Classroom Action Research 2008-09 by Andamicrophone


									To:       MMSD Instructional Staff
Re:       Classroom Action Research (CAR) 2008-09
Topic:    CAR opportunity in the areas of CollaborativeTeaming,
             ESL/ELL/Bilingual, Grade 4-12Adolescent Literacy Interventions,
             and school-based groups at Hamilton and Sherman Middle Schools

                       YOU’RE INVITED TO APPLY!
      * * Short Applications due September 10, 2008 * *

MMSD’S COMMITMENT TO ACTION RESEARCH: As we face the demanding daily life of
our schools and work to ensure the success of all of our students, it is challenging to find time
to come together to reflect on meaningful issues that impact our classrooms. MMSD has a long-
standing commitment to action research, an important element in the high-quality work of our
staff, and national reputation for our work in this area. Over the past two decades, over 600
staff have pursued action research in order to better understand and change their own
practice. This is a remarkable record and a testimony to all who have participated in and
supported this work. See

WHAT IS ACTION RESEARCH? Action Research is a process in which educators
 examine their own practice systematically and carefully using the techniques of
 research. Participants design a research question, collect data throughout the
 year, analyze what they have learned, and write about their findings. Observations,
interviews, surveys and journals are typical data methods that participants use to
investigate their questions. Action Research is based on the following assumptions:
     Educators work best on problems they have identified for themselves.
     Educators become more effective when encouraged to examine and assess
        their own work and then consider ways of working differently.
     Educators help each other by working collaboratively.           (Heidi Watts)

EXPERIENCE? In order to effectively implement school change, people must have time to
reflect on the implications of the new directions and connect what they are learning to the
context in which they work. Participants in action research groups discuss their practices in
depth, learn from what others are doing, collect data about what they are studying, and
document what is making a difference. The “action” implies that researchers do something
differently in their practice or in their school on behalf of students. People pursue their own
research question as the year unfolds, but they also learn about others’ questions in an informal
discussion setting. Collaboration, inquiry, and reflection are at the core of this powerful staff
development process.
CAR groups will meet monthly throughout the academic year, in a combination of morning and after-
school meetings. Participants must make a commitment to their learning and to the rest of the
group by attending all of the meetings. In addition to these monthly meetings, individuals work on
their own time to develop their individual research projects. At the end of the year, everyone writes a
paper describing the story of what they have learned, and participates in a district-wide CAR Forum to
share ideas and learn from colleagues.

Classroom Action Research begins with a question or a puzzle. Sometimes people come to the first
meeting with a specific research question in mind, but this is not necessary. A key feature of the
process is the development of a thoughtful, challenging question. During the 2008-09 year, we will
offer opportunities for staff to investigate their own questions in these areas:

Focusing on the specialized needs of students struggling with literacy beyond third grade, in this CAR
group, participants will explore a variety of strategies for intervention, and collaborate around what
works with some of our most school-dependent learners.
        Meeting dates:          1. Mon Sept 29 * 8:00am-3:00pm          6. Feb (date TBA) 4-7pm
                                2. Wed Oct 22 * 8:00am-3:00pm           7. March (date TBA) 4-7pm
Note: Substitute                3. Thurs Nov 6 * 4-7pm                  8. Wed April 1 * 8:00am-3:00p
coverage is provided            4. Thurs Dec 4 * 4-7pm                  9. May (date TBA) 4-7pm
for the daytime meetings.       5. Wed Jan 21 * 8:00am-3:00pm           10. Tues June 2 * 4-6pm CAR Forum

This CAR group will engage in lively, thoughtful discussion around issues and processes of collaborative
teaming with colleagues across or within grade levels, content areas, and educator roles. Teams are
encouraged to apply.
        Meeting dates           1. Tues Sept 23 * 7:45-11:15am         6. Wed Feb 25 * 7:45am-3:00pm
                                2. Thurs Oct 23 * 7:45-11:15am         7. March (date TBA) 4-7pm
Note: Substitute                3. Nov (date TBA) 4-7pm                8. Wed April 15 * 7:45am-3:00pm
coverage is provided            4. Dec (date TBA) 4-7pm                9. May (date TBA) 4-7pm
for the daytime meetings.       5. Tues Jan 20 * 7:45-11:15am          10. Tues June 2 * 4-6pm CAR Forum

This CAR group will bring together regular education, bilingual, and ESL teachers to explore questions
about effective curriculum and instruction for English Language Learners. Teams encouraged to apply.
        Meeting dates          1. Tues Sept 23 * 7:45-11:15am         6. Wed Feb 25 * 7:45am-3:00pm
                               2. Thurs Oct 23 * 7:45-11:15am         7. March (date TBA) 4-7pm
Note: Substitute               3. Nov (date TBA) 4-7pm                8. Wed April 15 * 7:45am-3:00pm
coverage is provided           4. Thurs Dec 18 * 7:45-11:15am         9. May (date TBA) 4-7pm
for the daytime meetings.      5. Wed Jan 21 * 7:45-11:15am           10. Tues June 2 * 4-6pm CAR Forum

Hamilton and Sherman Middle Schools will each offer in-house CAR groups around specific instructional
areas and equity & diversity. Special application forms will be distributed to instructional staff at each
location, and monthly meetings will take place onsite after school.
Morning and full-day meetings will be held offsite at WPS or WEAC; after-school meetings will be held at
various MMSD sites. Location directions and step-by-step information about how to reserve subs will be
provided to all participants prior to the first meeting.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? Participants can include classroom teachers, administrators, support and
specials staff. Groups typically have 8-10 people. We encourage more than one person from a building
to apply, so that colleagues can support each other and perhaps work together.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE MONTHLY MEETINGS? Participants learn about different stages of the
action research process while investigating their research question. At each meeting, everyone has time
to talk about their research question and the progress they are making. Other group members ask
questions and help each other think more deeply about the work, and writing is part of this process.

For each of the groups, we have experienced CAR co-facilitators who are enthusiastic about supporting
you through the process of action research. These facilitators will share loads of information and
background materials at the first meeting so that you can map out the year and get started on identifying
a research question.

 Participants have the option of earning UW graduate credits (Dept of C&I) as either a special
      student or a student currently enrolled in a graduate program. "Special Students" can enroll at
      a reduced fee of $100/credit—a great bargain. This 3-credit CAR course is listed in the second
      semester timetable, and detailed registration information is provided. Please note that in order
      to earn UW credit, you must participate fully in all meetings throughout the year, complete all
      assignments and meet UW enrollment and registration deadlines.
 Instead of UW credit, participants may earn up to 60 Professional Advancement Credits (PACs) for
      independent work done on their CAR projects outside the contract day.
 Classroom Action Research can be part of your Professional Development Plan.

These CAR groups are funded from various district budgets. The UW-Madison partners with us to
offer the special reduced rate for UW credit.

HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION? Please call or email Mary Klehr, Coordinator of Action
Research, if you have any questions: Also, many MMSD staff have
done action research in the past--feel free to ask colleagues about the experience. See the CAR
website for lists of past topics, participants, and study abstracts:

HOW DO I SIGN UP TO BE PART OF A CAR GROUP THIS YEAR? Please fill out the last sheet
and return it electronically or in the body of an email to Mary Klehr by Wed Sept 10th. We will
accommodate as many participants as there is space for, and will notify everyone by Sept 19.
                        Classroom Action Research 2008-09
    (RETURN via attachment or in body of email to MARY KLEHR by Wed Sept 10th)

I am applying to be part of the following a Classroom Action Research group/s:
____ Adolescent Literacy     _____ Collaborative Teaming         _____ ESL/ELL/Bilingual
                      _____ Hamilton MS            ______ Sherman MS

I have read through all the information and am interested in conducting action research on this
topic because:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Please fill in all information and return this to Mary Klehr at by 9/10/08.

School:                                           Grade/Subject:

email:                                            phone:

____      I agree to participate fully in all monthly sessions, produce a written paper, and participate in
          the annual CAR Forum after school on June 2, 2009.

____      I have received permission from my principal to leave school to attend the daytime meetings.
          Principal Name:

_____ I will need substitute coverage to attend the daytime meetings

Additional info to help us prepare. . .
____ I plan to apply for UW grad credit at $100/credit
- or-
____ I plan to apply for PAC credit.                                                              8/26/08

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