Volume 4- Number 1, 2001
V4.1E - Editorial- Building bridges between the theoretical and the practical - Ron Wideman and Jackie Delong
The articles in this issue are all by classroom teachers and school-board consultants. Rather than organizing the material into sections titled Methodology, Findings, and Conclusions, these teachers integrate writing about their inquiry process and what they learned into a more informal narrative. This kind of story-telling may make the teacher's research more accessible to practising teachers.
V4.11 - A personal inquiry into improving student writing. - Elaine Hamilton and Heather Knill-Griesser
This paper describes the authors’ efforts to improve students’ writing using available resources, parent involvement, and developmental assessment tools. Beginning from the 1998-99 Grade 3, EQAO provincial tests results in Writing, the authors identified a number of teaching strategies to implement. They also measured student learning using standardized testing procedures at the beginning and the end of the study. Elaine Hamilton describes her experience with the project and how it connects to her own personal journey. The authors the describe their success in improving student writing as measured by qualitative and quantitative data. Most students improved between ½ and three grade levels in various writing skills; students’ confidence increased; and parents and consultants responded positively. The authors found their experience with action research to be positive and see a bright future for this kind of personal investigation of practice.
This paper explores the development of a trust bond between a special assignment teacher-consultant and a group of classroom teachers. Individualized relationships were formed with a common focus on improving students' communication skills in reading response and mathematics, and use of the writing process. The role of the special assignment teacher took on various aspects, including those of mentor, collaborator, sounding board, model, improvisor, or assistant. The organic nature of the role became clear, through the ways in which it adapted to individual situations. The lasting result was shared belief in the positive effects on practice of the collaborative action/reflection process and an empowering sense of collegiality.
This paper describes the author’s investigation of how to improve the language skills of her weakest Grade 4 students. She analyzed the Grade 3 EQAO provincial test results, implemented strategies to improve those results, and then administered the test again in the second term. The author experienced the difficulty others have experienced in overcoming the reluctance of weaker students to participate in language activities. They need substantial encouragement and prompting to participate. The author concludes that there may be a reciprocal relationship between thinking skills and language skills and that a greater emphasis may need to be placed on thinking skills in early childhood and primary education. Once the thinking skills of the students start producing more detailed ideas, reasoning skills, organization skills, and language conventions may have more meaning for students.
V4.14 - How can five Early Literacy Teachers be effective in 75 schools? - Janet Trull, Early Literacy Itinerant Teacher, Grand Erie District School Board
The purpose of this article is to describe and reflect upon the journey of five Early Literacy teachers as they develop and implement a program new to the system. The team incorporated the cycle of planning, action, reflection and revision into their team meetings to provide vision, structure and evaluation as they pursued their inquiry.