I. Design space to develop your 250-300 word abstract that summarizes your question, rationale, and your findings.

  • What is your question?
    • How can elementary school teachers use an online portfolio (Google Drive) to track students growth in reading and writing across grade levels?
  • What is your rationale?
    • Teachers often feel that they are "starting over" each school year and working from the bottom up, when truth is students learn and carry over a lot of information into the next grade level. Every teacher has at some point heard "I remember learning this last year" from a student in their class. The problem is that there is little vertical communication between grade levels - there simply isn't time. One of the things my school has been working on as part of our school improvement plan (SIP) is creating student-created reading goals for every child at every grade level. These goals can reflect mClass data or in-class assessments, or simply be an improvement of reading behaviors (picking "good fit" books, or building stamina). One way for students and teachers alike to break down the disconnect between grade levels could include students making use of their Google Drive accounts by creating a "Goals" folder and a grade level portfolio. Through these folders student goals and work could progress through the grade levels and create a more meaningful learning experience for students in elementary school.
  • What are your findings?

II. Design space to plan out your creative synthesis that will visually represent your findings. Remember to include your abstract in your visual representation.

Compelling Question:

  • Develop your compelling question related to student learning by the end of your first semester in the program. Decide on a question that you are passionate about and want to focus on for the duration of your program. Click here to learn more about what we mean by compelling question. Here are a couple of examples: How do I creatively and effectively engage diverse learners in my middle grades classroom? How can I effectively engage elementary students in reading and writing?

  • How can elementary school teachers use an online portfolio (Google Drive) to track students growth in reading and writing across grade levels?

Gather & Analyze Information:

  • Use coursework (including core courses ECI 546, 524, 523, 508 and your content specialty courses), individual investigations, and outside experts to explore different aspects of your question. Actively analyze information from multiple sources and perspectives as you explore answers to your question. Make a list here of the information you are analyzing. As you proceed with your analysis make some notes here about your initial findings and where you anticipate needing more information. Also, make sure to note if and how your compelling question has changed.

1. What do teachers think about communication about individual students across grade levels?
2. Are there schools/teachers/districts that already have portfolios in use during vertical discussions about individual students?
3. How does a digital student portfolio create conversations vertically?
4. How can these portfolios be used by students to encourage self-efficacy?
5. How can these portfolios be used to create multi-year, student-led projects to promote long-term reading and writing growth?

Creatively Synthesize Information:

  • Synthesize the information from and across your sources to create a unique response to your question. You should be able to distill your synthesis into 4-6 bullet points (to be included in your written abstract) as well as provide a creative visual representation of your findings. You may use a variety of media and tools to design your visual representation of your Creative Synthesis. Think carefully about the tools that you will use to represent your findings. The first draft of your Creative Synthesis should be developed no later than Midterm/NCSU Spring Break while you are taking the ECI 508, Teachers as Leaders class. Click here to see sample products from former students.

Critically Evaluate and Revise:

  • Seek out at least two colleagues in the NLGL program in addition to your advisor to provide peer feedback on your abstract and creative synthesis based on the NLGL Creative Synthesis Rubric. Based on the feedback you receive, you may choose to make revisions to more fully meet the rubric criteria.

Share, Publish, Act:

  • Be prepared to present your Creative Synthesis at the NLGL Design Studio Showcase during your final semester of your degree program, in conjunction with the ECI 508, Teachers as Leaders course.

Mondelli - Creative Synthesis Prezi