Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sweet Week Four!

There is an undeniable giddy feeling after making it halfway through a class. As this week approached, the worst feels as if it has passed with last week's intense task of looking into the future and creating an Action Research Study. What a daunting task it was when having to plan for a school year that hasn't even begun yet. As educators we all know that things change daily in our profession. Meetings pop up, committees need members, tutoring sessions fill afternoons and mornings, as well as personal life time being split a hundred different ways too. So planning for a multiple month study was quite the task. I'm glad it's completed as of now.

 I am glad to say that my Action Research Study (Do we capitalize this? The importance of the project makes me think so), is now completed. After meeting with my wonderful site supervisor, I was thrilled to know that she thought it was a well organized plan. The only suggestion she made was to switch from Survey Monkey to Google Forms. This suggestion was due to the fact that Survey Monkey charges you for customization and number of questions, and Google forms does not. I was thankful for this tip. Glad that I chose a Technology Instructionalist as my site supervisor, being that I am an ED Tech major with a technology driven Action Research Study. This already seems a wise mentor choice.

Part of the assignment this week was to encourage readers to comment on our blog in the future. So here it is: Please continue commenting on my blog in the future. I can't promise they will be the best in the class, but just remember that I do add the tiny humorous tidbit at the end for bait. Keep coming back for more.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Action Reseach Template

We come to yet another week of deep thinking about inquiry. I have developed a plan that will hopefully gather the data I need to help instill positive changes. Doing some light research up front helped me to come up with more ideas to instill in my research plan and inquiry. I think some of my evaluations will change throughout the course as I develop more awareness of what needs to be assessed along the way.

 This inquiry process has me second guessing myself constantly. I am hoping that once I get the ball rolling on my study, that that might calm down. I appreciated the classmate feedback I received to make some changes to my existing plan. Until next time...

Action Planning Template
Goal: What are the strategies, trainings, and procedures needed for successful one-to-one implementation and pedagogy for student devices in the classroom?
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
1. Research different types of trainings/strategies to implement technology for teachers and implement them among school first grade team

2. Acquire teacher feedback on prior training and current needs and areas of growth using 1-to-1 implementation

3.Meet with site supervisor to discuss Results of information obtained from teachers on biggest area of growth

Lisa Martinez
Leslie Kennemer
(site supervisor)

Lisa Martinez

Lisa Martinez
Leslie Kennemer
(Site supervisor)
June 2013-June 2014

September 2013

October 2013
Use a variety of data gathering as well as electronic searches.
Possible Resources:
Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey
-Survey of teachers that used the trainings
-Survey of teachers that didn’t have the proper training
-Survey of students

-The Survey will show current needs of teachers and will thus guide future trainings in this action research to better fit the needs of staff
-This step will allow for a more pinpointed road map to the type of trainings to give
4. Train a group of teachers on a specific unit to integrate one-to-one devices into pedagogy. This would include apps, software applications, or websites that could support learning. 

5. There will also be a second set of teachers that will be trained with a different strategy.

6. Evaluate outcomes of students gained knowledge between the two groups.

7.Generate a monthly newsletter for a resource that teachers can use for further professional development on implementing one to one devices in pedagogy

Lisa Martinez,
First grade team of teachers

Lisa Martinez
August 2013- June 2014

September 2013-April 2014
-District curriculum
-Electronically search different types strategies to train teachers to use one-to-one devices in pedagogy

-Use a variety of data gathering as well as electronic searches to generate topics to use in newsletter
-Smore Program as the template
-Educational blogs to help produce topics to address that are current
-Staying current with staff needs and requests of topics

-Quantitative Pre-test and post test to the unit on each student in first grade
- Training or Procedure strategy in training the teachers how to use the student devices within the unit
-Field Notes

-Field notes
-Surveys from participants on impact of these newsletters

8. Create and Lead a committee that brings more awareness of implementation of NET.S/ TEKS based off the findings from data.

Lisa Martinez
January 2014
-Data driven survey, teacher feedback
-Field notes on outcomes observed by teachers of successes or areas of growth based off incorporating trainings into classrooms
-Survery from teachers based on outcomes of successful strategies used in the implementation of the devices into a project based learning opportunity

9.Close research, accomplish analysis, and distribute findings.

Lisa Martinez
August 2014

-Action research to be completed based off findings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week Two Reflections...

As I entered week two of thinking about a this new action research, I realize I have already learned so much. After reading the many different examples in the book Leading with Passion and Knowledge, by Nancy Fichtman Dana, I am gaining more knowledge on what it means to explore deep inquiry. I noticed that action research is a way of reflecting on what intrigues you at this moment in your career, have it be in a leadership role or teaching. It is taking a stand for change in an area you deem important enough to take the time and research, gather data, and reflect often on.

For me, it's very hard to pick the one that is the most important out of the nine passions listed by Dana in the text. How do you choose one of these topics to be the most focused on when all seem so intricately important as the next? My action research sits between several different passions. I think it is healthy for the topic of inquiry to hit more than one to really make an impact on the the school environment.

Just as the chapter assigned this week ended in discussion of an action research evolving over time, I experienced this first hand just in week one of this course. The initial question I started with as my action research was scrapped by the end of week one, following a great discussion with my site supervisor. I guess their is good reason for us having an experienced mentor after all. ;) I originally picked a topic widely covered and researched. We discussed in great lengths what our school is in need of and what is currently out there that is unresolved in many schools. Here is the action research I settled on as of now (drum-roll, please):

What are the strategies and trainings needed for successful one to one implementation and pedagogy for student devices in the classroom?

There it is. My focus for the next nine months is to answer this question head on. I am excited about the data I will find as well as some new things to get started at my school to really utilize the technology we are provided, rather than let it "babysit" our students.

I want to end my posts with a little light hearted humor. Enjoy...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

And so it begins...

What I have Learned About Action Research and How I can Use It

After I began reading on the topic of action research, I realized that my school district's formal evaluation, SDAS, is a version of action research. As a classroom teacher, I am able to pick a focus question each year, collect data, and share my findings based on the information I gathered. I feel this has allowed me to gain ownership of something I want to grow in or have curiosity in trying out in my classroom rather than an administrator coming in and seeing my teaching for a 45 minute span and handing out criticism. I am thrilled to know I have been using action research as an educator without even knowing it!

The benefits of conducting action research is that the participant can gain knowledge in an area of inquiry or interest and make changes based on the outcome. This becomes a personal gain rather than an outside researcher ‘telling’ how a situation should be. The “practioner inquiry movement focuses on the concerns of practitioners and engages practitioners in the design, data collection, and interpretation of data around theory question.” (Dana, 2009, p. 3) The teacher or administrator is able to make professional changes and make a lasting impact on school environments. 

Action research differs from traditional educational research because the inquiry comes from the teacher or administrator conducting it rather than an outside expert weighing in on topics that are exclusive to everyday school environments. (Dana, 2009, p. 4) Often this causes frustration because the teachers that are actually in a school environment are receiving data from conductors who aren’t in the real life situations they are portraying insights and research models. 

I like to think of it as weather man versus a storm chaser. The weather man is off sight predicting and analyzing the situation to help prepare people or warn them of the coming weather. The storm chaser is actually in the midst of the weather or is close enough to gain an on the ground experience first hand. It would be a lot easier to trust the storm chaser who is in the storm giving feedback rather than the weather man who is off site from the storm itself. 

How Educational Leaders Might Use Blogs

Blogs are a great way to share one's ideas or thoughts to multiple readers at any given time. I think educational leaders can use this tool in more than one way. 

One way to use a blog is to send out a weekly newsletter to staff to keep everyone connected and stay in the know. This could start with thoughts on a new idea, ways to push through a difficult time in the year, or something to reflect on. It could also include milestones that staff have to celebrate, mourn, or get excited about. This creates a family atmosphere among peers.

Another way to use a blog as an educational leader is to incorporate into Professional Learning Communities (PLC). This could be away for the leader to express findings for an action research topic and have members respond through comments. It could keep members of the PLC connected all year and have an outlet to share findings and literature.

I am excited to share more on my action research topic on this blog. Stay tuned...


Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading With Passion and Knowledge: The Principal as Action Researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press