Volume II: 2013
An Examination of Using Graphic Organizers to Teach Writing: A Case Study
The purpose of this action research study was to determine whether or not using graphic organizers to teach writing would have an impact on first grade students’ attitudes toward writing and proficiency in the areas of word choice and organization. This six-week study was guided by two primary research questions: 1) Does using graphic organizers impact students’ attitudes towards writing? And 2) How does using graphic organizers impact students’ ability to use word choice and organization in writing? Throughout the entirety of this study, two main sources were used to collect information. The sources that were used were: a survey about students’ attitudes towards writing and independent student writing samples completed three times throughout the study. At the conclusion of the research study, results showed that graphic organizers are an effective teaching technique in writing. Students showed improved attitudes toward writing and their usage of word choice and organization improved.View Full Manuscript
More about Katie
"My name is Katie Lancaster. I have been teaching first grade in Charleston, Illinois for five years. I completed my bachelor degree at Eastern Illinois University in 2007. I was hired at Carl Sandburg Elementary School, months after graduating, as a Title I interventionist. I was then hired for the following school year as a first grade teacher. I am finishing my fifth year as a first grade teacher at Carl Sandburg Elementary.
Developing Automaticity with Multiplication Facts in a Fourth Grade Classroom
This action research study was conducted to investigate the effect math centers might have on students’ ability to memorize single digit multiplication facts. Participants in the study included three female and two male students (n=5). Students practiced single digit multiplication facts 0 through 9 using various activities in math centers. The activities included computer games, card and dice games, worksheets, flash cards, and timed tests. Students’ progress was monitored through a pre/post test, daily one-minute timed test, and weekly two-minute timed tests. Findings indicated that implementing multiplication fact review through the use of math centers did slightly increase fact fluency among the five participants.View Full Manuscript
More about Marsha
Educational Background: Graduated from Eastern Illinois University in May of 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. In May 2013, will receive a Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University.
Teaching Background: I am currently teaching fourth grade at William’s Elementary School in Mattoon and am in my sixth year of teaching.
Action Research Project Title: Developing Automaticity with Multiplication Facts in a Fourth Grade Classroom
Purpose of Action Research: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect math centers might have on students’ ability to memorize single digit multiplication facts. In order to do this, I conducted math centers for five weeks in my classroom. The math centers consisted of activities that allowed students to practice and enhance the learning of basic multiplication facts; they also completed a daily one- minute timed test, and a weekly two-minute timed test. The research question that guided this study was: What are the effects of implementing math centers in a fourth grade classroom to facilitate the memorization of multiplication facts?
Impact of Master’s Program: The Master’s program at Eastern provided me with an opportunity to further my education while allowing time to reflect on my teaching practices. I continue to grow as an educator because of the amazing educational experiences I received during the graduate courses. I met several amazing educators and professors and was given the opportunity to collaborate on many amazing projects with them.
The Effects of Implementing a Reader’s Theatre Intervention in a First Grade Classroom
The purpose of the study is to examine if using repeated readings of reader’s theatre scripts will have an impact on first grade students’ fluency ability. The study hypothesizes that using repeated readings of reader’s theatre scripts will improve students reading rate (words per minute) and their ability to read fluently. A sample of six students was purposefully selected by the researcher from a first grade classroom in a central Illinois elementary school. The study lasted for four weeks. The student was measured using Rasinski’s 3-Minute Reading Assessment, including the fluency and comprehension scale, and reading fluency assessments from Reading A to Z. The data revealed that a reader’s theatre intervention can successfully improve first grade students reading rate and fluency when the text is at their reading level.View Full Manuscript
More about Kristlyn
Kristlyn Dalton graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in December of 2011. She is currently earning her master’s degree in Elementary Education along with a reading certificate. Kristlyn is from Bolingbrook, IL originally and is currently a graduate assistant for Eastern Illinois University.
Impact of Student-Centered Goal Setting and Progress Monitoring on Oral Reading Fluency Scores in Fourth and Fifth Grade Students
This action research study conducted by a student researcher as part of the coursework required for a graduate capstone course looked at the extent to which student-centered progress monitoring affected reading fluency scores among a sample fourth and fifth grade students. Four students from the fifth grade (1 male, 3 female) and four students from the fourth grade (3 male, 1 female) were selected to participate (n=8). Student participants were selected based on reading fluency scores provided by their teachers. This study examined the effects of student-centered goals and progress monitoring on the participants’ reading fluency scores over a four week period. Data collection tools used in this study include pre- and post-tests of participants’ reading fluency using commercially available programs and weekly assessments using grade-level curriculum based passages. Challenges of this study include a small sample size, the short chronological length of the study, and the potential imprecision of using non-standardized curriculum based passages. Results of this study indicate gains in reading fluency in seven of the eight participants; these gains were present in both the accuracy and prosody aspects of reading fluency.View Full Manuscript
Volume I: 2012
The Effects of a Reading Training Seminar which Encouraged Active Parental Involvement
This research study conducted by a teacher researcher as part of the coursework required for a graduate capstone course, looked at the extent to which active parent involvement would affect reading scores and achievement levels of students in a Kindergarten classroom. Seven male students participated in the study (n=7). Student participants were selected based on whether their parents/guardians attended one optional parent training seminar. This seminar trained parents in the utilization of eight word-solving strategies that could be used with their child while reading at home. Data collection techniques used during the research study included pre- and post-running record assessments to determine the reading levels of student participants, two word-solving strategy checklists to determine students’ use of each strategy while reading, and two parent surveys to help identify which word-solving strategies parents were using at home with their child while reading. Challenges included a short amount of time to complete this research study, a small number of participants, and issues with having the completed surveys returned. Results of this study indicated an increase in the use of the eight word-solving strategies parents used at home with their child while reading. Additionally, data showed an increase in students’ accuracy rates while reading and an increase in the amount of word-solving strategies students used while reading.View Full Manuscript
More about Melissa
"While completing my Master's Degree at EIU I have learned many useful techniques and skills that I have found helpful in my own teaching practices. I have also gained the confidence to try new things in my classroom without the fear of failure. Thanks to the professors at EIU and fellow students, I now feel I have the skills necessary to better meet the needs of my students."
Melissa Blackwell graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. In May 2012, she received her Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University. She currently teaches Kindergarten at Riddle Elementary School and is in her fourth year teaching. Mrs. Blackwell’s action research project looked at the extent to which active parent involvement would affect reading scores and achievement levels of students in a Kindergarten classroom.
Dolch Word Practice: Can Struggling Readers Benefit?
This action research study was conducted to determine to what extent regular Dolch word instruction would impact the fluency of 4th grade students who are a year below grade level in reading. These students read orally with the teacher daily as a part of guided reading time. In addition, during this four-week study, the students in these guided reading groups used Dolch word flashcards to practice high frequency words and practiced and read timed fluency passages. Overall, students showed an increase in the number of words they read correctly on the fluency passages. Data analysis showed an increase in the number of words read correctly per passage from Monday to Friday, after practice sessions during the week. Additionally, the students called the Dolch flashcards correctly in fewer seconds than they did at the beginning of the study. General conclusions were that with regular Dolch word practice struggling readers were able to call the Dolch words correctly in less time and were able to read more words correct per minute with less errors on weekly fluency passages.View Full Manuscript
More about Amanda
"My classwork and experiences at Eastern Illinois University have been remarkable. The learned methods from my professors and the opportunities to share this information with other teachers and to apply this knowledge in my classroom have been challenging and rewarding. I attribute many of my classroom and student successes to this preparation. I have been especially pleased to be a positive influence on and to see improvement in the reading abilities of my students. I feel my participation in the Elementary Education program was a vital component in my ability to instill a true enjoyment for reading and learning in my students."
Amanda Gibson graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administrative Information Systems and in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. In 2007, she earned her Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification. In May 2012, she also completed a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Concentration from Eastern Illinois University, as well as a Reading Teacher Certificate. She currently teaches fourth grade at Riddle Elementary School in Mattoon and is in her fourth year of teaching. Mrs. Gibson’s action research project was conducted to determine to what extent regular Dolch word instruction would impact the fluency of fourth grade students who are a year below grade level in reading.