A while back I mentioned that I am in a grad school cohort. We met this past weekend, and had to solidify our plans for our Action Research project. The project is in place of a thesis that a typical graduate program would require. We do our first round of research next semester, examine the results over the summer, and modify our plan if needed. Next fall we do our second round of research in the classroom and complete a presentation of our results in the spring. Then we graduate! Yea! Anyway, I have had a really hard time determining what my topic of research should be. First I thought about comparing the learning styles of boys vs. girls. We have to do a literature review of ten relavant writen works, and all of the lit I found on it was debating the use of segregated schools~all boys and all girls. Not really applicaple, since my schools are not segregated, and won't ever be segregated.
So I changed my idea to working with my children with autism. But that is WAY too broad. I had to narrow it down, and I really struggled with this. What did I want to try with these children? How could I help them find greater success~preferably success that they can transfer into lifelong skills? Finally, I have settled on the Action Research question of "to what extent will implementing storyboards in small groups of children with autism impact student independence?" A mouthfull, right? Basically, I will be creating storyboards~or visual aides for the kids that show them step by step how to complete the projects and clean up after the project. The goals being that the higher functioning children can find independence and possibly start coming to art without an aide to help them, and the lower functioning kids being able to do more of the project on their own. Hopefully the lower functioning kids will be able to use the visual to grab their own supplies, or even need less hand-over-hand help. We'll see where it goes from there! I can see storyboards being used for the lower level grades too.
The other elementary art teachers and I have completed a grant requesting document cameras for our classrooms. If we get this grant, this project will be even easier, as I would be able to record myself creating my example and play it back as often as needed! I completed my first storyboard this morning, and will be trying it with the students this afternoon. I'm a little nervous, but really excited to see how they react!