Friday, February 15, 2013

My Reflection of 5301 Research

   As I reflect back upon this course, 5301 Research, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to attend this course!  I have learned so much and am already growing as an educator that leads.  The lectures that I have viewed by Dr. Jenkins, Dr. Arterbury, Dr. Abshire and especially the videos of Dr. Briseno, Dr. Chargois, and Dr. Lewis have enriched my studies.  I especially enjoyed the advice Dr. Lewis extended to us explaining that our research doesn’t have to be fu-fu and glitzy!  It should be practical and be something that we personally have a desire to learn more about.  Dr. Chargois’ video inspired me due to the fact he stated that any research you do must always lead back to helping our students achieve more. 
   The readings, electronic searches of topics, assignments and activities have all been enjoyable as I have learned something new with all of them.  I will keep the books, Leading with Passion and Knowledge, The Principal as Action Researcher by N.F. Dana and Examining What We Do to Improve Our Schools, 8 Steps from Analysis to Action by S. Harris, S. Edmonson, and J. Combs in my professional library as I work towards becoming an administrator.  They are books I can share with my staff as I am now beginning to see the broader picture of the responsibilities of an administrator from reading these books.  The strategies introduced with the “Harris” book seem so straight forward and highly beneficial.  I especially liked the Delphi method as a tool for developing a deeper understanding and a great strategy for identifying ways to improve school needs.  Using this method, the participants are encouraged to reconsider and revise their answers in light of the collection of information from other members of the group.  The involvement of the people who would be affected by a new decision or change are the very ones who implement this strategy.  As I become a school leader, these processes towards improvement of a school is vital!  The course assignments helped me reflect upon the learning found in these books that I have mentioned above.  The reflections in the assignments helped me prioritize the learning and how to apply it.  As I still have a lot to learn in my Master’s program, I will learn so much with my action research.  I will remember that the Leadership and Research courses set the beginning building blocks for my program.  Again, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to learn so much through these two courses.
   When I reflect upon the new friendships I have encounter on this journey towards new knowledge a smile enters my face.  Even though I have not met anyone personally, I feel a sense of bonding with them as we are all on the same journey.  The group discussions have helped me understand the assignments, readings and pushed my expectations to do more than what I thought I could.  The feedback and encouragement from the discussion board and the blogs have been helpful in my growth.  I had never developed a blog before and with the Research course, I now have my own blog.  The comments that others have shared with me regarding my research have helped me to rethink my ideas.  Being able to read their blogs, lends a comparison that helps me understand the concepts better.  For them to share their learning and feelings, it has helped me gain courage and insight within my own learning.  I look forward to leading others and helping my staff be the best teachers possible.  Our children deserve nothing but the best.  They have one chance to be in school and those school years will help define who they are and who they will become.  We, as leaders, must accept the challenge and be willing to change, grow and nurture them with all that we have.  I am excited to be part of this and look forward to becoming an administrator some day!  I am thankful that I have this opportunity for others to affect my life and I hope that I have affected the lives of others!

Friday, February 8, 2013


Identify Concerns that must change (look to the future)
1.  Help students develop a sense of pride and ownership of interactive notebooks which    
     may help student success in the classroom.
2.  Implementation of new ideas with interactive notebooks to help students achieve  
3.  More staff training on ways to use interactive student notebooks.

Identify Affirmations that must be sustained (look to the present)
1.  All grade levels continue to use the interactive notebooks for various subjects
2.  Teachers use the interactive notebooks as a showcase of knowledge learned  for 
     specific  subjects to share with parents, administrators, and students to have as a  
     study tool.
3.  Students write more in notebooks rather than glue handouts.

SMART Recommendations that must be implemented:
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)
1.  All teachers follow a basic guideline of using the interactive notebooks that can be 
     extended upon from year to year.
2.  Spiral notebooks be provided or included on the student’s supply list every year.
3.  Use interactive notebooks as part of student’s grade towards a particular subject.

EVALUATE – Specifically and Often
(Identify the best ways to evaluate the implemented recommendations.)
1.  Walk-throughs of administrators
2.  Random selected students share notebooks with administrators on a weekly/monthly 
3.  Interactive notebooks displayed at parent conferences, group meetings, etc. to have
     reflective conversations regarding their content.

This is my Tool 8.1 CARE MODEL planning tool from  Examining What We Do to Improve Our Schools by Sandra Harris, Stacey Edmonson, Julie Combs.

Research EDLD 5301

Please feel free to comment on its’ contents.  Your comments will help me expand my knowledge of my action research.  

Collaboration of My Action Research Plan

   I met with my interning principal a couple of times this week.  Once on the morning of February 6th and a second time on February 8th.  I used her comments, the comments from the Research 5301 discussion board through Lamar University, and comments from my research blog to make some revisions for my action research plan. 
   My principal thought it would be difficult to gather the journals from the previous year for the targeted group of students that are now in fourth grade.  I agreed, and we came to the consensus that I could leave it on my template with a special wording that would indicate that it was only a possibility.  It may prove to be difficult to get some or even one of them, but I will have all of this years and next year’s notebooks to take samples from.   She also commented that I needed to remove the assistant principal’s name from the template under the “person responsible” column, so I deleted her name.  The assistant principal at my interning school has been out on personal leave and may be out through April, so my principal felt it would be best to remove her from the plan.  My interning principal and other staff would fill in where I had put my assistant principal. 
   My interning principal was very supportive and I felt a sense of ease about my plan after discussing it with her.  She gave me several people on the school campus that are very knowledgeable with the interactive notebooks and thought they could add to my research if needed.  She was very helpful and assured me that getting the test scores would not be a problem.  She also had some data that the school district had shared with her that may be of some use. She signed and dated my action research plan on the Tool 7.1 template.  It is now ready to submit.

New Action Research Template (revised)

Action Planning Template (Updated 2/6/2013)
Goal:  What is the Effectiveness of the Use of Interactive Science Notebooks Towards Student Achievement?
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources

Establish the selection of the bilingual and
monolingual students.

Pam Mitchell

Pat Shoffit, Principal

4th grade science teachers

Feb.  2013

Class roll of one 4th grade monolingual and one 4th grade bilingual

These are the targeted students that my research will be based on.
(The research will include the same students as 3rd graders, then 4th graders this year and next year when they are 5th graders.)

Calculate the % of  students and teachers that enjoy and those who do not like the science notebooks

Pam Mitchell

4th grade science students and 3rd-5th grade teachers

Spring  2013


Reveal the data positive/negative feelings

Gather 3rd- 5th  grade   district science benchmarks at end of each term for targeted group

Pam Mitchell

Pat Shoffit, Principal

School year: 2011-2012 fall and spring

school year: 2012-2013 fall and spring

2013 fall

School district benchmarks, where applicable with grade level

Data showing comparisons of 3rd grade scores of same students from fall 2011- fall 2013

Gathering of 3rd grade science notebooks for 2011-2012 (if possible)

Pam Mitchell

4th grade science students and teachers

Spring  2013

Note to go home in take-home folders

Show data of same students’ work beginning in 3rd through 5th grade

Samples of student’s work

Research data from online sources concerning use of science interactive notebooks

Pam Mitchell

Spring 2013-Summer 2013

Research related data through online sources

Analyze data and submit into my research

Poll teachers to determine ways science journals are used & how often

Pam Mitchell

3rd- 5th grade teachers

Spring 2013

Poll survey

Analyze survey data with a chart

Poll targeted groups to determine % of students that used  science notebooks while in grade 3

Pam Mitchell

4th grade teachers & possibly students from targeted groups

March, 2013

Poll survey

Analyze survey data with a chart

List and elaborate on extent of cross-curriculum use of science journals, grades 3-5

Pam Mitchell

All 3rd - 5th grade teachers

May, 2013


Results of use of journals with cross-curriculum

Track district writing benchmarks (if taken) of targeted group

Pam Mitchell

3rd- 5th  grade results of targeted students

3rd-5th teachers

Spring 2013-fall 2013

Writing benchmarks fall & spring 2012-2013, fall 2013

Analyze data to see if an increase in student achievement

Sample organizational skills
using science journals

Pam Mitchell

4th and 5th grade students

Spring 2013-Fall 2013

Science journals

Pictorial samples from students’ journals displaying organizational skills

Analyze all data results and share results with teachers and administrators

Pam Mitchell

Spring 2014

Research summary and data

Communicate all resulting action research data through written documentation.