Action Research

Action research sounds like something that should be on radio news.  I’d probably guess that teaching writing and giving valuable feedback would be my area of study.  After 24 years, I still don’t know if I am doing it “right” or, for that matter if there is a “right” way.  My current method is better–giving feedback in two stages on half of their essays at a time, but it is still more editing than revising.  How do I get kids to draft more, how do I manage the paper load?

Also, do my assignments need revamping, especially for Modern Lit.?  It seems like a lot of the beginning college writing classes are more narrative based.  Am I servicing those kids by having the write a five-paragraph, literary analysis?  How do I know?  What would be better?  Something more creative and personal?  Something to build their confidence as writers?

Thinking about Of Mice and Men, could I broaden it to writing about a friendship, a failed dream, a death, difficult decision?  Could they still write about the literature and incorporate something personal, meshing the two?

The great thing is that as far as I know, I am the only teacher for that course, so I could probably test-run the assignment without much grief.  I don’t think there would be any “harm” done with this type of assignment.  After all, there three more essays that I can do the “traditional” way if I decide to.  Hmmmm.

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2 Responses to Action Research

  1. kimolsen2013 says:

    Oh, I was just thinking. I wonder if there has been any research on increased writing proficiency and students who have technology readily available, such as laptops, netbooks, or iPads, or, for that matter, if having a personal blog helped. I know I am starting to like my blog!

  2. Lindsay E. says:

    The LMWP teachers who have launched blogging with their students have found that enthusiasm is high at the beginning. Students DO write more, and they write it more willingly. The struggle these two teachers have found (one in 5th grade and one with 8th graders) is, first, sustaining interest beyond the first couple of months, and second, lost instruction time taken up by problems logging on and such over the course of the year. You might think that students would get over the logging in issues after the first week, but tech tool issues kept popping up. EDUBLOG is the blogging platform that looks just like WordPress but is designed for classroom use that one of them used. I think that, in order to sustain enthusiasm beyond the “it looks cool” phase, i.e. in order to have a vibrant blogging community, students need to be accountable to use the technology to do something that they can’t do face to face–like respond to each other’s drafts when there isn’t enough class time in which to do it. This needs a scheduled structure of deadlines, perhaps. Students may also need to really decide on a purpose for their blog and an intended audience if it’s just classmates in a writing group or not. Are they writing about literature, about nature/seasons, about fashion, about music, about movies, about being 16? It might be a great place for teaching/writing the book and movie review genre, and/or teaching how to write an essay sharing one’s thoughts on a thought provoking quote (like the AP language exam used to be). Or a unit on This I Believe essays – see NPR resources. Just some thoughts… 🙂

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