2004-2005 SCASD-PSU Teacher Inquiry Conference Abstracts and Papers


May 2005


"In Their Own Words." - Using Student Work Samples to Motivate, Model, and Improve Writing Skills.
Prior research has documented that students' involvement, engagement, and interest is enhanced when the content of the instruction is personally relevant.

Alexander, John (Intern, Ferguson Township Elementary)
The purpose of this project was to explore the generalizability of these findings with 3 rd graders in writing. Specifically, I examined the extent to which the use of students' own written work as the focus of writing instruction mediated students' future writing scores. Using a pretest-posttest, single-group design, I analyzed differences in students' writing scores over time in three different text structures (i.e., persuasive, narrative, and informational). In addition, all instruction was delivered through the use of a touch sensitive board (SmartBoard) and an LCD projector.

Classroom Observations Through the Eyes of a Puppet.


Antes, Shelley (Intern, Panorama Elementary School)
What various ways can I use puppets in a classroom to enhance students' educational experience? This inquiry is a review of the impact that a classroom puppet, Betty, has on student writing practice, teacher assessment, classroom management and classroom community. By giving life to Betty I have given life to the imagination of my classroom.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Anthony, Aaron (Intern, SCASD High School North Building).
What does our classroom environment have to do with how our students learn? What happens to student learning when they feel comfortable and welcome in a classroom? As teachers, we are continually striving to provide an in-class atmosphere most conducive to student learning. In my presentation, I will share personal reflections and samples of student responses as I discuss the effects of classroom environment on student learning.

Community Building and Puppetry: A Strategy to Create a Better Learning Environment.
Arditi, Mary (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)

Incorporating puppets into the classroom provides the teacher with the unique opportunity to teach and communicate with students without appearing to be teaching. How can you use puppetry as a tool for classroom management? How will a kindergarten class react to two naughty puppets becoming a part of their classroom? Come join me to hear about my experience with using puppets to build a better classroom environment.

There's Always Another Way: Multiple Techniques to Increase Student Engagement and Participation in the Classroom.
Balch, Rebecca (Intern, Lemont Elementary School)

Are the same five students participating in your classroom? Are you constantly asking children to sit up and pay attention? This inquiry explores numerous strategies that were employed to increase student engagement and participation in the classroom. Techniques utilized include multiple intelligences (visuals, drama, songs/chants, and kinesthetics), cooperative learning, and American Sign Language.

Enhancing Parent Communications: Untangling the Web.
Bloom, Amy (2nd Grade Teacher), Keane, Kelli (2nd Grade Teacher), Robert, Mary (Mentor Teacher), and Rotz, Larry (Mentor Teacher); (Radio Park Elementary School)

As teachers we are always looking for new and creative ways to effectively communicate with parents. Finding the most effective and efficient communication tool was one of the goals of this project. With the encouragement of our school district to create classroom websites, could the teachers in our learning community create a primary division website that would meet the needs of our parents. This would avoid duplication of information on classroom websites thus saving teachers valuable time and energy, as well as, allowing a more productive and valuable website for parents? So, if you are interested in learning more about our project, log on to our session.

Can You Hear Me Now? Improving Listening Skills in the Second Grade Classroom.

Bratt, Allison (Intern, Ferguson Township Elementary School).
While receiving many questions after directions were given and repeated, I began to wonder about my students' ability to focus and listen to my directions.  By surveying my students, their parents, and their former teachers, I gained insight about my students' ability to listen at home and school. I used that information to guide my exploration into applying strategies to help my students become better listeners.  Through this inquiry project, I taught crucial listening skills and implemented techniques to help my students focus their attention to the speaker and prepare themselves for instructions before they are given.  Come hear (and listen) to see how my second graders became better listeners!

Windows Into the Classroom: How a Classroom Website Can Help Parents Feel More Welcome and Involved in Their Child's Education.

Brentner, Rachel (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School).
Parent involvement is an important aspect of a student's education. This study examines how a classroom website can be used to help give parents another way of entering the classroom and learning about what goes on during their child's day. It also looks at whether a classroom website can help increase parent involvement.

Eight is Enough; Incorporating the "Great Eights" Into the First Grade Reading Curriculum.
Bryan, Kim (1st Grade Teacher) and Lawrence, Jennifer (1st Grade Teacher) (Gray's Woods Elementary School)

How can State College 's Language Arts Curriculum's comprehension strategies be adapted for first graders? When can teachers implement these Great Eights during the year and have time to assess their students? Two first grade teachers worked together to implement these reading comprehension strategies into a balanced literacy program. This inquiry program focuses on both large and small group instruction for all reading ability levels in your classroom.

Children's Aesthetic Understanding: Developing Interpretations of Photography.

Cannon, Amy (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
How do individuals develop an appreciation for art? What specific experiences have an impact on this process? Can the experiences be linked to formal (school) or informal (family, museum) contexts? How do different curricula during art class impact this aesthetic development? This inquiry focuses on the impact of different curriculum on students' response to and creations of photography.

On a Brighter Note: Using Music in Meaningful Ways in Classroom Activities.
Carney, Maureen (Intern, Corl Street Elementary School)

How can music be used as an effective tool in the classroom to influence students' learning, behavior, and engagement in a positive manner? This inquiry examines how students respond to music when it is used in different modes throughout the day, such as during transitions and when teaching concepts.

Productive Peer Editing: Making the Dream a Reality.
Carpenter, Danielle (Intern, Mount Nittany Middle School)

Despite our endless explanations, we have all witnessed our students rush through peer editing sessions, followed by an abrupt, "I'm done! What do I do now?" In an attempt to lessen these cries, I explored seventh grade students' experiences with the peer editing process, and their initial thought processes concerning the "how to's" of peer editing. I then studied students' experiences with a variety of instructional tools and the effectiveness of the tools in expanding an understanding of the peer-editing process.

Love Your Neighbor! Building Community in the Classroom.


Carter, Allison (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
How can I help/encourage the students in my classroom to interact respectfully with one another?  Are certain students more prone to demonstrate undesirable behavior?  What strategies exist to develop a friendly classroom atmosphere? This inquiry explores multiple interventions and the effects they have on the classroom community; come join me to find out more!

"Taking the "Ugh!" Out of Writing."
"Ugh! Writing again?"
Chen, Adrienne (Intern) and Gregson, Katie (Intern) (Radio Park Elementary School)
Is this something you have heard in your own classroom? Two fourth grade interns, Katie Gregson and Adrienne Chen, decided they wanted to explore why students immediately responded to writing assignments in this negative manner and how they could implement alternative writing assignments to take the "Ugh!" out of writing.

How Can We Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners in Heterogeneously Grouped Classrooms?
Clark, Christopher (Intern, SCASD High School South Building)

As teachers, we are often charged with the responsibility of educating a classroom comprised of students of different ability levels, learning speeds, and learning styles. How can we effectively reach this wide range of students without prioritizing one group of students over another? How can we engage students who are at different academic skill levels in activities that are equally challenging and beneficial for all? In this presentation I will explore some strategies for bringing diverse learners together for cooperative and multilaterally productive learning experiences.

Morning Meeting: A Welcoming and Caring Way to Start Your Day.
Coombs, Ashley (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)

"Good Morning, Everybody!" Follow my journey through Radio Park Elementary School where I observed how teachers are using the first precious moments of the school day to enhance their classroom learning environment. I wondered, "How can I justify using a significant amount of time in my future classroom for Morning Meeting?" This inquiry has allowed me to see first hand how the respectful, trusting tone that is set during Morning Meeting carries on throughout the school day.

Let's Focus! Finding Strategies and Interventions to Help Off-task Students Focus: A Case Study of a 1st Grade Student.

Cwalina, Megan (Intern, Panorama Village Elementary School)
What strategies or interventions would help a non-ADD/ADHD student stay on task? This case study inquiry explores various strategies and interventions and their impact or effect on the amount of time a student in first grade spends on task. In addition to ADD/ADHD interventions, this case study also focuses on sensory (sight, touch and sound) interventions to help the student remain on task.

The Power of Observation: How Observing Other Teachers Can Increase the Effectiveness of My Own Teaching.
Dalton, Brianne (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)

How can teachers use observation of their colleagues to improve their own teaching? This inquiry looks at how educators can watch and learn from one another through various classroom observations and interviews/surveys with teachers and administrators.

What is the relationship between In-school to Non-school Literacy Practices?
Darby, Kenji (Intern, Mount Nittany Middle School)

Non-mainstream and low-income Blacks have a distinct way of learning language, which affect their integration into academic life. Students who do not fit the traditional way of schooling are left behind. I will be sharing an ethnographic study on one 7 th grade Black student who comes from a low economic background. This student has been struggling academically ever since coming to State College 's predominately white middle school.

Pulling Our Hair Out: How Can You Make the Most Out of a 45 Minute Writing Period?

Daughenbaugh, Michele (Mentor Teacher) and Seestedt, Katelyn (Intern) ( Park Forest Elementary School)
This inquiry explores the structured writing time and its impact and influence on the quality of students' writing. By implementing differentiated instruction through small groups, we are hoping to improve students, independence, confidence, editing and revising techniques, as well as making the most of our writing time.

Inquiry-Based Science: An Alternative to Reading the Chapter and Answering the Questions.
Davis, Leanne (Intern, Corl Street Elementary School).

"Please read chapter 3 in your science book and answer the questions at the end of the chapter."  How do you make science more interesting for students than just reading a chapter and answering questions?  I hated science, did you?  This study explains ways to make science inquiry-based and students "turned on" to learning...in a fourth grade classroom during the electricity unit.

"So, Do You Just Practice English All Day?" Dispelling the Myths: Inside and Outside the ESL Classroom.
Delgrego, Nicholas (Intern, SCASD High School South Building).

Worldwide there are more people who speak English as a non-native language than those who are native speakers. Having taught English as a second language both inside and outside a formal English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom, I have discovered that students, parents, teachers, and community members have a variety of questions and beliefs about the goals and activities of ESL instruction. My research synthesizes these beliefs and goals in order to frame effective cultural and language learning for second language learners in and out of school.

Supporting Student Development Through Social and Emotional Learning.

Daigle, Kristin (Intern, SCASD High School North Building)
The purpose of my inquiry project is to explore students' reflections about positive and negative classroom experiences in an attempt to better understand what factors affect student learning and development in the classroom. I am interested in what ways and to what extent students' positive and negative classroom experiences reflect differences in teaching philosophies, specifically social and emotional learning theory versus a traditional transmission model of learning. In my presentation, I will discuss commonalities among students' experiences on certain outcomes--motivation, meaningful learning, self-efficacy, student/teacher relationships, and classroom environment in relation to social and emotional learning principles.

Do Classroom Spaces Really Work?: How Classroom Seating Arrangements Affect Students' Individual Academic, Social, and Behavioral Needs.
Eash, Megan (Intern, Ferguson Township Elementary School)

You have spent hours arranging your classroom in an attempt to create an environment that is conducive to learning. However, did you consider the needs of each individual student while creating the seating arrangement, or did you create the arrangement and then assign students seats? This inquiry explores the relationship between the academic, social, and behavioral needs of twenty-three students and the placement of their desks within a fourth grade classroom.

Sparing Time for Sharing Time: Negotiating the Potential and Power of Show-&-Tell.

Egoville, Amy (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)

In an already busy first grade classroom, how can I make show-and-tell (sharing) most beneficial to students while budgeting instructional time effectively? This inquiry reflects an exploration of relevant research, a philosophical attempt to honor student choice, meaningful consideration of parent survey feedback, and a commitment to curricular integration.  It also traces the changes in one particularly, reluctant sharer!

Who's The Boss? How the Seating Arrangement of Students Affect Their Roles in Cooperative Learning Activities.
Eisenberg, Keri (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)

How do the personalities of students affect their roles in cooperative learning activities? This inquiry required numerous seating arrangements over the course of the past semester. I categorized the personality of the students in my classroom into groups. I arranged their seats in specific ways to test how the personalities of the students affect what roles/ responsibilities they take on during cooperative learning activities. I explored many different seating arrangements to find which arrangement enabled the greatest number of students in the classroom to be successful and active in cooperative learning activities.

Meaningful Mornings: Getting a Jump-Start on the Day.

Ewing, Leslie (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)
How can the twenty minutes between bus arrivals and the official start of school become a meaningful part of the day for students and teachers? This inquiry explores one classroom's attempt to make morning time more productive by trying different routines and activities.

Imagine all the Children Enjoying Learning: Investigations into the Importance of Fantasy.
Feliciano, Jessica (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)

Is it worthwhile for educators to include fantasy and play in their lessons? Do educators have to worry about including play time in their daily schedule for students? Is there a difference between how adults learn and how children learn? This inquiry investigates just those questions and more through the experience of one kindergarten intern.

Kidwriting: Encouraging All Students to Succeed!
Ford, Ashley (Intern, Corl Street Elementary School)

In a full day kindergarten class, students are given more opportunities to write and create their own stories than before. This study explores how teachers can enhance Kidwriting for students at all writing levels. Kidwriting consists of students using a system of picture drawing and sound spelling to create a story. This inquiry will look at different student writing examples throughout the year and how teachers can encourage all students to advance in their writing skills.

Engagement Through Activity: How does Frequent Change and Diverse Styles of Learning Affect Students' Time on-Task?
Fourney, Jill ( Intern Ferguson Township Elementary School)

What types of classroom settings work best for student engagement? What types of activities seem to be most effective? Through my inquiry experience, I was able to explore a variety of teaching techniques and lesson structures to reflect on how students seem to learn most effectively. My project investigated time on-task in order to see how change and instructional formats would encourage or discourage student engagement.

Pumping Up Students' Reading Scores - From Predicting Understanding to Mastering Performance (P.U.M.P.).
Fox, Andrea (Intern) and Poehner, Priya ( Mentor Teacher) (Gray's Woods Elementary School)

In an era where standardized tests are the buzz, the eternal question is: "Are my students ready?" Do you wonder if students are mastering the multifaceted aspects of literature development? This inquiry takes a closer look at discussion groups in a fourth grade classroom for methods of teacher planning and preparation that enable students to cement together the various pieces (mechanics, fluency and comprehension) of the reading mosaic. Students were "guided" to participate in high interest texts that serve as springboards for in-depth word analysis, practicing good reader strategies, active discussions surrounding comprehension, and thoughtful written reflections. This presentation includes strategies that were deemed effective in "pumping up" student performance on assessments.

Learning to Listen: A Journey to Encourage Respect.

Franklin, Heather (Intern) and Margusity, Linda (Mentor Teacher) (Panorama Village Elementary School)
Second grade classrooms tend to be chaotic; students work in many areas of the classroom, which hums with noise. Kids check in with adults, and adults check in with kids. There is constant motion. Then it's time to meet as a whole group, a time to listen to each other. What happens when the constant chatter never seems to stop? We decided to do our inquiry together because we both saw a need in our second grade classroom. Join us--Heather Franklin, a year-long Penn State intern, and Linda Margusity, a second grade teacher for 15 years-as we struggle to improve listening and behavior in general during whole group lessons. Perhaps the difficulties we face may give you insight into your own experiences with children.

Read it Again, Sam: Using Repeated Reading During Guided Reading Instruction to Promote Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary.
Garbrick, Steve (Intern, Lemont Elementary School)

How are reading fluency and comprehension effectively promoted with first grade readers? This inquiry investigates the use of repeated oral reading as one strategy for answering this question. Specifically, the challenges and benefits of implementing repeated partner reading are analyzed.

Creative Dramatic Play in the Kindergarten Classroom: We All Love to Play!
Gigliotti, Gina (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)

We as humans are pre programmed to play! Parents and teachers of young children know first hand how much children especially love to play. This inquiry delves into how the kindergarten classroom and students can benefit from teacher led creative dramatic play. Please join me to rediscover the fun and importance of play during the school day.

"The Past Isn't Dead. It Isn't Even Past." Oral History in the Secondary English Classroom.

Gildow, Josie (Intern, SCASD High School/Delta Program)
Reading is about constructing meaning, not only from the written word, but also from lived experience. For that reason, we attempt to activate the extensive prior knowledge our students bring to class. But what about the prior knowledge "the collective memory" of the community in which we live? How might we help our students to access the wealth of experience possessed by family members, friends, and fellow citizens? Oral history, the act of researching and recording community remembrances, provides one way to build knowledge that is both personal and shared. This presentation seeks to describe what oral history is and how students can benefit from producing it.

Let's Give Them Something to Talk About
Glitzer, Melissa Ann (Intern, SCASD High School North Building)

My inquiry examines my 11th grade students' experiences with different discussion techniques in English class. Throughout the year, my mentor and I have experimented with a variety of small group and full class discussion activities. In my presentation, I will describe these activities and share my students' reflections by highlighting observations, surveys, and interviews.

Engaging Russian English-Language Learners.
Graff, Martin (Intern, SCASD High School South Building).

My inquiry question focuses on student engagement: how can I better engage the current group of Russian ELLs at State College High School ? I have organized my inquiry into five parts: (1) A definition of engagement; (2) A description of the Russian cultural background as it relates to school and disengagement; (3) A synthesis/summary of professional literature on engagement and strategies encouraging engagement; (4) A comparison of two ESL units and their outcomes in terms of engagement; (5) Assessment of key areas to improve in my practice.

Should I Raise My Hand?

Gray, Lindsay (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
Will randomly calling on students increase voluntary participation over time? As a student, I often hesitated to participate. As a teacher, I notice some of my students doing the same. This inquiry discusses six students and their frequency of participation after calling on them randomly during various instructional settings and core subject areas.

"I Can't Think of Anything to Write!" Motivating Students Through Writers Workshop.

Hagerty, Kristy (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
In the beginning of the year, I heard the phrase "I can't think of anything to write" countless times. I knew that my students had great ideas up there. I just had to figure out how to get them to put them onto paper! This inquiry explores different methods and ideas I used to get my students excited about writing.

Get a KLEW: Using a KLEW Chart and Student Wonderings to Meet District Science Concepts.

Heitzman, Marcia (1st Grade Teacher) and Kur, Judy (1st Grade Teacher) ( Radio Park Elementary School)
How do we teach the magnet unit using student wonderings and still meet the district science concepts? We will be sharing the process that enabled us to do this. We will share what we learned and what our students learned as we co-constructed our knowledge about magnets.

Celebrating the Differences! Looking at the Relationship Between Gender Differences and Learning Styles in Kindergarten.
Hopkins, Ann (Intern, Panorama Village Elementary School)

Did you ever wonder if gender differences play a role in the learning styles of even the youngest students? Have you ever thought about how to get your active boys to focus, or how to encourage your quiet girls to express themselves? This inquiry explores the subtle differences between boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 6, and how these differences can affect their focus and engagement during station activities.

Inquire How to Inspire and Create a Desire; The Essential Ingredients of a Successful Science Inquiry Unit.

Huber, Corey (Intern, Boalsburg Elementary School)
What elements are needed for teaching a successful inquiry-based science unit? This inquiry project examines the roles that writing, questioning, discussion and experimentation play in the development of students' conceptual understandings.

Is Choice the Right Choice for Middle School Students?
Insinger, Lisa (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)

This inquiry focuses on what happens in the middle school English Classroom when students are given a choice in literature, projects, and classroom discussion. This session will provide insight into providing choices for students and the effect it has on the classroom community and the student. I will present my observations based on interactions with the students, surveys, and assessment, and then open the floor to discussion and reflection.

A Multigenre Excursion.
Johnson, Laura (Intern Houserville Elementary School)

How can a research project motivate fourth grade students to utilize their individual strengths and interests when communicating their knowledge? During our Africa unit, my fourth grade students were engaged in research of their favorite animals of Africa . Through the implementation of a Multigenre Research Project in our classroom, I observed my students express themselves by way of poetry, art, puppet shows, and other creative medium. These means of expression provided me with a multifaceted view of these growing writers as they embarked on a journey to find their unique voices.

Assessing Preparedness of the School Team in Health Management of Students with Severe Food Allergies in the Elementary School Setting.

Johnson, Linda (School Nurse)
Imagine that a student in your elementary school classroom was recently diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy that required the emergency use of an epi-pen if exposed to peanuts upon contact and/or ingestion. This inquiry explores teacher-nursing interventions and survey tools designed to help the school team (teachers-staff-classroom & lunchroom paras) and parents feel better prepared in maintaining a safe, healthy school environment for students with life threatening food allergies.

Picture This! Meaningful Art in the Classroom.
Kalgren, Brandi (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)

What is the value of integrating the arts into the students' learning experiences? Can art be used to positively affect students' short-term and long-term acquisition of knowledge? Is art an effective motivational tool? This inquiry explores the integration of the arts into the social studies curriculum of a fifth grade class and the associated benefits. For this study the arts were introduced as an integral part of the unit as it became a medium through which the students learned, represented their understandings, and were assessed. My students and I were able to explore how fun and educational the arts can be!

Classroom Web Pages - Making Them Work for You.


Khayat, Brenda (5 th Grade Teacher, Park Forest Elementary School)
By nature teachers are very busy people and they don't need more to do in their already time intensive school day. Design a classroom web page that works for you, students and parents. I'll share my findings about what parents and students really want from a classroom web page.

Literary Theory as a Vehicle to Multiple Perspectives.

Kocis, Alison (Intern, State College High School South)
How can students gain multiple perspectives on texts? As English teachers, we want to engage our students in literature and encourage them to create and to voice their own interpretations of texts, as well as provide them with critical literacy activities that encourage them to investigate other perspectives in terms of social, political, and cultural contexts. My inquiry explores the idea of reader-response and the impacts of various other literary theories on students' ability to gain multiple perspectives on texts!

Reluctant Readers- From "Books are Boring" to Buzzing Book Groups.
Kolesar, Lisa (Intern Boalsburg Elementary School)

Can book groups help reluctant readers find an interest in reading? This inquiry explores the challenges teachers face with students who dislike reading, and motivational strategies that worked and did not work with these students.

Will Implementing an Anti-bullying Program in the Fifth Grade Have an Impact on the Individual Students or the Class Dynamic?

Kornberg, Rebecca (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
To help answer this question, six weeks of lessons were taught to one fifth grade class on various social issues, ie: stereotypes, listening, friendships, gossip/rumors, and self-esteem. This program provided a forum for the students to discuss how they feel about how they are treated and how they treat others. Surveys, student work, parent surveys and observations were the main source of data collection to help analyze what impact this program had on the class.

Take a Moment and Imagine It!
Lin, Steven (Intern 2005 Ferguson Township Elementary School)
ABSTRACT: For a long time, it has been a widely accepted theory that children with imaginary pals must be compensating for a lack of social development. In recent years, however, developmental psychology has suggested otherwise; that more children than previously thought have imaginary pals and that these imaginary pals serve as tools towards advanced social development. This presentation takes a look at what this means for our classroom policy, and how the acceptance and involvement of these products of childhood imagination may actually positively serve both academic and social development, as well as class management.

Building Trust and Cooperation In A Classroom Community.

Lowe, Pamela (Intern, Houserville Elementary School)
This presentation will discuss how the students in my classroom will and have learned to work together in pairs, groups, and as a classroom team. I will reflect on how the use of cooperative and trust-building games has helped my students to become more open, friendly, and cooperative. I will explain how cooperation and trust are essential to the successful completion of each game. The goal of the presentation is to show how a classroom community can be built from an originally unwilling and unfriendly group of students by allowing them to get to know and trust each other.

Whole Class Reward Systems and Their Effect on Student Behavior.

Lynch, Jessica (Intern, Ferguson Township Elementary School)
What effect does implementing a whole class reward system have on student behavior? How long do these effects last? Do different rewards cause different effects? This inquiry was aimed at answering these questions, as well as observing how many behaviors can be simultaneously targeted with one reward, and noticing the effects on behavior when the reward is no longer present.

"Is this Social Studies?" Inquiry's Place in Elementary Social Studies Curriculum.
Maggi, Dianna (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)

How can I get my second grade paleontologists to become second grade historians? After completing the Prehistoric Life and Fossils unit using the inquiry based Mystery Dinosaur addendum, I was amazed at the critical thinking skills, comprehension level, and enthusiasm my students had for dinosaurs. In planning for the next unit, American Album, I began to wonder, how I can I encourage my students to transfer their affection and comprehension from Dinosaurs to American history? This wondering led me to the idea that I could apply an inquiry-based approach to teaching American history. With a little imagination and help from a second grade classroom in Arizona , my second grade class began an investigation into how America got started.

"Meeting Writing Expectations through Peer Editing."

Maletta, Abigail (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)
What do students think about while they write? Are students concerned about what grade they get? Would peer editing help them to recognize mistakes or work harder to find their own before peer editing?  To improve the quality of fiction and nonfiction writing, students were paired and engaged in peer editing for three different types of writing. The inquiry seeks to discover whether the quality of writing improved, time was used productively, and students benefited from the experience of peer editing.

Community Pen Pals: Pals Through the Ages.
Mandetta, Mary Beth (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)

Can bringing the community into the classroom through the use of a pen pal program increase the students' sense of community while encouraging them to write? This inquiry delves into how children in second grade can make and expand relationships to gain a more meaningful and educational experience, while also getting a sense of the community around them.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Marszalck, Lisa (Predictable Term Substitute, Gray's Woods Elementary School)
Ever wonder what affect a parent reading with their Title I child every night could have? As the mother of such a student, I decided to figure out just what an impact this extra reading might produce. Come check out the data and the bumps in the road, too!

Developing a Caring Community of Learners.
McCarty, Cheryl (3rd Grade Teacher) and Walters, Tiffany (Intern) (Gray's Woods Elementary School)

How can we foster a community of individuals to be caring and to begin to know how to resolve conflict by themselves? How does having students living in the same neighborhood affect the dynamics of the classroom? How do you make sure that every student starts out on the same level playing field/level? This inquiry explores how teaching conflict resolution skills to elementary level students can benefit the entire classroom and create a more safe and comfortable learning environment.

The Effectiveness of Reading Strategies with Literature.
Measel, Kristen (Intern, SCASD High School South Building)
My inquiry focuses on the implementation of reading strategy instruction with literature, specifically the use of double-entry response journals, think-alouds, and post-it notes. I will illustrate how I taught and modeled the strategies to the students and also how the students used the strategies in their own reading practices.

"I L-O-V-E Research."
Meyers, Amanda (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)

How can student questioning be used to enhance curriculum within my heterogeneous classroom? This inquiry explores how my first grade classroom took their questions, researched the answers and created their own multigenre presentations. Come join me to learn how my first graders led the way through an amazing mini-unit on castles as part of our Land of Make Believe unit.

"Miss Parks, I'm done!": Challenging my students during their free time in Math.

Parks, Kelly (Teacher, Radio Park Elementary School)
How can I meet the needs of my mathematically able students in a heterogeneously grouped math class? I have observed these students completing many of their academic tasks well in advance of others in my room. This led me to wonder if their needs were being met through the Investigations curriculum that I am implementing in my class. My inquiry project focuses on extending the Investigations curriculum to challenge those students during math time.

I Saw The Sign: Using Sign Language to Improve Social Skills.
Payerchin, Sarah (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)

Each classroom has shy and reserved students, but what about those students who are not connecting with their peers or any teacher they encounter? How can they be reached? Could sign language help? This inquiry explores techniques used to help a withdrawn student successfully grow with the use of sign language.

A Ticket to the Imagination.

Pieper, Christine (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School).
An Investigative Look at the Effects a Setting Has on Students’ Writing

I'm a new Teacher. How can I Effectively Teach Math Conceptually?

Rawhouser, Julie (Intern, Panorama Village Elementary School)
The purpose of my inquiry project is to better understand how I can successfully guide my students to a conceptual understanding of a new math topic. As a beginning teacher, I am skeptical of my ability to appropriately guide and support students to increase their analytical thinking in terms of mathematics. What methods are most effective in helping to foster a conceptual understanding? Through the process of my inquiry project, my goal was to figure out how I can guide my class of diverse students to a conceptual understanding of a new math topic, specifically the geometry of 2-D and 3-D shapes.

Creating a Classroom of Scientists: How to Support First-Graders' Scientific Reasoning Through Inquiry Science.
Reynolds, Kathleen (Intern, Lemont Elementary School)

How can teachers use appropriate, inquiry-based investigations to allow students to share and reflect on their learnings? Through video clips and examples of students' work, this inquiry explores how first-graders can reason scientifically when supported with appropriate investigations and opportunities to share their learnings and evidence during the Light & Sound primary science unit.

Music Is Fun!...and Educational?: Integrating Songwriting Into the Curriculum.

Reynolds, Michael (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
How can elementary teachers effectively integrate music into the curriculum? This project explores one music lover/ teacher's quest to use music and songwriting in the classroom to enhance the current unit of study.

Building Community with "Rock Buddies."

Robertson, Lauren (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)
Is there a way to make students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom and to build classroom community? Many students in the classroom often feel that they do not have friends and do not belong in the group. "Rock buddies" is a classroom management strategy that creates a feeling of a sense of belonging for students. Students trade a rock to stand as a concrete symbol of a partner who they will work together with for a week. Knowing that someone is looking out for you and is a friend has made students feel that they belong in the classroom community.

Intern Struggles in the PDS.
Sanders, Lynne (PDA) and Bandiali, Bernard (PDA)

Even though most interns in the PDS end the year successfully, some interns experience struggles during this yearlong journey. This study "in progress" is examining those struggles as seen through the eyes of mentors, interns and PDAs.

Kid Writing and its role in Language Development of ESL students.
Sarver, Josie (Intern, Easterly Parkway Elementary School)

This inquiry project will summarize language development in ESL students through the use of Kid Writing. It will review some techniques on how to teach to ESL students at the Kindergarten level. We will review and compare ESL writing samples to non-ESL writing samples for similarities and differences. There will also be a discussion on how language develops for an ESL student.

"C is for Cookie" The Effects of Music on an Emergent Group of Readers.
Sawicki, Jennifer (Intern, Ferguson Township Elementary School)

Can integrating music into guided reading help to improve struggling readers' development? What type of music works best? This inquiry closely investigates the relationship music and singing have on a group of emergent readers and the skills they are developing.

Teacher Retention: What Keeps Novice Teachers in the Classroom.
Shockowitz, Bernie (Teacher, Park Forest Elementary School)

After 4+ years of training, job fairs, applications, resume sharing, and interviews, new teacher graduates obtain their first teaching positions. But "education is a profession that eats its young." Some statistics state that over 40% of beginning teachers are not in the profession after four years. What programs keep new teachers in the classroom? How can new teachers help themselves?

"Can I Do My Research Now, Please?": The Positive Effects of Teaching an Inquiry Based Science Unit.
Schneck, Stacey (Intern, Panorama Village Elementary School)

Can teaching an inquiry based science unit increase my students' understanding of scientific reasoning and thinking? This inquiry focuses on using inquiry based science during the Prehistoric Life and Fossils unit in a second grade classroom.

Why Guided Reading ? What is It, What are the Parts that Make It Successful?

Simco, Kelli Jo (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)
Why do we use guided reading? I have been asking myself what the benefits are to this program. How do we bring struggling readers back into the world of reading? Guided reading is not just a pile of strategies that we teach our children. It is an art. It includes reading, psychology, and so much more to be successful. When this art is done successfully, our children learn to love it and to love reading as well.

Anti-discriminatory Teaching.

Smith, Kristin (Intern, SCASD High School North Building)
As educators, how can we create classes that actively resist discriminatory values and behaviors? This project seeks to describe "anti-discriminatory" classrooms through research and field experience. Then, this inquiry investigates the teaching practices and environments that encourage students to examine their own assumptions within the context of their communities.

Teaching with Technology: How Can We Enrich Students' Learning and Increase Motivation?

Tumbas, Stefanie (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)
How can teachers use technology to increase participation and motivation in the classroom? This inquiry explores the correlation between student participation and the use of technology.  It also investigates specific types of successful technology, such as the interactive white board (Smart Board) and student- created PowerPoint presentations. During this project, I focused on five students with varying participation levels, and documented how these levels changed depending on the technology used in different lessons. In this presentation, I will report my findings on student motivation and successful implementations of technology in my fifth grade classroom.

Student Voice and Student Choice: How Does Children's Input on a Behavior Management Plan Influence Their Behavior?

Waters, Ashley (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
This inquiry explores the use of class meetings and problem solving steps to find a solution to reoccurring behavior issues in the classroom. Does collaboration between the teacher and students make a behavior management plan more effective? How do goal-setting and positive reinforcement impact the behavioral decisions students make?

The Professional Development School: Exploring a Successful Partnership. 

Washell, Deana (Primary Teacher, Easterly Parkway Elementary School)
As a teacher in a new professional development school, I wanted to investigate the different aspects of this partnership. How is this a mutually beneficial relationship? How is the classroom atmosphere, as well as the entire school community enhanced? How is the collaboration impacting curriculum for the better? This inquiry explores the key factors that contribute to the program's success.

"Swish!" Taking Free Throws at Proofreading.
Webber, Jennifer (Intern, Houserville Elementary School)

Getting students interested and excited about proofreading their work is a challenging task. How can you make proofreading more exciting and intriguing for your students? This inquiry examines the proofreading process in 5 th grade and explores effective means for connecting to the students' interests. Join in the fever of "March Madness" and take a shot at this highly interactive and competitive approach to teaching proofreading with a basketball twist.

Reading Between the Lines: An Exploration of What Reading Comprehension Entails in a Kindergarten Classroom.
Wei, Marie (Intern, Gray's Woods Elementary School)

How can teachers teach and support reading comprehension for children as young as kindergarteners? This inquiry explores different activities that help children make connections to the texts. Through combining activities and read alouds students are able to show their understanding of the print in a variety of forms.

Get In The "Loop"!--A 4th Grade Teacher Shares Her Classroom Looping Experience and How It Has Proven Positive for Her Students and Herself.
Wilson, Kim (Elementary Teacher, Park Forest Elementary School)

Having the opportunity to loop with your students from one grade level to the next can be a very rewarding experience. Take time to listen to a teacher share her classroom looping experience and specific ways that it has truly allowed her to connect with her students and their needs as they grow as learners. Also, this study will highlight the opinions of the looping process from some of her classroom parents and the students themselves. So, come and see what looping is all about--you might just want to join the "loop" for yourself!

Give Them Voice! The Power of Choice.

Wilson, Susan (Intern, Park Forest Elementary School)
Is it possible for teachers to relinquish control in order to empower students as well as themselves? In a quest to align my practice with my student-centered philosophy, I pondered the effects of utilizing student feedback in order to change my students' perceptions of my instruction and/or the classroom environment. This inquiry explores the premise that we must first open our ears before moving students' minds.

Motivating Reluctant Readers.
Young, Lauren (Intern, Radio Park Elementary School)

Find the cure to the ".but I can'ts", the ".but I don't want to's, and the ".I'm bored's of a literacy program. This inquiry focuses on a series of methods used to motivate readers who did not enjoy reading for a wide variety of reasons, apart from reading ability. It applied the use of reading strategies as interventions, incorporating modified instructional reading and writing centers, and introducing a Book Buddies program. The central theme of this inquiry was to build confidence among young readers and to encourage reading for enjoyment and enrichment both in and out of the classroom.

Shedding Our Skin: Can Sharing Our Non-Teacher, Non-Student Identities Improve Engagement in the Classroom?

Zeruth, William (Intern, SCASD High School South Building)
If we give our students the opportunity to open up and share their lives with both teacher and students, will they be more engaged? If we show our students that we have lives outside of the teaching world, will they become more involved with the class? Join me as I share some techniques for building classroom community, reaching students individually, and allowing students to see the various sides of their fellow students and teachers.

Supporting Student Writers.
Zuhlke, Dana (Intern, SCASD High School North Building)

How can I best help my students to develop as writers? What activities and assignments can I provide that will enable them to practice their communication skills? How can I better anticipate possible challenges and questions that may arise for students as I develop a writing assignment?