Introducing the Teacher Casebook

Today I get to let you in on a project that I have been working on with my friend Nick Thompson (The University of Gerogia) for the last several months. The project is the Teacher Casebook, a website that will act almost as an academic journal in the public sphere, inviting current classroom teachers to share their experiences through writing case reports to share with the world.

The project is inspired by the work Shulman and Colbert (1988) conducted in the late 80s/early 90s where student teachers and mentor teachers wrote case reports that reflected on their instructional practices and relationships in the schoolhouse. Their work, coupled with discussions with friends and family who are in professions outside of education, is our catalyst!

The Teacher Casebook seeks to build a repository of teachers’ stories that are concise, powerful narratives that are couched in current education research. The research component is what is most important about these case reports. Teachers discuss and even write about their experiences frequently, but how often do we look at those experiences through the lens of research and what the field says about our experiences. Consider the benefits of finding cases that speak to your own experiences–the realization you are not alone and there others concerned or experiencing the same or similar schoolhouse moments. Consider the benefit of seeing that there is research to speaks to those moments as well. Consider how case report writing and reading are similar to what professionals in the medical and law fields participate in writing and reading. Consider being able to read and digest this kind of writing in mere minutes!

Each case is limited to approximately 1,000 words and is identified as either an Instruction-Type Case (experiences related to lesson planning, classroom instruction, pedagogical moves) or Relationship-Type Case (experiences related to interactions with students, parents, colleagues, and communities at-large). Currently, there are only a few cases written and available, but the hope is to grow the collection and push beyond language arts teacher contributions, creating a public, digital space for educators to seek out and share experiences connected to one another.

If you want to take a look for yourself, here’s the web address:
https://teachercasebook.com

And here is a link directly to a case I wrote as an example:
https://www.teachercasebook.com/casebook/using-banksy-s-art-to-inspire-new-approaches-to-literacy-instruction

If you’re interested in writing a case and being part of the project, click here: https://www.teachercasebook.com/submission-guidelines

If you want to learn more about the project beyond the website, you have a chance to see me and Nick present the project at the JoLLE conference in Athens the first weekend of February as well as see a roundtable discussion with a few of our original case writers at GCTE in Brasstown Bald the second weekend of February.

I also invite you to tweet at me (@theprofjones) or email us at teachercasebook@gmail.com.

Please spread the word! If you know a teacher who would love this sort of opportunity, pass along the information and share, share, share! We are out to create another professional development opportunity empowered by teachers and the research that speaks to teaching experiences.

Shulman, J. H., Colbert, J. A., ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, W. D., Far West Lab. for Educational Research and Development, S. C., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, E. O. (1988). The Intern Teacher Casebook.

The Studio Reunion 2.0: Revisiting the Impact of an Immersive PBL Classroom

Happy New Year!

With a new year comes a renewed focus on the blog, beginning with a very special first post of the year. Nearly two years ago I sat down with four students who were part of my very first cohort of students who were in my completely immersive cross-curricular, project-based learning  classroom. Today I share with you a another conversation made up of five other former students who were part of the second cohort of students. Much like the group before, they are in their final years of college, and they are all on the cusp of entering the job market. Continue reading

When Shaping a School Culture, Expect Difficulties and Delays

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The title of today’s post sounds more ominous than I intend it to sound. Two full months into my school year has brought with them ups and downs but due to the unique position I find myself in this year, the downs seem a little lower and ups seem a bit higher. Here is what I will promise from today’s post–I will only spend a short paragraph about the difficulties and delays. Most of today’s post will concentrate on what my school has been up to help continue to shape the school culture in a way that better prepares students for life after high school. On a quick side note, I find out soon if I passed my comprehensive exams or not. When I find out, I’ll be posting my reflection on the whole process.

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Happy New Year: A Look Ahead to 2015

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To look ahead I need to look behind a moment first. 2014 has been a good year as well as a mentally draining one. Academically, I hit my first motivation wall where I struggled for a semester and a half to fully embrace what my doctorate program was asking of me. The good news is I’ve come out the other end better for the struggle. In large part, this struggle was catalyzed by me moving teaching positions and taking on a teacher-leadership role for the first time. Looking back I have to admit I put so much of my time and effort into my new position that I nearly burned myself out and some of my classroom instruction suffered for it as well. Still, I felt accomplished. I took on a role that I was initially scared to take on; I came into it uncertain of what the role would ask of me and questioned how I’d fair in the endeavor. Now I feel I know that I can do the job. Moving forward it will be about striking a balance among my many professional hats–doc student, teacher, and academy lead.

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