Teacher Inquiry Institute Final Project

Hi folks,

Here it is, our final project job sheet.  I’m sorry for the delay.  I can share the stories from our vida loca when we get back together on May 30.  I’ll send this via email as well today.

Please email if you have any questions!

2013eng633 final job sheet

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Inquiry requires multiple stances

When planning, cultivate a conscious mind.  Ask, “What DO I hypothesize about the effects of my teaching, and what theory supports my predication?”

When observing, cultivate a beginner’s mind.  Ask, “What AM I seeing?”

When analyzing, cultivate a critical mind.  Ask, “why did it happen this way and how might it have been otherwise?”

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Sept 27th: Our questions

Lynn: Will tandem journal writing increase students’ writing skills? When exposed to daily writers’ workshop lessons and daily opportunities for tandem journaling, what kinds of improvement would be noticed in writing skills? How will monthly writing prompts provide instructional feedback on progress?

Shantel: I want to see if giving students the freedom to not worry about grades on their writing as an assessment will help with buy in and having more students complete the assignment and work on revising/editing and participating in the writing process.

Jenna E: What happens when lower level students are leveled for reading and writing instruction?

What types of peer sharing help students to improve as writers?

How do netbooks and other new technologies help students to grow as writers?

Kim: What happens when a teacher intentionally nurtures the reflective, wondering natures of students? (the why? and how come? questions in students)

Kerri: We have a district prompt.  When students are given a free prompt rather than a district prompt, does their writing improve?

Will students’ volume and accuracy of writing improve when word lists are incorporated into instruction?

What happens when 1st grade students are taught self-evaluation of their own writing?  Does this help them improve as writers?

Kirsten: Does students writing improve more if students are given a one week workshop on multi-cultural texts rather than a one-hour writing prompt on summer memories?

Jenna C: What happens when a mother helps her kids improve writing fluency?

Allie: What happens in a student led writing workshop? With portfolio revisions?

What happens when students give feedback on a model story? What types of feedback do students given when not prompted in any direction?

Eric: How will reflection structured by rubrics and learning targets influence student writing?

Becky: In what ways do additional writing strategies improve student writing? Which writing strategies do students internalize and incorporate into their writing?  Do students imrpve their writing with global strategies rather than just grammatical improvement?

Janette: What happens when I teach one element of grammar and mechanics each week? Will students’ writing improve?  What grammar and mechanics lessons do students internalize and use in their writing? How do teachers create assessments that measure whether students’ follow standard written English conventions more frequently after semester long instruction?

Sierra: How does conferencing help students develop a shared understanding of quality in the absence of rubrics?

How does increasing the quantity of student free-choice reading improve students’ writing?

What types of response and assessments increase students’ motivation to revise?

Becky: How does a classroom culture of openness and trust develop?  How can a teacher foster it? Does it help students to improve as writers?  How does peer conferencing foster positive classroom culture?  What instruction in peer conferencing fosters it?

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September 13th

In order for my students to demonstrate their skills and understandings about composing written texts, they need:

  • choice/meaning, relevant topics
  • collaboration
  • time
  • feedback
  • teacher-student conferences
  • clear expectations / examples of good writing in the genre
  • time to be reflective
  • meaningful audience
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Taking Time to Reflect, Learn, Plan and Advocate

We will begin Thursday morning writing about teaching demonstrations.  The syllabus asks you to explore how it went.  Did the group respond as you anticipated?  What would you change before doing this demonstration again?  In order to answer thoughtfully, review the comments that participants made in response to your demonstration.  You may find these questions helpful (but you don’t HAVE to answer all of them).  Your reflection can develop organically.

  • Were there any patterns in participants’ responses?  Describe any themes that emerged.
  • If you had been given 90 minutes instead of 75, what else would you have wanted to say or do?
  • What prior knowledge or experience would your audience need to have in order to put the ideas that you shared into practice?
  • Thinking from a new angle, who would NOT find your demonstration helpful?
  • If you were to give your demonstration to a group of teachers during a mandatory professional development workshop, what would you need to do in order to make the experience useful for them?  If you were to do it to the LMWP group again, what would you change?

9:45  Moving on to wholistic reflection, the syllabus asks you try to write to discover what you learned this summer.  What surprised you?  What pleased you?  What would you say to others about the institute? What did you learn from your writing and writing group experience?  What did you learn from the readings and reading group experience?  What needs revision as the leaders plan for 2012?  To frame this reflection, we first want you to free write, then to try one of these tactics or another:

  • Write a letter to yourself in six months.  What do you want yourself to remember to make your teaching more effective and fulfilling?
  • AND/OR
  • Write a letter to Kari, Susan, and/or Lindsay, explaining what you learned this summer.  Walk us through your portfolio, explaining what we should notice as we read it.  Finally, help us to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of the institute are and how to make it better next year.
  • If you still have time and energy, try to
  • Write a byline for a local newspaper reporting on the LMWP and what teachers learn from it OR
  • Write a letter to your local Senator or Representative, explaining what the National Writing Project does for teachers in West Michigan and recommending (or not) continued funding of the National Writing Project.

10:30 Finally, the syllabus asks you to write to construct a plan for changes that you will try to make in your classroom or life as a writer next year.  Try to translate something that you have learned into notes toward a curricular or instructional plan.  Make a plan for teaching something that you have learned.

11:15 Discussion/Sharing

11:30 Inverness Research

1:00 GVSU Course Evaluation

1:15 Read around begins

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Our Reading: 2012 LMWP Annotated Bibliography

Our Google Doc is ready to be edited.   Please paste your annotated bibliography entries alphabetically by author’s last name.  After your entry, sign it with “Submitted by <your name>”.  Thanks!

Here it is:   Our Annotated Bibliography


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Writing Invitation

Write a letter to your principal, your superintendent, your ISD, your Representative, or your Senator, explaining what teachers need in West Michigan in order to thrive.


Write a letter evaluating and explaining the National Writing Project’s commitment to “teachers teaching teachers.”


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