All posts by katelynnwalkersthesisjourney

I Think I Can…

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I think I am done with all of the writing and editing for my thesis project. I have all of my files saved, edited, color coded with notes for my designer, and I am ready to send them off to her for design.

It almost feels surreal to have this project at this stage. I am very excited. I spent the past week writing and rewriting and then finally using most of my original introduction for my project. I also wrote the glossary for the guide. I used a lot of the suggestions from the class, but some of the terms will have to be saved for the revision or publication of the actual guide.

I have attached the glossary below if anyone would like to take a peek. See y’all tomorrow.

The Other 175 Days of School 

The New Teacher’s Guide to Creating an Interpersonal Classroom’s Glossary

Teacher jargon and teaching acronyms are sometimes hard to keep track of. Below are just a few of the terms used in this guide. Be sure to keep a list of the words or phrases that you will need in the future. 

CP (college prep) – a course level of students who are mostly able to read and write at or below grade level and mostly behave Monday through Thursday.

CST (Child Study Team) – The child study team is a mysterious group of people that you will not encounter or learn about until you get an email or notification in your mailbox from them regarding a student that you probably didn’t know had a learning disability or other handicap. The child study team consists of a few important people including a school psychologist, a social worker, a learning disabilities teacher-consultant (LDTC), and any other professionals deemed appropriate by the school’s chief administrator or board of education.

Do Now – a task or writing prompt given to students at the beginning of the period to give students a preview of the days lesson. Also known as the five minutes you must get your teacher life together, take attendance, write passes, get your board to work, and give out papers.

Formative Assessment – classroom participation, quizzes, classwork, homework, etc. given in the middle of a teaching a unit.

Honors – a course level of students who are expected to be able to read and write at or above grade level and behave Monday through Friday. Occasionally, you will have a student outburst or a stowaway who was behaved their way into honors. 

ICS (In Class Support) – a mainstream classroom that has two teachers, one regular education and one special education teacher, that should teach all students equally while accommodating students’ particular needs according to their IEPs. Also, a course level of students where some students can read and write at or below grade level and occasionally behave Tuesday through Thursday, no promises.

IEP (Individualized Education Plan) – A student’s individualized education plan (IEP) is one that needs to be fulfilled by both the special education teacher and the regular education teacher. This plan has been created by the child study team and or other important members of the school staff to accommodate students with a disability who need specialized instruction and related services.

IB (international baccalaureate) – a course level of students who are expected to be able to read and write above grade level and behave Monday through Friday. However, this is an all-inclusive program, and any student can enter the IB program. Modifications and adaptations must be made by the IB teacher to accommodate all learners and get them to perform to IB standards on a variety of written and oral assessments.

I&RS (Intervention and Referral Services) – Intervention and Referral Services, commonly referred to as I&RS, is a program that many schools have to help teachers with students who are struggling with behavioral or academic issues.

Medical 504 – A 504 Plan ensures that a child with an identifiable disability will receive accommodations that will allow them to achieve academic success and access to the learning environment of their peers.

RTI (Response to Intervention) – This is a program to support students in the regular education classroom. This program is used to address issues that students have in terms of behaviors or academics. The program starts with an experienced teacher, intervention strategies within the classroom by the teacher, and then leads to building a support system for the student with additional staff members. 

Pre-assessment – a task given before a period of instruction to gauge student abilities.

PLEP (Present Level(s) of Educational Performance) – a form that will need to be filled out by staff members to monitor student progress prior to a student evaluation.

Pull-Out – when a teacher or coach pulls one or several students out of the classroom to support students academically or emotionally.

Push-In – when a teacher or coach pushes into a classroom to support students academically or emotionally

RACE Response or RACE(CE) (Restate Answer Cite Explain [Cite Explain]) – a response method for students responding to short answer questions. Once students can master this method of response, they can write longer responses and essays. Students will restate the question, answer the question, cite evidence from the text or paraphrase, and then explain their evidence.

Rubric – a document used to assess student performance on tasks that should be reviewed with students before, during, and after an assignment.

SGO (Student Growth Objective) – an intimidating acronym that really means a pre, formative, and summative assessment of student performance on a set of student learning standards. You will select two skills, reading and writing, to assess students on before, during, and after a period of learning. ore, during, and after a period of learning. You will document this data on an excel spreadsheet or other data collection platform to report to your administration.

Summative Assessment – project, essay, oral presentation, etc. given at the end of a teaching unit.

Think Aloud – a task where the student or teacher explains their thinking process on a particular assignment and others listen to the thought process.

Tracked – various levels of the same course (IB, honors, college prep, ICS, resource)

WALT (We are learning to) – an acronym used to create student friendly objectives. Ex.) We are learning to write RACE paragraphs by completing the RACE outline with textual evidence.

Working My Way Through

At this point I have to complete one essay revision, my glossary, and introduction. 🤞🏽 I will be able to finish this during my spring break.

I want to be able to spend a few days after spring break designing and revising my essays again. I have started inserting images, but the design element is what is missing.

This week I was able to finish essay 5 and essay 6. I was wondering why essay 6 was so short when I noticed I was missing three whole sections from my essay. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I wrote those sections and still found time to do a quick second edit of essays 1-5.

Feeling Good

I just finished editing essay 5 and I am feeling pretty good. I really like how my writing process essay turned out. I inserted a few charts and rubrics and I am liking the look of the essay. After finishing the editing, I wanted to go back to the beginning and start over… but I am not going to do that. I will do a quick revision of each chapter while designing. I know I want to review my citations/literature review in each chapter.

My current timeline has the editing of Chapters 6, 7 and creation of the glossary by next Monday. I think that I will need a bit more time, but I am really going to push myself to work on this deadline each day this week.

When transferring essays 6 and 7 to Word documents, I noticed that these works are much shorter. Essay 6 is only 4 pages and 7 is only 5. I do have a lot of “notes to self” in essay 7, but that’s alright. As a process note, I like editing on Word so much more than Google docs. I think it is because I am more familiar with Word and like the editing tools. I have also been using the Hemmingway editing app for a few sections that sound a bit wordy.

I talked to my sister about the design of this project and we are going to work on it over my spring break. I would love to be “finished” by the end of April.

Fingers crossed that all works out.

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Presentation Week

For this week’s blog I am simply including the link to my presentation and the link to my crowdsourcing document. At the end of the presentation I will be asking for help from the group. Rather than reading a section of my work, which we are all familiar with, I will be asking for help with a section that I have not started. I am looking forward to hearing feedback about my project and getting a head-start on my glossary.


The First Year Teacher Glossary:

Thank you in advance for your feedback! Off to edit essay five!

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Just Working

After talking to Dr. Zamora last week, we both realized we were at the halfway mark. I know I will be able to finish this “final draft” but I am thinking that this document will be a work in progress after the due date.

Just this week I was given another resource from my boss about “Strengthening Your RTI Program” and I haven’t even had a chance to glance at the PDF she printed for me. My mailbox at work is often overflowing with professional development resources that I am looking forward to reading and adding to this teacher’s guide.

I am still working on Essay four and I am hoping to finish editing this essay tonight. Thankfully, with our class set up I was able to ask Diana to edit and add to the two sections of essay four that she knows better than I do. Diana has a great wealth of knowledge about the child study team and the I&RS program at the school. I am glad that we have the time to work with one another built into the schedule.

With that being said… back to editing. I am looking forward to another great presentation this week by Sun. Susan and Jessie’s presentations were fabulous. Good Luck, Sun!

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I had a bit of a panicked moment of “Oh no! May is right around the corner!” Will I be able to finish everything? When am I going to have the time to finish? When am I going to take off from work to catch up?

The past two weeks at work have been brutal. I have been testing my IB students one on one, every period, for the past two weeks. When I left work each day I had no desire to even look at a screen and I had no motivation to do any more work after work.

I worked on Essay Three a few hours last week and a few hours this week. I have finished the drafting of the essay and revisions. I only need to pull an example of a lesson plan, an example of an SGO, and to find one source on data driven instruction. This is what I plan on getting done in class tomorrow.

Work life balance is such a struggle and I am going to refocus my energy on my progress. I am going to keep this blog short and sweet in order to allow for a few last minute revisions on my essay.

See you tomorrow ladies!

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25% There

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Two weeks of progress…Two weeks seemed like such a long time when Dr. Zamora said it in class nearly two weeks ago. I was able to finish editing essay two right before class on Monday the 14th and began editing essay three that night. It has once again been a slow process, but I am making my way through essay three. I did not realize how long the essay was until I started working on this essay about assessing students.

When I started revising the essay, I looked at the introduction and subcategories and decided that something needed to be changed. I talked with Diana in class and she agreed that the introduction needed to be changed and that I should move the introduction into a section about co-teaching.

In terms of my progress over the past week and a half, I have been taking my own advice that I gave to Bailey about time management and I am setting a timer for working during the week. I am not working everyday. But I am spending a few hours a week on my project.

Unfortunately, I was sick last weekend and did not get as much done as I had hoped. Whomp whomp!! I am completing my blog on Wednesday night so that I can just focus on completing the editing of this essay and finding a good source to insert on data driven instruction. I must have one somewhere in my collection of sources, I just need to sort through and find the best one to link in my digital teaching guide.

Looking forward to another class with you lovely ladies on Monday!

Editing is Slow and Tedious

I just finished editing essay one. I feel like I have been editing this essay for the past three weeks… because I have been. I think I am happy with the way the essay turned out. I will be more excited to see the project in its final state. I am going to link helpful books and sources within my essays to allow the reader easy access to the documents and books that I found helpful. With a digital medium I’ll even be able to put in Amazon links to books that are available for purchase.

The only thing I need to include in essay one are pictures from my classroom. I have written notes and highlighted them within my essay to give my graphic designer (aka my sister) pointers about how I want the product to look. I will need to give my classroom a little makeover before taking classroom photos. I have three roommates this year and I’ll just say they are not the most organized roommates.

Pictures to Take: Help Yourself Shelf, Popsicle Stick Jars, Quote Wall, Desk Arrangement, Bookshelf, etc.

Tonight I will be working on editing essay two and finding a few sources that connect to the body of my essay. I included citations for three articles on within class grouping, a hyperlink to an SEL writing prompt website, and a citation for an SEL book in essay one. The goal is to have about 2-3 sources for each essay.

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Making Progress

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Last Monday’s meeting with Dr. Zamora was very informative and motivating. We cleared up a few elements of confusion about my project and I am excited to move forward with my project each week.

During our working time I was able to come up with a new research proposal that narrows down my new topic and research method. My old research proposal no longer fit my project and with the help of Diana I was able to generate a new one in less than an hour. I love the format of our class because I can be productive with my peers and get instant feedback on my work.

Each week I will be editing an essay of my project and finding quotes and sources to plug-in as my unique presentation of my literature review.

Below you will find my research proposal from class. If you have any thoughts, please share.

Research Proposal

            As a tenured teacher I have attended countless hours of professional development on various subjects connected to education and classroom management. Some of the professional development has been helpful and other professional development has taught me what not to do in the classroom. This has led me to the belief that I have a voice of authority about classroom management and creating an interpersonal classroom based on my teaching experience. Therefore, I will be conducting a review of the current literature about classroom practices and making practical connections to the teaching practice. The form of my project will be an approachable teaching guide in narrative form that bridges the educational research and practice together.

            The project will consist of seven to eight essays that explore different areas of concern for first year teachers or even tenured teachers struggling with managing a 21st century classroom. The topics that are covered in the teacher’s guide will connect to the research already made available to an audience of educators. Some of the topics will include physically and emotionally building an interpersonal classroom, teacher clarify, student assessment, reaching struggling learners, and creating a writing process within the classroom.

            The primary audience for the thesis will be first year teachers who have no real-world experience in their practice. This guide is necessary for first year teachers because they are not given practical advice that reaches beyond what Harry Wong described in his
First Days of School. Therefore, these novice teachers are left to fend for themselves, or sift through the mountains of impractical theory and teaching books that have been thrust upon them. As a veteran teacher, I have found most of the resources to be irrelevant, out of date, or written by teachers who no longer practice in a modern classroom.  This guide will cut down on the amount of research that a new teacher will have to go through to manage their first year of teaching. This project will allow stressed out new teachers to have practical advice from an educator who has been through the first few years of school.

            For my methodology, I will be conducting a literature review of contemporary strategies and practices for the secondary classroom. The main scholarship that informs the project will be presented within the project in an interactive mode instead of a traditional literature review. The readers will be able to easily access current literature surrounding each essay topic with the hyperlinks embedded within the text of the teacher’s guide. The bulk of my narrative comes from my teaching experience and practice with theories mentioned in the sources cited in the literature review. With that being said, I will be combing through all my professional development resources that have impacted my teaching practices over the past 15 plus years. These professional development experiences have allowed me to perfect my craft and I will be revisiting the strategies that have allowed to me to grow as an educator. I will be adding in the research to my narratives as sidebar commentary rather than direct quotations to give the reader a friendly experience with my teaching guide rather than a know-it-all tone with scholarly quotes and jargon. 

            This teacher’s guide will fill in the literature gap for high school teachers. When searching for teaching guides or classroom management strategies, nearly all the research I have found it set in an elementary school setting. I have found this to be very frustrating for secondary teachers trying to find useful management strategies for the classroom. This teaching guide will be focused on the secondary classroom and more specifically the Language Arts classroom. The goal of this project is to calm the nerves of first year teachers, to inspire teachers to give students-controlled freedom, to share what really works with fellow educators, and to allow students to grow in supportive classrooms. I hope that this body of work will guide teachers towards helpful research in the field of secondary education. 

Now… back to editing Essay 1. See y’all Monday!

Thesis Take Two!!

I cannot believe I am in the final course of my MA program. The time has not necessarily flown by, but it seems to have slipped away during this crazy time in our world and in my life. I would love to be able to say that I am fully focused on this project…but life. I am going to do my best to use this project to block out any chaos in life so that I can finish this thesis and then take the next steps in my life and career with confidence and courage.

In terms of my progress over break I was pleasantly surprised with how much I was able to accomplish. I had been stuck on two final little sections of essays for what felt like weeks during last semester and over break I needed to finish essays 5, 6, 7, and 8. To date, I have completed all but one section of essay 7 and I have not started essay 8. I was attempting to including research into the last section of essay 7, but I hated the way the section read with research within the narrative.

I have been toying with the idea of sidebar-ing the research in a stylistic fashion. Luckily during class Dr. Zamora had built in a fun exercise that allowed me to run this idea by Jessie and Bailey. Both ladies agreed that sidebar quotes and research would be the best way to include research.

That brings me to my next steps.

  1. Revise essays 1 – 7 for the next seven weeks for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and content.
  2. Find research/quotes to sidebar that connect to the topics being discussed in each essay.
  3. Add these resources to my BRAND NEW literature review, because I think I did it wrong in Dr. Nelson’s class. The literature review is where I think I will need the most help. My last literature review was for a different proposal. A few sources can be reused, but I will need to rewrite how they fit into my new proposal.
  4. I need to read a few literature reviews to see how to do it “right” and then actually write my own literature review.
  5. I need to rewrite my proposal. I think I will be able to do this fairly quickly.
  6. Write essay 8 – I may want to hold off on this essay if I feel like I have too much on my plate with all the revisions, proposal, and literature review.
  7. Revise introduction to the work.
  8. Create glossary.
  9. Reorder these steps so that they are in a more practical order to follow. I think that I should probably start with the proposal.

So… with that being said I am looking forward to meeting with Dr. Zamora for feedback on my fall submission so that I can start chipping away at my to do list.