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Sunday, January 27, 2013

     I was really impressed to see the first video of the principal.  He seemed really hands on and involved in his school.  I liked how the teacher felt she could reach out to him and ask for his help.  I remember when I started teaching 14 years ago, I don't remember seeing the principal as much. It seemed like if we had meetings or staff development, they were planned by someone else.  I remember a lot of  teachers leaders appointed and/or volunteered to facilitate these meetings.  When I moved to another district two years later, the principal there was more hands on and even did training for teachers on staff development days.   I'm glad to say I've seen more hands on principals than not in my teaching career.  I have seen it really step up like the past 5 years.
     My principal is very hands on and approachable.  I'm so glad to be working with someone that truly cares abut what happens on our campus.  One example deals with my research topic.   She asked two teachers if they would pilot a departmentalized model on our campus.  In another neighboring school, all the teachers had to do this model and were told the April before school started.  My principal did not want to do that to everyone so she is just trying out with a few teachers this year. This is the model, two teachers one third and one second grade would be partners.  One teacher would teach Language Arts and Social Studies for both second and third grades.  The other one would teach math and science for both grade levels.  So far, the two teachers piloting this program on my campus, love it.  Some negative comments on the other campus is some teachers didn't even get a grade level they had been doing.  For example, I know a second grade teacher that was assigned third and fourth grade science and math.  My research question is, do these students perform better?  There are a few campuses in my district that have always done this. Another sub question could be, how well to the teachers work together since they are sharing students.  I am anxious to find out information and I pretty excited because more than likely we will implement this across the board on my campus next year!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

     Educational Leaders can use blogs in a variety of ways.  Since there is usually one principal on campus, it is sometimes difficult to get feedback from other administrators right away.  Blogs can be a quick and easy method of connecting with one another.
     Leaders can also post various problems and ask for feedback on how to deal with a certain situation.  Also, they can use previous posts from themselves or others to recall what solutions worked and which ones were a waste of time.  Blogs can be another perspective for dealing with a situation.  Sometimes leaders can forget to think out of the box and try something completely unheard of to solve a problem, but it may have been successful with somebody else.

Findings about Action Research

  A great deal of learning and education is completed through research.  I can remember being in elementary school and having to do an independent research project.  Grant it was not in my regular classes, but in my Gifted and Talented Class.  Yes, it was pull out back then.  Nowadays, it is in the regular classes more and more.  Finding information is now at our fingertips with the internet, digital libraries and publications.  Basically we would research a topic, give credit to the people that we read from and then presented to the whole class.
     This week I have learned a great deal about action research.  Action research is a systematic approach of  gaining more information about a wondering or question you might have.  It is a method to help solve problems.  This differs from the traditional research method in that part of action research happens after all the research has been done.  You put into, "action" what you have learned so far and then evaluate to see if it's working.  If it's not working, you can come back to the drawing board and try something else. Action research involves the people affected in the process and is more proactive instead of reactive.  It does not involve a third party that doesn't have a clue about the problem or is not directly involved with the situation.
     I will use this approach to help solve any issues I may have in my classroom and as an administrator. Reflective practices such as writing in a journal will help me to stay focused on the situation.  It can serve as a guide to see what the next steps are and also to evaluate and assess the situation after implementation. Having an action research plan for a situation shows that you are willing to do something and follow through and adjust or change as needed.