I feel like I am going through four stages of preparation (usually every day). The first stage is worry. I worry about if my research will yield any conclusions? Will I be able to get to all the learning centers and observe them over the two weeks? What outside issues will arise that could upset my learning center plans (like having a dentist visit all the kindergarten classrooms or the Army band coming to play for the school during my research weeks)? How am I going to schedule around these issues and still have math and learning centers on those days? Which of my kindergarteners will be okay with me asking them questions after learning centers? I have had a lot to think about and new challenges arise every day.

The second stage is my eliminating worries stage. This is where I do much of my planning. I take each worry and brainstorm solutions, if possible. If there isn’t a solution, then I push the worry aside and focus on what I can control. I know that if I stick to a schedule, I will be able to observe all my learning centers in a two-week time period. I can tweak the daily schedule on the days that the dentist and Army band visits. I could try to incorporate our math lesson into the centers and not have to worry about teaching math separately. Our math program has many different learning center ideas and games. I know my students and there are students that are not shy about voicing their likes and dislikes, so those students would be good in a control group.

My third stage is acceptance, which I struggle with because I want to be able to control everything. I have to accept that I have done my best to set up research that will give me conclusions. I have a plan and I will be prepared. I have thought through my research plan and I can do it. If things go wrong, which they will, I am capable of “punting” and changing directions quickly. I think on my feet and problem solve every day. My students are flexible and understanding. I need to remember that this is a process and I am new to conducting research. It will be okay.

The final stage is putting the pieces together. I plan the curriculum I want to address at each learning center. I gather materials and supplies that my students will need. I create and make copies of picture instructions for my students to follow. I outline the expectations that I want to share with my students. I print my observation materials and visualize how I’m going to observe my students. I think about where I should sit so I am close to them, but not intruding on their learning experience. I put together my own tub of supplies to make sure I have everything I need when observing my students. I remind myself that I even though I am a first year teacher, I am capable and every day is a new learning experience for my students and me.

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6 thoughts on “Preparing for Research

  1. I love the way that you explained all this. As I read this, I thought, I have all these stages too. If fact, as I read your worrying stage, my first thought went to, ” I will comment to just prepare as she can and not to worry about what comes up that you cannot control. Then I continued reading, and saw that you are doing just that. 😉

    As long as we can be flexible, we will be okay. Plan for the normal and plan for possible disruptions, and accept that we cannot control everything.

    You have a great plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Cherie, I am impressed with the organization of your response. Just like you and Heather, I find myself going through those 4 stages, too. One of my concerns is also with the schedule changes for this week. I just found out the 8th graders have NAEP testing next week, which means no data collection for those students on that day. And Thursday’s schedule will be crazy because it is the last day before spring break – schedule changes because of both “fun” activities and teachers trying finish assignments since it is the end of the quarter. I hope I can get enough journal entries!
    That being said, I have moved onto your third stage – acceptance. Just like you, I will take what I can get and go with it. I think the biggest lesson I keep learning over and over again in the school setting is the advantages of being flexible as we “punt” and change directions constantly.
    Thank you for your thoughtful words this week. A wonderful reminder that we are all experiencing similar anxieties, but giving us the thumbs up that we are going to make it through this successfully!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! Seems like you have a great system for dealing with issues that the confines of the project presents. I have similar worries, but I have not found solutions as successfully as you! Thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts with us this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said! I’m with you in all four stages. I have gotten so tired of worrying that I have mostly just moved to acceptance. I’m worried mostly about the schedule. With Spring Break taking up a week of my data collection period, and I have to be out of the classroom on another day, I’m worried that I don’t have many days to collect data. But, I’m moving on to “acceptance” because there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m pretty sure most people are dealing with the same issue. Good luck on the start of you data collection. Your plan looks great and you’ve thought it all through very thoroughly. It will be a great learning experience! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is nice to know we’re not alone in our worries and our struggles. Like Starr said, just remember that this is a learning experience and one day, when we have more time on our hands WINK WINK we’ll perform an amazing research project that will change the pendulum of education and we’ll have our name in print. And it all started here 😉

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  6. It looks like you have nothing to worry about! You have a solid plan and I just know that you will do great. We are all in the same positing and wouldn’t be human if we all didn’t feel worry or nervousness. This is a great risk, but we just need to dive right into it and just do it! Focus on why we are doing this. This is for learning purposes. What will our students learn, but more importantly, what will we learn. 🙂 We are in the home stretch!

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