Data Sources and Collection Methods
Audio Recordings of mini-lessons and students conferences
Most of the data used for this study comes in the form of recording students during the mini-lessons and during there pair conferences at various points throughout the year.
These two recording sheets were used to get feedback from students about how they thought their conferences were going. The first Check in form eventually evolved into a conversational guide that could later be used for my own data analysis as well as for students to track what happened during their pair conferences.
Outside Participant observer notes and notes of conversation debriefs
I had a mentor colleague come in and observe various lessons as they progressed throughout the year. She would take notes of what she heard students say during the lesson and we would debrief each session she observed. The notes from the debrief were used to track the progression of the research project and to document what we noticed from students during the process.
To analyze the data I listened to tape recordings of students conferencing for examples of academic language use, dialogue that went back and forth between students, and rather or not the students provided an answer that went with the context of the sentence frame or question. I also engaged in debrief conversations with a colleague to discuss what trends we noticed in the flow of the conversations. We took written track of the changes the conferences went through and how they led from one lesson to the next. Finally I compared and categorized response sheets for trends that overlapped the tape recordings and debrief conversations. As I gathered evidence and made conclusions, I changed the conferencing process to make it more effective.