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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Final Reflections on Research Course

I was not sure what to expect from this course. I have really only done the traditional research projects in the past, so working on an Action Research Project is a new experience for me. The lectures have been informative and have given me some insight into what I can learn and expect to learn from doing this project.
We have mainly read out of the two books:  Leading With Passion and Knowledge: The Principal as Action Researcher by Dana Nancy Fichtman and Examining What we do to improve our Schools: 8 Steps to improve our Schools by S. Harris, S. Edmondson, and J. Coombs.  I found both books to be very well written and helpful.  There were a lot of good facts in both books. I know I will use them for reference in the future.
I have gained more knowledge about how to conduct electronic searches using the topics and questions provided. This will be valuable knowledge as I go forward in my research project.
I have enjoyed the activities that we have had to do in this course. This course has provided many tools and resources that I will be able to use not only in this class but in other classes and projects in the future.
The discussion boards have been a valuable source of information and ideas. I like being able to “hear” other people’s thoughts on the same information that I am dealing with. I also learn something that I had never thought of and that is a useful tool. I recognize the value in sharing information and experiences with my classmates.
I really was not looking forward to creating a blog, when I saw that it was one of our assignments. But since I have done it, I am so excited about it and I am even planning on turning mine into a “real” classroom blog. I am enjoying reading and looking at other classmates blogs as well as all of the classroom blogs that are available. I probably spend way to much time doing this now, but I am learning so much information and so many great things that I can use in my classroom.
I have really enjoyed this course and I have learned many valuable things that will help me as I move forward, both in my education and in my career.

References:
 Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
Harris, S., Edmonson, S., Combs, J. (2010). Examining what we do to improve our schools. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Action Research Plan


Action Planning Template
Goal: Will increasing the use of visual aids/sign language increase student learning
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Evaluation


Talk with teaching assistants to determine their knowledge of sign language





myself
Beginning of six weeks
Sign language video/app
Color flashcards with signs




Six week study




Myself, teaching assistants
Six week time frame
Color word for each of the 5 weeks; flashcards; book about each color, sign(ASL) for each color
Flashcards; color word coloring sheet


Collect student data





Myself, teaching assistants
Informal assessment for student knowledge
Color flashcards; color word coloring sheet
Completed by student with minimal assistance


Chart for data






Myself, teaching assistants
Six weeks
Chart to record data for each week of subject recall after each one-on-one session
Data analysis

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Selecting Action Research Topics

 

Wow! I had no idea there were so many subjects/ideas that could be used for action research projects. I am almost afraid that the topic I picked is "too minor". But to me it is very important and I feel like I am probably not the only one who  thinks that. I have choosen to do my project on " Using different teaching methods to enhance student learning". I work with special needs students who have a lot of different learning/communication problems. I want to look at different ways other than the "traditional" ways to teach my students and help them to be successful!

Friday, June 8, 2012

How might Educational Leaders use Blogs

There are so many ways for educational  leaders to use blogs, but I wll name just a few to keep it short and simple. Blogs are a great way to share ideas. You can interact with all kinds of people, both people involved in similar situations as yourself, and people who might not even be in education but who can give you fresh insight on what you are talking about. A blog can be a good outlet for discussions and to share ideas and thoughts from other peers. Using technology is such a great tool and we as educational leaders need to utilize it as much as we can. Blogs provide many resources for more expereinces, actions, and reflections.

What I know about Action Research

In a short time I have learned quite a bit about "Action Research". Action research is a problem solving technique that can help an administrator and/or teacher to implement changes to help students/faculty be successful. In action research you define the problem, determine a course of action, take action, gather data, and then reflect on the success of the action.
Action research can be looked at as active data collection to solve a problem. As an administrator or teacher I can use action research to improve student performance (or staff/campus performance). I can as three questions: What is the problem; What can I do to improve the situation; How will the finished product look/How will I know I have achieved my goal?
In action research, "action" is the key word. You must do something. Implement a new procedure, try a new approach to a situation, try something you haven't done before, or do something in a new way. Then you have to look at the data that you have collected from the actions and determine if the changes made a difference. Was the problem solved? Did the situation change? Were the changes for better or worse? If the action you took didn't affect the change you were looking for, then you at least have found what doesn't work. If the changes gave you the results you were looking for, Hooray! Problem solved! Action research is an essential tool that will allow you to implement changes effectively and to solve problems.