Along with 3 club members, I am getting ready to present at the Arlington County Festival of the Minds on August 21st at 12:30-3:30pm. This is the culmination of our 2017-2018 Teacher Research. It is our final step – to share our findings publicly so others may learn from us.

Here’s the link to our presentation (I’ll add it once it is complete!)

Because it is August, it is also a great time to be thinking about our NEXT research topic. WHAT topic will you spend the school year focused on as a Teacher Researcher?

Questions to answer which may help you discover your topic:

  1. What are your thoughts and/or beliefs about how children learn?
  2. How do your beliefs shape the way you teach?
  3. What are you curious about in teaching?
  4. What are you curious about with regards to the learning of your students?
  5. What do you want to know more about?
  6. What do you want to fix, start, or change?
  7. What do you already do really well? (By researching this, you could systematically document what is working. Your topic doesn’t have to be something to add or fix.)

I highly recommend getting a journal or opening an electronic file and jotting/typing down your ideas to these questions. Reflecting is a big part of being a Teacher Researchers so start now. Begin to brainstorm possible topics to research further this school year.

Looking Ahead: By the first October meeting, have an idea of a specific area of inquiry. It is YOUR choice so pick the area that interests you the most. Also, start noticing what others in the education world are saying about this area/topic. Bring all your ideas to the October Club meeting.

Have a GREAT start to your school year.
I hope we meet at a club meeting in October!




I listened to the Keynote given on April 21st by Ellin Keene and Nell Duke for The Ed Collaborative. It can be heard HERE.  They discussed what research is and ended by encouraging Action Research!!

1. What is the data telling you?

2. What are you finding out?

3. Based on this, what are the implications for the future?

Goal: I’d like to encourage us to SHARE about our Action Research work for an audience. One audience could be APS’s Festival of the Mind. Any other ideas??


1. Journaling
What’s your question? Where are you at? What are your next steps?

2. Visualizing
Using the paper and colored pencils, make a visual of your research.

  1.                                                       2.                                                   3.


  1. Sally’s posing the question: What happens when 6th graders experience a Social Issue Book Club?
  2. Kathryn’s posing the question: What is the connection of reading and writing in Kindergarten?
  3. Michelle’s posing the question: How best can she provide Tech Support and PD for her elementary school?

4                                                   5

4. Heather’s posing the question: How best to teach Identity using children’s Lit?
5.  John’s posing the question: How to use digital badging in his library?

3. Share

4. Data Analysis
What patterns do you see? What does the data show? What data is missing?



1.  Journaling (ten minutes): What’s your question? What data did you bring? What data do you still want to gather? How’s it going?

3. Go around the table and name in one sentence the kind of data you have collected.
(It helps to name all the different ways we can gather data).

2. In pairs, share more the data you have collected so far. (10 minutes each)

3. In whole group, discuss triangulation which is the idea that by gathering lots of data, the findings are more reliable when more than one data source is engaged.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 9.11.40 AM

This figure lists examples of how to gather data from different points.
A good rule of thumb I follow: If only one or two say it, it could be an anomaly. However, if three different sources of data say the same thing, a pattern is occurring. Keeping this in mind, keep asking: What other data needs to be collected?

4. As you do forward the rest of this month:

  • Go through all your data. One way that helps me is to highlight parts that are important, surprising or puzzling. Look at all the highlights asking:
    Are there patterns or recurrent themes? 
  • Ask again: What seems important, surprising, or puzzling?
  • Decide on the patterns/themes of this data and name it.
  • Then ask: Does your research question needs to be revised? What data is missing?What data do I need more of?

April meetings are Sat, April 7th and Wed, April 11th.


February Meetings:   Sat., Feb 3rd, 7:30-9:30am at the Chesterbrook Starbucks
Wed., Feb. 14th, 4:00ish-6:00pm at Sally’s (5218 N 12th St.)

Agenda/Topics Being Discussed:
What do others say about your topic? Search for experts on your topic and read.

How might this review of literature guide you to act in the classroom? Make a plan.

What will you try? Name it and try it.

What data will you collect?  Data is many things.
It is student work, student feedback, anecdotal notes while doing student observations.
And don’t forget photos! They are data you can “see”! Start collecting data.

Try writing your TR question using all three of these stems:

What happens when..?
What is…?

Which question do you like best? What is your research question as of this moment, this month? Write and share your research questions.

Now ask the others – your critical friends – what they think.
Do they have any questions about your question?
Can they suggest kinds of data to collect?
Can they suggest outside reading by experts related to your topic to read?

Related article: HEALTHY SCEPTIC by Kate Roberts
Kate lists 6 ways to nurture the “healthy sceptic” in all of us:
1. Listen critically, especially to the people you agree with.
2. Name your biases.
3. Constantly ask: Do I agree with that? Do I agree with all of that?
4. Search for a wide range of teachers.
5. Name what you truly believe in vs. what feels debatable.
Bonus: Find ways to enter into a dialogue.
As I read this blog post with a Teacher researcher lens, I was reminded that we want to be doing the things on her list. So take a moment, read the article and reflect!

Looking Ahead:
Regularly reflect to document what you are doing and to think about what you are doing in relation to your research question.
Plan to come to the March meeting with LOTS of data collected.

If you have a question / comment, use the comment box below to connect to the other club members.



Notice and discuss the similarities and differences of a teacher vs a teacher researcher.

A teacher is someone who….

  • Facilitates teaching and learning to maximize student potential
  • Asks questions about teaching and learning
  • Collects information about students
  • Often feels overwhelmed and/or isolated

A teacher researcher is someone who….

  • Facilitates teaching and learning to maximize student potential
  • Intensionally asks questions about teaching and learning
  • Organizes and collects information
  • Focuses on a specific area of inquiry
  • Engages in reflection
  • benefits from ongoing collaboration and support from critical friends

Here’s the info graphically created by Gail Ritchie, FCPS retired teacher and teacher researcher:
Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 7.31.24 AM

What could be your teacher research topic?

Here are some guiding questions to help you. Jot down your answers in your notebook. Then discuss aloud with your club members.

  1. What are your thoughts and/or beliefs about how children learn that shape the way you teach?
  2. What are you curious about in teaching?
  3. What are you curious about with regards to the learning of your students?
  4. What do you want to know more about?
  5. What do you want to fix, start, or change?
  6. What do you do really well? By researching this, you could systematically document what is working.

Looking Ahead: By next month, commit to a specific area of inquiry of your choosing. Start noticing what others in the education world say about that area. Bring your ideas to the February Club meeting.