Last month I wrote about Literacy in the 21st Century and the wonderful new project evaluation I’m working on, Project SEAL. I first want to share a blog post that the Model Classroom team wrote about their time with the Project SEAL teachers during the professional development in February. http://www.modelclassroom.org/blog/2013/03/projectsealoregonpd-intro.html. It has a wonderful synopsis of the two days as well as some teacher reflections.
Since the February professional development, I have turned my attention to the family literacy nights. I have never attended a family literacy night. They were not part of my K-12 experience and I have never heard of or seen them as a researcher/evaluator. The Project SEAL team told me that literacy nights can differ greatly and they did not have standards for the schools to follow for these events. This presented some troubles with me as an evaluator. How can you standardize an evaluation tool for something that looks different each time?
After having some conversations with the Project SEAL team, we decided on a short and sweet survey. Something parents would be willing to fill out throughout the night and something that would focus on literacy, ocean science resource use, as well as structure of the event. We hope that these literacy nights 1) lead to families checking out ocean-related books (purchased for the libraries through the grant), 2) give parents an opportunity to see technology that is being incorporated into literacy (the grant also bought a classroom set of iPad mini’s for each school), and 3) give teachers and students time to present on learning experiences they’ve had with the iPads and new reading material available in the library. Here are the questions on the Family Literacy Night survey.
1) What was your (or your child’s) favorite part of this Family Literacy Night?
2) What went well during this Family Literacy Night?
3) What suggestions for improvement do you have for future Family Literacy Nights?
4)What did you hope to take away from tonight’s Family Literacy Night? (check all that apply)
More activities and games to do at home
Information on what is being done in my child’s classroom
Information on assessment in reading and writing
Information about how children learn to read and write
Information on how to work with the school and my child’s teacher
New resources available in the library
Ways to use technology with my child at home
How my child’s class has been using library resources
5)You or your child have checked out ocean science resources to read together at home.
6) Your child presented or talked about a class project at this Family Literacy Night.
7) You learned what you wanted to learn tonight. Agree / Neutral / Disagree
8)Tonight I gained new information about ocean science resources available to my child through his/her school library. Agree / Neutral / Disagree
Hopefully the data can be useful in proving the effectiveness of this project but also give the schools some ideas for future family literacy nights.
Michelle, what is the definition of literacy for the project – is it reading and writing or is it ocean literacy (or both)?
That’s a good question Katie. The context for this project is Ocean Literacy (all of the books are ocean related and we expect teachers to do problem- and place-based learning activities are ocean sciences); however, I would say broadly this project defines literacy as reading and writing.
Here’s a blurb from the narrative of the grant:
“By the end of the project, all Media Specialists, assistants and teachers will be trained in the Model Classroom 21st Century PBL (www.modelclassroom.org), which incorporates project or challenged based learning and technology to improve students’ traditional literacy skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and 21st Century Literacy Skills (collaborate, communicate, connect, create).”
“Since reading proficiency is a predictor of achievement in all academic areas, our school libraries need current resources to support these efforts and ensure Ocean literacy is embedded in all content areas.”
I hope that answers your question.