David Farrington & David Pearl
2011-2012 PORTFOLIO

PART I: Collaborative Inquiry


What is your inquiry question?

How can the use of assignments and assessments that utilize collaborative technology tools (Google Docs, Google Sites, and other Web 2.0 tools) enhance engagement and increase achievement for all students?

Who are you working with?

David Pearl and David Farrington collaborated on a regular basis to construct this portfolio. However, this work could not have been done without the help of Alice Barr and Cathy Wolinski.

How did you come to your question?

With the district’s migration to the Google Domain and the push district-wide for teachers to use Google Calendars and Google Sites we felt it was a good idea to continue, for the second year, exploring different ways we could leverage the Google platform to increase student engagement and achievement. We also know that student to student feedback really increases learning.

How does the question relate to the district goals and the the four questions of the district vision?

The development and use of collaborative technology tools fits very closely with the district’s vision. Given that we both teach around 75 students and some of our sections are very large (by Yarmouth Standards) with 23 students it is important that we look for ways to individualize instruction and feedback. We have also found that the heterogenious nature of our classrooms demand that we find new ways to individualize instruction. It has been widely recognized that one of the key components of engagement is choice. Using collaborative technological tools has given us exciting new ways to teach because the way we are using them allows for more student choice. In addition, it allows for better collaboration between the students and in teacher-student collaboration. At the same time, it allows the teacher to monitor and document student learning and provide individualizd feedback. Our use of collaborative technology has allowed us to approach our curriculum in a whole different way.

What field-work did you do to examine your question?
David and I used a variety of collaborative technology tools to examine our question. We called this experiment “Google Domain & Darwin II” because it built on the work we started last year. It called for us to “cast our net very wide” and to try a variety of different tools in the classroom. Like last year, we needed to be “brave” and to recognize that there would be mistakes. We were inspired by Alina Tugend’s September 6, 2011 article in Edutopia titled The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom. “We believe that the process of learning -- which inevitably must include the process of erring -- is just as, or more, important than getting to the correct answer.” (www.edutopia.org) Some of the tools would work and some would not. Rather than develop in-depth and elaborate projects that utilized a single new collaborative tool, we would plunge in and try a variety of tools to determine the “best of the herd.”

How did you incorporate student work in your collection of data?

Student work will be at the center of this inquiry. Google Docs and the way we have chosen to use the Google Site allows us to easily archive, curate and examine student work. In fact, the whole point of this project is to make student work public and to open the door to more collaboration between students and more collaboration between students and the teacher. Having work archived provides more opportunities for metacogniton. Student work will be archived in Google Docs and on each class’s Google Site. Much of the work in Google Docs will also be shared with other students in the class.

An Example of a class’s Google Site can be seen HERE: https://sites.google.com/a/yarmouthschools.org/yhs-intro-economics-semester-i/?pli=1

What data did you collect (in addition to student feedback) and what did you find when you analyzed the data?


One way to examine engagement and achievment of our students is to look at the data of how they performed on our current events quizzes. For the current events project quizzes are constructed by the teacher following each student’s presentation. The format and rigor of these quizzes is consistent so it is a good measure of student achievement over time.

On CE Quiz #2_Q1 J Amoroso’s class average on the quizzes was % 88.95
On CE Quiz #2_Q2 G Brant’s class average on the quiz was % 97.80
On CE Quiz #5_Q2 M Coolidge’s class average on the quiz was % 92.72
On CE Quiz #7_Q2 M Damboise’s class average on the quiz was % 89.30
On CE Quiz #2_Q3 Q King’s class average on the quiz was % 95.22

This random sample of data on student achievement on current events quizzes helps show the high level of achievement and engagement with this project. It also helps illustrate how this project has helped students be responsible for their own learning because to do well on these assessments students would most likely have to be engaged and review their peer’s work in GoogleDocs. Each current events presentation is shared in Google Docs with the class.

An example of a current events quiz is below.






How has this work improved student learning?


It is clear that working collaboratively with students in Google Docs and in Google Sites has improved student engage engagement and learning. I am writing this entry on March 1 during the snow day and for the last hour I have been collaborating in Google Docs and on-line with two students on their current events projects. If you come and observe the classroom during a current events presentation you will see a very engaged classroom and a very rich and far ranging discussion. The quizzes are very rigorous and the students do well on them and this would suggest that students are learning a lot.

The Google Site has proven to be a powerful tool to improve student engagement and learning. Student to student feedback really increases learning. I have used the Google Site in my CP history classes to help students understand very basic norms of work completion and quality. Having an archived history of student work to review has made review of their work more relevant and valuable. For many CP students, work completion and base-line quality are areas that need to be attended to on a consistent basis. By having an archived account of student work and the ability for students to look at the quality of their peers work has proven to be a valuable tool. If you click on this CP Google Site you can look at the quality of each student’s work. When I meet with students to review work I am able to show them the work completed by their peers. This has enabled them to achieve a better understanding of what is expected and has helped improve student learning.

In my Economics class the Google Site has proven to be a powerful tool to push student learning. The Google Site has provided students with the ability to have more choice in the topics they choose to examine. This has led to higher levels of engagement and learning. Students are constantly impressing me with their independent and original insights and connections. What we are studying can be much more relevant if students are able to have more choice. The Google Site affords this flexibility by still making it manageable for the teacher.

What changes have you made to your practice as a result of what you learned?



Google Sites. One of the ways we tried to enhance engagement and increase achievement for all students was the use of Google Sites to create a “Personal Learning Blog” for each student. We designed the class sites so that each student had their own page to post their work. Our vision was that this page would be like a student’s portfolio of work. It would be a way for the teacher and the students to keep track of student work over time. Because this work was to be posted and shared with a wider community, the hope was that it would engage the students more by knowing their peers and perhaps even their parents might see their work. We hoped these blogs would foster a culture of collaboration and would lead to students having a more active role in their learning.

The creation of the Google Site took an incredible amount of work and collaboration. We relied heavily on each other and on Alice Barr and Cathy Wolinski to set-up the site so that it was well-organized and that the “permissions” for each student page made it so each student’s page was only able to be edited by that one student. Page permissions were a brand new feature when we tried to first do this so it ended up being a very large undertaking.

One of the most important feature of the site was the ability of students to view and comment on each others' work. We imagined that this site would be a way for teachers and possibly parents and a wider audience such as special educators, administrators, and even the members of the community to view and comment on student work. However, soon after we started this project we realized that we needed to rethink the best way to use this collaborative tool. The problem we found was that much of the work posted was so poor and limited that peer review made little sense. If students were sharing poorly written or incorrect information it undermined our original goal of peer review. We were also concerned that some of the work was even embarrassing to the students.Here is some work from the beginning of the year-

Screen_shot_2012-04-11_at_8.13.20_AM.png

One of the first lessons learned early on was that student work posted on this site (we refer to it with students as the class “blog”) needed to be in “final draft form.” In fact, the directions on the site are as follows:

Screen_shot_2012-04-11_at_8.10.24_AM.png

This change created immediate results. The quality of the work posted on the Blog improved dramatically. This improvement was most clearly seen in David Pearl’s economics class. The work posted was at such a level that he was able to have students visit each other’s Blogs and to read their peer’s work.

Screen_shot_2012-04-11_at_8.15.25_AM.png


However, David still did not feel comfortable having them comment on each other’s Blog. Having students post comments on their peer’s work is something that we still need to examine. After posting teacher comments on student Blogs it became clear to the teachers how difficult a skill it is to give warm and cool feedback to students in writing. We recognize that one of our most important goals as educators is to create a culture of collaboration that nurtures positive relationships. We know this leads to an environment of creativity and innovation in the classroom. However, we also need to recognize the limits of our students and where they are emotionally. We need to do some more work before we are wiling to ask students to comment in writing and in public on each other’s work.

The teachers also found it very time-consuming to post comments on the student Blogs. In fact, after only a few weeks of commenting on the Blogs this effort was abandoned by the teachers. While the Blog seemed like a great way to direct feedback to the student, the process of writing and posting comments on every student’s page was very time consuming. The Blogs are also listed at the bottom of the page and not below the work to be commented on so it is difficult to write the Blog posts while reading student work.

Morgan.png
Also, the teachers found it more useful and practical to write comments in Powerschool. Comments in powerschool are more easily and likely to be read by the parents and the students. The comments are also written in “context” because they attached to the assignment which can also have a description.

This project led to an expanded use of the comment feature within Powerschool. Instead of commenting only at the end of the quarter, powerschool can be used as a tool to direct feedback during the course of the year. Unlike the Blog, this information is more readily available to the parents.

Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_9.41.49_AM.png

As of this writing we have found the strength of the Blog to be the fact that it places student work directly at the center of the feedback and discussions we have with our students. This on-line portfolio forces students to engage in high level learning and appropriate support and creative and innovative lessons that focus on basic skills of comprehension, thinking and writing.


Class Note-Taker. One of the ways we experimented with trying to help students who experienced difficulty when learning is we set-up a document in Google Docs designed for a class note-taker. Our vision was that one student, or a series of students, would work on a common shared document that would contain valuable in-class notes. These notes would be especially important if they could “capture” a teacher-centered lecture or lesson. For years we have taught in-class note taking skills and thought this might help. Our vision was that “stronger students” would perhaps “capture” quality in-class notes and share them with other students. In turn, students who experienced more difficulty with learning would have notes to go back on and at the same time would be able have modeled for them better note-taking skills.

This experiment ran into difficulties right from the start. To begin, it was very difficult for students to “capture” our in class notes by typing them on the computer because so many of our notes involve visuals, sketches, and diagrams. In addition, when we reviewed the notes that students contributed, we noticed that they were often not formatted correctly or even at all. Most were incomplete and contained large gaps or incorrect or misleading information. We also found it hard for us to remember to ask students to post notes on the document. We soon came to the realization that while using the computers to type notes was sometimes helpful (for instance when using tables to create study guides, or typing answers from a written text), given our teaching styles there were some serious limitations to the effectiveness of taking notes in this manner.
Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_9.41.23_AM.png
The more we looked at samples of notes taken in class on the computers, the more we realized that we needed to return to helping students “capture” their notes in writing. In short, this experiment helped us realize how many students had a very difficult time taking notes on their computers during a teacher-centered lesson. This was especially true if the lesson was say a lecture that required them to diagram the branches and functions of American democracy or the elements of an artwork. Instead of trying to capture class notes in one document, our work shifted to helping students take better notes using pencil and paper.
Maine_Care-3.png

Google Forms to Submit Work
We began the year thinking that Google forms might provide an efficient tool for organizing and sharing student work. David F. set up a trial approach with his Honors sections using a model that was presented by a teacher from Nokomis High School at the March 2011 Yarmouth Inservice Day. Using this model, students this year have submitted many of their assignments by creating a Google doc then pasting the URL for their doc into their class Assignment Submission Form. This approach has proven to have the following advantages over traditional work collection:
  • Gives students a reliable routine for submitting completed work
  • Provides the teacher with an easily sorted collection of time-stamped student assignments
  • Allows electronic submission of student work without cluttering the teacher's inbox
  • Saves time and paper
  • Enables easy sharing of student work with the entire class
Here is the Period 3 Assignment Submission Form and the spreadsheet that collects the assignments.


Google Presentations
Obama’s Job Speech : One of the new ways we tried to improve engagement and achievement was to have students collaborate on the same project using Google Presentations. This was a classroom activity and the assessment was more formative in nature. This activity was completed during the constraints of one class period. This makes the reading and writing more high stakes and the fact that the work is shared raises the level of engagement. One example of this was in David’s economics class. For this activity students examined President Obama’s September 19th Job Speech. For this assignment students were given different on-line articles to read, dissect, and then write into one Google Presentation. This presentation was shared with the entire class and when the class was done each student had completed one page of the presentation where they had summarized their article. This was a very simple, quick and easy way to make sense of a very complicated and difficult topic. Because the presentation was pubic for all students to see, I saw a high level of engagement during the class. The students were on task, attentive, and focused for the entire lesson. In addition, the level of content and the quality of the discussion was much better than I would have imagined. Student to student feedback really increases learning. I have used this activity a few different times in different classes with the same result. It is a simple and efficient way for students and the teacher to collaborate that provides for increased engagement and achievement. Below is the final product from our examination of President Obama’s Job’s speech.



YEP Project : This long-term project was a collaboration between 3 different students in my economics class. By having the paper in Google Docs I was able to monitor student work, edit, and provide feedback over a 4 week period. I was able to examine drafts and edits during this long-term project and keep track of individual achievement and engagement. As a result, it was very easy for me to assess students on the final project because I had seen it grow over time. For the final grade there were no “surprises” because I had been collaborating with students, and they had been collaborating with each other, for a long time. It is also important to note that I was also able to make accommodations and modifications for students who were working on a group project with students who did not need accommodations. With this type of collaboration you avoid the classic problem with group projects - “So and So is not doing anything!” It is also worthy to note that this model of on-line collaboration closely resembles the “real world” collaboration we need to prepare our students for. Student to student feedback really increases learning.

Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_9.51.02_AM.png

Comic Life- While this is not a Google Tool, we experimented with it last year and recognized that it had great potential. One of the biggest incentives we had for using the Comic Life program is because we saw student engagement spike up when we used it for the first time at the end of last year. As a result, we decided to use it more this year and to push students to include ever increasing amounts of content. We believe that Comic Life projects provide a high level of engagement based on the excitement we see when these projects are due. The classroom is usually “buzzing” with excitement as students share their projects with each other and laugh a make sure everything is “just right.” We have seen normally reluctatnt students go to painstaking lengths to make sure their project prints out “just right.” We have experimented with using Khan Academy and NOVA in conjunction with Comic Life to "flip" the classroom. This assignment was completed with no direct instruction from the teacher.
Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_9.58.46_AM.png
below is a sample of student work.



Current Events in Google Presentation. Just a note and an update from last year’s work. The use of Google Presentations to facilitate teacher-student collaboration and student achievement continues to be one of the most outstanding uses of technology that we have found to date. One cannot overstate the power of collaborating one on one with individual students each week. This project not only pushes students to achieve at the highest levels, but the collaboration with the teacher gives incredible insight into each and every learner as an individual. Look below at the email and a screen shot from a student’s Google presentation in it’s formative stages. This is an example of teachers and students are extending their learning beyond the school. In America’s “New Economy” more and more work and communication is being done this way.
Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_10.04.31_AM.png
The slides below show how I am working collaboratively with students from home. Below it is 7:53pm on a Wednesday night.

Screen_shot_2011-10-12_at_7.54.13_PM.png

Notice this is with another student on a Wednesday night at 8:57pm. I am able to give individualized instruction from home.

Go!Animate - Student-created animated movies
After Wes Fryer's visit and presentation, David F. decided to try to incorporate more storytelling into the work his students do. The online tool Go!Animate offers a free and easy tool for creating online animations, and David had all his students try the program early in the Rome unit as a way to help them learn the story of Cincinnatus. This story provides a great illustration of the values prized in the Roman Republic and establishes an ideal against which students can evaluate later developments in Roman history (the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, etc. ) Here are two examples of the student projects [click the image to view the animated movie]:

Screen_shot_2012-04-29_at_4.21.57_PM.png
Screen_shot_2012-04-29_at_4.23.31_PM.png

Blogger
Google has now incorporated Blogger into its suite of tools, so students can log in and participate in a blog using their YHS email addresses. David F. used this feature to create blogs for all WH to 1600 classes and incorporated several blog assignments during the World Religions unit. Here are the blogs for each class:

2 BLUE---------------PERIOD 3-----------------4 WHITE----------------------5 WHITE



PART II: Parent & Student Feedback



Student Survey:
We introduced a new summer reading book for Honors World History to 1600, and in the fall we created and administered a survey of all our Honors students to solicit feedback about the book and how we were using it in the class. The survey form is posted below.





SUMMARY


How much of the assigned summer reading (4 chapters we chose plus 1 chapter you chose) did you complete?
external image chart?cht=bhs&chs=345x180&chbh=24%2C6&chco=2121e4%7C0000e0%7C4242e8%7C6363ec%7C8585f0&chxt=x%2Cy&chxl=0%3A%7C0%7C11%7C22%7C33%7C44%7C55%7C66%7C1%3A%7CI%20read%20all%20of%20wha...%7CI%20read%20all%20of%20wha...%7CI%20read%20most%20of%20wh...%7CI%20read%20some%20but%20n...%7CNone%20of%20it&chxs=0%2C000000%2C12%2C0%2Clt%7C1%2C000000%2C12%2C1%2Clt&chds=0%2C66&chd=t%3A0%2C2%2C2%2C56%2C12

None of it

0
0%
I read some but not all of what was assigned.

2
3%
I read most of what was assigned.

2
3%
I read all of what was assigned.

56
78%
I read all of what was assigned plus even more.

12
17%


How challenging was the reading level of the portions of the book that were assigned over the summer?
external image chart?cht=bvs&chs=186x150&chbh=%2C6&chco=ffce85%7Cff9900%7Cffa621%7Cffc163%7Cffb442&chly=24%7C20%7C16%7C12%7C8%7C4%7C0&chl=1%7C2%7C3%7C4%7C5&chds=0%2C24&chd=t%3A7%2C18%2C22%2C22%2C3
Not challenging - The reading level was easy for me to understand.

Very challenging- The reading level was too difficult for me to comprehend.

1 -
Not challenging - The reading level was easy for me to understand.
7
10%
2

18
25%
3

22
31%
4

22
31%
5 -
Very challenging- The reading level was too difficult for me to comprehend.
3
4%


How interesting did you find the reading over the summer?
external image chart?cht=bvs&chs=186x150&chbh=%2C6&chco=d00000%7Cd62121%7Cdc4242%7Ce26363%7Ce88585&chly=25%7C20%7C15%7C10%7C5%7C0&chl=1%7C2%7C3%7C4%7C5&chds=0%2C25&chd=t%3A6%2C24%2C23%2C19%2C0
Painfully boring

Fascinating - I couldn't put it down!

1 -
Painfully boring
6
8%
2

24
33%
3

23
32%
4

19
26%
5 -
Fascinating - I couldn't put it down!
0
0%


Of the chapters your teacher chose for the summer, which did you find the MOST interesting?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=dcca02&chl=Olduvai%20Gorge%20%5B10%5D%7CRosetta%20Stone%20%5B15%5D%7CKing%20Tut%27s%20Tomb%20%5B29%5D%7CNineveh%27s%20Assyrian%20Library%20%5B18%5D&chd=e%3AI4NVZxP.

Olduvai Gorge

10
14%
Rosetta Stone

15
21%
King Tut's Tomb

29
40%
Nineveh's Assyrian Library

18
25%


Of the chapters your teacher chose for the summer, which did you find the LEAST interesting?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=00d000&chl=Olduvai%20Gorge%20%5B36%5D%7CRosetta%20Stone%20%5B11%5D%7CKing%20Tut%27s%20Tomb%20%5B6%5D%7CNineveh%27s%20Assyrian%20Library%20%5B19%5D&chd=e%3Af.JxFVQ4

Olduvai Gorge

36
50%
Rosetta Stone

11
15%
King Tut's Tomb

6
8%
Nineveh's Assyrian Library

19
26%


Which additional chapter from Ten Discoveries did you choose to read during the summer?
external image chart?cht=bhs&chs=345x240&chbh=24%2C6&chco=a019b4%7C9601ac%7Caa30bb%7Cb348c3%7Cc777d3%7Cd18fda%7Cbd5fcb&chxt=x%2Cy&chxl=0%3A%7C0%7C8%7C16%7C24%7C32%7C40%7C1%3A%7CNone%7CTomb%20of%2010%2C000%20Wa...%7CThera%7CDead%20Sea%20Scrolls%7CPompeii%7CMachu%20Picchu%7CTroy&chxs=0%2C000000%2C12%2C0%2Clt%7C1%2C000000%2C12%2C1%2Clt&chds=0%2C40&chd=t%3A15%2C3%2C14%2C4%2C6%2C38%2C3

Troy

15
21%
Machu Picchu

3
4%
Pompeii

14
19%
Dead Sea Scrolls

4
6%
Thera

6
8%
Tomb of 10,000 Warriors

38
53%
None

3
4%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
||

How useful was the note-taking packet that was handed out on Step Up Day?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=0000e0&chl=I%20never%20got%20a%20packet.%20%5B5%5D%7CI%20didn%27t%20use%20the%20packet.%20%5B7%5D%7CI%20used%20it%20but%20didn%27t%20find%20it%20all%20that%20helpful.%20%5B10%5D%7CIt%20was%20very%20useful.%20%5B50%5D&chd=e%3AEcGOI4sb

I never got a packet.

5
7%
I didn't use the packet.

7
10%
I used it but didn't find it all that helpful.

10
14%
It was very useful.

50
69%


The opening assessment of the summer reading was a test with matching and short answer questions. How would you describe this test?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=ff9900&chl=Unfair-%20It%20focused%20on%20too%20many%20picky%20details.%20%5B18%5D%7CFair%20-%20It%20was%20a%20good%20introduction%20to%20honors-level%20expectations%20in%20high%20school.%20%5B51%5D%7CToo%20easy%20-%20I%20was%20overprepared%20for%20the%20test.%20%5B3%5D&chd=e%3AP.tUCq

Unfair- It focused on too many picky details.

18
25%
Fair - It was a good introduction to honors-level expectations in high school.

51
71%
Too easy - I was overprepared for the test.

3
4%


REFLECTION on STUDENT FEEDBACK: After reviewing the results of the survey on our new summer reading book, we decided to use the book again for the 2012-13 year, but with the following changes to the assignment:
  • We will not assign the "Olduvai Gorge" chapter, since many students report struggling with it. We may use it early in the first unit, when we can offer more framing and guidance.
  • We will reduce the total number of chapters to three, though as of late April we are still deliberating on which specific chapters to assign.
  • We will include the note-taking packet, since 69% of students report finding it helpful.
  • We will use a similar assessment, since 71% of students found it a "good introduction to honors-level expectations in high school.

Parent Survey:
We administered a survey in late January 2012 that was sent electronically to all 9th grade parents. The surveys were sent separately so we would have results sorted by teacher, and the results for both of our surveys are below.

The parent survey for David Pearl is attached below. By looking at the results you can see that 24 parents completed the survey out of a possible 61 parents. This 39% return rate is much better than in years past.

Screen_shot_2012-04-15_at_3.56.42_PM.png

I was interested to note that of the parents check my class web page. This is 1/4 of the students I teach. I think this validates all of the time and effort I put in to making sure it is informative, accurate, and up to date.

Screen_shot_2012-03-01_at_1.21.16_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-03-01_at_1.21.34_PM.png

I was also pleased to note that 42% of the parents believe that their student spends about an hour or more per night on homework. This is what I consider to be a proper amount. It is interesting that 46% of the parents are not sure.
Screen_shot_2012-03-01_at_1.21.52_PM.png
This is what I would have expected with regards to studying befor majpor assessments.
Screen_shot_2012-03-01_at_1.22.05_PM.png
I was very happy to see that 96% of the parents felt that their students seemed more engaged in current events. This has always been one of the main goals of our curriculum.
Screen_shot_2012-03-01_at_1.22.28_PM.png

The parent survey for David Farrington is attached below. By looking at the results you can see that 31 parents completed the survey out of a possible 57 parents. This 54% return rate is much better than in years past.

Which course section is your child in?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=0000e0&chl=College%20Prep%20%5B11%5D%7CHonors%20%5B21%5D&chd=e%3AV.p.

College Prep

11
34%
Honors

21
66%


How do you get information about what is happening in the World History to 1600 course?
external image chart?cht=bhs&chs=345x150&chbh=24%2C6&chco=ff9900%7Cffcb7c%7Cffaa29%7Cffba53&chxt=x%2Cy&chxl=0%3A%7C0%7C6%7C12%7C18%7C24%7C30%7C1%3A%7CEmail%20updates%20fro...%7CPowerschool%7CCheck%20the%20course%20...%7CAsk%20my%20child&chxs=0%2C000000%2C12%2C0%2Clt%7C1%2C000000%2C12%2C1%2Clt&chds=0%2C30&chd=t%3A28%2C11%2C13%2C19

Ask my child

28
88%
Check the course web page

11
34%
Powerschool

13
41%
Email updates from teachers

19
59%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
||

How often do you check the course web page?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=d00000&chl=I%20have%20never%20checked%20it.%20%5B16%5D%7CI%20have%20checked%20it%20occasionally.%20%5B10%5D%7CWeekly%20%5B5%5D%7CDaily%20%5B1%5D&chd=e%3Af.T.J.B.

I have never checked it.

16
50%
I have checked it occasionally.

10
31%
Weekly

5
16%
Daily

1
3%


On nights before homework for this class is due, approximately how much time does your child typically spend completing the assignment?
external image chart?cht=bhs&chs=345x180&chbh=24%2C6&chco=eee686%7Ce5d844%7Ce1d123%7Ceadf65%7Cdcca02&chxt=x%2Cy&chxl=0%3A%7C0%7C2%7C4%7C6%7C8%7C10%7C12%7C1%3A%7CMore%20than%20an%20hour%7CAbout%20an%20hour%7CAbout%20half%20an%20hour%7CA%20few%20minutes%7CNot%20sure&chxs=0%2C000000%2C12%2C0%2Clt%7C1%2C000000%2C12%2C1%2Clt&chds=0%2C12&chd=t%3A11%2C0%2C11%2C7%2C3

Not sure

11
34%
A few minutes

0
0%
About half an hour

11
34%
About an hour

7
22%
More than an hour

3
9%


Approximately how much time does your child typically spend studying before a major assessment (unit test, etc.) in this class?
external image chart?cht=bhs&chs=345x180&chbh=24%2C6&chco=00d000%7C85e885%7C21d621%7C42dc42%7C63e263&chxt=x%2Cy&chxl=0%3A%7C0%7C4%7C8%7C12%7C16%7C20%7C1%3A%7CMore%20than%20an%20hour%7CAbout%20an%20hour%7CAbout%20half%20an%20hour%7CA%20few%20minutes%7CNot%20sure&chxs=0%2C000000%2C12%2C0%2Clt%7C1%2C000000%2C12%2C1%2Clt&chds=0%2C20&chd=t%3A7%2C0%2C1%2C6%2C18

Not sure

7
22%
A few minutes

0
0%
About half an hour

1
3%
About an hour

6
19%
More than an hour

18
56%


News and current events are an important part of our curriculum. Has your child shown any heightened interest in current affairs or issues this year?
external image chart?cht=p&chs=345x150&chco=9601ac&chl=None%20that%20I%20have%20observed%20%5B3%5D%7COccasionally%20%5B17%5D%7CFrequently%20%5B12%5D&chd=e%3AF.h.X.

None that I have observed

3
9%
Occasionally

17
53%
Frequently

12
38%

How did the classroom observations from administrators help you improve your practice?

David Pearl was observed by Josh Ottow on December 6, 2011 and January 4, 2012 and and extended observation April 9, 2012. David Farrington was observed by Josh on September 13, 2011 and March 5, 2012.

These were helpful observations and meetings because it is always helpful to take a moment and be reflective. It is also good to have other adults in the classroom engaged in the teaching and learning.

How did feedback from colleagues help you to improve your practice?

David Farrington and David Pearl work very closely on a weekly basis. This fluid exchange of content, learning activities and ideas leads to constant improvement and professional development.


PART III: PROGRESS TOWARD RE-CERTIFICATION


What year will you need to submit for re-certification?

David Pearl: re-certified in 2010. My next re-certification is 2015.
David Farrington: re-certification is in July, 2012.

What did you accomplish this year toward re-certification?

David Pearl: Attended ACTEM conference October, 2011
David Farrington: Completed 5 graduate credit hours in the summer of 2011.

What are your goals next year in the re-certification process?

Attend and present at ACTEM conference Augusta, ME (Oct 11-12, 2012)
Attend the CES Fall Forum in Providence, RI (Nov 9-11, 2012)


PART IV: OTHER SOURCES OF PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

How did your attendance at conferences improve student learning?

ACTEM is where David P. first learned about Comic Life program. This year at ACTEM he attended an amazing workshop by Britannica on-line. This has led to a much improved research process. He collaborated on this improved research process with Suzanne Hamilton. The use of Google Sites was inspired by the workshop session he attended with the keynote speaker.

How did your work at district, faculty, and learning area meetings improve student learning?

Most of our professional development this year was with the 9th grade team. We spent a lot of time and effort developing and implementing the Power of One Project. The World Religions Field Trip (see photo below) and unit was a major collaborative undertaking. We also facilitated a session on Digital Storytelling during the Yarmouth Inservice Day on March 16th.

Jewish_Museum.jpg
Gary Berenson shows YHS students a Torah scroll at the Maine Jewish Museum on April 11, 2012.



How did professional readings improve student learning?

David F. - The book that most influenced my practice this year was Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. It is this book, along with the emphasis of Wes Fryer's presentations, that has pushed me to emphasize more creative, story-telling assignments and projects for students.

David P. - This past summer and school year I have been working with a new a text book for my economics class: Survey of Economics by Edwin G. Dolan & Kevin G. Klein, BVT Publishing, LLC Redding, CA . 2010

How did better use of technology lead to improved student learning?

See our collaborative inquiry section



2011-2012 PORTFOLIO

















2010-2011 PORTFOLIO


PART I: Collaborative Inquiry



A) The Google Domain & Darwin

"How can the google domain improve achievement and increase engagement for students?"


After meeting with Alice Barr this fall it became clear that Yarmouth was going to be moving from FirstClass to GMail and that
the school's Google Domain had a lot of potential. For our collaborative inquiry we decided to explore the new Google Domain and
to explore ways to harness this potential.

For this collaborative inquiry we are going to be fearless. The plan is to just both dive in and experiment with the many different features in the Google Domain.
We will then share our findings with each other and see what sticks.This will be a true Darwinian experiment.

Naming Protocol:
One of the first features we needed to tackle was a way to manage the way we shared and collected work in GoogleDocs. With the help of Alice Barr one of the first things we did was develop a standard naming protocol for student work. We adopted the format of “Assignment. Student’s Last Name. Class.” This makes the management of student work coming in much easier to sort and keep track of.
Screen_shot_2010-12-30_at_7.16.39_PM.png

Having student work sorted in this fashion makes sharing work more practical and manageable. We have found it much easier to know when student work is missing. Additionally, when grading assessments the student work is in alphabetical order and it is much easier to record student achievement into powerschool. This makes the feedback loop with the student more efficient and students will know their results much quicker and we all know this is an important component to improving student achievement.

Making a (MASTER):
Another key protocol we developed was to always label a teacher document we shared with students or with each other with the suffix (MASTER). We also make the document “share only.” This forces students to “Make a Copy” of the document and rename it.
Screen_shot_2010-12-30_at_8.23.32_PM.png
We have found this to be a very effective way to keep track of assignments and assessments and allows us to share work more easily. Also, if you sort the student work as it comes in to the class folders and then “hide” it you achieve a much cleaner look to your GoogleDocs folder. This is turn makes the use of GoogleDocs much easier and effective.

The Shared Folder- IN Box/OUT Box
One of the hardest things about on-line collaboration is managing the flow of student work. Even when you have protocols for naming work, when you have over 70 students in 5 different classes sharing work it can be overwhelming and confusing. Probably the the most important innovation we developed in GoogleDocs was the “Shared Folder.” This is probably the most important tool we developed in making the use of GoogleDocs more efficient and effective.

When student work is shared with us we drop it into the class “IN Box.” This folder is not shared with the rest of the class. Rather, it is where we sort, assess, and store student work. A key trick we learned was that after we place student work into the class “IN Box” it is important to “HIDE” it in the “ALL ITEMS” screen in GoogleDocs. This provides a much cleaner look.

Essentially, we turned a “Shared Folder” into an "Out Box" for each of our classes. All documents placed in this folder are automatically shared with every student in the class. The share feature in this folder is “view only.” This forces student to make copies of all documents and follow the naming protocol. This simple innovation makes the use of GoogleDocs much easier.
Screen_shot_2011-01-08_at_7.33.19_PM.png













The Shared Folder- Special Education
Looking above and below you can see we created a shared folder for Heather Heath who was the special educator assigned to students in our class. This folder allowed us to share assignments, exemplars, and rubrics. It also allows us to share student notes and other work created by students that might help support students. Incidentally, the class folder is also shared with the special educator so they get everything the students get.
Screen_shot_2011-01-08_at_9.15.58_PM.png

Current Events Project- Collaboration with Students
The Freshman current events project proved to be the perfect format to examine the potential for GoogleDocs to improve student achievement and engagement.

B) Improving Engagement & Achievement- Current Events


For the past 12 years we have worked closely with students on their current events presentations. This project was designed so that once a year each student will meet one on one with their teacher to conduct research and then construct and refine a current events presentation to be shared with the entire class. Over time, the current events project has become a key feature of the freshman curriculum.

We have felt for a long time that this one to one collaboration has been one of our best examples of good teaching practices. It has proved to be both engaging and challenging to almost all students. In addition, it is one of the most enjoyable features of our social studies program because it allows us to work individually, at least once a year, with each student. By conferencing individually (sometimes 3-4 times) with each student we get to know them on a more personal level.

Because of the close collaboration between teachers and students, the current events presentations have normally been of very high quality. These weekly presentations create a culture of content-rich engagement for the entire class. In fact, many students have learned to look forward to our weekly current events presentations. If you walk into our classrooms on thursday or friday you will usually see the students eagerly preparing or anticipating these presentations.

Screen_shot_2011-02-24_at_5.22.42_PM.png
The most challenging feature of this project is that it was very difficult to schedule times to meet and conference with each student. This project demanded that the teachers meet individually with five different students each week. The schedule at YHS is very hectic and so the times to meet are normally before school, after school, or during first and second break. It was even more challenging to have a productive meeting because there are often other demands on everyone’s time. As a result, most meetings had to be short with a limit of 5-10 minutes.

The use of GoogleDocs to improve the collaboration between teachers and students on this project has proved to be transformative. It has created meeting times when both teachers and students can be more settled, focused, and productive.

Students now create their presentations in GoogleDocs and share it with their teacher. This allows students and teachers to collaborate much more effectively. This is how it works:

Students normally receive an email from the teacher inviting them to start their projects the week before it is due. See an example below


In 90% of the cases students started their presentation and shared it with the instructor prior to the first meeting. Because the teacher and student have this shared document, the teachers were able to edit the document and to share links with the student to relevant articles and resources. In addition, teachers were able to add images, graphs, maps and data tables that helped students develop a deeper understanding of the content. This introduced a fluid process of collaboration that allowed for much better collaboration and more efficient and productive face to face meetings. Prior to the face to face meeting the teacher was able to look at the student work and to monitor the student’s understanding and progress.

Many of the same news stories were being covered by students in different classes. With the use of GoogleDocs the teacher was able to share resources between students. This made it much more efficient for the teachers who could use the work of students to help their peers. For instance, the teacher could borrow a few facts, an image, or an editorial cartoon from one student’s presentation and share it with another student. There were other times when the teacher would conference after school with multiple students who were working on the same story. The teacher could show peers each others work to point out similarities and differences. In at least a few instances students in different classes shared their presentations and resources with each other. This cross-pollination proved to be incredibly helpful to all involved. This was true collaboration!

In the image below you can see some of the student-created Current Events Presentations. Notice that they have a strict naming protocol. Remember- you have 5 different presentations each week that you need to edit and provide feedback on. Notice also that the presentations are then shared with the rest of the class so they can study for the quiz.

Screen_shot_2011-02-24_at_5.15.54_PM.png

It was our experience that the quality of the students’ presentations improved dramatically. As mentioned earlier, this program is over 12 years old. We have lots of exemplars from past years. The exemplars from past years pale in comparison to the work our students are now producing. Today’s student presentations are much more thorough and the content is much more complex and developed. It is very clear the students have developed a deeper understanding of the material and are much more prepared for their presentations.

One of the most important byproducts of this collaboration is the insight it provides to individual students. The instructor is able to view student work while it is in progress. In many cases, the teacher was able to view student work while they were working on it. This gave us incredible insight into the work habits and thinking of individual students. At the same time, it sent a very powerful message to our students. It showed we cared by giving them the time and resources they needed to be successful.

Imagine being a student and sitting at home, alone at the kitchen table trying to figure out and explain why “Baby Doc” Duvaliar has suddenly returned to Haiti. Suddenly, you notice that your teacher is viewing your project and helpful words written by your teacher appear on the page with a link to an informative and easy to use article. This happened time and time again during the course of the year. When we asked students about this experience most reported they were “freaked out at first. but it ended up being really helpful and fun.” In many cases, the students and the teacher were able to collaborate and communicate in the evenings or during the weekends. This remote and flexible collaboration is an excellent example of our classrooms mirroring the real world.
Screen_shot_2011-02-24_at_5.27.13_PM.png

GoogleDocs transformed our entire program. It is very clear that the use of GoogleDocs improved both engagement and the achievement of the students.


PART II: Student Feedback






PART III- Progress Toward Certification or Recertification.

What year will you need to submit for recertification?
I received my recertification last year. I have 5 more years until my next certification.

What did you accomplish this year toward recertification?
This year I added information towards my recertification to my file in the front office.
Last summer I took the Yarmouth Technology class for recertification credits.
Last fall I participated in ACTEM conference in Augusta and earned certification credits.

What are your goals for next year in the recertification process?
I plan to attend the ACTEM conference in Augusta. I have presented there in past years and
hope to present there again this year. I would also like to attend the CES conference this fall in
Providence, RI. Next summer I will take the technology class again.

Part IV- Other Sources Of Professional Growth


How did your attendance at conferences improve student learning?
At the ACTEM I was inspired to take risks and try a few new things in my classroom.
Most notably I was inspired to try and use the program Comic Life in my classroom. This
program was on the laptop, but I had never used it. After the conference I had students
use the program and I found it was an amazing way to get students to develop a deep
understanding of the content. I used it during my fall of Rome Unit and the work they
produced was amazing. I also found students were very engaged. The use of Comic
Life is a program I plan to use for years to come.

How did the work at the District, Faculty, and Learning Area meetings improve Student Learning?
Being on the Freshman team drives most of my work. While we meet in learning areas and as a faculty, most of the student learning in my classroom is impacted by the work I do with the Freshman team. This year we worked very hard on the Freshman team to help support students that we identified, early on, as at risk. Many of them were significant behavior problems in the classroom. I think by working with other members of the team I was able to develop strategies and a program that really helped these students succeed. Just as importantly, by helping these students I improved the atmosphere in my classroom and this improved the learning for many students. Going forward, this incoming freshman class has the reputation of being very challenging. David Farrington and I are meeting this summer to redesign our curriculum in anticipation of these challenges. On our March in-service day I facilitated a session on Google Presentations.

How did professional reading improve student learning?
I read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jarred Diamond. I used his theory of “geographic
luck” to help make my Age of Exploration Unit more interesting. This summer I am
reading books on economics in preperation for a new course I am teaching in the fall.


How did you better use technology to improve student learning?
I used my class wiki and googledocs every day in my class. I found it allowed me to access a rich variety of resources that were more engaging to the students. They were able to collaborate in ways I did not dream of a few years ago. Some of their work was outstanding. I also experimented with a googlesite and plan to use a googlesite next year as the basis for my action research.


2009-2010 PORTFOLIO



PART I: COLLABORATIVE INQUIRY

A) World to 1600 / AP transition

How can the experience of sophomore students in AP Modern European History inform the practice of teachers of freshman World History to 1600?



This work is a continuation of David F.'s efforts in 2008-2009 to begin an examination of the transition from 9th grade Word History to 1600 to 10th grade AP Modern European History. Concerns about the appropriateness of the preparation provided in 9th grade prompted conversations with AP teachers and students, a survey of all sophomore AP students, and a focused effort in Quarter 4 to spend time in all classes, particularly honors classes, introducing and implementing AP-style assignments and assessments, including extended reading assignments from the AP textbook and timed essays. We both then worked during the summer of 2009-10 academic year to develop a strategy to continue addressing issues that had been raised, including the perceived workload discrepancy between World to 1600 and AP. While we do not think it necessary or appropriate to recast the 9th grade Honors course as a mini-AP or AP-prep course, we do believe we have an obligation to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that will optimize their chances of success at the AP level as sophomores.

Sophomore survey

With input from the AP teachers, we updated the survey and it was administered to 10th grade AP students in November, 2009. Among the most significant results are the following:

  • 72.9% of current AP Modern European students found the use of excerpts from the AP text in Honors World History to have been at least somewhat helpful.
  • The perceived discrepancy in the workload from 9th to 10th grade has lessened, with 45.9% of current sophomores indicating the 9th grade workload is "appropriate" and 48.6% indicating "not appropriate." While these show an improvement from the corresponding numbers in the 2008 survey (35.1% "appropriate" and 62.2% "not appropriate") they also suggest a continued need to build in greater workload expectations.
  • The degree to which students perceive their 9th grade history teacher as being a helpful source of information about the AP course increased markedly, with 51.4% indicating that the information we provided was "very useful" (compared to 22.2% in 2008) and with 0% indicating our information was "not really useful" (compared to 13.9% in 2008.)
FULL SURVEY RESULTS ARE POSTED HERE.

Our Strategy- The implementation of ideas

One simple adjustment that came out of our summer planning is that we moved our World Religions unit from the fall to the spring. This has allowed us to build a sense of historical momentum and continuity and enabled us to get into our Greek unit much earlier in the year. This unit is essential for understanding how western culture is built on the foundations of Greek culture.

Other strategies include:

1. Additional reading from the AP text book- a reading from every historical unit. (Persians, Greece, Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance) SEE ASSIGNMENTS & OUR REFLECTIONS HERE

2. Timed in-class essays. (Truths Prompt, Geography Essay) SEE ASSIGNMENTS, RESULTS, & OUR REFLECTIONS UNDER SECTION 2 BELOW

3. All Unit tests for Honors classes are now modeled on A.P. test format (Mix of Multiple Choice & Essay questions, including interpretation of primary source documents.)
SEE ASSIGNMENTS, RESULTS, & OUR REFLECTIONS HERE

4. We will be introducing a simplified Document Based Question (DBQ) during the Middle Ages unit.


B) 9th Grade Humanities

How can probing and analyzing students' written work improve teacher collaboration and instruction?


During the last week of September the four humanities teachers on the 9th grade team (David Pearl, David Farrington, Mandy Peaslee and Nancy Shaw) administered a writing prompt to every 9th grade student at the High School. We used the standard SAT writing prompt format and gave the students the standard 25 minutes.

The questions was: “Which should we value more: Obedience or Independence?” In your essay, support your opinion by citing examples from Gathering Blue, Lord of the Flies, Genesis, or The Roots of 9/11.

This was the protocol we used to “blindly score” the writing prompts. One of us would score an essay (on a scale of 1-6) and cover up our score with a sticky note. We would write our initials on the sticky-notes to ensure that someone else would also score the prompt. Then, another teacher would read the same essay and score it without looking at the score under the sticky-note. They would then lift the sticky-note and see if the scores matched. If they did not match, the two teachers would discuss why they gave it the score they did. Often, all four of us would be drawn into a discussion about this one paper.

One of the best things about this process is that as a team we were able to examine student work and develop a set of common standards. Through this exercise, we were able to better understand the writing process and target areas we need to help students improve. This has carried over to our classrooms and we used some of the targeted areas of instruction when designing and implementing our most recent research project on Annotating Artifacts from the Ancient Middle East.

This exercise really helped clarify the standard for 9th grade writing. In addition, it reaffirmed our need to spend more time in class helping students develop effective writing skills. In particular, we have targeted the importance of a solid topic sentence and how to effectively weave specific and relevant evidence into the paper. When the grading was completed the students received a grade that counted in both their English and Social Studies classes.

On October 10th we sat down and did an analysis of the entire 9th grade. On a 12 point scale the grades were as follows: 12‘s (1)11’s (2), 10’s (10), 9’s (10), 8’s (27), 7’s (19), 6’s (27), 5’s (9), 4’s (12), 3’s (1), 2’s (3).
external image moz-screenshot.jpgexternal image moz-screenshot-1.jpg
We have 121 students. We decided that our goal to get everyone above a 7 which converts to an 84%. 69 students have already met the standard. We are targeting 52 students.

Here are some other observations we can make from the data:
PromptData1.png
You can see from the data table above that there seems to be a bell-curve in performance. We are going to target those students that scored below a 7. Our instruction will therefore target those students who scored a 6 since this is the biggest population to target. Clearly, however, there are many students who need significant support.
Promptdata2.png
The chart above breaks down the data set into honors vs. non-honors. It is pretty clear by this data that students have done a good job self-selecting between honors and CP classes.
promptdata3.png


We decided that we would do this two or three more times this year.


PART II: FEEDBACK

A) PARENT SURVEY- David Farrington


David Farrington: Our half of the 9th grade team opted to create a combined survey that included sections for feedback targeted to individual teachers. Our hope was that as a result of our combining four surveys into one, parents would find it less demanding to fill out the survey and their level of participation would increase. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as we received only 8 responses. The sample size is obviously too small to be statistically valid, but I was pleased that what little feedback I received was positive, particularly regarding the current events component of the course. The issue of parent surveys is, of course, under consideration district-wide at this time, and it is a bit of a puzzle for us at the 9th grade level. We don't know whether to interpret the lack of participation as a sign that parents feel that communication is already open and ongoing, or as an indication that electronic surveys are ineffective with parents, or that the time of year (February) is the wrong time to be asking for feedback. I'm hoping the work being done at the district level

8responses
SummarySee complete responses
How relevant has the book been to the course during this first quarter?
external image chart?cht=bvs&chs=186x150&chbh=%2C6&chco=d62121%7Cd00000%7Ce26363%7Cdc4242%7Ce88585&chly=30%7C25%7C20%7C15%7C10%7C5%7C0&chl=1%7C2%7C3%7C4%7C5&chds=0%2C30&chd=t%3A1%2C16%2C27%2C23%2C5
Not relevant - I've never used any ideas from the book in the material we've studied.

Extremely relevant - Ideas from the book have frequently helped me gain a better understanding of the material we've studied.
As a team we send out periodic emails to inform parents about current assignments and activities in our classes. Do you access these check-ins?


I read the emails regularly

8
100%
I occasionally read the emails

0
0%
I have not had an opportunity/need to read the emails

0
0%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Do these emails provide you with useful information?


Yes

8
100%
No

0
0%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Please comment on the question above I appreciate you updates and it gives me a springboard to have conversations with my daughter about her classes.The e-mails provides ideas on how to talk with Daniel about his assignments and supply detail that may not otherwise be shared.I love getting the emails; it provides us with more information than what we get from our son.Keep them coming!I appreciate the emails as they keep me informed and up to date. As a parent, my husband and I welcome receiving your emails so that we know what is happening in each of Graeme's classes and are then able to talk about with him about each class. ...
Another way we provide access to our assignments is through our wikis or webpages. How often have you accessed these resources?


Regularly

2
25%
Only if my child has been absent

0
0%
Only once or twice

2
25%
Never

4
50%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Another purpose of our team is to aid in the transition to high school for students. From your perspective, how has that transition gone?


Extremely smoothly for my child

8
100%
Smoothly after the initial start for my child

0
0%
There have been some minor challenges in the transition for my child

0
0%
The transition has provided some significant challenges for my child

0
0%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
How do you find the provided support from the team for the academic transitions and/or extra help outside of class time?


Extremely available

5
63%
Adequate

2
25%
Difficult to access

0
0%
I do not have information about this

1
13%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Are you concerned about any aspect of your child’s high school experience? (academic, social, emotional?)


Yes

0
0%
No

8
100%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Please comment on the question above.I wish the school did something for Freshman parents to discuss the upcoming 3 years in terms of college prep, best classes to take, what colleges look for, etc, etc. We have not used the wikis or webpages very much because our son is on top of his assignments. I know he uses them all of the time and if we need to, it is nice to know they are there. It is especially helpful when he has been out sick a couple of times.Everything seems great!I will make a point to check the wikis and webpages. Our daughter is very independent with her school work so I haven't felt the need to check.

Individually, we would appreciate any specific comments to the questions above or other topics you feel we should know. Please comment below each teacher's name. These comments will be separated for each teacher. David Farrington Comments:Current events segment of the course is great and has contributed a lot to dinner conversation! Overall a very stimulating class. Many thanks.He loves your class! Keep up the good work.
Number of daily responses



B) PARENT SURVEY- David Pearl

My survey this year had 33 responses and this is one of the highest response rates in all of my years. One of the reason that my response rate may have been so high is that I was the first freshman teacher to send out a survey. Overall, I was very pleased with the responses in my parent survey. All of the parents either strongly agreed or agreed with each of my questions. I did not get any feedback that disagreed. I have provided a copy of the survey below.


C) STUDENT SURVEY - David Farrington

At the end of the Semester 1 World Religions course I teach through Virtual High School, I surveyed students in the course. The full survey results are available in the attached document.


The feedback from these students led to the following changes in the course as I have taught it during Semester 2:

Revised the "Comparison Chart" so the organizing questions are clearer and more concrete
Result: Students have generally incorporated more detailed and accurate summary information for each religion, which then gives them a clearer basis for comparison/contrast.
Added a second podcast assignment, this one for the Christianity unit
Result: Student discussion of the podcast (a "Speaking of Faith" conversation profiling differing views on same-sex marriage and the church) was lively and insightful.
Changed the product of the group project from a shared Power Point to a wiki.
Result: I overestimated the level of comfort my students would have with this format. Most had never heard of a wiki! Among the groups that had at least one member with some experience with wikis, the project was much improved as well as being much easier for me to see the relative contribution each student made. Next semester I will use the wiki again but will offer a much more thorough tutorial for students.

PART III : Research Topic For Next Year?

This was the desktop on the laptop for one of our students. Perhaps this is a possible action research topic for next year! How do students use laptops to organize and keep track of their work?
StudentDesktop.png





2008-2009 PORTFOLIO



SECTION 1: COLLABORATIVE INQUIRY

My focus this year has been on the impact that soliciting and responding to student feedback can have on the planning and implementation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. I began the year with the broad intent of asking for regular feedback from students in all classes, then using the information gained to help me in planning and revising our ongoing course units. Doing this with all students quickly proved to be overly ambitious in terms of the time available to collect and process all the information, so I began to look for a way to streamline and narrow my inquiry.

A more focused direction for my work came about by accident in November. While attending the CES Fall Forum with members of the YHS Student Senate, I had a conversation with a current sophomore who had been in my Honors World History to 1600 class as a freshman. This student is currently enrolled in AP Modern European History, and we talked about his experience to date in that class and whether he felt his 9th grade experience had prepared him well. He had a few immediate ideas about what had been useful and what was lacking from the 9th grade course in terms of effective prep for AP, and we agreed to broaden the conversation when we returned to Yarmouth to include other students as well as the teachers of World to 1600 and AP Modern European.

By this point, the question for my collaborative inquiry had become more clearly focused:

How can the experience of sophomore students in AP Modern European History inform the practice of teachers of freshman

World History to 1600?


The first place we took the issue was to the Academic Committee of the Student Senate, which includes a number of students with experience in the AP course. The committee decided to work on some draft survey questions to ask of all sophomore AP students, and they sent them to me on December 10. [These and other drafts are posted below in the Appendix.] The committee members and I met to discuss the questions and based on my feedback, they revised the questions and sent a new draft on December 17. On January 14 I forwarded these to David Pearl, my colleague in teaching World to 1600, then on February 9 David and I met with Caitlin Ruthman and Alan Hall, the AP Modern European teachers. The revisions from that conversations resulted in the final version of the survey, which was posted on SurveyMonkey and administered to Caitlin's and Alan's classes the week of March 16. The final survey and the results follow.

FINAL VERSION OF THE SOPHOMORE SURVEY: (01/14) <a href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Zlyp2vfqwaoDCrQ4yvJNUg_3d_3d"

SOPHOMORE SURVEY RESULTS:



The survey proved to be a valuable source of information on student perspectives regarding the transition from 9th grade to AP. Among the most interesting results are these:

  • 62.2% report that the workload in World to 1600 is not an adequate preparation for the AP workload. (Question 4)
  • 60% indicate that introducing more essays and/or DBQs into the 9th grade curriculum would help students prepare more effectively for AP (Question 3)
  • The most-cited choices for content introduced in World to 1600 that is helpful background for AP are the Renaissance (37%) world religions (23%) and art (17%.) (Question 5)
  • 81% of students indicated that they received useful information about what AP would involve before they registered. (Question 6)
  • When asked to identify the most useful sources of information for deciding whether to take AP, students named other students and Step-Up Day as the two most valuable resources. (Question 7)

ACTIONS TAKEN IN RESPONSE TO THE SOPHOMORE SURVEY RESULTS:

Immediate actions: David Pearl and I are using the survey data to help us revise some of the 4th quarter assignments and assessments for Honors World History to 1600 sections. We are revising parts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance units so students can gain a better sense of how typical AP homework assignments and unit assessments compare to what they've experienced thus far. As first steps, we will

  • create and administer a DBQ-style timed essay on the Crusades.
  • assign for reading "The Crisis of the Later Middle Ages," Chapter 12 from the AP Edition of A History of Western Society. Students will utilize a reading guide developed by the AP Modern European teachers to help them identify and understand critical content.
  • create and administer an AP-style multiple choice and essay exam on the Middle Ages and Renaissance to serve as the final assessment in Honors World History to 1600.


Future actions: David and I will work during the summer and into the 2009-10 academic year to develop a strategy for addressing the perceived workload discrepancy between World to 1600 and AP. While we do not think it necessary or appropriate to recast the 9th grade Honors course as a mini-AP or AP-prep course, we do believe we have an obligation to provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that will optimize their chances of success at the AP level as sophomores.




SECTION 2: FRESHMAN PARENT SURVEY INFORMATION


Our half of the 9th grade team decided to combine our surveys to 9th grade parents in hopes that responding to a single survey rather than four separate surveys might increase parent participation. We incorporated individualized sections within the larger survey so we could each receive feedback specific to our own course.

Unfortunately, the combined survey did not lead to a large number of parent responses, with only 13 responses from parents (there are 46 students on our half of the team.) What information the survey did yield was positive about my class environment and the students' reported interest in the subject. One area of concern mentioned by a couple of parents was the Socratic Seminar. The concerns expressed were about the fact that their child was previously unfamiliar with this style of assessment and felt uneasy about their level of preparedness, as well as a concern about how teachers deal with students who are quieter when the assessment is based on speaking.

Full parent survey results




APPENDIX: PREVIOUS DRAFTS OF THE SOPHOMORE SURVEY


STUDENT SENATE ACADEMIC COMMITTEE DRAFT (12/10)

1. On scale from 1 to 10 how well do you think freshman history prepared you for AP?

2. What parts of AP European History were entirely new to you?

3. Which freshman history activities would you like to have done more of?

4. How much of a change in assignment and homework difficulty/length was AP for you?

5. Would you prefer to have had more AP-style assignments in freshman year?

6. Did you receive enough information about the end-of-year AP test before signing up?


Give examples of 9th grade content or skills that helped in AP.





STUDENT SENATE ACADEMIC COMMITTEE REVISED DRAFT (12/17)

1. What types of assignments or assessments of AP European History were entirely new to you?

2. Which freshman history activities would you like to have done more of in order to be better prepared for AP European History?

3. How much of a change in assignment and homework difficulty/length was AP for you?

4. Would you prefer to have had more AP-style assignments in freshman year?

5. Did you receive enough information about what an AP course is before signing up?

6. What background topic areas would you like to have had more information from to have a better foundation of historical knowledge?



MY REVISION


Picture_10.png