I’m behind in my self-paced program — NC Teacher Action Research. The question for the of Sept 16th (see how far behind I am???) was:

If you could change/improve anything in your classroom, what would it be? Take a few minutes to reflect on your feelings about your own teaching.  Make a list of things that “nag” at you as you plan and teach.

  1. more reading; less complaining
  2. figuring out how to get kids to want to engage in the language arts (I love the term for this: agency)
  3. making language arts tie into other content areas
  4. finally figuring out how to balance writing and literature instruction!!
  5. making language arts more active — creative — visible (this is probably my makerspace)
  6. I’m always interested in the technology aspect
  7. I may be somewhat interested in teaching argument — but not enough to actually study it
  8. can I go gradeless? Nope!
  9. more inquiry in English!!
  10. showing student growth without teaching to the EOC

List the areas in your practice that you would like to change or improve

  1. I’m really interested in how to create a more active learning classroom. If the kids are more interested in their phones than what we are doing in class, then I’m doing something wrong.
  2. I stink at giving feedback, even though there is so much research showing its benefits — I think this might be a class management issue.

Question

How can I create an active and agentative learning environment through the use of a makerspace while keeping students on task?

Reflection Questions

Self-reflection (theories): So, I’m definitely of the constructivist argument of education. I think we learn through interactions with each other and in conversations with peers.

Descriptive (describe problem): I don’t think my problem — engagement and agency — is new for the students I teach; however, I see that my students don’t leave their area, for the most part. They make their lives in an area that isn’t really growing in population, yet the ways they learn best –hands on–isn’t privileged in a “college and career ready” atmosphere.  During my time in education, I’ve become better at giving students more say in what we do in class and trying to get them more active, both mentally and physically. And, while I think I have been somewhat successful, I don’t see/hear kids talking about being in flow — where they are totally immersed in an activity/lesson/ process. Plus, I don’t just want a student to be compliant — to play at school. I want to see some passion in in their desire to go further in their learning, which is a difficult concept in a Language Arts class where we read the same texts that their parents (grandparents??) read!

Exploratory (why): This may be where my question breaks down. The “why” of makerspaces interests me — I see the intersections of literacy, writing, and making, but it may not be seen in similar ways by my administration who only cares about test scores. So far, I’ve been lucky in the testing arena — I’ve found myself in the “green” with regards to EVAAS scores, although it’s on the lower end of the standard deviation — and there has been minimal growth in my students’ scores. I need to find ways to gather data to show/prove that making and active lessons engages my students, but I also have to show growth.

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