Month 10- LMS

Is there a connection between the data produced from your Cycles and the research reported in your Literature Review?

Portions of my Literature Review focused on giving students choice in both methods of learning concepts as well as how they will show their learning.  The differentiated instruction involving small groups, large groups, and individual practice, as well as using tactile manipulatives, digital technology tools and pencil and paper gave students a lot of chances to utilize the methods they felt worked best for them.

How did your AR project turn out for you? Describe as a practitioner, how did this project improve your practice. 

I felt that Cycle 1 was a tremendous success.  The gains most of my students made were very exciting!  I learned a lot about differentiated instruction throughout my research and implementation and have continued to use differentiation as often as possible with my students.

Cycle 2 did not turn out as I’d hoped.  The initial idea was good in theory, but I did not model my expectations well enough and I felt that the projects were rushed because we couldn’t devote our entire math block each day to working on them since I still had other standards to teach.  If I had it to do over again I would have spent more time giving examples and making sure the students had a better understanding of my expectations.

Is a personal learning environment or an LMO something that could be part of your AR project in the future? Why or why not.

I think a personal learning environment and/or LMO would help significantly for students to have access to instructions, rubrics, examples of student work and other valuable information as they work on their projects.  I like the idea of all of the information being in one place and readily accessible to both students and their parents.  It’s also nice for the teacher to know that everyone has access to the same information and has heard the same instructions.

Month 9- GSM

Describe in detail the methods used to report Cycle 1 data. Did you use quantitative, qualitative or a mixed approach for Cycle 1 data collection?

I used both qualitative and quantitative data during Cycle 1 in the form of a pre-survey taken online using a Google form and a pre-assessment that was taken on paper.  The results of both were put into a spreadsheet. The qualitative data came from the surveys my students took in regards to their comfort levels with using both analog and digital clocks to tell time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour and in five-minute intervals.  The quantitative data came from the pre-assessment, which calculated students’ abilities to read a digital time and draw the hands on an analog clock and to read the hands on an analog clock and write the digital time to the hour, half-hour and five-minute interval.

Describe, synthesize, and compare the data found for Cycle 1 and Cycle 2.

The data from Cycle 1 showed that many of my students were comfortable telling time to the hour and many demonstrated their proficiency in that area on the pre-assessment.  When it came to telling time to the half-hour, quarter-hour and five-minute interval, both student confidence and actual scores dropped dramatically, with the lowest being time in five-minute intervals.  This data made sense because students were exposed to telling time to the hour in first grade, but half-hour, quarter-hour and five-minute intervals were not a focus of their first grade curriculum.  Students had heard and seen clocks showing time to the half-hour, quarter-hour and five-minute intervals, but they had not had explicit instruction in those areas.

The data from Cycle 2 showed that both the comfort level and ability levels in telling time increased dramatically!  The greatest gains were made in telling time to the half-hour and in five-minute intervals, which increased from 52% to 90% and from 28% to 80% respectively.  Telling time to five-minute intervals was still the lowest area for my class, but the overall growth is very encouraging.

Describe or reflect on possible ways that GSM can contribute to your Capstone project.

The use of games, especially computer-based games, is very motivating for my students.  Throughout implementation my students played a variety of games on the computer, SMART board and iPad/iPod that reinforced their time-telling skills.  I think it would be beneficial for me to learn to make games that I can tailor specifically to my students and their needs.  Games that focus on certain aspects of telling time (writing the digital time correctly, placing the hands in the correct place, etc.) would benefit the students on their particular level.

Month 8

What changed in your set up from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2?

Cycle 1 involved more of a direct teaching approach through small groups using differentiated instruction. This is where I focused on the basics of telling time, the parts of a clock, and telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour and five-minute interval. Most of Cycle 1 was spent with the students in small groups or pairs working on the specific skills each child needed at the time.

Cycle 2 focused on putting their new knowledge into practice. Students created some form of media to showcase their new learning and teach the concept of telling time to someone else. This cycle involved more use of digital technology such as computers, iPods and iPads to record video, take pictures and create blog posts.

What’s happening that you did not expect?

I did not expect the three snow days we had during my implementation process. In the end, they really did not have a major impact. If I’m being honest, I also did not expect the growth that I saw from pre-assessment to post-assessment in my Cycle 1 data. I was very impressed at the progress most of my students made in their time telling skills.

How are you tracking data differently?

The data from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2 has been different because the assessments in Cycle 1 had problems that were either right or wrong. In Cycle 2 the projects are graded according to a rubric. This has been a challenge for me to remain consistent across the board when grading student projects. All data is being kept in a spreadsheet format.

How have the concepts and techniques presented in FPE contributed to your capstone project?

The timing of FPE was perfect for my Cycle 2 implementation because many of my students were creating videos to showcase their learning. I was a little bit worried before implementing about how they would collect their thoughts and if their ideas would flow and make sense on video. I was concerned that I would just get videos with a lot of dead space because they were trying to collect their thoughts or think of what to say next. Fortunately I was able to introduce the concept of a storyboard to these students and they worked on making a plan for their video. This gave them more confidence as they prepared their videos and gave me an idea of what they were planning to say and show in their project.

Month 7 (MTA)

Review of timeline:

After reviewing my initial timeline, the implementation process was moved back one day.  I was scheduled to begin Cycle 1 on Monday, Febryary 3rd, but due to a snow day Cycle 1 began the following day, February 4th.  The implementation of Cycle 2 will still begin March 3rd

Are you still on target to complete both implementation activities? If not, why? Analyze any potential hurdles, how do you plan to address these conflicts that may postpone your implementation?

I am still on target to complete both cycles.  We have had some bad weather recently, which could possibly set us back a day or two, but overall I don’t foresee this becoming a problem.  In the case of extremely bad weather, I would just have to prolong the cycle that is interrupted.  In the case of students missing class due to illness, the fact that many of the lessons will be available to my students through online videos and tutorials, they should have no trouble catching up on any missed instruction.

Estimate how long will each implementation take to complete.

Each implementation should take 4 weeks to complete.  Cycle 1 will require a week of pre-surveys and assessments and three weeks of daily instruction.  Cycle 2 will require one week of instruction on the variety of digital tools the students can use to showcase their learning, two weeks of creating their presentations and one week of sharing their creations.

Will you be completed with the implementation process by month 9?  If not, why?

If all goes according to plan, I should be completed with both cycles by Month 9. 

Month 6 DEA

How did the ADDIE process help you to refine your implementation process and your data collection process?

The ADDIE process has given me a path to follow as I am developing my project.  Once I sat down and really analyzed my audience, I was able to pinpoint what was really important to address with this project and what I could do without. The analysis gave me a foundation for the goals I wish to attain throughout this process.  As I began to design my media assets based upon the goals I chose, details began to fall into place.  Through my analysis I had clear goals, which made designing and developing key pieces of my project easier.  I was able to narrow down my original idea of differentiated instruction into math, and then further into the concept of telling time.  Once I was able to narrow it down, the next steps became much clearer.

How are you planning to track your data?

I plan to track my data with an online assessment tool called Scoot Pad.  I can create the assessments that I would like my students to take as pre- and post-assessments and the website will keep the information for me.  In the case of an unforeseen glitch, I will also have hard copy assessments available.  Throughout the unit I will assess my students’ reflections based on a rubric.

How are your measurable outcomes connected to your Inquiry Questions?

My Inquiry Questions focus on the use of personalized and differentiated instruction and the use of digital technology.  My outcomes will show the growth of my students’ time telling abilities based on the differentiated instruction they will receive and their increased access to digital technology to both learn and express their knowledge.

October ETC Timeline

Focus Statement

I want to meet the needs of all of the students in my classroom, regardless of ability.  I plan to implement an individualized instructional approach in order to help my students reach all of their learning goals at a time in which they are ready to learn them.

Target Audience

My target audience consists of 24 second grade students; 11 boys and 13 girls.  The mean age is seven and a half years old.  I have eight English Language Learners (ELL) with one student that has just recently moved into the United States.  I also have five students with various special needs, with Individualized Education Programs, or in the process of testing for learning disabilities.  My students’ instructional levels range from kindergarten to fourth grade.

Critical Friends

My critical friends will include colleagues at school (grade-level teammates, instructional coach, reading specialist, ELL specialists, special education teacher, enrichment specialist) as well as classmates in the EMDT program.  I will use my critical friends to keep me accountable to this project, to ask questions about areas in which I am not as familiar (ELL, special education protocols, etc.) and to brainstorm ideas with.

Inquiry Questions

1. Will my second grade students benefit from individualized instruction that is tailored to their specific needs?

2. Is 1-to-1 digital technology really essential in order to effectively individualize the instruction of lower elementary-aged students?

Projected Timeline

Link to Timeline

I plan to schedule implmentation of Cycle 1 on January 14, 2014.  We will have had one week back from winter break which I’m hoping will allow the students a period to readjust to being back in school after an extended vacation.  I plan to implement Cycle 2 on February 10, 2014.

I looked at the dates carefully, and I should have both Cycles 1 and 2 completed within the window between winter and spring breaks.  We will be out of school 2 days (one in January and one in February), but this should not have a major impact on the results of my research.

Month 2 MLT

After evaluating your professional environment, what area (problem) of interest have you possibly focused on for your Action Research Capstone project?

The area I am currently focusing on with my AR Capstone project is implementing differentiated and personalized instruction into my classroom.  This instruction will be based on each student’s individual needs and learning style.  Children do not fit into a cookie cutter mold, but it seems that education these days is trying harder and harder to fit them into those molds.  All students need different things and learn in different ways and I want to provide that type of instruction for my students.

Why have you chosen this direction? What is your possible solution to this problem?

I have chosen this direction because I’m tired of doing the same thing each year and being disappointed with the results.  It is time to step out of my comfort zone and take some risks for my students.  They deserve it!  I want to mix things up and get messy in order to create a better learning environment and in turn, get better results.  My school has been at the bottom half of our district as far as test scores go, and it’s time for that to change.  I feel I can begin that change in my classroom and then help my colleagues make changes as well.  Not just to improve test scores, but to improve the culture and mindset in our building.

Possible solutions I have come up with are using technology such as individualized lessons on Edmodo as well as allowing the students to create their own method of showing their learning.  Some ideas for that are allowing the students to create videos or do voiceovers of pictures they’ve taken, create digital stories or write about their learning in a blog.  I think that those tools (and others I’m sure I will discover throughout the project) along with the small group instruction and one on one conferring I am already doing in my classroom will bring forth great results!

Describe your target audience.  How do you anticipate them playing a role in ensuring that your solution will make a difference in your environment?

My target audience includes 24 2nd grade students, ages 7 and 8.  The makeup of our class includes 14 girls and 10 boys.  There are students of various races and ethnicities, including African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Native American and Caucasian.  I have students that speak English, Spanish and Arabic; 1 speaking only Spanish and no English at all.  My students’ academic levels vary from beginning 1st grade knowledge to 4th grade knowledge.

These students will help me immensely in the implementation and research of this project because kids give great feedback.  If they don’t like something or it’s not working for them, they are not afraid to tell you.  On the other hand, they are also not afraid to tell you if they love something and it’s making their learning and understanding easier.  My students will be my biggest help throughout this project.

You should have started researching the current literature surrounding your topic, please describe any challenges/difficulties you are having with this process and/or any helpful hints/tips that you have discovered to make this process easier.

So far in this process I have only had time to research personalized learning.  Using EBSCO Host, I have found several sources, but many of them have been periodicals rather than peer reviewed journals.  I believe I will have to narrow my searches in order to find those journals needed for the project.  Using technology for differentiated and personalized instruction seems to be a pretty hot topic, so my hope is that I will find many journal articles to pull from throughout the month.