Reading together

Perusall logoWe’ll use Perusall to annotate and read together. Link here to Perusall.

Instructions for joining Perusall on the Getting Started page.

Writing together

We’ll use Currents to share writing. Link here to our community (need to log in to Wildcat Mail first)

Instructions for joining Currents on the Getting Started page.



Research Memos: weekly in Currents

10 points each; we’ll decide together when these are not as useful, but I would imagine we’ll write memos for at least 7 weeks.

science notebook page from DarwinEach week, we’ll make some progress on research and share out this progress in weekly memos. Our early memos will most likely focus on curiosities, questions, thoughts about the things we’re reading; as the semester progresses, the memos will focus on data collection, methods, and analysis. We’ll give feedback in research teams on these memos, supporting each other’s research. Memos will be due on Monday nights in our Currents community: in these memos, share with us what you read, thought about, worked on in between our class sessions. We’ll make plans/goals for each week together, offering support as productive researchers. Together, we’ll create prompts at the end of each class session to guide the next week’s focus for our memos. I’ll be researching and writing alongside you. To join Currents, see instructions on Getting Started page.

Perusall & Mentor Texts Annotations

10 points each; how many things we read together will depend on your research choices, but I think we’ll read at least 8 texts together.

Throughout the semester, we’ll comment on readings together in a platform called Perusall. In a nutshell, we are working like I work with colleagues when we read together: we are reading and sharing comments collaboratively. Some readings you’ll have more to say than others, but I hope you see the comments as a generous act for our community: you can pose a question, link to something an idea reminds you of, try to summarize a challenging sentence or section, define a term, etc. I also really appreciate when we respond to other people’s comments, perhaps engaging in a dialogue or trying to answer someone’s question. To join Perusall, see instructions on the Getting Started Page.

I think of our readings as “mentor texts.”

Mentor texts are: “pieces of literature that you—both teacher and student—can return to and reread for many different purposes. They are texts to be studied and imitated…Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today. It helps them to try out new strategies and formats. They should be basically books that students can relate to and can even read independently or with some support. And of course, a mentor text doesn’t have to be in the form of a book—a mentor text might be a poem, a newspaper article, song lyrics, comic strips, manuals, essays, almost anything.” –Lynne Dorfman

In our context, we are reading, watching, and listening to texts that are models for doing educational research. We will read for how educational researchers write about their research as well as the claims they made. We’ll read with an eye on methods–how they did their studies–and frameworks–how they did their analysis–to support our research goals.

Peer Response (in Currents and shared google docs)

reflection on giving and receiving feedback: 20 points

decorativeWe’ll organize ourselves into research teams. These partners will give feedback on weekly memos and the major assignments. Basically, for almost everything we write, we’ll also give feedback. Together, we’ll consider the kinds of feedback that is most productive to you as a researcher and writer.  As future teachers, you’ll give feedback all the time to students and to colleagues. I hope we can support each other’s writing and response practices.

At the end of the semester, you’ll look over the feedback you gave and feedback you received from colleagues; we’ll reflect and consider what worked well and what we learned from participating in thoughtful responses to each other’s work.

Annotated Bibliography (google doc)

20 points

Once you identify an area of interest, you’ll read deeply in that area. Some of the texts you find you’ll discuss in your weekly research memos, but we will also create more formal annotations. We’ll negotiate together the number of texts to include in this annotated bibliography, but I would say somewhere between 7-10 texts. Some of you may read full length (book) studies and have fewer annotations; some of you will read articles and have more. For each text, you’ll use these prompts as a guide:

  1. Write a summary of the text: what is the text about? What points is the author making? How does he or she make those points? Use evidence from the text to support your summary. Include quotes. (2-3 paragraphs)
  2. Then, write a response: what questions does this text raise for you? What do you find interesting? What is confusing? What do you want to know more about? (1-2 paragraphs)
  3. Finally, talk about how the text could support your research—what use can we make of this text? (1 paragraph)

You may find this resource from Purdue OWL helpful too: link here.

Review of the Literature (google doc)

25 points

photo of books spread out on a tableA literature review situates your research in the field. It helps you and the reader understand the context and the ongoing conversation that your research is joining.

Writing a literature review can be challenging, but really rewarding. The challenge is to move beyond summary of the texts you’ve read, and instead, make claims and weave the texts together. Remember, you’ve already summarized the texts in your annotated bibliography, so now you’ll want to tell the story of the conversation among those texts. We’ll read examples together to support this writing. You most likely have written something like this throughout your college career since most courses ask you to summarize and synthesize readings.

Format: Your review will likely be 5-7 pages in length, double spaced. It should include subheadings for the different sections and be well organized and error free. It should include these major subheadings:

Introduction: Opens the paper, draws readers in and introduces the study topic, provides context for its urgency and significance to the field of education, outlines the organization of the literature review for your readers.

Summary of the literature: The purpose of this section is to present what is known about your topic of study. Here you will summarize all of the literature you feel is most relevant to your identified problem of practice. You can use your annotated bibliography as a starting point. However, your literature review should evolve a more detailed, cohesive story line about what the state of the conversation is currently about your topic in the field of educational research. This section should have a clear organization structure–thematic is most typical of literature reviews. There should be subheadings for the “areas” of the literature that you are reviewing. In each review, you should consider: 1) what claims the authors make as it relates to your topic 2) what evidence for those claims the authors use (how did they collect data and analyze) 3) their warrant for why these findings are reliable for you, and your readers, to consider. Again, we’ll read examples (mentor texts) and think about how the writers organize their literature reviews.

Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the main arguments you are making in this literature review. It sometimes begins by restating your problem of practice and research question, summarizes the literature that you reviewed, and discusses major implications of this review: the lit review sets up your own study and explains why your study is important in light of the research you’ve laid out in the lit review.

You’ll revise your literature reviews as part of the larger inquiry paper. In this way, all of our work builds throughout the semester: you’ll use your weekly memos, your annotated bibliography, the literature review, and paper starts as drafts for the larger project. You’ll copy and paste chunks of this work; it’s your work.

Paper “starts”

2 @ 10 points each

As a way to support drafts for your larger paper, I’d like you to try out two different “paper starts.” Each paper start will give us an opportunity to play with ways of starting the paper; think of these as drafts where you could take some risks in writing or play with two different openings to the larger paper (perhaps one drafts starts with a narrative; another draft starts by summarizing the research). We’ll use some of the readings as “mentor texts” that I hope will model or inspire ideas for the paper starts: how do the researchers we’ve been reading start their papers? We’ll give each other feedback on these papers and consider ideas that could be interesting to revise for our larger project.

Each paper start will be 2-3 pages. Share in Google Docs with Kim: and also set the share settings to “anyone with the link can comment.”

Researched Inquiry Essay

50 points

gif of someone writingWe will negotiate the specific purpose and goals of this text as you write and revise. But you should still expect that whatever its particular purpose, audience, or context, the inquiry essay will do the following:

  • Argue a claim or claims related to your area of interest
  • Be addressed to an audience of college-educated people who are interested in, but not necessarily knowledgeable about, your issue
  • Include and discuss primary and secondary research
  • Support your argument(s) with specific evidence and careful reasoning
  • Reach some wide-ranging and thoughtful conclusions, perhaps addressing implications
  • Document sources using APA in-text citation and References page

Typically, when formal educational research makes its way to publication, it often follows subheadings that include: introduction, research questions, literature review, methods, findings, and conclusion/implications. Again, we’ll read lots of examples and think about how closely we want to follow this genre.

Remixing Our Inquiry: Presentation

20 points

For our final project, we’ll be gathering with other sections of EDTE 490 to share our research (date/time TBA). We’ll think about genre, purpose, and audience for sharing your research with a larger audience. You’ll have a lot of choice in how you’d like to present your findings from your research: Ignite talk, educational blog, curriculum design, more formal research presentation (part of a panel), or podcast (or other ideas you might have). Together, we’ll craft a Call For Proposals (CFP) and look to national conferences for inspiration and models for drafting our CFP.

Ignite Talk: An Ignite talk is 5 minutes with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds (I’ve embedded an Ignite talk I gave below that argues for large classes; you would give your Ignite talk on the Zoom screen with slides that auto advance). Here are some examples from the Ignite Site. More examples from Marijke Hecht, Rafi SantosPeter Kittle and Jane McGonigal.

Educational blog: many teachers share their research and classroom practice on their own website or publish blogs on a variety of educational sites. A few to check out for examples: Dispatches (from the Northern California Writing Project), Educator Innovator, Connected Learning Alliance, EdWeek Teacher. You could share you blog, read an excerpt, and talk through your process as part of your research presentation.

Podcast or hosted Webinar: you might consider putting together a 10-15 minute podcast, perhaps even inviting guests to join you to share your research. You could play a portion and talk through your process as part of your research presentation. Some examples: EdMoves Podcast, Nice White Parents, Pedagogue, NWPCoLab.

Curriculum Design: how might you turn your research into a unit plan? How does your research inform your future classroom practice? You could design a unit plan and share portions and your process for your research presentation. Example here from our Composing Science site. 

Research Presentation: you might decide that the best way to present your research is via a more formal presentation. You would share a condensed version of your inquiry paper, following a similar structure: intro, question, methods, findings, implications. There are lots of examples on the web; we can find examples together. You’d create a slide deck to share as part of your presentation.

Other ideas? I’m open.