Mentor Text / Grant $ Opportunity

This is the outline of 4 parts for the VSRA Grant Proposal due each January – $500 grant
YOU can complete the VSRA Grant Proposal to help fund your TR work.
YOU can look at the 4 parts listed below to help guide your teacher research
(a mentor text)

A. Title

B. Rationale – The proposal should include a rationale that addresses the following:

• What are the research questions?
• Why are these questions personally important to you?
• Why are these questions important to the field?
Note: Questions should be written in an open-ended format rather than yes/no questions.

C. Methods – The proposal should include a description of how you will design, implement, evaluate and share your findings. Provide descriptions of the following points:

• All participants
• How you will conduct the study
• Materials
• Data to be collected
• Analysis of data
• Sharing findings

D. Timeline – The proposal should include a timeline indicating when each aspect of your project will be accomplished. Note that all data collection and preliminary findings must be completed and ready to disseminate by the 2019 VSRA conference.

E. Appendices

• Each submission should include a letter of support indicating permission for the research to be conducted in the school division and for the findings to be disseminated by VSRA. The appropriate school official should write the letter on the system’s or school’s letterhead.
• References
• Data collection tools
• Budget (Should a include a proposed line-item breakdown of costs)


May, 2019


  1. Journal: How’s it going? What has happened since our March meeting?
  2. Findings and Implications for the Future: It’s time to stop gathering data and analyzing it and take time to name 3-5 findings.
    • What categories and themes are emerging?
    • What do these categories and themes mean?
    • Can you define an emerging theory or a finding?
    • Is each theory or finding supported by more than one piece of data? (Remember, researchers ensure triangulation. They ensure more than one data source supports the finding.)
  3. Reflection: Reflect orally with group on how each finding will influence your teaching in the future and name the implication for the future.
  4. Journaling: Make a plan so your research is completed by our next June meeting.

Looking Ahead:

  1. Completed research project due at our June meeting (June 1st or June 12th)
  2. This template can be used as a guide for sharing your research story.
  3. Consider coming to the APS Festival of the Minds presentation – 3 hrs in August 19-21 and be a part of our presentation.
  4. ALL are invited to the APS Personalized Learning Showcase, another teacher research-like group

Here is a LINK to a template.

Here is a LINK to Sally’s 2009 Teacher Research Project.

Here is a LINK to Michelle’s 2014 Teacher Research Project

March, 2019

1. Journal for 10 minutes – How’s the research going?

2. Data Tips

  • highlight as you reread all your reflections and your data
    • look for categories
    • look for patterns
    • write your thinking now in the margins
  • Questions to ponder:
    • what surprises you?
    • what do you find interesting?
    • what do you see that you expected?
    • what can you still gather as data?
    • what is data telling you?

3. Looking Ahead:

  • No April Meeting – pick a time in April to stop collecting data and see what your research is telling you at this time.
  • May Meetings: Sat. May 4th, Wed, May 8th and Thursday, May 16
  • Final Projects due at the June Meeting: Sat, June 1 and Wed, June 12

Keep Reflecting!!


February, 2019

1. Journaling – today let’s try something different.
Instead of just writing or typing for 10 minutes….
Let’s take 15 minute and make a colorful visual representation of all you have done so far. As you sketch, be sure to include (almost like a newspaper reporter would):

  • your QUESTION
  • add the WHO, WHEN & WHERE your research is taking place
  • add WHAT you have tried – steps you have taken – your method
  • add WHY you have tried this – books you have read on your topic
  • WHAT data you have collected
  • What are your NEXT STEPS

2. SHARE using your visual as an aid

3. Critical Friends offer thinking/suggestions/comments

4. Data Tips

  • highlight as you reread all your reflections and your data
  • look for categories
  • look for patterns
  • what is data telling you
  • write in the margins
    • what surprises you
    • what do you find interesting
    • what do you see that you expected
  • what can you still gather as data

5. Reflect in writing what your next steps will be

March 2 – Chesterbrook Starbucks
March 6 – Sally’s classroom at Swanson, Room 131
At Discovery – March 21

LOOKING AHEAD: final project involves documenting your year-long work

Here is a LINK to a template.

Here is a LINK to Sally’s 2009 Teacher Research Project.

Here is a LINK to Michelle’s 2014 Teacher Research Project


January, 2019

1.  Journaling (ten minutes):
How’s it going?
What’s your question now?
What data did you bring?
What data might you gather?

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

3. Discuss more kinds of data you might collect or have collected so far.

4. SHARE where you are now in your research. SHARE what you have tried, what you are wondering.

5. Discuss triangulation – 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?

6. As you go forward the rest of this month:
Keep documenting all that you try.
Keep collecting data.
Go through all your data and highlight parts that are important, surprising or puzzling. Look at all the highlights
ASK: Are there patterns or recurrent themes?
What seems important, surprising, or puzzling?
Decide on the patterns/themes of this data and name it.
Does your research question needs to be revised?
What data is missing?
What data do I need more of?


Next Meeting: February 2nd (Sat. AM) or February 13 (Wed afternoon)



There is no scheduled Teacher Research meeting this month.

However, I am admiring you from afar as you continue to reflect, adding your thoughts related to your research reading and/or adding information about what you are trying with your students using pen&paper or typing more into your computer file.

If you read that last line and are feeling guilty, don’t. Just agree to make a plan to regularly read up on your topic. Also agree to try things and write about it. Finally, agree to ask your students what they think about what you try.

Be sure to:

  • Date your journal writing entries
  • Regularly reflect – I highly recommend you picking a time to make sure this happens
  • Take pictures of things you are doing
  • Take John Re up on his offer to find an article related to your topic
  • Survey your students – let them tell you what they think!

Looking ahead:

We will meet in January. You have 3 options:
1. Wednesday, January 9, 4pm, Swanson MS, Room 131
2. Saturday, January 12th, 7:30-9:30am, Starbucks Chesterbrook, upstairs
3. Thursday, January 24, 4pm, Discovery ES Co-hort

BRING any data you have collected – surveys, student work, photos, etc.

Have a lovely Winter Holiday!

November – Casting a Research Question

1. Reflection: What are your thoughts about your topic right now. (write for 10 minutes)

2. 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?

3. Write and share your research questions
Optional: Take a Museum Walk and write ideas on each other’s museum exhibit.

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?

4. Things to do this month:
* Search for experts on your topic and read.
* What do others say about your topic?
* 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?
Remember – Data is many things. START COLLECTING DATA!
It is student work, student feedback, anecdotal notes while doing student observations.
And don’t forget photos! They are data you can “see”.

5. Ending – 5 minute reflection listing your next steps.