Monday, February 02, 2009

AR week 5

This weekend Randon and I began the cycle three part of my/our AR project. Since he gets to be part of this new journey, not only is he student teaching, but now he gets to participate in my AR project, I decided it could be our AR project. After all, I am not only looking at the changes in learning in myself, and in my students, but Randon’s changes as well. I will be anxious to see how we do this cycle together seeing as how we are focusing on his growth as a learner by my modeling feedback for students and Randon and I discussing feedback on student work. Ultimately, I hope the changes will not only effect Randon and I but our students will be more successful learners as a result.
So, this weekend I took home their second attempt at writing the intro paragraphs for the 9th grade position paper. This paper is where our students learn how to write a formalized paper using research to back up and support their position, they learn to incorporate quotations and textual citations, and also how to write in a formalized multi paragraph thesis driven essay. This year the project is a little different in that we are asking the students to not only take a position, but they are to take a stance on something they wish to change in the world. Then they write their paper, and create an action plan on what change they can make in their own lives to help change the world…thus, Project Change the World.
After reading through the intro paragraphs, I am getting a good sense of what the kids are getting and not getting with Randon teaching the intro paragraphs. It seems that we need to spend so more time on making sure all the elements are in the intro paragraph. I wonder if the kids feel like all the elements are there, but Randon and I are seeing something differently. Maybe what they are writing fits their interpretation of the intro paragraph but it doesn’t fit my perception at the moment. I might ask Randon to see if they can respond to the feedback I have given them, as well as Randon’s feedback as well so that they can identify what elements they see in their intro paragraph that maybe I am not seeing. I just want to make sure that I am sticking somewhat to the idea I want to explore in this cycle without going to overboard. I think as long as I keep the focus on making my students more successful learners, and in turn Randon’s success as a teacher, noting the changes I see in myself through this process, we will all benefit.
One thing I want to make sure I reflect on was my feedback that I was providing to my students on this first go around in cycle one. While assessing their work on Sunday, I noticed I was much more conscientious about the feedback I was giving to them. I actually took a lot of time making sure the feedback I was giving was readable and understandable to both Randon and my students. Not that I do not normally do that, but I guess I do not think about it as much. Has giving feedback become such a part of me that I am not consciously thinking about it when I give feedback.
Tonight, Randon is going to review my feedback on the intro paragraphs and tomorrow we are going to sit down and discuss what we each learned from the feedback as well as reflecting on one another’s comments and where to go from here.

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