My Action Research Project
Timeline
September Read the "Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization".
October Begin literature review. Read tons of sources, talk to others who teach programming as well as experienced teachers. Decide where my efforts can best be applied to my community of practice. Make a final decision by the end of October.
November Continue with literature review. Blog about ideas and developments in my class. Obtain permission from the school administration to conduct the research. Decide on three out of school events
December Send Letters to parents and students outlining my research and goals for the project. Set dates for three out of school business/social events for the class to attend. Have a colleague observe the class and record the number of specific student and teacher activities. Student activities will include good questions, attentive poses, active engagement in the lesson, self directed learning,disruptive behavior, off task comments, and inattention to the activity. Teacher activities that will be monitored will be positive feedback, asking engaging questions, valuing student questions and other activities to be determined later. Review the list of activities
January
  • Send a letter to parents explaining the research I am undertaking and asking permission for attendance at the activities.
  • Introduce project based learning. Student will complete a group project where they collaborate on a program that solves a case study problem from the Oracle Internet Academy. Each group of two students will have to create a portion of the program that will work with the rest of the group's, without seeing their actual code. In the meantime I will redesign the student's final project into a project based learning activity where the students will have a choice of activities, topics and outcomes.
  • I will provide more collaboration tools, share email addresses, IM screen names, msn ID's etc to assist students will connecting for group work.
  • Analyze the survey results from the Introduction of Project Based Learning.
February

Students should be collaborating at a high level now. With the completion of the first group project, plans for the out of class activities are :
1. Watch a movie on mentorship
2.Do a team service project
3.Have a "meet and greet" event at the end of the year to display their work and lean the etiquette of interacting in a business environment

  • Conduct the first of three out of class activities.
  • Apply for the Youth Service Grant to obtain the money for the service project.
  • Contact the elementary school principal about selecting a class to collaborate with my java students.
  • Send a letter to the parents of the elementary students
  • Give a practice "end of course test" and record results
March

Students will choose how to cover the material in the chapters to add to their Java knowledge while working on their project.

  • I will conduct my second out of class activity where the class takes the money obtained through the grant and purchases computer parts. The group manages the money and decided which parts to purchase. Then we will build the computer and load software. When the project is complete, it will be donated to a needy student.
  • Survey students about their experience with the service project.
  • Schedule a field trip for my class to interview the elementary class. During the field trip, the younger students will imagine and describe a game that will help them learn a specific Standard Of Learning Skill.
  • Schedule another observation by my "critical friend" teacher to look specific behaviors.
April
  • I check to see how students are coming along on their project, revise my original plan and make adjustment to my classroom activities and philosophy.
  • Check students project based notebook of progress.
  • Schedule another meeting for the two classes together
  • Give a different version of the practice "End of Course" Test and compare the achievement from the first test.
May
  • I will examine the student project based notebooks and check for progress and understanding.
  • I will move from the semi-traditional class environment where we covered "chapters" to a "team meeting" scenario where students immediately get into groups and decide what needs to be done that day since their projects will need to be finish shortly.
June
  • I will conduct the final out-of-class activity. Students will present their completed project to the elementary students. Also parents, school administrators and members of the business community will be invited to view the display. I will design a final survey to solicit the students opinion on the class and they ability to work together as a team. I will compare these results to the December and April surveys. I will summarize my results and draw some conclusions about my work.
  • Give a final practice "End of Course Test" and compare achievement
  • Students will take the Oracle Internet Academy Exit Exam.
  • Results compared to last year's students and correlation of achievement on the series of practices tests as compared to achievement on Exit Exam.