Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reflecting about AR- week 2

This past week I reflected earlier on what it is like having a student teacher and having him collaborate with me on my AR project. He had no knowledge that when he agreed to student teach at Arapahoe that he would be undertaking such a large task besides his student teaching. He has been handling it with all the passion he puts into his teaching. At first I wasn’t sure what Randon was going to think about the No D policy. He seemed to really struggle with the responsibility of assignments being completed on time versus the learning being the focus of the assignments. This is something I still struggle with and have struggled with for 11 years so I couldn’t imagine him to react in any other way. I wonder though if there is any dialogue in his education classes about zero policies versus accepting late work. Could this be a really interesting area that education classes should be focusing upon? I should hook Randon up with Tony Winger from Heritage for a conversation that keeps replaying in my head every time I give a zero for a grade.

Randon has been blogging for his student teaching and I happened to read a great reflection from him about grading; he said, “Grading is something that I enjoy, not for the fact of putting grades into the computer or even assessing student work, but because I get to give feed back to students and help them to get better. Plus the whole no D policy makes everything a little better. When I really give students a bad grade I know that they can make anything up if they want to, it's just that I truly hope that they do.”

I feel like he is getting the idea behind it, maybe even my vision of what I am hoping it will become for these students, but my worry more lies on the kids and what they have been accomplishing lately. I feel like they have been slacking to put it in their language. There really aren’t as focused as they have previously been nor have they been completing work that they are capable of. I am not quite sure if they are just testing the grounds with Randon seeing what they can get away with or if the “Project: Change the World” has been that overwhelming for them. Randon and I had a great talk after school on Friday and I think that we are going to spend some time reviewing what we were doing and almost go back to square. In order for them to really do well on this big project, we need to concentrate on making sure they are understanding each and every step of the writing process. If they do not, or are not putting forth their full effort, then we need to spend some time going back as many times as necessary in order to really make an impact. If we want to change the world, we have to get the kids understanding the fundamentals of writing first.

Another aspect I am thinking about with my AR project is how to assess my second cycle. I was really hoping to do personal interviews with the project selecting out students who have been impacted more by the No D and ability to redo policies. I am not sure of how to go about this, what questions to ask, what is appropriate for a cycle report interview, etc… I know MR has supplied us with a few great tutorials that will hopefully guide me in the direction necessary to do a good job on this report .

I have also spent some time reading on of our AR books Doing Your Research Project. I can see why MR likes this book for its practicality and clear layout of all the steps necessary to create a coherent AR project and report. A few of the things seem so outdated though. The sections I have been reading as of late speak of using note cards, yes, note cards to conduct your research and to keep your points in order. While reading this, I was taken back to high school and how we wrote our senior research paper. I would think there would be a more updated version of the research process for Action Research work than this book. I have my hope set that the end of this book will be more impacting than what I have read so far. MR hasn’t steered us wrong yet.
Going forward for this week, I am planning on spending some time looking at the tutorials, developing questions for the second cycle interview, and reading, reading, reading. Maybe Randon’s mentoring will fit in there somewhere too!

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