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2017-2018 Action Research Grant--Vicky Mahoney

Play with Words: Motivating Students to be Creative Writers

An explanation of the research question and objective of the project:
What happens to my students’ writing when I incorporate new instructional strategies to teach poetry and give students more time write poetry in a stimulating environment?
1.What happens to students’ motivation to write?
2. What happens to how invested they are in revising their work?
3. What happens when they revise their work with their peers?
4. What happens when they share their work with an audience?
5. Does their writing get better?

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2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant recipient Karen Maxon - part 2

Come see Action Research Grant recipient, Karen Maxon at #NCSLMA16 from 3:00-3:50 on Friday in "Terrace 3"

Have your students mastered the art of gathering superficial facts? Are they experts at copying pictures from the Internet and pasting them into a Google Slides presentation? Then, it's time to cultivate their research skills. We did Action Research to determine if growth mindset partnered with the Big6 could engage students in a deeper cognitively demanding depth of knowledge when researching. Come to our session Researcher, Researcher How Does Your Brain Grow? and see how collaboration among teachers and the media specialist grew this concept to an entire grade level last year and planted seeds across all content area curriculum for this year!


2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant recipient Karen Maxon - part 1

Do you ever wonder how to really help students in the research process?  It seems that I am always wrestling with this professional goal.   My most recent grapple has been the 2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant Rugby Raider Researcher, How Does Your Brain Grow.  The grant focuses on using the cognitive demands of the research process as an avenue to help students develop a growth mindset.  My objective is to investigate if applying a growth mindset will increase students’ emotional resilience during the research process.  My hope is that students will show increased persistence and adaptability in the pursuit of information when completing projects that require depth in their learning.

As I mentioned, it is a professional passion of mine that “research” be synonymous with the process of focusing topics, developing questions, seeking, evaluating, and citing credible sources, and synthesizing information into something that is uniquely a student’s own creation.  I fervently want research to mean more to teachers and students than Google searching, copying, and pasting, none of which requires any meaningful engaged “think time” or ownership of synthesizing information.

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Action Research in the Library (Part 2 of 3)

In my grant proposal, I combined technology tools with centers based learning to create an innovative model for instruction in the media center. My goal was to address the achievement gap in literacy in Kindergarten students.  In my first post, I went over the basic model that incorporates technology, movement, group work and lots of talking in order to impact achievement.  In this post, I will go into more detail about the content of the learning centers.

We began each lesson with a simple story, example: Biscuit Goes to School, at the Activboard.  This ensured that every student had exposure to the story, and an opportunity to identify the basic story elements with plenty of support from teacher and other classmates.  Then we would move to center work where students would respond to the story using technology tools.

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Action Research in the Library (Part 1 of 3)

In my Action Research Grant proposal, I combined technology tools with centers based learning to create an innovative model for instruction in the media center. I developed this model in order to address the achievement gap in Kindergarten students (in literacy) at my school.  My main goal was to move these students forward to proficiency by the end of the year so they would be ready for first grade; the crucial reading year.  But, in addition to academic goals, I wanted to create a different kind of learning environment in my media center.  As we all know, learners have changed and continue to change.  Young people expect to be involved in the action, they want to “do”, not watch, and they want to use technology to learn.  My hope was that a model that included technology, movement, group work and lots of talking would be a better way to help my students master basic literacy skills—as well help me keep the sanity with classes of over 24 students and no assistant!

Many of our students come to Kindergarten without a quality preschool foundation, and many come with very limited Standard English literacy skills.  I worked with the Kindergarten team to identify six basic literacy skills that our students need to develop the most, in order to catch up and be proficient by the end of the Kindergarten year. We looked at assessment data for incoming Kindergarteners and proficiency benchmarks for EOY Kindergarteners in order to choose specific instructional goals for each of the centers. 

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