2002 PDS Inquiry Conference Presentations:

 

Examining different types of assessment and evaluating which assessment students value the most

Jaime Clouse, High School North, twirlygirl83@aol.com

There are numerous approaches to assessment, but it is crucial to choose the best type of assessment based on the assignment. Too often students believe that the only real way to measure their success is with a letter grade. I would like to explore various types of assessment to get a firmer grasp on which types of assessment are most supportive of a learning environment.

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Search to Find a Meaningful and Practical Way to Assess Student Writing

Sabrina Ehmke, Mount Nittany Middle School, sae129@psu.edu

My inquiry involves the struggle I face as a teacher when it comes to evaluating student writing. The experience of writing, which seems to me inherently a subjective one, is more often than not assigned a point or grade value as indicator of achievement. In the process of regulating writing to a quantitative variable, I wonder whether such a forced attempt at objectivity does in fact not only hinder students as writers, but also devalue what we as teachers hope to promote in terms of the act of writing itself.

 

Coaches Classroom: The Gameplan for Student Involvement

William A. Aurandt II, Intern, Mt. Nittany Middle School, waa112@psu.edu

Modern public education is stuck with the incredible task of not only educating, but guiding the youth of America. Teachers in modern classrooms are competing with MTV for the attention of their students, and the students within the classroom are competing with each other for the best grades and are seldom concerned about their own comprehension. This inquiry focuses on the essential questions, "How important is it for the teacher to be able to individually reach every student in their classroom, and how does student/teacher relationship affect student achievement?" Techniques for establishing classroom community and teacher student relationships were explored to try and find exactly what the role of the teacher can be in developing today's children.

 

Co-Planning with Students within a Writing Unit

Nichole Hinton, Park Forest Middle School, nmh142@psu.edu

This inquiry focuses on co-planning with students in order to emphasize the value of writing. By co-planning with me, my students will have a voice in what we do within our final unit. Within this project, I will evaluate the effectiveness of co-planning with my students. Can it help to show them that writing can be both a valuable and enjoyable means for expression both inside and outside of the classroom?

 

How to Activate Your Students with Active Reading

Krista Wegman, Mt. Nittany Middle School, kbw123@psu.edu

Do our students need to be activated? Utilizing an ìActive Readingî strategy in the classroom teachers will improve the engagement of students in participation with text. This innovative strategy approaches reading through a three-step process that guides students in their appreciation, comprehension, and interest of reading.

 

Student Inquiry in the Classroom

Alison Colwell, High School North, acc142@psu.edu

This presentation will examine the different components of inquiry and focus on examples that have been done in the classroom. Also, it will explore the different ways to approach inquiry in a high school English class while trying to examine its flexibility and role in student learning.

 

The Balance of Structure in the Creative Classroom.

Arlene Morris, High School South, aem206@psu.edu

This inquiry explores the effects of structured requirements on project-based literacy. I am examining my understanding of the English classroom in terms of the students' needs for concrete expectations. I am exploring how I may provide the students with a balance between requirements and creativity within project-based literacy.

 

Curriculum and Learning

Arianne Bumbarger, High School South, barianne@hotmail.com

"Development does not mean just getting something out of the mind. It is a development of experience and into experience that is really wanted." -John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum. The world of the child is that of personal interest. So why is today's curriculum wrapped around adult understanding of maturity? Why isn't curriculum set up in such a way that thought association/prior knowledge from outside the classroom take precedence? What about active learning?

Student Choice: What Effect Does It Have On Student's Ability To Make Connections?

Regina M. Yanarella, High School South, rmy105@psu.edu

In my interactions with students, I found that they sometimes, sometimes not, embraced their ability to make choices within the classroom. I'm exploring whether these choices have any effect on their ability to make connections between experiences inside the classroom and those experiences outside the classroom, in "the real world."

Creative Student Projects as Positive Assessment Instruments for Measuring Deep Thought - Why They Work Compared to the Alternative.

Gregory Miller, High School South, ghm105@psu.edu

Earlier this year we had our classes illustrate their understanding of symbolism in 'Lord of the Flies' with creative, contextualized representations of symbols, along with paragraphs explaining thoserepresentations. I will show some examples of these, and discuss why such projects are successful assessment instruments.

Student-Choice in the Language Arts Classroom

Julie Hendershot, High School South, jmh341@psu.edu

This inquiry explores the affect that student-choice within the language arts curriculum has on students' interest, engagement and learning. I will address the following questions (among others): does choice empower students? In what ways can I give students choice? What role does student choice play in fostering valuable learning experiences?

 

Learning to Teach through Constructivism

Casey Brady, High School North, cxb460@psu.edu

The challenge of being a constructivist teacher and a beginning/ new teacher. Or, committing to a constructivist’s style of teaching and being aware of it everyday.

Inequality, or Different Perceptions?

Sarah Rito, High School North, smr230@psu.edu

This session will be an informal discussion about the differences between teacher's and student's perceptions and the problems that can arise out of those differences, focusing mostly on assessment and evaluating quality in writing and discussion skills. I will present my observations based on interactions with my own students, and then open the floor for discussion and suggestions about dealing with differing perceptions.