823 Chapters
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Appendix Ethics and Collaborative Action Research

Richard Sagor Solution Tree Press ePub

Two areas of ethical consideration have relevance to the collaborative action research you may conduct in your role as a professional educator. The first pertains to professional ethics and the second to research ethics.

As a professional, you have a sacred obligation to your clients. Every time you enter the classroom, you are obligated to deliver instruction in the best manner you know how. When you deliver on this obligation, you show yourself to be an ethical professional educator. Fundamentally, the only reason to engage in action research, as promoted in this book, is to provide students with the best possible instruction. For this reason, conducting action research is no more than an expression of your devotion to the ethics of your profession.

In the United States, as well as most other countries, there are laws and procedures that must be adhered to whenever one conducts research involving human subjects. The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that no one is ever unknowingly subjected to experimental manipulation or placed at risk for the purposes of scientific research without prior knowledge and permission. The law specifically exempts the following:

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Medium 9781934009451

2 The Framework of Modern School Culture

Anthony Muhammad Solution Tree Press ePub

School culture is a complex web of history, psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. To effectively diagnose and eliminate toxic school culture, we must take an honest look at the internal and external factors that create the conditions that make cultural transformation difficult.

The accountability movement, and No Child Left Behind in particular, did not create the cultural issues confronting today’s school system. But this new era has brought some deeply rooted belief systems and practices to the forefront for examination, including issues such as how we analyze, staff, and fund schools. An examination of the current environment and conditions in our schools can help us understand the myriad of paradigms that exist within the walls of our public schools and therefore help us strategize to transform the environment into a healthy one.

No Child Left Behind mandates the school as the responsible party when it comes to effectiveness. This is very different from the traditional belief that students and their families were primarily responsible for the effectiveness of education; educators were the experts, and schools provided students with the opportunity to learn. Students were expected to comply with their educators’ demands to acquire knowledge. Schools believed that if parents supported the expert guidance of the teacher and encouraged their children to follow that guidance, students would succeed in school. It was not surprising, then, that all students were not academically successful, because levels of support for education were different in every household. Additionally, success or failure in school was determined solely by educators in the form of completely subjective grading scales and procedures controlled exclusively by education professionals. Parents and students had very little recourse if they felt that the system was unfair or was not an accurate appraisal of proficiency or potential.

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Chapter 4: Great Extrapolations

Bailey, Kim Solution Tree Press ePub

Identifying relationships between ideas

Identifying rules and patterns

Applying rules and patterns

Short, content-specific paragraphs (see pages 94–113)

Note-taking materials for each team

Projector to display paragraphs (optional)

Great Extrapolations helps students recognize characteristics and patterns in a situation and apply them to new situations. Upper elementary students practice generalizing characteristics from descriptions of objects, while middle school students identify and extrapolate patterns from sequences of events. Great Extrapolations is based on an activity outlined in Tactics for Thinking by Robert J. Marzano and Daisy Arredondo (1986).

To play Great Extrapolations you will need a number of short, content-specific paragraphs, such as those at the end of this chapter (see pages 94–113). You may also elect to create your own. For younger students or students who do not have much experience with extrapolation, use paragraphs that describe characteristics of items or objects (such as those on pages 95–103). From these paragraphs, students must identify and extrapolate individual characteristics. With older and more experienced students, use paragraphs that involve sequence patterns or cause-and-effect patterns (such as those on pages 103–113). Students must then identify and extrapolate the patterns from these sequences.

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Chapter 4: Virtual Teams

Ban, John R. Solution Tree Press ePub

Welcome to the 21st century! Virtual teams provide a way for singleton teachers to no longer be singletons. By using technology readily accessible to almost anyone, singleton teachers can find others who do exactly what they do and meet virtually to do the work of a collaborative team, regardless of where they live. It just takes a little tech savviness, a strong commitment, and other people who are just as committed. Districts can help teachers who teach the same content at different schools to form virtual teams. However, prospective virtualists, beware—it isn’t as easy as you think.

Casey Rutherford was the only physics teacher in his Minnesota high school for seven years. When the district developed the expectation that every teacher would participate in a collaborative team, Casey was excited about the prospect of working with peers but quickly realized he was a singleton. However, Casey had an advantage. He was an avid Twitter user who had amassed a large PLN, including close to two hundred physics teachers! Casey decided to find out if there were others in his PLN, like him, who wanted to become more structured in learning together. He pitched his idea to his supervisor to make sure he would be meeting the district’s expectations. Then he sent out a tweet: “Anyone interested in using student work to collaborate about physics instruction? If so, click here.” The link led to the following short invitation on a Google Doc (Rutherford, 2013):

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Medium 9781935542094

Chapter 4 How Will We Respond When Some Students Don’t Learn?

DuFour, Richard Solution Tree Press ePub

Marty Mathers, principal of the Puff Daddy Middle School (nickname: the Rappers), knew that his eighth-grade algebra teachers were his most challenging team on the faculty. The team was comprised of four people with very strong personalities who had difficulty finding common ground.

Peter Pilate was the most problematic teacher on the team from Principal Mather’s perspective. The failure rate in his classes was three times higher than the other members of the team, and parents routinely demanded that their students be assigned to a different teacher. Ironically, many of the students who failed Mr. Pilate’s class demonstrated proficiency on the state math test. Principal Mathers had raised these issues with Peter, but found Peter to be unreceptive to the possibility of changing any of his practices. Peter insisted that the primary reason students failed was because they did not complete their daily homework assignments in a timely manner. He refused to accept late work, and he explained that the accumulation of zeros on missed assignments led to the high failure rate. He felt strongly that the school had to teach students to be responsible, and he made it clear that he expected the principal to support him in his effort to teach responsibility for getting work done on time.

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