Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How writing a dissertation can negatively impact your itunes movie watching.

yesterday, while I should have been working on the dissertation (because the boy is with Grandma this week), I decided it would be more fun to download The Queen from itunes and watch it while I folded laundry (writing it out does prompt one to ask, is that really a good use of your time? Oh well). It seems the dissertation gods were watching because the movie would not download - why you ask? Well - my computer was too full - that is right. My computer, which has something like 50 GB of memory (which is A LOT of space), was completely full - too full for Her Majesty to make an appearance so I could fold my bloody laundry. And if you have written a dissertation (or have an obsession with video taping kids, or puppies or something) you will know what was taking up all that space. You guessed it - Videos of my participants teaching and learning with their students (plus a few of the boy learning to walk)- 47 GB in total. HOLY COW!
That is a lot of video.

My solution. Delete the data. What? NO. Are you crazy?! I will be using that data to write articles for the next few years. Lucky for me my husband is a nerd. I moved the data to our home server and removed it from my computer. Don't worry SAM, our network is password protected, so no worries about confidentiality.

In the end, we went out to dinner and I watched Her Royal Highness while I folded laundry late into the night.

And so I begin the new year with a clean house and a clean computer. As for the dissertation.... I keep plugging away. Revising and writing most days and continuing my quest for itunes viewing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

who is driving?

I met with my CoL last night. It wasn't nearly as hard and it was just as helpful. SAM gave me some good feedback both at the meeting and in his comments on the paper itself.

The most important of which was not to let the data drive the argument. Here is what he wrote on the paper.

You are letting the data drive your argument, rather than you drive the argument. What are the central features of othermothering? Identify those, then use the data to show how Rose othermothered & how this contributed to good teaching and academic success.

Wow... that means a concise narrative with a purpose, rather than a rambling story with unnecessary, albiet beautiful details. I still have quite a bit of work to do but rather than feeling discouraged I feel energized. I WILL DO THIS.

I still need to work on my presentation.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

wrtiting again

Well, I am back to writing.... I have reformatted chapter 4 and it is starting to come together. I have a lot more work to do.

I am hoping to have a draft of chapter 4 by December 1st and have a complete draft by the end of January..... that gives me plenty of time for editing before I defend sometime in March.

We are also planning on taking some sort of family vacation when Nathan's job ends at the end of January... perhaps the Grand Canyon.

I meet again with the Community of learners tonight and I have put some more work out there. I am hopeful that it will be helpful as it was last time.

Remember to vote. I did.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I met with my CoL and it was great and hard. Actually hard and great. They tore my poorly constructed draft to shreds, which as I said was hard but good. So I am completely re-writing chapter four and feel good about it. I keep feeling worried that I am leaving too much out. But SAM reminds me that I can always write a book. Yeah, like I will ever be motivated to write when this thing is done. That being said I have been checking out the Chronicle of Higher Education website regularly....

Rather than send out a funny and non-productive "piece of flair". Here is a lovely quote to inspire my writing friends:

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

Joseph Pulitzer

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where have you been? part 2

Well, I still can't bring myself to write.... I sent off a draft of my first case study to SAM and the rest of Community of Learners (CoL) but that has been the extent of my writing.... In working on it I realized I am much further away from done than I had imagined.

All of my hope and dreams for the future hinge on finishing this dissertation and yet - I am completely unmotivated to work.... Yesterday I watched Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, went to the library with Jack, ate lunch with my man (home due to a bomb threat at work), made some amazing dinner (which took something like 3 hours from beginning to end), cleaned the kitchen and went to bed.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


We have had a couple of pretty hard weeks around our house.... I have put work on hold for a bit. I met with my adviser to re-work my time-line for finishing. I am no longer in a mad dash for the finish line and will work instead to finish by spring break.

Next week, I will send a case study to our new community of learners in hopes of getting some helpful feedback. We meet for the first time in two weeks. I hope to spend some time working tomorrow.

In the mean time... keep the family in your prayers.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

working or not....

I worked in my new office yesterday. I have a room in the library where I can leave my stuff and not have to clean up.... yesterday was my first day to use it. I got so into my work that I was late to pick up the boy at school.

I am not working today, instead I am trying to make up some lost sleep. I went back to bed and napped, oh the heavenly delightful nap. The boys are doing some small projects around the house, which would have made for great working time but ... did I mention the beauty of a good nap.

In other good news. I have two folks who actually volunteered to read and edit some of my work. I am in a book club with some lovely ladies, two of these ladies happen to be professors at my university. So I am sending two of the case studies out - the nice thing is that while these two women are super intelligent and experienced they aren't on my committee.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chapter one is finished....

SAM says that I will need to revise it a bit more when I am done with the whole thing but for now I can put it to rest. Hurray..... On to chapter 2 and then 3 and then 4 and so on.

I got my fifth committee member on board. Now all I have to do is fill out the paperwork.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Coasting

I thought when I 'finished' the first case study there would be some coasting. I WAS WRONG. There will be no coasting to the finish line. It is going to be hard work every step of the way.
But I am making progress:

chapter one - solid version to SAM.
chapter two - jello version to SAM by Friday.
chapter three - proposal state -work on revisions next week.
chapter four - three cases.
  1. case one -working on revisions from a grad school friend.
  2. case two - struggling to finish.
  3. case three - next week
chapter five - some notes

I am working on revisions of case one and case two today. Tonight I will try to do a bit of reading for chapter two.

I meet with a potential fifth committee member on Thursday. I need this to work out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

ABCD writing method.

This is my new writing method:

Butt to

I had a breakthrough of sorts the other day. My second case study had been going slowly. As in I have been trying to write for two days and have 8 pages. I decided I needed to spend more time in analysis and so I stepped back and spent time yesterday and today doing analysis and I am hopeful that the writing will go better this week.

I am visiting with a professor this week who will hopefully round out my committee.
I am also busy with a bit of personal business, that hopefully won't put me out for the week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

emails about graduation

From me to SAM:

In order for me to graduate in December, I have to have the approved version of my dissertation uploaded and then submit 'required forms and paperwork' to the graduate school no later than December 5, 2008. The web site recommends a month for your committee to read your dissertation, but perhaps this depends on your committee?

From SAM to me:

Two weeks is fine.

So that means you need to defend by the 1st at the lastest so that you can make changes, if necessary, which means having to the committee no later than the 15th of November. That's 2 months and 10 days from now. Do you think you can do it by then?

You read that right - 71 days. to. get. this. thing. DONE. We are not talking just writing- we are talking table of contents, references, all the typos, all of it. But what the heck that might really give me something to be thankful for, no?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

what a day....

I had an early morning doctor's appt. and made it to campus by 9, where I worked productively for an hour and 15 minutes. Then I went over to the education building to meet with SAM and figure out what to do since ... I forgot to pay my fee bill. My meeting with SAM went well turns out I just need to keep working and get my draft to him as soon as possible - please send your comments, Jenny ;)

Since I forgot to pay my fee bill I got dropped from my hours and it wouldn't be a bureaucracy if there weren't a form to fill out and signatures to get.... first step SAM signs off, second step faculty adviser signs off - this required waiting around in SAMS office for FA to show up. third step - dean of graduate school signs off - this required walking half way across campus to the administration building. fourth step - take form to registrar where they add the class and give me a new form - luckily in the same building. fifth step - take new form to another place where they make a new fee bill. step six - pay said fee bill by 5 pm using mastercard, discover or dinner's club.

so exactly how much writing did I get done today..... the boy just threw a fit - because I wouldn't let him eat popcorn on the couch and fell asleep in time-out - I am writing right now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh the drama...

So being as I am writing my dissertation and taking care of my family I have a lot on my mind. Apparently so much that I forgot to pay my fee bill. I would just blow it off... except if I am going to defend my dissertation this semester I need to actually be a student. You gotta love bureaucracy.

I finished my last bit of transcription this morning.... well mostly.... today I will be deep in data analysis for my second case study: Margaret Anderson.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

how to avoid working....

I did such a good job last week avoiding distractions. I was at Starbuck's working my tail off daily. This week I am off to a slow start. My back has been killing me, no doubt from all the sitting and writing. But all I want to do is lay on the couch.... crap.

I did work for a solid two hours at the coffee shop with no email checking or internet surfing. I have exactly one hour and 29 minutes before I have to pick up the boy at school. I will work for one hour at least, hopefully I will get in the groove and will go longer. If not, I will make my bed, I do hate getting up early and coming home to an unmade bed.

setting goals.

Here are my revised goals.....

  1. finish rough cases weekly. I just sent case one to my friend Jenny to read, since I am not really sure whath the heck I am doing.
  2. finish draft of chapter 4 by the end of September.
  3. finish draft of dissertation by the end of October.
  4. draft to committee by November 14th.
  5. defend dissertation by December 5th.
  6. have a party..... sleep rest... resolve to relax in 2009.
back to writing.... case two is harder than case one.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

still writing

Yesterday and today were supposed to be long writing days. Unfortunately, I hurt my back yesterday morning picking up my boy.... oh well. I slept in this morning will the boys went to church and picked-up some groceries. I am back at work, thanks to some Tylenol and hopefully I will be able to get a good bit done tomorrow. Tuesday I move on to the second case study.... tonight I will print out my draft (almost too rough to be called a 'rough draft') and tomorrow I will try to edit and revise.

I talked to my friend Jenny yesterday and she was encouraging, especially about sharing SAM. She also encouraged me to protect my time at all costs. I need to remind myself of this.... every hour I spend talking to some other graduate student is an hour I don't get to write, which in turn is an hour away from my family. I shall add talking to other graduate students to the growing list of things to do after I finish.
  1. nothing
  2. lay on couch and do nothing
  3. lay on couch and read a novel
  4. lay on hammock and read a novel
  5. work in the yard
  6. clean out shed
  7. clean out house
  8. learn to knit
  9. talk to other graduate students about the dissertation process
  10. write an article about the process and get it published ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where have you been?

After finishing my two proposals for AERA I took a bit of a break, perhaps not the wisest choice but.... I visited my in-laws, painted my bedroom and spent a lovely week just hanging with my boy.

But as of Tuesday I am back to work, I met with SAM and he helped me with a writing schedule. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday with data analysis and today I wrote. I had been warned to turn off the inner critic and just write and miracle of miracles, I did it.

My biggest challenge right now is getting out the door, my boy likes to hit me in the "mommy guilt" as I head out the door. "Mommy, I miss you. Mommy, don't go. Mommy, you are the best mommy." Which normally I would love hearing but right now it just makes me feel terrible. Does it make me a coward that I am thinking about trying to leave before he wakes up?

Due to some faculty changes at our University my SAM is the new favorite adviser. I am a bit peeved that these other people needed a faculty shake up to realize what I knew already, but I try to be gracious when he tells them to email me for advise..... I usually just tell them all the stuff he has already told me, nod my head and say, 'I know'.

Never mind that I typically lose an hour of my precious-in-short-supply writing time listening to someone elses ramblings.

I am making dinner tonight from my new cookbook, because in spite of the crazy business of this semester we must still eat and wear clean clothes. Does it make me lazy if I don't allow my family to wear any clothes? I am kidding, sort of...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

getting back to work

It isn't like I had a great working streak to begin with or a long break either... but getting back to work this week has been tough. I keep thinking of every excuse to stall. I need to clean the house, I need to get the car washed, I need to go to the grocery store, etc... the problem is I am not doing any of those things either... I have read an entire novel in the last week (Run by Ann Patchett- fantastic by the way) and watched some great HGTV on the internet (you would think not having a TV would stop me, but no it hasn't).

My friend Jenny said I must work today with no internet.... I hate her. Oh well I am off to Starbuck's. I will however stop at the grocery store on my way home.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I 've had a great week work wise. I was productive and encouraged. I have almost finished both of my proposals for AERA and enjoyed the collaboration a ton. I may get a chance to work with a graduate school friend who recently took a job in Georgia.

On Monday I talked with my of my grad school heroes (GSH) who is now working at UT. He is the most self aware and fun person I know. He told me that he did a Dissertation Boot Camp. He went away for 3 weeks and worked from 7 am to 7 pm 5 days a week and took his evenings and weekends off. He finished a draft. I know I can do this. My boot camp might be less intense but I will finish. Next year I will be a Ph.D.

In other news I have hired someone to come clean the house. It has freed me up in two ways...

1) the actual house work gets done by not me.
2) when the house is dirty I can wait a day or two until she comes - so she doesn't clean a clean house. Hurray for cheerios and spaghetti noodles on the floor!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

obviously I'm not working...

as is evidenced by my last post. But at least I am not watching TV. The house is clean and my cheeks are pink from swimming... so all in all not a bad weekend. I did go out on Saturday morning to work for a few hours.

who would have thunk it?


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

personality, disposition, identity, oh my!

Interjections show emotion or excitement, Hallelujah! Drat! I am frustrated! I am trying to figure out this proposal and the problem is my lack of knowledge of the literature. I am fairly certain that the term I will use is "personality" but the terms "disposition" and identity keep cropping up... only in graduate school would a person have to figure out the difference between these three terms which essentially define how a person thinks and acts and why....

so here is the dictionary....

  1. The quality or condition of being a person.
  2. The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person.
  3. The pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person: Though their personalities differed, they got along as friends.
  1. The state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions: The identity of the fingerprints on the gun with those on file provided evidence that he was the killer.
  2. The condition of being oneself or itself, and not another: He doubted his own identity.
  3. Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is: a case of mistaken identity.
  4. The state or fact of being the same one as described.
  5. The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time and sometimes disturbed in mental illnesses, as schizophrenia.

  1. The predominant or prevailing tendency of one's spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude: a girl with a pleasant disposition.
  2. State of mind regarding something; inclination: a disposition to gamble.
The only problem with relying on the dictionary is that in the Academic community folks like to re-invent (and invent) words for their own use.

For instance, a more accepted definition for Identity would include some notion of performance and relate to how in my identity as mother I am a different than in my identity as a graduate student. But it gets all muddy because who I am as a mother influences who I am as a scholar and vice versa. And all of that is influenced by my social position in society... white, well-educated, affluent. And my underlying beliefs ... one who follows Christ.

I can hardly figure this out for myself... is this a fool's errand for my research?

Friday, July 18, 2008

busy week

I have been hard at work on my proposal for AERA. I am working with one of my research participants to put together a proposal and I am also putting one together on my own. The hardest part for me is figuring out where the proposal belongs. AERA is divided into 10 or so division plus there are like 50 SIG (Special Interest Groups)... that means it's not a good idea to send your paper on teaching practices in high-stakes learning in elementary schools to the division on History....

in other news. I may have a new committee member. I went to a proposal session and heard this wonderful lady say, "the best dissertation is a done dissertation." It was love at first sight... well at least academic admiration. I mentioned the idea to SAM and he said it sounded like a good idea....

Today, I vow to give up my Love Boat addiction until these proposals are done. I may still watch the latest episode of Swingtown, but that is another issue

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My topic.....

I got a comment on my blog -that's right a comment from someone, not a family member or friend. She asked about my topic, I am trying to answer this question...

How do third grade teachers in a high-stakes learning environment implement quality teaching practices that equip students with the knowledge and skills to pass the state mandated Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test? Beyond success on the TAKS test, what other goals for students do teachers who provide quality instruction have and how do they facilitate those goals?

I found 3 excellent teachers (using criteria established in my proposal) and spent about a month in each of their classrooms observing them teach. I also interviewed each teacher twice, and interviewed 3 focal students in each of the classes, plus the principal at each campus. I am currently making my way through this mountain of data and trying to write something meaningful and coherent. I am using qualitative methodology to analyze each case study.

Friday, July 11, 2008


so the hot new buzz word in teacher education is "disposition" -- NCATE (the folks who say how teachers should be prepared for the classroom) in 2000 added "professional disposition" as an "explicit obligation" for teacher preparation. The idea to include moral and ethical development as part of teacher education....

Not sure what to do with this yet. I don't think this is exactly what I found in my research but I do think it gives me a place to start looking.

I just printed about 5 articles to read. I have also started thinking about what this means for teacher educators. I think this might be the most suitable niche for my work. To that end....

I have set the actual dissertation on the back burner for now. I have to get a proposal ready for AERA by the first of August. I am hoping to get two sent out - one on my own and one with my friend Heather. She reminded me that we are less than 3 weeks out from the deadline.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Come aboard we're expecting you...

No I did not watch "The Love Boat" last night... but I did think about SAM (super adviser man).

when I asked SAM to chair my committee, there was a bit of drama in our department and SAM told me that he was not going to be the Julie (the cruise director) on my dissertation Love Boat (His metaphor not mine). He told me he thought of himself as Isaac, always ready to pour me a drink and give me advice, but I have to be the Captain deciding where I am going. So today I am steering my ship, writing and thinking.

classroom management

I am organizing my thoughts and notes about my teachers... the significance.

"After analyzing the practices of each of these teachers in turn, I know turn to the connections and differences between the three cases. There were some connections that were immediate. None of these teachers had a behavior chart displayed in their classrooms and all of the teachers had a relaxed attitude about the neatness of their classrooms. Perhaps the most striking similarity was that each of the teachers relied on his/her own personal experience and personality as a connection point with students. "

I started with this paragraph.... I am not sure how to make sense of the most striking finding- the impact personality had on how these teachers were able to be successful with their students. Okay, let me back up....

I am writing this dissertation not just so I can get the heck out of here and get on with my life (Although, that is a big part of it.) but also so that others can learn from my work (and by others I mean specifically teacher educators).

So if each of these teachers relies on personality and none use a standard "behavior management plan" (think cards, points, name on board). Then how do we teach apprentice teachers to manage student behavior? How aware are young teachers of their own identity? (I use the word identity carefully because in academic circles it has a VERY specific meaning.)

I think of my own 22-year-old-first-year-teacher-self and all I wanted was for someone to tell me what to do. Give me a plan. TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! How do we tell them to begin to call on the strength of their own personality?

No answers today, just questions....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Love exciting and new....

I need to figure out how to make evenings more productive, I have a hard time working in the evening. Last night I found The Love Boat on CBS's website. Oh yeah, I watched an episode where Dick Van Patton, with a wicked comb-over, fell in love with Vicky Lawrence. Classic. I know you are asking, what, no Fantasy Island? I am sure my brother would be proud.

I am going to take my data, and a few articles to read and meet my friend at Starbuck's to work. I will focus on Doug this week. When I get home I will work on the interview and try to finish that today. If not, I have a sitter coming tomorrow for a few hours and I will finish it then (and I do have my evenings).

FYI- I usually prefer the local coffee joint - the Thunderbird*, but the Starbuck's* has one benefit that sometimes encourages more work - even if their coffee stinks, they DO NOT have free internet, which is good because Monday I bought this (No doubt it will help with my work in the long term.)

* notice that I strategically did not link to Starbuck's but did link to the Thunderbird - see there I did it again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

writing or not? - new blogs.

I have spent most of my work time the last few days transcribing my first interview with Doug Parker and several minutes of his teaching. I know this is a necessary part of the process, but it doesn't feel like progress and it goes so very slowly.

I also spent some time looking at blogs of others who are writing dissertations.... not really productive but, it is nice to know that I am not the only one who is struggling with the writing process. (Check out my side bar.)

I spent most of my work time today running errands and visiting the doctor. Tomorrow is a Jack Day; we start swimming lessons down at the University. Hopefully this will be fun.

Friday, July 4, 2008


My house is a mess, my guys are off canoing on Town Lake, and I am here trying to write this d--- thing. I actually said to N, "If this thing is going to get written by December I am going to have to make some sacrifices."

But on a happier note... I am going to get someone to come a clean the house a couple times a month.

Back to work.....

yeah, right, I get it.

My adviser sent me a link to a website for people who are ABD (that's All But Dissertation), they send these weekly updates to encourage folks to write ---

this little list come from a comparison of writing a dissertation to running a marathon - my favorite comparison.

To motivate yourself to persevere through the tough spots:
1. Go public.
2. Leave nothing to chance--plan in detail and carry through.
3. Put work into manageable steps or chunks.
4. Plan specific rewards to dangle in front of yourself.
5. Work with a buddy, group, or coach.

I need to work on 4 and 5. I need to find some folks I can write with on a regular basis. I am hoping that once school starts in the fall this will fall into place.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


so I finished transcribing..... I also did a bit of weeding and raked a bit.


I don't feel like writing. I have my coffee and I am at the computer, but I can't get myself to actually write.

I worked a good bit Monday morning and got about half-way through transcribing a class meeting with one of the teachers... It is slow going, as it is very difficult to hear the what the children are saying and I find myself rewinding and listening to the same few seconds over and over.

My friend Jenny just started a new blog. We started grad school together; she just finished her first year at Texas A&M- San Antonio. I will get there and when I do everyone will call me...
Dr. PhD. (yes, I know that is redundant, but I deserve it.)

Monday, June 30, 2008


so.. In thinking about finishing chapter 4 by the end of July, I realize that I need to have a solid teacher profile done each week. I, then get a week at the end to tie the chapter together.... Yikes that is big....

so here are some goals--
  1. transcribe both interviews with all three teachers
  2. watch all video at least once
  3. listen to all audio- including student interviews.
  4. read all data once (twice if I have time)
I know these goals are ambitious but... December is looming.


I have started what is probably one of the two most difficult chapters. Findings are what exactly I saw when I was in the classrooms..... the other chapter, Significance, is where I explain why my findings matter. As CPB says, "the 'so what' part". As a graduate student, this is the chapter (or section) you read first.

So here is the introduction to my findings. I am still playing with how to introduce each of the three teachers (and no doubt CPB will have much to say about it) but this is what they call "a sh-tty first draft" - a necessary part of writing...

I entered each of these three classrooms trying hard to set expectations aside. I had been warned on several occasions to observe and record what I saw and not make judgments. This of course was a difficult task. In his work, Blink, Gladwell (2005) wrote about experts “knowing before they know”. Shortly after entering each of the three classrooms, “I knew” that these teachers would be excellent sources of information; they were practitioners of quality teaching. It took a great deal of additional time to figure out why I knew this and which practices in particular were beneficial and which others not so. At times, this knowing made my work more difficult and at others it was most helpful.

In the next part I give specifics about each of the three teachers.

yeah, so that is what I have so far.... no doubt Andy will say that I shouldn't reference pop-culture in my scholarly writing so but it is just such a perfect fit for what I felt/experienced when I first began data collection.

BTW- if you haven't read Blink, it is worth picking up -even if you only read the first and last chapters.

Friday, June 27, 2008

here is my best draft....

This is the proposal that I just sent off for the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE). Don't tell me if you see any typos. I will know by the end of the summer if it gets accepted. My next proposal will be for AERA (American Educational Research Association).

Title of Presentation: “Every child deserves a good teacher but some children deserve more”: a case study of three third grade teachers in standards-based learning environments

Abstract: The primary grades are an important part of a child’s development. Early educators help children master academic skills; in addition they help children work together, care for themselves and others, continue to enjoy learning and maintain their natural curiosity (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). Teaching is contextually bound; children with unique needs, strengths, and backgrounds come to schools that have a variety of resources and responsibilities for diverse communities. This context has been further complicated by recently enacted standards-based education reforms that require states to test all students in grades three through eight annually in math and reading (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). Early childhood teachers, particularly those who work in public elementary schools, are faced with a difficult dilemma: preparing young children to be successful on standard-based education reform measures while also helping them develop the skills that will help them thrive in life. Some states (such as Texas) add to this pressure by retaining children in third grade who don’t pass their state's mandated test.

This presentation allows teachers educators to gain insight into the practices of elementary school teachers who engage in high-quality developmentally appropriate instructional in the current standards-based, data-driven context. It presents findings from a qualitative case study that examined the quality teaching practices of teachers who helped students to succeed on their state's mandated third grade test while employing instructional strategies that helped students develop a deep love of learning. For instance, these teachers enjoyed their days with students by reading literature for pleasure, joking, hugging, and asking about their time outside of school. Instructionally, they possessed both deep pedagogical knowledge and a desire to see each child succeed, and they enacted this desire by challenging each child academically everyday. In short, the findings from this study provide teacher educators with a deeper understanding of the diverse context in which their students will teach, and effective teaching strategies that can be used to prepare their students to be successful in today’s performance driven schools.

Benefits to NAECTE: Understanding the reality confronting teacher education students as they enter the profession is necessary for early childhood teacher educators to provide their students with the resources they need to succeed within it. Pre-service teachers often enter standards-based classrooms that stand in stark contrast to the best practices they have learned at the university. Providing students with experiences in exemplary classrooms will help them utilize appropriate teaching practice rather than seeing them as an unrealistic ideal. By sharing the strategies the case study teachers used, this study allows early childhood teacher educators to tap into the classrooms of three teachers who faced the pressures of standards-based reforms and embraced high-quality developmentally appropriate teaching practices. This presentation highlights how these three teachers used the resources they had available to them both internally and on their campuses to help students succeed in multiple areas. This analysis allows early childhood teacher educators to benefit from their successes in the classroom and present strategies that teacher educators need to consider sharing with their students.


I put together a much improved proposal for NAECTE (let's talk about too many letters.). I sent it to the super adviser man (SAM) and he sent it back bathed in red, oh well back to the drawing board. It is better and I sent it back to him this morning. He also sent me a copy of his proposal - for my feedback. I think though it was to help me get an idea about mine, oh well. I will take the help where I can get it.

We met earlier in the week and it was good. I made a time line for finishing this dissertation. I will defend it the first week in December that is right in just 5 months. I have made what I hope is an ambitious but realistic time line.

He also confirmed what I was thinking, he told me chapter 1 is too long and looks like I don't want to cut anything out. I told him my dress metaphor - he nodded politely and told me to get cutting ;)

here it is....

August 4 - Draft of chapter 4 to SAM
September 1 - Draft of chapter 5 to SAM
September 29 - Draft of 1,2 &3 to SAM
November 3 - Dissertation to SAM
November 17 -finished dissertation to committee.

This gives me the month of October to work on revisions. hopefully I will be doing some along the way. Chapter 1 is looking good already and think that with a bit more tweaking it will be finished soon. I sent it (with comments from SAM) to my friend who finished her diss. a year ago. Hopefully I will here back from her soon.

Today I will 'analyze data' that is read over my notes, field notes from one of my teachers.
Mr. Douglas Parker (FYI - Douglas -my dad; Parker - fifth grade teacher).

I have to say, I love Mr. Parker he is loud, boisterous and outspoken. He made me laugh out loud several times while I was in his classroom. His classroom was a mess, but he seemed to know right where everything was.

Monday, June 23, 2008

back to work

I have sent a draft of chapters one and two to my adviser. I also sent a draft of a proposal, which he sent back -"you can do better than this" and "when you rewrite this... notice I didn't say edit"

Yeah, it has been one of those semesters. I know that I will finish this thing. I know it will be good when it is done. Right now I will offer a metaphor for my work... I have a beautiful piece of material - think a rich blue velvet and I know that it is going to make me something lovely to wear - but I am not sure/ready? to cut up the material and start sewing.... okay so let's go with that metaphor... is it that I don't know what I want to make or that I am afraid that by committing to one path I am deciding against another after all if I decide to make a dress then I can't make a cape (although I am not sure I would be happy with either one.) so today as I will attempt a new proposal and start to cut apart my material. It is hard to make decisions sometimes.

Monday, March 3, 2008


so I have been sick all weekend. Dad stayed home today to take care of the monkey. I am hoping to be back on track soon. I have a meeting with my adviser the week after next and I need to figure out what I can actually get done in that amount of time. I think I should have several pieces of supporting data for each of my ideas.

Friday, February 29, 2008

good news

So I met with Dr. [BW] yesterday and it was great. He was much more friendly than I had imagined, I had envisioned more self-importance and less humility. I got to have dinner with him and he offered, I think sincerely, to read a paper that I need to send out for publication. How cool is that.

His advice... be prepared with unique questions for each of my teachers, based on what I have learned from my data when I go for my second interview.

Also, he was very encouraging about next steps. My biggest fear in all of it had been that if I take a low-key job that allows me plenty of time with my family, I won't be able to get a job at more competitive job at some later point. He encouraged me to keep writing and producing scholarship which will help if I do want to try for a different job at a later point.

On the down side, I didn't get as much done during the day as I had hoped and I hardly had anytime with my guys yesterday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Today I will be meeting with Dr. [big whig] for 30 minutes to discuss my data. I am not really sure what I am going to say to him. I keep telling SAM (Super Adviser Man) that I don't know what to make of all this data and he reminds me that I do know. It is hard to believe that I am THE expert on these three teachers.

At this point, I think I need to re-read my proposal and then read my data on Ms. Jackson.

I keep thinking about the dedication and the acknowledgments.

I will write more when I have more to write