A9 Utilize technology to enhance student learning and increase proficiency with administrative tasks.
Students will receive practice in journaling, reading electronic tests, evaluating on-line information, and searching for information on the Internet.
Teachers will provide students with the opportunities to interact with a variety of technological tools such as Turning Point, PDA’s, EBeam, InterWrite, laptops, desktops, closed-circuit TV, GPS, iTouch, etc.
A10 Utilize the grade level standards of the State Science Curriculum. Use the standards in planning instruction that will meet the needs
of students, and improve learning in Science.
Students will generate projects, with written pieces, for their own webpage of Science activities. Since I have 4 classes participating, the management of the website will be done by me. The students will do the work and have it ready to be published on their individual webpages.
We will use a digital camera, PowerPoint, Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, and Google Docs Presentations to make movies and slide shows. They will be embedded in the student webpages, for various projects being covered throughout the school year.
Strategy 1 and data collection:
Students will be given a survey about how they prepare for, and take Science tests.
How will I share this with my school?
I will let the staff know about the research during one of the faculty meetings. They will be given the results of the survey the fifth graders will have taken.
Strategy 2 and data collection:
Students will keep an electronic portfolio using the network shared folder. Each will be given their own folder for use as an e portfolio. Students' chosen writings for science projects, will be edited by students and downloaded by teacher into their individual webpages along with photos and/or pictures of projects.
As the classes complete the various experiments and activities in class, digital photos will be taken and put into Google Documents presentations. Those slide shows will be downloaded into the classroom website.
How will I share this with my school? Teachers will view Students' and Classroom Websites.
Strategy 3 and data collection:
Each class will have a class average generated for each quiz. I will use The Graph Club to make a line graph showing how the classes as a whole are improving.
How will I share this with my school?
I will let the staff know that they can visit the classroom website to view the test average of theme assessments.
Strategy 4 and data collection: Students will practice taking online teacher generated quizzes and BCRs using the following website:
How will I share this with my school: Teachers will view links on the students' website of the various quizzes made available.
Implementation Time Line:
Initially I gave the students a survey on Science tests. Many of them showed confidence in their ability to succeed on them. However, the results of many of the tests did not show that the majority of the students, though confident, actually prepared for them.
I used Graph Club to make graphs that show quiz averages per term, and overall averages of homework, classwork, and quizzes combined for the four classes that I teach.
When viewing the graphs, it might appear that overall improvement in learning is not evident. However, individual student progress is, in various areas. Students' classroom participation was off the charts, especially during group experiments and when using technology. I'm not as encouraged about their testing progress. (The third term showed a drop due to the amount of days missed because of the snow storms. Those many days absent, made it difficult for many to catch up.)
I did provide study guides for each topic, and online practice quizzes. This year I made use of Chapter tests that were provided by the textbook, more often than not. I'm aware that they are difficult, but I wanted the students to be used to that form of testing, because of their comprehensive nature. They were very similar to the Science MSA form of testing.
Students who were already academically disciplined showed the most success on the formal assessments. Students with learning challenges were given modified exams, thus allowing them a certain amount of growth.
I made sure that all students experienced success, by allowing each one to participate in group experiments, activities, and special projects.
Our classroom blog gives some reflections the students had about Science this year.
Working on this action research project was quite rewarding. It allowed me to look closely at the way in which I teach Science. I've been teaching this subject, along with others, for almost 35 years, and still know that there are many things I need to do to improve. I've discovered that the more engaging the students are in their investigations, the more they get excited about learning. Not that I didn't already know this. It's just that when you teach a certain way for such a long time, it's harder to change. (Old dog, new tricks?) Well, I have changed my teaching methods in Science. Even with the difficult tests they take, the students still seem excited about coming to my class, just to see what else I have in store for them. Are we having an experiment today? What project are we going to do next? Yeah, we're going to work on the computers! These are the kinds of things I heard from the students more often this year than ever before. What an endorsement!
Are there things I could've done differently, better? Absolutely! I probably should have had them do more at- home activities involving their families. I could've shown them better ways to prepare for exams, even if it meant giving after school study sessions. I really want to get fifth graders ready for Middle School, by making them realize how important it is for them to take their learning more seriously. They need to know that their futures depend on them being independent learners. Many of my students really didn't get the kind of encouragement to study at home as I had hoped. Some did. It was obvious. However, I still must find better ways to reach students who need that added push to succeed on formal assessments.
I definitely believe that technology is the means to that end! Oh, if only I had a class set of computers for my students to be able to work on everyday! What a dream!
So, next year I plan to once again do an Action Research project for Science!