2003 Inquiry Conference Presentations

Abstracts with links to any available papers


Blackburn, Eric: The Path for the Reluctant Middle School Writer. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA. Powerpoint Presentation.
ABSTRACT: This inquiry focuses on the use of the short stories genre to promote writing interest and develop key writing skills in adolescents. Short stories lend themselves very well to the young reader and writer because of the relatively short length of the genre, the vivid characters, and the highly relatable themes. As a result, short stories present the elements of plot, setting, character, and theme in a style that appeals to middle school students. After reading and discussing a number of short stories, students can embark on writing their first major fiction work. A recommended reading list of short stories as well as lessons/activities to promote writing interest and writing skills are included in this inquiry.


Chin Sang, Christine: An Interesting Perspective on Reluctant Writers and Their Quest to Become Playwrights. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: In order to make Othello more authentic, students were given the liberty to rewrite the play within their own discourse. In taking a language and a plot scheme that once seemed foreign, and allowing the class to make the script their own, these reluctant writers were transformed into very accomplished playwrights.


Correll, Thomas: Giving the Silent Student a Voice: Strategies to Encourage Active Participation. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Democratic classrooms are created to give students a voice, but not all students take advantage of the opportunity to share their ideas. What happens to the silent students perspectives? How can teachers encourage silent students to be active participants? This inquiry will examine the common patterns of “communication apprehension” and discuss strategies teachers can use to influence student involvement.


Dudley-Perry, Kate: Confessions of an Ex-Gradeaholic; Redirecting Student Motivation. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Originating from a personal struggle to gain agency over my own learning, this inquiry explores structuring a classroom curriculum designed to increase student engagement. In my own educational career and in the attitudes of my students, I have observed a heavy reliance on grades or teacher assessment as primary motivating factors for student learning. This inquiry will examine how we may begin to redirect the focus of student motivation to support the creation of invested, self-regulated learners, actively engaged in the construction of meaningful learning.


Griffin, Tabatha: Literacy Strategies in ELL American History. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Within ELL (English Language Learner) programs across the country, curriculum guidelines now exist where before there were none. It is an exciting time within the field, as few areas afford curriculum designers a true tabuleau Rosa. The following inquiry examines various ways to introduce traditional English Curriculum into the American History component of the ELL program.


Iacobazzo, Veronica: Developing a Professional Persona: Veronica vs. Ms. Iacobazzo. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Who am I as a teacher? What parts of my personality and myself do I want to share with my students? These questions are ones that I face everyday in my classroom experiences as I try to find the balance between my public and private selves. This inquiry presentation will detail my professional journey during my first year of teaching. It will explore my quest to answer these questions and define myself as a professional. This presentation will also include critical incidences where my professional persona transformed from one identity to another and supply the audience with the concrete steps I took in rebuilding this persona time and time again.


Kasper, Sara: A Classroom Electronic Discussion Board. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Does technology eliminate classroom barriers? Does it foster more fluent, insightful, innovative, and provocative student writing? Does it challenge students to rise above their current level of literacy practice? My inquiry presentation seeks to define and reaffirm the value of technology, specifically online discussion forums, in the classrooms as a result of its prodigious influence on students’ social worlds.


McGrath, Kristi: Writing for a Community Audience. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Students complete formal writing assignments almost exclusively for their teachers. Upon leaving school, however, these same people will undoubtedly continue to write, but now for audiences in their community and world. Recognizing the importance of preparing students for the “real world,” I combined these two writing forms and asked students to write persuasive letters to people in their community. Curiously, I observed how students’ persuasive writing and their attitudes about writing were impacted when writing primarily for someone other than their teacher. Most students took this assignment more seriously because, first, they chose their own topics and were, thus, interested in the issue, and second, they were keenly aware of the importance of establishing their own credibility in order to be taken seriously.


Miller, Scott: Read Aloud Strategies with Drama. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Can we get students to read aloud more expressively in the classroom and does this enhance the experience of reading drama? Enhancing the experience means both making reading aloud more enjoyable for readers and listeners, and enhancing the understanding of the themes and dramatic elements presented by the playwrite. The data I present will include a video comparison, and a student-written comparison of a simple read-aloud of The Diary of Anne Frank, where little advance preparation was made, and a more carefully planned class performance of Twelve Angry Men. The inquiry will measure the effectiveness of the interventions taken with the second play in comparison with the first.


Shubert, Abby: Issues with Plagiarism. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: My inquiry project examines the changing face of plagiarism in the contemporary secondary English classroom. While defining the problematic term “plagiarism,” this inquiry project utilizes research and real classroom data to explore the process of plagiarism. Beginning with the exploration of the factors and situations that may impel students to plagiarize, this inquiry presents technological and classical detection methods available to address potential incidences of plagiarism in the classroom. This inquiry also offers a variety of potential consequences for plagiarism, both teacher-directed and administrative. After surveying the cause, practice and consequence of plagiarism, I will utilize research and knowledge resulting from this inquiry to present a series of strategies to potentially prevent the practice of plagiarism in the future.


Single, Angela: A Student Teacher’s Reflections: What Can Be Discovered Through Reflection Facilitated by Daily Journaling? Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: Many teachers ask their students to journal, defending it as a way to delve into valuable thoughts students are shy to offer in class or as a way to help students reflect back on their readings and writings. If journals are such a useful tool for documenting thoughts of importance or to assist in deeper reflection (than can be offered by discussion), why are we limiting the use of this tool to our students only? Why aren’t teachers sharing in this method of documentation and reflection? The purpose of my inquiry project is to examine the use/value of daily journaling from a (student) teacher perspective and to propose why it should be an activity that all teachers engage in to foster reflection on their classroom practice.


Zuch, Lauren: Skits As a Pre-Reading Strategy For Novels. Paper Presentation at SCASD Teacher Inquiry Conference, State College, PA.
ABSTRACT: While planning to teach Lord of the Flies, I became increasingly concerned, due to warnings from experienced teachers, that I would not be able to adequately engage my students in the novel. It seemed that in the past, students struggled with both the text and the ideas behind it. Therefore, we developed an introductory reading activity that had students actually rehearse and perform short scenes from Lord of the Flies in small groups. This idea intrigued me and sparked the question: Does a pre-reading strategy, such as this previewing skit activity, truly enhance student engagement and learning? Through a series of student response oriented activities and my observations to their responses when reading the novel, it was evident to me that this activity was helpful in both capturing the students’ interest and amplifying their understanding of Lord of the Flies.