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EIU: Research in Action

Volume VII: 2017

Betsy Collins

Effectiveness of Vocabulary Journals in Science

In science, content-specific vocabulary words are tied directly to the main concepts being taught. It is important for teachers to recognize this, and address it, since comprehending the text is key to success. This study addresses the need to help students understand the meaning of new words as they are introduced in science. An understanding of vocabulary terms is critical for understanding the overall concepts of texts, communicating ideas and avoiding misunderstandings. Specifically teaching vocabulary helps to deepen the meaning of texts. This study examines a strategy for teaching science vocabulary words that will help students understand the meanings of new terms. The purpose of the study is to explicitly teach words essential to the understanding of science concepts by using vocabulary journals, and then examining the effectiveness of this method to help students learn new words in science. There are two main research questions that guide this study; one, does the use of vocabulary journals increase students’ understanding of new science words?, two, does journaling help students to define and correctly use new vocabulary words? The results of this study indicate that using vocabulary journals is an effective strategy to help students understand new words in science. The results also show that the journals are effective in helping students to define and use new vocabulary words.

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More about Betsy

Betsy Collins

Personal: I live on a small farm near Casey, Illinois. I have been married for 25 years, have 3 stepchildren, 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Professional: I received my BSEd in December of 1989 from Illinois State University. I then taught middle school math and science in several different school districts in Illinois and Ohio for 10 years. I stayed home for 6 years when my children were small, but came back to teaching in Casey, Illinois where I have taught both math and science over the last 12 years. I completed my MSEd at Eastern Illinois University in 2017.

I truly enjoyed taking classes in the Masters program. The professors were very knowledgeable and helpful, and it was great getting to know and collaborate with teachers from other school districts. We were able to help each other by offering different perspectives and sharing ideas. I feel that I now have a network of people that I can reach out to, which is wonderful. I also enjoyed learning what is new in education as well as reinforcing some ideas that I studied a long time ago. The classes in the program gave me many opportunities to try out new ideas and strategies in my classroom. My final project involving vocabulary journals in science was very successful, and I’ve chosen to continue doing it. Working on my Masters was a great experience, and has pushed me to be my best. I am a better teacher for it, and I hope that I can pass that on to my students and help them to be their best.

Sarah Wagner

Investigating the Effectiveness of Michael Heggerty on Preschool Rhyming

The purpose of this study was to investigate if Michael Heggerty is an effective program for use in a preschool classroom of three to five-year-olds. The principal investigator wanted to research if Michael Heggerty impacted children different based on age as well as gender. The principal investigator hypothesized that five-year-old participants would perform better than three-year-old participants and that females would perform better than males. Thirty-one preschoolers, ages three to five, participated in the study. All participants were students in an Early Childhood blended preschool classroom. During the seven-week study, participants took part in a pre-test for one week, a five-week intervention, and a week-long post-test. Participants were scored on their engagement in a daily nursery rhyme as well as an individual assessment at the end of each week. Out of the 31 participants in the study, 93.5% improved their scores from the pre-test to the post-test. When looking specifically at gender, the findings of the study found that Michael Heggerty’s curriculum was most effective for males. In relation to age, the curriculum was most effective for three-year-old participants.

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More about Sarah

Educational Background: I graduated from Eastern Illinois University in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education. I returned to EIU in the Summer of 2016 to earn my Master’s degree. In the summer of 2017, I graduated with my Master of Elementary Education degree as well as a certificate in English as a Second Language Instruction.

Teaching Background: I began my teaching career at Mattoon Area Preschool in Mattoon, Illinois in August 2012. I taught a blended preschool classroom of 3 through 5-year-olds. In August of 2017, I relocated to Troy, Illinois and accepted a teaching position in the Triad School District. I now teach a blended preschool classroom in the morning and an Early Childhood Special Education class in the afternoon.

Impact of Master’s Program: The Master’s Program at EIU was extremely beneficial. It taught me to be more reflective in my teaching. Through my Action Research, I learned how to effectively identify if a curriculum is beneficial to the students within my classroom and how to adapt specific curriculum to meet the needs of all of my students. The educators I worked with while in the Master’s Program were very helpful and accommodating and I can’t thank them enough for helping me succeed in the program.

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