Education, 2008
  • Education, 2008



    Exploring Children's Literature
    Kate Breiner, Molly Hofmeister
    Mentor: Pamela K. Scheurer

    This presentation examines children’s literature and the characteristics necessary to engage children in a story. The Caldecott Honor medal book, The Relatives Came, authored by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, will be analyzed and critiqued according to creative writing criteria. Criteria including theme, genre, media, setting, character, mood, climax, visual metaphor, end pages, and layout, were observed with regard to how they enhance the book. This story’s unique colored pencil illustrations tug at children’s imaginations, capturing their minds and transporting them into the book’s images. Examining the complementary nature of the concise text with colorful pictures reveals how they tell the story together. Searching among the numerous books published for children to find exemplary pieces of literature can be difficult; this seminar examines the essential elements in selecting creative books for young readers. Additionally, other examples of excellent literature for young children are discussed.



    Long-term Influence of Science Mentorship Program
    Lindsay B. Dexter
    Mentor: Erica M. Brownstein

    The purpose of this study is to examine the progress and interest of Girls Reaching Out With Science (G.R.O.W.S.) participants in science and math, and to determine their beliefs about attending college. Five years of participants were surveyed and a focus group was conducted. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, this research establishes whether participants need support after completing the G.R.O.W.S. program and the overall effectiveness of the program.



    Relevancy of Instruction in Research Methods
    Owen Heisey
    Mentor: Cheryl C. DoBroka

    One urban English level I classroom was examined to determine the importance of instruction in the Ohio English Language Arts Content Standard of research. Two standards were expected of students: “1)... Narrow the focus or extend the investigation and 2) Identify appropriate sources.” After a pre-test consisting of three short answer questions, instruction occurred over two days and consisted of whole-class discussion, group work, and individual practice in a media resource center. Students received direct instruction for using Boolean operators, research tools useful for narrowing or extending a research query. Students did not receive direct instruction in identifying appropriate research sources or determining the validity or credibility of a source. Data were collected via observation during instruction. A post-test consisting of two short questions was administered. Responses to pre- and post-tests were analyzed qualitatively according to a rubric. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that planned and direct instruction in research methods effectively increased student knowledge and ability to research using Boolean operators. The lack of direct instruction in validity of sources was inconsequential. Variables that may have affected the results included the frequent absences of students, environmental distractions, and individualized help for students, and slightly different pre- and post- tests.



    Understanding the Impact of Ohio
    Michelle N. Hoffmann
    Mentor: Shirley DeLucia

    The State of Ohio's school financing system has been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court more than once. Despite this fact, elected officials have yet to make any major changes. This includes Ohio Governor Ted Strickland who made education finance reform a top campaign issue, but since assuming his position, has failed to make any great strides in changing the current system. The need for change is becoming very apparent, especially with the large disparities that exist in the current system resulting in significant inequities among school districts. The government's failure to intervene is only making matters worse. Although school funding in large urban districts is regularly addressed by the legislature and in the media, many rural districts, such as those in Fairfield County, suffer from similar inequities that go largely un-addressed. Using correlation analysis to examine student performance, school expenditures, and per capita income for each of the school districts in Fairfield County, this study reveals the impact of the current system on student performance. My project establishes current issues that exist and suggests possible solutions to the current financing problems.



    Exploring Children's Literature: Analysis of Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express
    Molly L. Hofmeister, Kate Breiner
    Mentor: Pamela K. Scheurer

    The ability to find an exemplary children’s book is indispensable for effective teaching in primary school. However, this can be a daunting task if one does not know what to look for or how to critically analyze children’s books. This seminar examines the essential elements used in selecting quality children’s books. Key components of a picture book such as theme, medium, end pages, setting, characters, mood, climax, visual metaphor, and layout are discussed. Specifically, Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 Caldecott Medal Winning book, The Polar Express, is examined in depth according to the above criteria. We examine how this haunting and beautiful Christmas fantasy, about believing and staying young at heart, is achieved by Van Allsburg’s masterful use of oil pastels, value, and perspective combined with his eloquent text. Additionally, other Van Allsburg books are showcased.



    Direct Instruction Promotes Vocabulary Retention
    Jennah S. Lalley
    Mentor: Cheryl C. DoBroka

    For six weeks a tenth grade language arts class from an urban school district was studied to answer the question: Does extensive vocabulary instruction improve test scores in a high school English classroom? The cooperating teacher chose vocabulary terms from a word bank, gave students the definitions, and administered a test one week later without direct instruction. The student teacher gathered vocabulary from the context of in-class reading, activated students' prior knowledge about potential meanings, and provided websites to reference correct definitions. These data suggest that the introduction of direct instructional techniques for teaching new vocabulary words increases student retention. A pre-test of twenty multiple choice questions was administered during the first week of instruction to collect baseline data and gain initial understanding of the students' familiarity with the words being introduced. Data were recorded on the number of students who missed each question. Students took educated guesses on what the vocabulary term meant and wrote sentences that correctly used the term. Students' working and formal definitions were recorded to indicate the role instruction plays in student learning. During the last week of instruction, a post-test was administered. The number of students receiving a post-test score of 60% or above increased by 13%. Variables the student teacher used in the new instruction pattern may have affected the results of student success when compared to the past instruction patterns of the cooperating teacher. The increased test scores indicate that instruction introduces new methods of learning vocabulary.



    Is There Time for Poetry?
    Teri Lipp
    Mentor: Cheryl C. DoBroka

    After receiving instruction through poetry, a control group of 24 urban sixth grade language arts students showed evidence of growth in their use of figurative language. Over a three week period, students in Class A were given a 14 question survey to assess prior knowledge, learning styles, learning interests, and learning strengths. A unit was planned that built on students' prior knowledge of transition words, simile, and metaphor. Alliteration was a new concept added to the unit. Activities were planned around the students' learning styles and interests. Assessment was planned around an understanding of learning strengths. Students were given four poetry lessons that covered the following English Language Arts standards: Writing Process 1; Reading Applications: Literary Text 6, 7; Writing Processes 10, 12, 15. Writing poetry was modeled and students made copy change poems. Students were inspired by paintings and famous poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, and William Carlos Williams. Twenty-four students published, presented, and submitted three poems. A final survey was given to the students which included five of the same questions from the previous test as well as seven new questions to assess growth in figurative language skills. Data from the surveys suggest that students showed appropriate improvement for a three week period in their use of alliteration, transition words, and extended use of simile and metaphor. The student work shows evidence of independent thought, mature writing, use of concepts, and connection to content standards.