Saturday, December 7, 2013

EDLE 5335 Professional Development Activity

Session Purpose:   Learner Centered Staff Development – Based on the data collected from the AEIS 2010-2011, the math scores in 4th and 5th grade dropped significantly compared to other areas. 

Learning Objective to Be Addressed: The purpose of this session will be to help teachers identify the areas in math that students are struggling in and develop a new way to teach these concepts.  (Marilyn Burns conceptual math activites have been shown to help students weak in math, as well as all students.) 
Approving Principal:Renee Cummings
Presentation Date: N/A
Grade Level:
   4th and 5th
Lori Ramsey and Sherrie Berry (Elementary Curriculum Specialist)
TCE Library
Start Time: 3:30
End-Time: 4:15

Learner-Centered Activity
Estimated Time
Teachers will sign in, get snacks, and record the areas of math that they think students struggle with the most.
The opening activity will help teachers relax and focus on the material we will be looking at.
Teachers will enter the library, sign in and get a snack.  On each table there will be post-it notes for teachers to write the two skills or TEKS they think the students in each grade struggle with.
1.  Sign in
2. Get snacks
3.  Write on post it note and turn in to facilitator.
5 minutes
The facilitator will record the responses to the question asked using tally marks.  These responses will be compared to the data from Lean4ward and Eduphoria Aware.
By displaying the results, consensus will be built and we will narrow down the focus of the session.
Teachers will look at the responses and the math HOT Spots identified by the data our district uses and see if their projections lined up with the data.
1.  Discuss the TEKS identified by the teachers.

2.  Use data from Lean4ward and Eduphoria and compare this to teachers’ responses.
3.  Identify top two areas of concern for each grade.

10 minutes
Teachers will next reflect on the way they teach the identified concepts by writing down one or two activities they use to teach these concepts.
The teachers will reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses and the instructional practices they use in their classroom.
Teachers will write down 1 or 2 of the ways they teach these concepts whether, hands-on activities, direct teach…. and decide if these strategies are working by mentally rating their effectiveness from 1-5. 
1. Teachers write down identified TEKS and how they teach these.
2.  Share with the group any activity that they feel is effective.
3.  Presenter will record any activity the group feels is effective in teaching one of the HOT spots.

10 minutes
Teachers will use the manipulative on the table and brainstorm how these could be used to teach one of the HOT spots.
This activity will get all teachers involved in looking at math in a new way as work collaboratively.
Manipulative will be placed on the tables prior to beginning the workshop. Teacher will write down the steps and ways they could use the manipulative to teach concept.
1.  Presenters will draw teachers’ attention to the manipulative.
2.  Teachers work together to create activity.
3.  Presenters walk around as groups are working and listen for the ways the manipulatives were being used.
4.  Presenter sums up the activities in each group. 
10 minutes
Presenters will briefly share a couple of the ideas from Marilyn Burns’ research on teaching conceptual math. 
The purpose of this will be to show teachers reach based strategies that help struggling students in math.
Presenters will have two or three activities described in a power point presentation and show teachers a few activities they could use in class with the identified TEKS.
1.  Show power point and discuss each activity. (Presenter will spend no more than 1 minute on each activity described.)
2.  Have teachers discuss each activity at the table for 30 seconds to decide if it could work in their classroom.

3.  End session by asking the teachers to rate the session through Eduphoria Workshop.  (This program is used by our district to enroll in classes and rate each session.  Teachers are very familiar with this system.)

4.  Thank the teachers for coming and encourage them to continue to collaborate with each other as we work together to help our students in math.
10 minutes

Saturday, September 14, 2013

EDLD 5397 Week 3 Web Conference with Dr. Borel

Dr. Borel provided very clear information regarding our assignment and our action research project. She went through the APA style of writing and helped us work through some of the problems in our homework. She then explained how the competencies in our internship plan should be separated. We can use the same activity for more than one competency, but each of the 38 competencies should be on a separate line in the form, and we should reflect on each activity as it applies to that competency. Dr. Borel encouraged us to start our action research paper right away, if we had not already done so. She reminded us that there were many parts to it that had to be completed, and if we wait until late next week to start, it will be a huge challenge to get finished. She explained parts 1,2,3, and the reference sections and answered our questions about the project, as well as the homework. I have found these web conferences to be most helpful in this class. Dr. Borel puts a lot of thought and plans the web conferences in a very organized way.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Update on my Action Research Project

I am researching how to effectively use technology in the classroom. I am observing and document the way a fourth grade class is using technology. The class uses the SMART board and SMART response daily, iPads at least once a week, and computer programs at least a few times a week. I have documented specific activities done with the iPads like calculating volume using an app called Think 3D, and creating congruent figures, determining angles, and comparing similarities in figures using the app Geoboard. Both activities kept the kids engaged and focused and at the end of the class period all students were able to perform calculations successfully. (Retention will be determined later.) Smartboard is used collaboratively and to teach whole group or small group daily. The smart response system is used to quickly evaluate the achievement of students and refocus the lesson as needed. Spending time on the concepts the students need to work on is easy determined by the teacher through the use of the clickers. Reteach or moving on occurs immediately. Again student achievement seems to be improving. I will be collecting STAAR scores for these students from last year and comparing it to the score for the year 2013. I will be looking to see if there is an improvement in scores and in which areas the score are higher. I will be looking at the specific way the technology was used to see if there was a correlation. I have another class that uses almost no technology. I will be using this as my “control group”, so to speak. I will see if there is any discrepancy in their math scores compared to the technology group’s math scores. Did the technology group outscore the “control group” especially in the areas where specific technologies were used? I will be looking to see if other factors could have influenced the scores at all. Results will be recorded and plans will be made to adjust technology use as needed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 3 Assignment, Part 1: Establishing a Project Timeline
What is a realistic timeline for your project? What are the required tasks? Who will make sure the timeline is followed and that the tasks are completed? Create a task list for your project, as well as a timeline for the completion of each task, using the chart below.

Gain approval of the program and establish funding

Share the initial plans of the Family Writing Day with the principal and get his approval.  Discuss the possible needs for fund to purchase supplies and possible ways to support the program. 
April 2013
Initial meeting to establish goals and academic needs

Principal, teachers, parent representatives from each grade level, PTSO representative
Review data that supports the need for a school plan to improve writing in all grade levels.  Share the plan for Family Writing Day.  Discuss how this activity will support the academic need.  Discuss possible activities and ways to fund the supplies needed.  Decide which teachers will be the lead teacher for this program for each grade level and establish a committee made up of all shareholders.
April 2013

Planning Committee- Meeting One

Principal, Lead teachers, parent representatives, PTSO representative
Plan the initial dates that the activities will take place alternating one during the school day and one at night.  Consider all families and plan activities to meet the needs of different family schedules. Include plans and accommodation for ELL students and families.
May 2013 – August 2013
Establish writing activities and procedures

Lead teachers for each grade level and other teacher volunteers
Create the initial plans for each Family Writing Day and decide on the length of the activities.  Determine how parents will be participating. For ELL students and families have interpreters and accommodation as available for the day if needed.  Decide what supplies will be needed and compile a list to share with parent representatives and PTSO.  Decide on how to create family take home packets for each six weeks and establish procedures for putting these together.   Pay careful attention to ELL students and families and create any necessary additional “helps” for these families. 
May 2013 – August 2013
Planning Committee – Meeting Two

Principal, Lead teachers, parent representatives, and PTSO representative
Teachers will share the ideas and supplies needed and committee will decide on funding.  Generally, PTSO is very willing to help fund these types of activities and each grade level also has funds allocated that could be used.  Decide who will collect supplies for each grade level.
May 2013 - August 2013
Marketing Family Writing Day

Principal, Lead Teachers, PTSO
Flyers for the Family Writing Day/Night will be created and sent home with students.  Information about the event will be added to the school calendar and put on the school website.  Information will also be shared on the school’s message board outside the school.
August 2013 – May 2014
Planning for first Family Writing Day

The teachers will be responsible for planning the writing activity for the Family Writing Day.  Grade level chairs will ensure that persons responsible for gathering supplies are aware of what is needed.  Family take home packets will be put together and a procedure for getting take home packets to families that do not participate will be established.
August 2013

Evaluation of Family Writing Day
Principal, teachers
At the end of each Family Writing Day, the principal and teachers will meet to discuss family participation and outcomes of the event.  Positives and negatives will be discussed as well as any changes that may need to take place.  Writing skills of students will be noted and scores on benchmarks and STAAR test will be watched to assess academic growth of students.
September 2013 - May 2014

Planning Committee – Evaluation

Principal, Lead teachers, PTSO, Parent Representatives
Principal will share the results of the Family Writing Day with the committee and get feedback from parents about how to make the program more effective.
 September 2013- May 2014

Week 3 Assignment, Part 2: Establishing an Evaluation Process
The ultimate goal of the family-school-community partnership that you are advocating is increased student achievement. You have established measurable goals for the proposed partnership. How will you know that the partnership has met those goals?
Describe the evaluation process that you will use to assess the outcomes of the proposed family-school-community partnership.
In order to evaluate this program, it will be necessary to look at many factors. 

1.  Participation will be evaluated, and we will look for an increase in parental participation with each Family Writing Day.

2.  We will look to see if the STAAR scores for fourth grade were at or above the state average.  (Last year we were below the state average with 67% meeting level 1 requirements.)  ELL student scores will improve.

3.  District assessments at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year will be compared.

4.  Teachers will compare writing samples from the beginning of the year and to the end of the year.  Growth should be seen in all students.

5.  A teacher survey will be done to get their input on the success of the program.  Did the parental involvement help get kids further in the writing process than in previous years?

6.  A parent survey will be given to see if materials sent home and lessons done at school gave parents the support they needed to help their child in the writing area.

What are the measurable goals that you have established for the proposed family-school-community partnership? What criteria will you use to determine if the partnership has met those goals?
1.  STAAR test scores in writing will exceed state scores by at least 2% at level 2 and will be at or above the state average for advanced level. (Exact percentages cannot be given because the state average is determined when the scores are reported.)
2.  STAAR test scores in writing for ELL students will be at or above state average.
2.  Parent participation will increase by 4% from the first Family Writing Day to the last. 
3.  Writing samples will improve in at least 90% of the children, as determined by the teachers.
4.  District writing assessments will improve in at least 80% of the students from the first district assessment to the last. 
5.  Parents surveys will be assessed, and at least 80% of those surveyed will determine the program helpful in supporting parents with at home materials.
6.  Teacher surveys will be assessed, and at least 80% of those surveyed will have scored the program as beneficial.

How do you envision using the data that will be generated from the evaluation process?
The data we collect will be shared with all stakeholders and used to determine if the program had any effect on the academic growth of the children in writing.  If we see tests scores improving and overall writing samples improving, we can conclude that the program was beneficial.  Also, if we see parental involvement increase, we will know that the parents see this program as an effective use of their time and helpful to their children.

If the data shows no improvement or lack of attendance, I think further evaluation should be done to see if there are areas we could improve the program and make it more effective.

Current Reality: Identify a current student issue or need that interferes with academic achievement at your school. Cite data that supports the need. This could be data that relates to academic achievement, student attendance, discipline, or other sources. Look at trends of data and disaggregated data, where available.
One academic need our district has been working on is improving writing scores across the district.  On the 2012 STAAR test, the fourth grade writing scores were below state average (67%) while the math and reading scores were at or above state average.  The writing scores in fourth grade the two previous years were also lower than the math and reading.  (Writing scores in the seventh grade, while above state average, were the lowest score for that grade level.)
After surveying elementary teachers, the consensus seems to be that not enough time is devoted to writing in grades K-4.  A significant amount of class time is devoted to reading and math.  Home support for math and reading in the lower grades seems to be available while parents feel somewhat unsure of how to support students in the area of writing.  The teachers feel more time needs to be devoted to writing both at school and at home.
Of course class time is limited, so it seems important to get the parents involved at home.  This means parents need to feel equipped to help students in this area.  I am proposing a “Family Writing Day” each six weeks to support parents and encourage writing. 
On this day, the elementary classrooms would invite parents to the school to participate in a writing activity.  This could be during the school day one six weeks and after school or later in the evening the next.   The classroom would have students’ work samples on display, and parents could see how their child was doing.  As part of the event, the students and parents will complete a writing project together.  This will allow the teachers to model how the parents can teach and help their child at home.  At the end of the event, the teachers will share with parents the writing skills they will be working on the next 6 weeks and provide the parents with take home packets to use at home for extra practice. 

Vision: How will the family-school-community partnership that you are proposing resolve the issue by meeting the demonstrated need, and how will it support student achievement?
The Family Writing Day will allow parents the opportunity to come into the classroom and see how their child is doing.  It will give them a look at the writing expectations for their child and give them a chance to support their child in the classroom.   The parents will also be given materials to use at home to further encourage writing practice with their child.  
The Family Writing Day will also give the parent a sense of belonging in the school community and in turn hopefully help them see that they are an important part of their child’s academic growth. By encouraging and supporting the teacher through follow up activities at home, the child will see home and school united and working together to support his/her education. 

With the school and home united to do their part to help in the efforts of writing, scores and academic achievement should improve.

Week 2 Assignment, Part 2: Initial Partnership Proposal
The first step in establishing either a new family-school-community partnership, or strengthening an existing one, is to clearly articulate your idea. While your idea will probably evolve as stakeholders contribute their perspectives, you will use this assignment to solidify your initial concept.
To complete this assignment, fill out the chart.
Describe the need for the new or improved school-community partnership. Summarize the strategies/ activities you are recommending.
There is a need to improve in the area of writing in the district, and time spent on writing needs to increase both at school and at home.  Parents need resources and support to enable them to help at home. 

I am proposing that the elementary classrooms from K-4 have a “Family Writing Day” each six weeks and invite the parents to school on this day to participate in an activity with the children. This would allow the parents the opportunity to participate directly in the classroom and see how their child is doing.  The parents and the students could work together on a writing activity as the teacher models the way to help students through the writing process.  At the end of the event, the teacher would explain to the parents the expectations for the student the next six weeks.  She would provide parents with materials to take home to help students with the writing process at home.    

Reference the research that supports the strategies/ activities you are recommending.
Research done by James Comer (1996) in implementing the School Development Plan and Epstein’s Six Types of Involvement (1997) suggest there is a strong connection between school climate and family involvement.  When the parents feel invited and welcome in a school they are more likely to participate in events and support the learning process at home.  Epstein also points out that when parents feel equipped to help students at home, they are more likely to support their children academically.  When students are supported at home academically, they will perform better at school.

This program recognizes that family involvement in the school and support for parents as they work with their child at home can lead to increase academic success for the child.  This program invites parents into the classroom and includes them in all activities.  They will be able to interact with the teacher, as well as other parents in the school.  This will give them a connection to the school and a sense of belonging.  They are a partner in this classroom, not a visitor.  This type of activity in schools definitely helps create a warm and welcoming school climate.  A school environment that parents feel welcome and accepted in leads to more involvement from parents.  The result is more support for the teacher.  The relationship is reciprocal as pointed out and supported by Epstein.

The program will also give parents an understanding of what the writing expectations are for their child.  They will be able to participate in an activity that will show them what their child does in class, and parents will be able to help their child through the activity with the teacher acting as a model.  This will empower parents and give them confidence in helping their child at home.  At the end of the day or activity, the teachers will meet with the parents to share the writing goals for the upcoming 6 weeks.  The parents will be given writing resources that can be used at home to encourage writing practice.

Compose three or more measurable goals for the school-community partnership.
Goals for this activity will include the following:

1.  Attendance at the Writing Day activity will increase each 6 weeks and all parents that do not attend will be contacted and given the “Take Home” resource packets.
2.  The Family Writing Day will take place at least 5 of the 6 six weeks.
3.  At least two of the Family Writing Day activities will take place after school hours so that parents who work may attend.
4.  STAAR writing test scores will improve and exceed state averages.

How will the school-community partnership increase student achievement?
This Family Writing Day will encourage parents to become an active part of their child’s education, specifically in the area of writing.  Through this activity parents will gain insight into the writing process and where their child should be performing.  They will be given resources to support the child at home.  Feeling equipped and a part of the process, the parents are more likely to encourage writing practice at home.

With the extra support at home and a strong focus at school through the “Family Writing Day, the students’ writing scores on the STAAR test will improve and academically the students will feel more confident in the area of writing. 

Identify the school-community partnership’s stakeholders.
Stakeholders for this School-Community Partnership are the following:
-Parents and other family members
-Educators (Teachers and other school employees and leaders)

What are the steps to approval and implementation of the partnership? What are possible sources of funding?
To begin this program:
1.  Document the academic need for improvement in writing and get principal’s approval to have the “Writing Day” activity.
2.  Meet with teachers to share information on the program and get their input on activities that could be built around the writing day.   
3.  Contact the PTSO and share the idea of the program with them.  Get feedback from them in terms of ways to share information with the parents.  Ask for financial support if resources are available and needed.  Have the teachers here for this meeting so that teachers and parents could collaborate on the best way to make this group work.  Decide on the best time for activities based on students’ needs in the classroom and parents’ schedules.
4.  Get principals approval of the dates and put on school calendar.
5.  Teachers will need to meet to compile resources for parents that will be needed to support students for each six weeks.
6.  Information will be sent home to parents about the writing and the events will be listed on the school calendar.  Information could also be put on website.

What resources are required for the partnership?
Writing resources and activities are the main thing required to hold this “Family Writing Day” activity.  The teachers have many online resources that could be shared as well as books and activities that they have used in the past.  Depending on the activities the teachers decide on, there may be supplies for the activities each 6 weeks.  Parents could sign up to help with supplies needed. 

How will you market your school-community partnership idea?
Marketing this activity could include the following:
1.  Flyers could be made and sent home to parents.
2.  Information could be posted on the website and on the banner outside the school.
3.  Poster could be made and put around the school.
4.  Word of mouth
5.  PTSO could advertise in their newsletter.
6.  Class newsletter could include information about the activity.

How will you evaluate your partnership’s outcomes?
The “Writing Day” activities should help parents feel more confident in helping their child with writing.  A parent survey at the end of the year will help evaluate how the families feel about this activity and the support it provides them. Also, parental involvement/attendance will be one tool to evaluate the program.

Teacher’s input on how well the activities support the writing process in class will be valuable.  Ultimately, the goal will be to see writing scores go up on the STAAR test and the overall writing ability of the students to improve.