Hello! I am so excited because I finally made some progress over winter break. I finished the Paul Tough book and I have decided that I would like to focus my research on charter schools. Now, I still do not know what specifically I want to know about charter schools, but I am working on that. Baby steps are what I am taking! I read two articles last week about the achievement gap in America. They were extremely intriguing! One of them focused on how to make students from low-income neighborhoods successful in school. The solution was rather simple: motivation! It sounds simple, but there are a lot of nuances involved. For example, the way students respond to their test grades has a huge impact on their sense of motivation to keep trying. In addition, the things that teachers do after students receive their test grades also affect the motivation of students. I did not know that these small things have such large impacts on students. I always thought that the teacher’s ability to teach, the classroom environment, and parenting were the primary influences. Perhaps those factors are not as important as I thought. This stuff is so interesting! The only difficult part is trying to figure out an organized direction in which to lead my research. As you can see, I said I am interested in charter schools, yet I was reading about the achievement gap. My strategy right now is just reading any and everything that catches my eye. I don’t think this is an effective way to guide my research, so I will try to focus it more on charter schools next time.