Thursday, December 15, 2011

These Past 5 Weeks

These five weeks have been full of learning and reflections and new ideas. The lectures were full of information.  I especially liked that they made it very clear in the beginning that this class was not to be a regular research class.  This was not going to be a research class where you went to the library and looked up a subject and they wrote a paper about that subject.  They also introduced the blog issue.  I already had a blog where I shared my prek ideas so I had some experience with one but this blog was going to be a little different because we were going to share the research and reflections and expected feedback from others to help shape our research.
I also liked their second lecture where we examined the purpose of action research. They also suggested that you picked a research question that is close to your heart which makes lots of sense since picking something that means nothing to you will be torture.
It was also a great lecture when they spoke about the 8 steps for analysis of action.  It was really great to hear them explain a little about it and then go and read the book.  You could grasp it a little better.
I also really enjoyed looking at the interviews about action research with people that really used it in their schools and implemented the action research way in their district.  It was a good thing to see that it really works. I really liked Mr. Briseno’s work and I made a connection that action research can work at my school.
 As I wrote in the discussion board, I was amazed to find out this week that our district uses it as well but in a more central office way.  They had meeting to use the action research to improve the ways things are done to help students that are not succeeding.  
I also very much enjoyed the reading especially the Dana book Leading with Passion and Knowledge. I liked that it had so many examples of action research because at first I was really lost as to how to pose the questions of my inquiry but after reading so many samples, I really had the idea of how to do it. Sometimes models help a lot and this book did that for me. It helped shape what the inquiry could be and how far it can go and how great it is to have that kind of inquiry in the schools cause it drives the staff development and it also drives change for the better.
It also really gave a great definition of what inquiry is all about and how it is a great way to gain understanding about the school and about you. It also really focused on reflection and how that really helps shape the inquiry.  It also helped answer questions on how to manage the research inquiry process in terms of time.  It also helped reflect on different passions one can have and how that also shapes the inquiry.
I also enjoyed the other book called Examining What We Do To Improve Our Schools:8 steps from analysis to action. This book gives the steps and I especially liked the part that I recently read about strategies for sustaining improvements.  This really gave me ways to help sustain the changes and how to get the teachers involved in the changes.
All the reading and lectures had me researching things to understand more.  It was a way to get more information and I really enjoyed it.  I also got ideas on my research on behavior by researching articles and even getting ideas from the web conferences and discussion boards. I looked up what the head starts use for discipline and how that might help my teachers.
I also got ideas from the discussion boards by people posting about a program called Love and Logic and other programs called Champs.  I really have got to dig in and see what those programs are all about. 
I have started getting information for the teachers and have even found staff development that might get them on their way to come to a consensus on what kind of discipline management program they might want to adopt as the one the school would use.
The assignments were something that really made me reflect on what inquiry was about and if I was going in the right track.  I liked the assignments because they made me think. They made me really dig into the readings and learn the material.  I really liked the assignment of the interviews because it helps me see the action research process in action in different districts and ways that will help my research go smoother and easier.
The discussion boards are a must with this program.  It is people that know exactly what you are going through and can answer the questions that you have.  They really want to help as I want to help them. I get to see so many great ideas and inquiries and it help me see how others think and how others are doing their inquiry.  I really think those discussion boards have helped me out of jams and are really a support system for all the students.
The blogs are another form of discussions and also help in seeing what others think and reflect on and what others are inquiring.  It also helps with organizing thoughts and even researching.
I must say that I really learned so much in this class and am glad to have taken it because now I see action research as such a valuable tool to use in the classroom, school and district.
I also like that we have to discuss this with our site supervisor because that is another sort of support system that knows what the school is all about and what is allowable and knows the teachers as well.  I am glad my site supervisor approved my research and is actually glad because that is a subject that teachers always ask about.

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: 8 steps from analysis to action. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


·         Goals and objectives/outcomes of the research investigation
The goals of this project is for the teachers to actually have a uniform behavior management plan in place where they have the actions they would take if they are having any trouble with behavior.
·         Activities designed to achieve the objectives
Professional development will be given on behavior management, also a behavior action plan that can be formed in a staff meeting. Students will be introduced to the behavior management plan as several lessons and will have to be aware of the consequences of action either for positive behavior or negative behavior
·         Resources and research tools needed for data gathering
I will conduct teacher’s surveys and will also go to walkthroughs to see what the need is for each classroom and what can be in place for an early childhood classroom.
 I will also conference with the Principal, the Prek Mentor and the teachers to make sure everything is fine or if anything needs to be revised. I will also conduct parent calls to talk to them about how they view behavior management in their child’s school.
As for other research, I will use the internet, books, and other school’s plans as a guide to get more information and to help guide our own plan of action.
·         Draft timeline for completion or implementation of activities
I think we can form some kind of plan and implement it next semester and then have it show results by May 2011.  This can then be tried the next school year so that we know it can be replicated and for it to work.  We will also revise it as needed.
·         Persons responsible for implementation of the action research plan
Principal who is my site supervisor, teachers who will implement the behavior management plan, students who will have to follow the plan, and any other staff such as the Prek Mentor when she goes into the classroom for walkthroughs, the paraprofessionals when they are involved in group activities with children, the Special Education teachers that go into the classroom for small group instruction, the resource teachers that goes into the classroom.  The co-teachers that are part of the program of Early Start and any other staff involved with the students including myself.
·         Process for monitoring the achievement of goals and objectives
I will send out teachers and parent surveys.  I will also conduct walkthroughs.
·         Assessment instrument(s) to evaluate the effectiveness of the action research study
I, with the help of my site supervisor will conduct a staff meeting where the teachers will give feedback on how the plan is working for them and how students are reacting to the behavior plan.  We will then revise the plan as needed.
Action Planning Template
Goal: To have  a behavior plan that works for 3-5 year old students.
Resources Needed

Develop a behavior management plan

There will be a staff development day planned where we will brain storm and come up with a plan of action that will have the steps that teachers will take for the behavior plan to work.

Books on behavior management, other plans from other schools, current curriculum. Teacher input, administrative

Develop the steps to take as consequences

The teachers and I will then brainstorm and develop the rewards and consequences for the behavior management plan.
Early childhood books, current curriculum, teacher input, administrative input

Implement plan in the classroom

Teachers will implement plan by having lessons on the behavior management plan for the students. Students will then know what the expectations are and what the consequences are for their actions.
Teachers needed to explain plan
Evaluation and
Revision of plan

Teachers will come together to discuss how the plan is working for them and how they are implementing it in their classroom.  They will give feedback and we will then revise plan as needed.
Books and current curriculum, Teacher feedback

research quesiton

Research Question:
In what ways does a new behavior management plan meet the needs of the teachers and students from the PSJA Early Start Program?
This research question was reached after observing classrooms at my school, speaking to my principal(site supervisor), speaking to the Prek Mentor that mentors the teachers at school and speaking to some of the teachers as well. 
I really want to come up with something that will work for the unique situation that the teachers face every day.  The children are 3, 4 and 5 years old and they need something that will work for that age range.
Behavior management is very important for any teacher.  This is because the children will then feel safe and learning with take place at their highest potential.  So in other words it helps with students’ success in the classroom.  They must feel that there is consistency so that they also feel that they are always treated in a fair way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Action Research has turned out to be very interesting to me.  I was actually doing it in my classroom all along.  I would identify an area of need and would go research what I could do on google or go buy a book at Barnes and Noble about the problem. Then I would go and try out the ideas and apply it in my classroom.  If it worked it would become part of my teaching strategies forever and I would share with my grade level.  If it did not work, I would go back to the drawing board.

I also learned a lot with the interviews that were presented this week in our class.

I learned that you should research or google other people’s research to see if it applies to your own situation so that you gain time to do other research.  You should also do research that means something to your students, class and school or else you will lose interest and it will not benefit your students. Make it practical and use the data that you have to answer the questions that you are wondering.  All of the interviewees spoke about data and that is really where all things are going, what the data is telling you and what can your action research help the students succeed.
Teachers engaging in sharing ideas

I also really loved the idea of having staff meeting to share ideas and to also share  problems to help out the teachers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Blog?

Why should educational leaders blog?

There are many reasons to blog, such as getting your ideas out there to share with others.  It is a tool that can be dynamic, ongoing, and interactive.  People can read your ideas and provide feedback and comments and really interactions with those that have to same interests.

So educational leaders might use the blog to organize their ideas and have others comment so that those leaders can get different perspectives from others.  They can also them as a school blog.

They can have a blog only for their teachers where teachers can read the leaders thoughts and questions and ideas.  The teachers then can provide feedback and comments and make it a good communication tool where there is always a conversation about issues going on in school.  That conversation can them bring up questions that can be made into Action Research projects for the school.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is Action Research?

Action research is a way to pose a question or a wondering in your school(or business) and make a systematic study of question and then taking action based on results.  It is a way to collect data and then make changes needed in the school based on the findings.  Action research is a great way to improve the school and a way to focus on concerns or problems of the school.  This kind of research is carried out within the context of the school's environment with questions that deal with that school.  It is an on-going process of posing questions, gathering data, reflecting and deciding on a course of action.  Then the principal or teachers can then go on to pose other questions that need to be addressed.  It is essentially asking "How can I improve my school?"

Action research is not a research paper like we did in high school where you read lots of articles and then summarize what you read.  It is much deeper and systematic.  It is not about why we do things but how we can make things better.

An action research inquiry can be done by one person or preferably a group of people that want to improve the school.

I came across this graphic on the internet on
and I really liked how they made the model of the cyclical nature of action research:

Dan MacIsaac, "An Introduction to Action Research," 1995, (22/03/1998).

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