2003-2004 SCASD-PSU Teacher Inquiry Conference
 Abstracts and Papers

May 2004

Let's Focus! Implementing ADD/ADHD Interventions to Increase a Student's Time On-Task.

Ackerman, Emily
What interventions for teachers working with students with Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are appropriate for a specific non-ADD/ADHD student having difficulties focusing and concentrating in my fifth grade classroom? This inquiry explores these interventions and their effects on the amount of time that the student spends on-task during class activities.

Self-Monitoring: Seeking an Appropriate Method to Aid a Student in His Own Behavior Awareness.

Albanese, Nicole
All students face distractions in the classroom, which may affect their on-task behavior and thus their learning. This inquiry deals with a particular student who has considerable difficulty in self-monitoring on-task behaviors. It explores various ways that I can aid the student in recognizing and controlling off-task behavior in an event to benefit his educational output.

Math Group Woes: How Do I Differentiate Instruction?
Alberico, Jennifer
How do I help the diverse learners in my math group better understand particular concepts? This inquiry project explores ways in which I can meet the needs of the students in my math group. Student input on factors that have made learning easier for them is included in this project, along with the results of one of my burning questions: Is less time with fewer students better than more time with more students?

Team Interventions: A Systematic Approach for Struggling Students.

Arcangeli, Maria
As teachers, we always wonder and question why some of our students easily succeed and others continue to struggle. We constantly analyze these students' behavior and academic struggles; however, we have to move from constantly analyzing these students to what WE CAN DO as educators to help these students succeed in our classrooms. In this presentation, I will discuss the Mount Nittany Middle School Purple Pack Intervention Plan and discuss our trials and tribulations as we used a systematic approach to help students on our team.

Español in the Classroom.
Barkus, Alison
How can students learn the most from a Spanish Club that meets only once a week for a half-hour without me overloading them with too much information or assessing them by using tests? I have always enjoyed using Spanish as another language to communicate and I wanted to learn how I could incorporate the culture into my classroom. I decided I would explore this wondering by creating a Spanish Club that students could join voluntarily. My presentation will include the results that I have gathered from the data that I have collected about the Club meetings.

Book Buddies: Kid Tested, Teacher Approved!

Barto, Abby and Bowman, Krista

Can students and teachers find a way to enhance an already successful book buddy program? Will adding a writing component do the trick? This inquiry delves into how children in kindergarten and 4th grade can expand relationships and a sense of community to gain a more meaningful and educational experience. Come join us to find out how writing influenced our book buddy program.

 "A", "B", "C", ...'Easy as 1, 2, 3, ...Assessment for You and Me! Two Music Teachers Compare how They Assess Students in Music Class.
Bevan, Lisa, Begg and Patti
Assigning letter grades to elementary music students is complex. This study examined the learning process and final performance of third grade students in order to gain insights on assessment. Student work was videotaped and student reflections were collected to provide clarity. Two teachers compared their independent assessments of student work over a four week period to see if they would agree on what "A" work looked/sounded like, what "B" work looked/sounded like, etc.... in music class.

Inquiry, Inquiry, Inquiry, What,s the Buzz all About? Learn About a Pre-service Teacher's Adventure to Include an Inquiry Stance to the Fifth Grade Animal Unit.
Booth, Amy
Have you ever wondered if the way you teach science is what's best for the students? I asked myself this question. After research and teaching inquiry-based lessons, I quickly noticed my students were particularly engaged, and positive behavior emerged naturally. Realizing the impact of these lessons, I felt it would benefit the needs of all learners to experience more inquiry-based lessons. My goal was to restructure and rearrange the existing lessons in the unit in order to follow the inquiry approach to teach science.

Book Buddies: Kid Tested, Teacher Approved!
Barto, Abby and Bowman, Krista
Can students and teachers find a way to enhance an already successful book buddy program? Will adding a writing component do the trick? This inquiry delves into how children in kindergarten and 4th grade can expand relationships and a sense of community to gain a more meaningful and educational experience. Come join us to find out how writing influenced our book buddy program.

How Can We Encourage Students to Become Process Oriented Math Thinkers that Possess the Confidence and the Skills Needed to Explain Their Own Reasoning? 

Bryan, Candy; Kauffman, Tara; Ruth, Amy; and Lawrence Johnson, Jennifer (Mentors 2004).
Through this inquiry, primary and intermediate teachers explored the use of estimation as a tool to foster both verbal and written explanations in their students' math thinking. Will an emphasis on estimation help our students to think practically both inside and outside of our classrooms?

The Right Kind of Questions: A Look at How Lesson Planning and Variation Alter Students' Questions.
Campbell, Sarah
Often after the instructional part of a lesson, students have many questions for the teacher. This study will focus on the types of questions that students ask after lessons, and the reasons that students ask the questions that they ask. Research has been directed towards discovering how lesson planning and lesson variation alter the types of questions that students ask.

"What to do at Station Two?" - A Quest Towards Student Engagement!

Carney, Shannon
How can I keep a group of children with diverse needs engaged the full 18 minutes we spend together in Language Arts stations? This inquiry evolved due to the slow progress of 5 children who are capable of reaching the Language Arts benchmark for first grade. Through student involvement in planning and decision making, I will create lessons that influence more student participation and contribution. Throughout this process, the forms of assessments will change, the location of our station will change, and technology will play a strong role in the motivation to learn.

Building Classroom Community by Exploring Our Values.

Dennis, Kimberly
Where do you begin when building a classroom community? With the students! We know that our values act as the foundation for most of our thoughts and actions, but pausing to consider this with students extends into many facets of learning such as engagement and discipline. By exploring student values I have discovered my own values, and the impact they have on the learning environment I strive to create. Pursuing this topic with future English Language Learner classes will prove particularly beneficial as I seek to understand the various cultures within.

From Top to Bottom in One Fell Swoop
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Dustin, Leigh Anne
One beginning teacher struggles with the realization that her great writing style is not as great as she once thought.  This inquiry discusses my relationship with me as I strive towards self-improvement in order to better prepare myself for the future.

Keeping Learners Engaged During Independent Centers.

Eastman, Sherry and Hill, Jacqueline (Elementary Teachers 2004)
What kinds of independent activities are most successful at keeping students on-task while the teacher works with a small Guided Reading Group? This inquiry project field-tested 16 independent center activities recommended by experienced first and second grade teachers and their students. Fieldnotes recorded on and off task behaviors at two-minute intervals. The percentages of off-task behaviors werecalculated and the success of activities compared among classrooms and ability groups.

Democratic Classroom Meetings: Giving a Voice to Your Students.
Falco, Brigitte
By implementing weekly democratic classroom meetings will students become empowered to take on more responsibility in their classroom? This inquiry explores one way to get students to brainstorm to solve their own issues in the classroom. It shows the effect of how students talk and interact with each other to improve the sense of classroom community.

Writer's Workshop: An exploration with struggling writers.

Fox, Rachel
An intern from a professional development school explores the uses of mini-lessons, group writing talks, and individual writing conferences with her students in order to help struggling writers create complete, detailed stories.

PDS - What's in it for me?
Francis, Pam (Associate Principal 2004), Peters, Brian (Curriculum Support Teacher 2004), and Wheland, Marion (PDA/Mentor Teacher 2004)
Explore the individual and unique journeys of 3 veteran educators and how the Professional Development School has impacted the professional growth of each. See how reflection, collaboration and inquiry are woven together by Marion, Brian and Pam in their ongoing journey. The session will end with a brief opportunity for questions so that you, as a veteran teacher, can see " What's in it for you?"

How Can Student Teaching Programs Help Improve Education in the 21st Century?
Gore, Michael
A n informal interactive presentation that asks: What are the most significant improvements needed in education today? How can programs like the Professional Development School help work towards them? After considering these questions and potential solutions from my inquiry, I will ask my audience to share their own thoughts with me through written reflection and dialogue.

How Can We Create Dynamic Discussions in English Class?

Hall, Jessica
What can we as teachers do to make class discussions more engaging? How can we encourage our students to participate? With the help of a group of 8th- and 9th- grade students, I have explored these questions. I intend to present my findings and give other teachers the insights my students gave to me.

Using Varied Teaching Strategies to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners in 12th Grade English.
Hartman, Beth
I will show how it is possible for a high school English teacher to attempt, through the use of diverse/varied teaching strategies, to meet the needs of diverse learners in the classroom. I will use data from my Choice Novel Unit to show how the lessons and assessments not only meet each type of learning style, Visual , Auditory Kinesthetic & Tactile, but that they also contain a number of critical features necessary to meeting the needs of those diagnosed as diverse learners (sometime labeled 'learning disabled').

Personal Best: Intrinsically Motivating First Graders to do Their Best Work.
Hartman, Sarah
How can I influence my students to motivate themselves to do their personal best work without compromising my philosophy against extrinsic motivation? This inquiry explored students, reactions to checklists, rubrics, and other techniques that emphasized personal best work. It shows how involving students in the process of evaluating their own work can affect the quality of that work.

Grammar's Place: Considering the Issues Surrounding Grammar and Usage in the Classroom. 

Hulburt, Kevin
The controversy of grammar's role in the classroom includes several issues from its relevancy in the improvement of students' writing to issues of social justice. My inquiry has been an exploration of some of the key issues as I formulate my own beliefs about grammar's role in my English classroom. Also, it has included an analysis of my own classroom experiences as I have put my beliefs into practice. Participants in this presentation will be asked to consider the controversy of English grammar and usage as well as their own beliefs by taking part in discussion and activity.

Encouraging Self-Reliance in Fourth Graders.

Ion, Brittany
This inquiry project focuses on building independent work habits, in fourth grade students. More specifically, we investigated the strategies students use while reading directions, and tools we could employ, as teachers, to make the directions more student-friendly. Through a cooperative effort with our students, we brainstormed and implemented various types of directions to try and meet the needs of all of our students.

Family Message Journals: Making Writing Meaningful.
Isola, Cheryl (Mentor 2004) and Canfield, Erin
What kind of effect will the use of Family Message Journals have on student attitudes towards writing? Can the Family Message Journals meet the needs of students at a wide range of instructional levels in a combined first and second grade classroom? This inquiry investigates the use of correspondence journals between students and parents. Each day, students wrote about a topic related to the curriculum. We explored the effects these Family Message Journals had on our students' attitudes and growth in writing.

"Diving Into the World of Beginning Writers - First-Grade Style".
Kennedy, Julie
How do beginning writers learn to let their ideas flow from mind to paper? My own interest in writing led me to inquire about beginning writers, along with a series of correlating wonderings: (1) What patterns develop across a span of beginning writers? (2) How do my expectations for writing impact student writing/processes? (3) How does varying writing genres and allowing more flexibility and student choice affect student writing?

"Shout! Shout! Let it all out! These are the things that we read about!" Aiding Students' Understanding of the Available Choices in Children's Literature.
Keane, Kelli (1st Grade Teacher2004)
In schools, students are often immersed and surrounded by children's literature; as a classroom teacher, I wanted to create an environment that would better foster a love for children's literature and reading in my classroom. Through this inquiry project, I discovered that students must first be able to understand the variety of genres available to them. This inquiry focuses on how to help the students' understanding of literature grow and develop.

Reading with EMOTION!: Showing Students How to Get More Out of What They Read.
Kier, Jesse
While listening to my students read I have noticed that they often do not read with emotion or follow typographic signals such as commas, periods, question and exclamation marks, or italicized words. This inquiry explores fluency in two areas: (1) Finding and following typographic signals in the text. (2) Developing a deeper meaning of the text by incorporating emotion, tone changes, and facial expressions. This study used read alouds, small group activities, large group activities, and a reader's theater as a culmination to display the students' progress.

Cultural Dissonance and Cultural Content; Developing Transformative Strategies of Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning.

King, Donna
The process of developing my philosophy of teaching, my teacher personae and versatility of voice and pedagogy, morphed into an inquiry project researching the invisible undercurrent of "cultural dissonance." Transforming "cultural dissonance" into progressive, authentic, "teachable moments," creates the need for the development of critical lessons and/or critical exigency. Educators can create a conducive learning environment encompassing a sense of community and critical consciousness with cultural competency when the inclusion of transformative and spontaneous strategies are used to teach cultural and controversial subject matter.

How Have I as a Teacher Developed My Philosophy of Education During My Professional Development Internship and the Application of this Philosophy in the Classroom?
Kline, Kathleen
This presentation will discuss the development of my philosophy of education. I have been able to develop this philosophy through the many different experiences I have encountered throughout this school year.  This internship has given me a unique opportunity to discover my own unique philosophy of education and to apply this philosophy in the classroom.

What Can We Learn From Using Reading Logs in English Class?
Lackey, Jessica
This presentation will examine my implementation of reading logs as a form of assessment in a high school English class. By reflecting upon the various ramifications of using this form of assessment, I will explain what I have learned about teaching and about my students from using reading logs. I will also investigate the implications of using Reading Logs for my future practice and for other educators.

The Will of Writes: Developing Ways to Motivate the Reluctant Writer.

Langley, Erin
I have developed this inquiry based on a student in my second grade class who frequently expresses his dislike for writing. My goal, while researching and experimenting with different motivational tactics was to ultimately help this student feel more comfortable writing, and rely less on a "push" from his teachers.

Puppets: Are They More than Just Entertainment?
Lilliock, Crystal
Do puppets support learning in the classroom or are they just entertainment for students? This inquiry explores the different ways puppets help support learning in the classroom. Throughout this inquiry, the idea of what makes puppets inspiring to students and students' responses to the use of puppets was the main focus: Do the students talk to the puppet instead of the teacher? Do the students look at the puppet during lessons instead of watching their teacher? During the inquiry, different students responded differently to the variety of puppets that were used.

Poetry in Motion: Experiencing Poetry in the Third Grade Classroom.

Lusch, Jennifer and Bloom, Amy (3rd Grade Teachers 2004)
How can we instill a love of poetry, in its many forms, to our third grade students in a developmentally appropriate way? This inquiry project explores developmentally appropriate ways to teach poetry to third grade students to develop an appreciation of many different forms of poetry and to instill confidence in our students as poets during the Festival of Arts unit. Introducing a variety of poetic forms and developing self confidence in writing poetry will be the focus of this project.

"Power of Poetry": Integrating Poetic Devices and Forms to Spark Creative Writing.
Malloy, Lisa Ann
How can poetry be taught in a way that will enhance students' creative writing skills, prepare them for the PSSA, and engage them in this art form? This inquiry explores a series of lessons that were sequenced to meet the standards as well as integrate creative writing into a unit based curriculum. Poetic devices, parts of speech, and various poetic forms served as a vehicle to assist third grade students to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for poetry as well as enhance their comprehension and writing skills. This inquiry presentation will include third grade poets who have benefited from the in-depth wondering that I have explored.

"Aww, Do We Have to Write Again?" Motivating and Encouraging Confidence With Creative Writing in Primary Children.
Mamolen, Elizabeth A. (First Grade Teacher 2004)
As the students attempt to put on paper the essential components of good writing and story elements that they have learned, I want them to view themselves as genuine authors. I want to instill in the students an appreciation of writing creatively and confidence in their own abilities and to unlock the mystery surrounding writing a good story. My investigation focused on how mini-lessons, children's literature, sharing, and focused writing conferences impact the flow of the writer's workshop and whether or not my lessons and format of the writer's workshop encouraged and promoted the students to become more independent, confident writers.

"The Minds, They Are A Changing" (From Bob Dylan's: "The Times They Are a Changin").

Margusity, Linda (Mentor 2004), Smith, Rodger (PDA 2004) and Sturtz, Dani
Are you interested in exploring children's mathematical thinking? We use "Investigations" as our main math resource because it gives the students a chance to develop their understandings about different mathematical areas. We were wondering if using a "reform mathematics" curriculum positively affects children's attitudes towards math. In connection with that, we wondered about the parents' perceptions of their child's math interest. Join us as we explore these issues.

I-Movies and More: Using Technology to Promote Literacy in the Middle School English Classroom.

Maslanik, Katherine
This presentation will explore the following questions: How have my views of technology in the classroom changed throughout the year? How have I used technology in my classroom to promote literacy, and how has it affected the learners in my classroom? I will also provide examples of how other English teachers make use of technology in their classrooms.

How Can We Meet the PA Environmental and Ecology Standards Through the Creation of a School Garden?

McCarty, Cheryl (Mentor 2004) and Webster, Lauren
Third graders learn the scientific and aesthetic processes of planning a garden and at the same time learn to be environmentally conscious. Gardening is a vehicle for students to meet state standards while providing hands-on inquiry based-learning experiences.

Finding a Place to Draw the Line Between Teacher and Friend.

McCann, Megan
n a room full of ten year-old social butterflies, where does a young teacher draw the line between teacher and friend? This inquiry explores relationships between teachers and students and the affect that this relationship could have on the teacher's effectiveness. Using teacher and intern questionnaires and student interviews, I try to find my own teacher identity and comfort level in sharing personal stories with my students.

There, Their, They're.

Mericle, Dave
This presentation focuses on the validity of alternative assessment methods for vocabulary building in the ninth grade English classroom. If the student is assigned a word, such as lever, is it a valid assessment method to have the student draw a picture of a lever and write an explanation or is it necessary to have a memorized dictionary definition to prove cognition?

Scaffolding Learning or Stifling Creativity? An Exploration of Modeling.
Miska, Amanda
What are the effects of modeling in the classroom? By examining the practices of modeling in various assignments and classrooms, questioning educators' definitions of modeling, and reflecting through personal, I will present several perspectives on modeling. After inquiring into the practices in my own classroom, I will propose instructional methods involving modeling that can be beneficial for different types of learners.

"Graph that Idea!": Providing Graphic Organizers for Use During Self-selected Writing Pieces.
Peachey, Eileen (Mentor 2004)
Children need frequent opportunities to publish self-selected writing pieces. Enthusiasm, writing skills and lifelong writers are fostered when teachers provide time for self-selection in a writing workshop environment. However, when self-selected writing occurs in a classroom, it is difficult to address all of the prewriting needs of the various genres selected by the students. This study explores how a storehouse of prewriting graphic organizers will affect the students' self-selected writing products.

Best Practices for Reading Instruction: What Might Work for Beginning/Emergent Second Grade Readers.
Pray, Olney
What are the best practices for reading instruction for beginning/emergent second grade readers? What helps make them better readers? This inquiry examines two ways to help second graders become better readers. It shows the affect of daily chunking practice and comprehension exercises on the children's running record scores and other evaluations.

One Size Fits Few: Jazzing Up Classroom Lessons to Integrate Multiple Learning Styles.
Poehner, Prya (Mentor 2004) and Sluboski, Laura
Have you even seen a look of boredom cross the face of students; ever catch students daydreaming; ever had a student not participate in group discussions? Then, this might be "up your alley". Each student is a unique individual with interesting strengths, interests and weaknesses. Creating lessons that fit each student's individual style can be both challenging and frustrating. This inquiry focuses on how lessons that address Gardner 's Multiple Intelligence Theory can still adhere to the Pennsylvania State Standards and affect students' motivation, engagement and learning. Specific strategies that can easily be applied to most lessons will also be presented.

"Miss Preis, This is Boring!"
Preis, Carolilne
How does a student's motivation to learn something affect his or her behavior during a lesson and what he or she will absorb? This inquiry focuses on making whole group instruction more interesting and engaging for students in my full day kindergarten class. Using student input, I implemented and evaluated the effectiveness of three strategies in facilitating more productive whole group lessons.

Revisiting Reader's Workshop.

Reed, Diane and Warner, Amy (Mentors 2004)
We focused our inquiry on differentiating reader's workshop groups in our fourth grade classrooms to challenge our advanced readers and still meet the needs of our struggling students. We provided a variety of experiences that focused the students on vocabulary, responding to comprehension questions (both literal and inferential), and writing responses in their journals.

The Library as an Academic "Special".

Rossman, Linda (Librarian 2004)
How can I communicate with classroom teachers to better understand the student dynamics within each classroom so that I can translate my findings into effective teaching strategies for the library? This inquiry focuses on data collected during observations of a sampling of classrooms and discussions held with the teachers in those classrooms. My goal is to formulate and/or revamp my library skills lessons so that all students are successful.

A Closer Look at the Behaviors of ESL Students.

Rotz, Larry (2nd Grade Teacher 2004) and Turnbull, Lindsay
This inquiry project focuses on the behaviors of an ESL student in our classroom, who refused to speak during her first month in our room. We discovered an inconsistency in her behavior between our classroom and the ESL classroom. Did this student have a behavior problem? Was this student really proficient in the English language and manipulating situations to her advantage? What generalizations can we make about ESL students to help us in the future?

Reforming A Fifth Grade Science Unit Using Inquiry.

Sanko, Andrea
Using inquiry as the driving force behind the fifth grade Animals science unit, this project focuses on the different steps and processes it takes to restructure science lessons so they are more inquiry based, and put learning in the hands of students. Prospective teachers, as well as, veteran teachers would be interested in how teaching through inquiry effects one's planning and preparedness, teaching style, and attitude towards science education.

20 Minutes of Silence: Helping Students Enjoy It!
Schuler, Erin
While observing, listening to and talking with my students during Book Look, our silent reading station, I noticed that many of them had a negative attitude toward this particular station. Their dislike for the Book Look station was also apparent in the written work they were producing about the books they had "read." After doing research and surveying students, I implemented several strategies in the classroom to change not only the Book Look Station, but also the students' attitudes about reading!

Engagement and Connections: Will Creating Lessons Based on Student Interests Have an Effect on Student Engagement?

Sherman, Lori
Will using student interest during writing lessons help to engage the students? How can I do so while integrating all subject areas? This inquiry explores how I can integrate subjects during writing lessons using student interest about sharks. The project also shows the affect of how students used their interest and excitement about sharks to make connections.

Always a Forever Speller.
Shagren, Courtney
How can I provide students with motivating opportunities to engage them in spelling instruction? How can I help students apply their spelling words to everyday reading and writing? This inquiry explores approaches taken to help struggling spellers apply their knowledge and spelling in practical, everyday writing. By creating a spelling lending library and an engaging spelling station, my second grade students grew as "forever" spellers.

From Morning Madness to Morning Gladness!

Smith, Aimee and Patrick, Debbie (Kindergarten Teacher 2004)
Follow our journey from a chaotic, stressful start of the day to a productive, calm opening routine. We wondered, "Can we pull together a morning routine that would provide for a strong academic beginning of each day, meet the needs of our diverse and challenging group, and keep us from pulling our hair out?" Through observations, student surveys, various resource books and insight from Curriculum Support Teachers, we reshaped our morning routine to better meet the needs of all of our learners and set a more positive tone for the day!

Be A Star! Join Hands to Build Community!

Tallon, Jennifer and Portzline, Kristin
After noticing a decline in community within our classrooms, we began to wonder if we could help our students build a tolerance for their peers, especially those whom they do not naturally connect with. With the implementation of a buddy program, our students had the opportunity to get to know each other in both academic and non-academic situations. Through random acts of kindness, were our students able to join hands and build community and acceptance of their peers? Our presentation will explore the results of our findings.

Are My Students Really Thinking in Math Class?

Tross, Rebecca
In my second grade classroom, I have noticed that the questions I ask my students influence the discussions that occur in the classroom. At times students are open to sharing ideas and thoughts, but other times answers to questions appear incomplete and fail to demonstrate great understanding. This inquiry project explores how the questions I ask may help my students dig deeper in understanding and thinking in mathematics.

How Do Teachers Actively Engage Diverse Learners to Improve Students' Comprehension of Material?- -A Presentation of "What Worked"

Urciuoli, Jacqueline
Educators are faced with many challenges on a daily basis and today I will present to you my success story of beginning to overcome my biggest inquiry-how to teach students of differing learning abilities while striving to keep them engaged. This presentation will illustrate how I implemented three activities into our class that proved to be engaging. I aim to cover three main points of each activity and show evidence of why I thought each engaged diverse learners, helping them to interact with lessons while improving their understanding of material. Both students and teachers are life-long learners who collaborate on a daily basis, so allow me to share with you the activities that "worked" in our class.

"Where's Belize, Anyway?": Exploring Multiculturalism in the Primary Classroom.

Vozel, Heather
"Multiculturalism" a word we constantly hear at the college level" is an important aspect of a teacher's classroom perspective. At the same time, however, how understandable can this concept be to primary students? Struck with the idea to share my experience of the Belizean culture with my first and second graders to further their understanding of other cultures, I was challenged to find a way to explore and discover a new place with my students. By reflecting on my own experience, collaborating with my students to find out more about this place, and inquiring together as a team, we embarked on a journey to learn about the culture of Belize and the importance of multiculturalism.

"Believe in Yourself": Where Does Self-esteem Lie in Children?

Walters, Erica
"Reach for the Moon, if you fall short you may land on a STAR!" Self-esteem is an innate feeling each person develops as we grow and change throughout our life. In primary grades, children already acquire a personal confidence, or lack there of. School is a place to build and foster positive self-esteem so children can find their very own star. The challenge lies in the children and their individual views of themselves. How do we identify children that have low and high self esteem and build their internal feelings so they are successful?

Writing Workshop; A Solution to the Challenge of Teaching Fictional Writing?
Whittaker, Jill
"When 1st grade students have an understanding of beginning, middle and end, what can the teacher do to help them expand on their stories?" This inquiry focuses on using literature-based writing workshops to support first grade students in developing their fictional writing. After conducting research and studying individual student work, I decided to focus specifically on the "middle" of the fictional stories that my first grade students were creating. I designed writing workshops using storybooks and modeling as modes of creating the mini lessons. My goal was to develop a strong verbal communication pattern surrounding the writing workshop sessions.

"Mom, Guess What I Learned Today?": Break the Communication Barrier and Increase Parent-Teacher-Student Communication Using Technology. 

Willenbrock, Gretchen (1st Grade Teacher 2004), Koenig, Jennifer
Everyday parents ask their children, "What did you do in school today?" And the typical answer is "Nothing" or "I forget." However we know otherwise. This study focused on how to increase the amount of communication among parents, teachers, and students with the use of technology. Our tools were a classroom website and student created electronic portfolios. Come and find out if the use of these technologies helped break the communication barrier.

Help Me to Understand What he Needs!!!--- A Teacher's Positive Journey through the Discoveries and Understandings of an Emotional Needs Student in a Heterogeneous, 3rd Grade Classroom.
Wilson, Kimberly (3rd Grade Teacher, 2004)
Children walk into our classrooms each year with an array of needs. We all know that these needs can encompass academics, social skills, and/or emotional issues. This inquiry delves into the exploration of an emotional needs students who really CAN be understood if we just take the time to find out what makes them "tick". It demonstrates that through positive teacher/student interaction, colleague support, research suggestions, and a little TLC, we can really begin to discover how to work with emotionally needy students in ways that interrelate with our curricular responsibilities in the classroom and just simply---ways that work!

Do We Have Any Other Hands?

Woods, Jennifer
Participation is an integral part of the classroom. It allows for the teacher to informally assess students' understanding and it creates an active learning community where all students' feel comfortable to share their knowledge. Unfortunately, in my fourth grade classroom the same few students continuously participate, while the remaining students are quiet. In this inquiry, I explore ways to obtain participation from all of my students in hopes of creating a classroom where a variety of student ideas are shared on a regular basis.

Evolving from Student to Teacher - Taking a Look at Teacher Identity.

Yerkes, Krista
This presentation investigates my personal development from student to teacher. By examining personal emails, journal entries, and critical incidents in the classroom I will try to unravel the events that were significant in the process of becoming Miss Yerkes, the English teacher. I will concentrate on specific areas and issues that reoccur in my data in hopes that this will inform future mentors/interns in this year of identity change.

The Socratic Method in the Secondary English Classroom.

Yuhas, Mariel
The heart of authentic learning is the classroom discussion. Our students' voices need to be validated and heard. When we employ the Socratic Method of questioning in our classrooms, we place value on students' questions and ideas above our own. We take a risk: relinquishing control. Putting discussion into the students' hands instead of controlling it and directing it ourselves is a great challenge. Many teachers believe they are conducting this type of discussion, but in fact they are still maintaining some level of control. In my paper, I will outline some strategies for employing the Socratic Method as successfully as possible, I will describe how some teachers have done so, and I will detail my experience with the Socratic method in my own classroom.