Volume 2- Number 1, 1999
V 2.1E Bringing Standards of Practice to Life - Jackie Delong and Ron Wideman
Welcome to the second issue of The Ontario Action Researcher. (OAR)
Growing numbers of school boards in Ontario are integrating the standards of practice of the Ontario College of Teachers into their teacher performance review processes. Action research integrates easily with the professional growth strand model of performance review because it assumes the professional's responsibility to take control of, and be accountable for, his/her individual professional growth. Seeing standards of practice as dynamic and regenerative involves teachers in using those standards to clarify and examine their own standards specific to their own classrooms, schools, and communities. Action research is imbued with the process of self assessment and evaluation and enables the teacher to act in constructive ways designed to investigate and improve practice. If the teachers' action research projects are shared, a body of knowledge is developed over time that informs understanding of the meaning of the standards and enables their further clarification and improvement.
V 2.11 Building Confidence Through Math Problem-Solving - Linda Miller
To be independent problem solvers in life, students need to feel confident and capable. My students were very insecure and unsure of themselves as learners in Mathematics. After introducing and providing a wide range of problem solving strategies to students, and allowing lots of time to practice using manipulatives, real-life contexts, and patterned activities, I was able to watch my students' confidence, capabilities and independence in mathematics and as overall learners blossom.
Will teaching Mathematics using a project approach enable me to develop and evaluate students’ skills, in all the strands of Mathematics, efficiently each term?" The introduction of The Ontario Curriculum: Grades 1-8, Mathematics (Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 1997) required careful planning in the classroom in order to meet the requirements of teaching and assigning a mark to five strands of Mathematics each term. This research examined the possibilities of teaching Mathematics using projects. The projects were developed over the course of a single year in a Grade 5 classroom. The projects connected Mathematics concepts and skills to the real life experiences of the students and were organized by the five strands of Mathematics outlined on the Ontario Report Card. The experience of this researcher and her class demonstrated that projects were a useful tool for managing instruction, assessment, and individual student needs in a manageable and meaningful way.
This article outlines a project completed by five schools that wanted to improve their students' skills in reading comprehension. The article outlines the steps the participants took in evaluating their current practice, trying new strategies and looking at the results. Data collection strategies are outlined and include teacher journal comments, student questionnaire comments and standardized test results. The results indicate that guided reading had a significant positive impact on our ability to promote reading comprehension skills.
Future Issues: We invite you to submit reports of action research projects and articles about action research to this journal for publication. Information about requirements for articles and how to send them to us may be accessed through the button entitled, "Criteria" at the top of the Home Page. Two special issues are now being planned.
Resource Available: A new professional development kit is now available. The kit is entitled, "Action research: School improvement through research based professionalism." It includes two books and a 22 minute video and is available through the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
Recent Publication: The story of the Partnership that has produced Action research: School improvement through research based professionalism, and the Ontario Action Researcher has now been published in the International Electronic Journal for Leadership in Learning (Couture, Delong, & Wideman, 1999). The article contributes to the literature on partnerships between schools and universities.
Be Active: We welcome you to register on the list-serve to discuss with other registrants the articles in the journal and the issues related to action research that they raise. The list-serve may be accessed through the button at the top of the Home Page.
Action Research and Reflective Practice Readers of the Ontario Action Researcher may be interested in a website developed by Tom Russell at Queen's University to suggest possible relationships among "Reflective Practice, Action Research, and the Power of How We Teach." The website was developed during Tom's recent sabbatical stay in Australia in response to a number of practical issues. Tom will continue to develop the site and would welcome comments and suggestions. The site can be found at: http://educ.queensu.ca/~russellt/rp-ar