way to make it work.  Looking back on the week, however, I am so glad that I have a start to my plan.  I can see the steps I need to take and I look forward to "tweeking" the activities so that I can successfully complete the plan. I'm very optimistic that the results will allow for some positive changes for our teachers and our students!

Action Research Plan – It’s a Start!

Goal:  Will an increase in technology integration into the CScope ELA curriculum increase the number of students reaching commended performance on state assessments?

Action Step(s):Person(s) Responsible:Timeline: Start/EndNeeded Resources Evaluation 
Meet with site supervisor to seek guidance with goal and to review Internship Plan to find possible connections to action research.Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ August 2011Site SupervisorList of suggestions, possible connections and suggestions for implementation.
Meet with the Director of Technology to determine available technology within the school district that I am not currently using within my classroom Barbara Sides August 2011/ August 2011Director of Technology List of technologies in which I will need training
Determine which technologies I'm not proficient in and seek training opportunities (either on my own or through an outside source). Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ October 2011 Own knowledge of whether I'm proficient Enrollment in and attendance of training sessions
Continue as needed with training on school-owned technologies Barbara Sides August 2011/ October 2012Approval from Principal to attend the training and for a sub as needed; funds for training as needed Successful completion of courses (certificates) 
Evaluate CScope lessons to determine which lessons are directly connected to the TAKS objectives Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ May 2012Access to CScope curriculum (user name and password) List of lessons connected to TAKS objectives 
Enhance lesson plans within CScope by matching technologies with the lessons Barbara Sides August 2011/
May 2012 
Available technologies; other possible resources: Principal for approval of some technologies (e.g.. cell phone use); director or technology for unblocking possible blocked sites (e.g. integration of the technology in a lesson(s) 
Search for/ purchase/ implement new, different uses of technology to incorporate into lesson plansBarbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school yearRSS feeds of technology resources, budget money, principal approval, director of technology approval, Google and other search devicesEnhanced list of choices of technology to be used
Attend staff development on new, different uses of technology as the opportunity arisesBarbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school yearPrincipal approval for day(s) off and sub, budget funding as neededCompletion of course certificates and successful implementation in lesson plans
Train students on the use of specific technology being used in the current lesson Barbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school year Specific technologies used in lessons Completion of assignment using the specific technology 
Administer benchmark (released TAKS test) and compare results with previous years' results Barbara Sides November 2011 Released TAKS tests Completed benchmark test results and previous years' test results 
Administer TAKS test and compare results with previous years' results TISD school personnel February 2012/ May 2012 Tests from TEA; results released by TEA Results of tests compared to previous years' test results 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Action Research -- Week 2

What a week this has been!  After totally forgetting about the web conference, I went back and watched/listened.  The information shared was excellent!  Also, I so enjoyed the interviews with the 3 scholar practitioners.  It was informative to see the different ideas related to action research.  While I know the importance of quantitative data in research -- after all, how can anyone argue with cold, hard facts -- I appreciate Mr. Briseno discussing the qualitative data and how it fits in to the research aspect.  As a teacher, I can certainly relate to the significance of this aspect, so I'm glad this was included.

After this week's lesson, I realized I had to narrow my topic.  With the help of my site mentor, I believe we have accomplished that task!  I'm looking forward to digging deeper into my topic -- with eventually putting it into action!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Calling All Educational Leaders -- Get Your Blog On!

The very nature of blogging -- sharing thoughts and ideas -- is conducive to education since teaching is all about sharing!  So, of course, educational leaders would benefit greatly from blogging by giving school stakeholders (i.e. students, parents, community members, alumni, business owners, etc.) the opportunity to share what is happening in relation to the school environment.  It’s also a great avenue for leaders to seek support for various school-related issues, find others who have like interests in relation to the school, and share the most current information regarding specific events.
So, Leaders, what are you waiting for?  Get on the road to enhanced communication with your stakeholders, and get your blog on!

Action Research -- It's Worth It!

With action research, or, as Dana (2009) describes it, “administrator inquiry” (pg. 2), I focus on an issue that is right in my own realm of responsibility.  Once that focus area is narrowed to one that is manageable, I search for information/literature that can help with the issue.  Often times, another educator has been in a similar situation, and a possible solution might just be nearby!  Data gathering, another component necessary in action research, can include not only disaggregated test data, but also discussions with stakeholders, diagnostic tests, and samples of work.  At this point, I have narrowed the problem, read applicable literature, and gathered appropriate data, so now it’s time, as Harris et. al (2010) states, for “taking action for improvement” (pg. 6).  Basically, I  develop a plan to put in to action that will, hopefully resolve the issue. Personal reflection and sharing the actions/results with coworkers, parents, administrators is one of the most important components of action research.  Reflection allows teachers to gain confidence in their decision making and sharing can result in the creation of learning communities where all members benefit (Ringler, 2007).  
Time consuming? Yes.  But definitely worth it since it’s beneficial for not only the students, but also the educator, the administrators, and the school!

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

Harris, S., Edmonson, S., and Combs, J. (2010). Examining what we do to improve our schools: 8 steps to improve our schools. Eye on Education Press.

Ringler, Marjorie (2007). Action research an effective instructional leadership skill for future public school leaders.  AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 4(1), 27-37.