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2 years ago

Classroom Action Research has been a familiar term as long as I ...

Classroom Action Research has been a familiar term as long as I ...

“I understand math a

“I understand math a little and by watching the past warm-up teachers I look up to themand want to be one of them.”“Because I would like to explain to people how I think and ask them how they thinkduring the warm-up.”These were some reasons given by students who would prefer not to do this job,“I won’t talk loud enough and no one will hear me.”“I am a very shy person and don’t like to get up in front of people.”“I am too lazy.”Forty-three students who did not serve as warm-up leaders responded to the survey.Thirteen of forty three responded “no” to the question, “Would you consider being a warm-upleader in the future?” Of that thirteen, most were still generally positive. Eleven of thirteenresponded “somewhat” or “completely” when asked, “Did you enjoy having warm-up leaderslead the warm-up rather than the teacher?”Although it was a positive experience, I discontinued warm-ups altogether when I starteda unit with longer investigations. As a whole this year our group seems young, and transitions arenot easy for them. By eliminating warm-ups, I hoped to maximize the energy that was going intothe investigations.As I reread students’ responses about warm-up leaders while writing this paper I wasinspired to give them another chance. This is the time of year for trying new tricks or bringingback the old ones that work. When I brought up the idea of trying it again, kids were generallypositive, more students volunteered than did in the fall. The students I picked were able to stepconfidently into their role with less advance notice, and the process went faster. When a warmupleader selected a girl to answer a question, she gave the answer and then said, “Don’t youwant to know how I got my answer?” She proceeded to give clear reasoning for her answer. Bythis time of year kids are comfortable explaining their thinking. They like to have that moment inthe spotlight, and they know how valuable their explanation is. I really like watching the warmupleaders interact directly with their classmates. I believe starting class with this type of positiveinteraction gets them listening closely to what their classmates are saying and that it carries overinto the rest of class. I think it is also a big confidence builder for some students.

ConclusionsMuch of my data analysis has emerged through conversation. I find myself saying thingsthat sound like conclusions when I have had conversations about my research. I guess that is whywe do this activity with a group! I feel lucky to have colleagues like Laura and Faye and theCMP group that I meet with. I learn a lot through discussions about what is and isn’t working inour classrooms. I would like to have more conversations about Accountable Talk with teachers atmy grade level. I am certain that my sixth grade teammates are already using certain principlesof Accountable Talk. I would love to find out what is working for them. It is possible they wouldincorporate new ideas if they had exposure to them. I also predict that kids would make greaterprogress in their use of Accountable Talk if we used the same language across disciplines.One of the big themes that emerged from my work this year is that I enjoy trying newthings. When I try a new approach I may find it is indispensable or instantly forgettable. Eitherway I learn something about myself and the kids. Often I am reminded that kids very capable athandling responsibility when I allow them opportunities.The beginning of the 2005-2006 school year was a little rocky. As a whole, our sixthgrade class was unusually immature. They were very social, and as Jill Cohan, our technologyteacher, observed, “They lacked basic puppy commands.” One of the most frustrating habits thatmany students had was blurting out. It was difficult to hold class conversations with the numberof interruptions. There were many times throughout the fall when I wondered if I would haveanything positive to say in my CAR paper. Fortunately as the year wore on, they grew up a bit.Now when kids do blurt out their classmates, not me, are usually the ones to correct them. Someof my classes do better than others, but in my most challenging groups I have heard kids saythings these exact words to get their classmates listening to one another. “Come on y’all we needto listen!” and “I don’t think you should start talking until people are showing respect.” It’s niceto have help spreading this message!I feel good about using Accountable Talk as a tool in my classroom. I know it placesincreased responsibility on students and therefore increases their learning. I have some effectivetools to increase Accountable Talk in my classroom, and I will continue to experiment with newideas in the future. I wish to thank all the people who helped me with this project, my students,my observers, my fellow researchers, and especially our facilitator Ann Niedermeier. I am alsoappreciative of MMSD’s support of this unique professional development.

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