Teacher Research in the DLC – Melissa Tobin

As we begin the new school year, it’s worth looking back at some of the lessons we learned through the teacher research projects completed in the Digital Learning Collaborative Cohort 1. One example is Melissa Tobin’s work with her students around vocabulary acquisition. Melissa tells her story well in her final teacher research report entitled “Digital Vocabulary: That’s what we’re talking about.”  Or,  you can see the summary of her work in her visual abstract below:

I had the opportunity to join Melissa and her team as they shared their research findings with one another at their wrapup meeting in May 2011. As Melissa shared her project, she commented to the team that while her results didn’t show growth much greater than what she had seen with traditional vocabulary notebooks, she did hear the students using the vocabulary more in their oral conversations, though that was only her anecdotal observation. To which one of her team members commented:

“So, did the ELL students I work with participate in the project? Because I wanted to let you know what showed up in MY room. Now that I’m hearing you explain the project, it makes a lot more sense. I would have some times where I would be in [my classroom] and they would all for some reason choose a word like miserable and say something like ‘You know what that means, that means you’re miserable.’ And the other kids would say ‘Yeah! You’re mad, you’re sad, you’re miserable!’ And I’d wonder, ‘What’s up with these kids??’ So, what you were doing WAS transferring and the words they were learning were showing up in the group outside of the classroom. I think you were right that their oral language acquisition was improved.”

I’m impressed with the work of all of our teams and hope they all get opportunities such as this to realize the impact their work has beyond the walls of their classrooms.

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