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2002-2003 SCASD-PSU Teacher Inquiry Conference
 Abstracts and Papers

May 2003

How Can Class Meetings Help Build a Sense of Community, Minimize Behavior Related Problems, and Enable Children to Resolve Their Own Disagreements Within the Classroom?
Adasse, Liz
In order to explore this wondering, I implemented a class meeting time in my classroom, occurring once a week for the past two months. These meetings are based upon children’s classroom concerns and disagreements with one another. They have enabled my students to grow as successful, independent problem solvers, and will hopefully continue to positively affect the sense of community within our classroom. My presentation will explore the ways in which I went about implementing classroom meetings, as well as the conversations and accomplishments that have resulted.

Differentiated Instruction: Providing Choices to Suit the Interests of Diverse Learners.
Ayoub, Jodi
Will differentiating instruction engage those students who lack motivation during instructional reading time? This inquiry explores one way in which I can create a more exciting language arts environment for third grade readers who easily lose interest in completing routine comprehension questions. It shows the affect that student choice has had on these children’s attitudes and written responses toward literature.

Image Processing as a Tool for Inquiry-Based Learning in the Biology Classroom.
Barrett, Megan
Scion Image and NIH Image, the PC and MAC versions of a government-developed image processing program, are available as freeware on the web. These programs provide an excellent technological resource for science teachers, as they can facilitate data collection methods and enhance powers of observation. However, for such an available and powerful program, Scion Image is not used very frequently in science classrooms. I developed a unit on Vertebrate Anatomy whose central inquiry-based lab activity utilized Scion Image, and present it as one of the many possibilities for application of this technology to enhance inquiry in the Science classroom.

Exploring Children’s Issues of Significance and Importance Through Journaling and Group Activities.
Battistoni, Jenn
My inquiry focuses on how you as a teacher can better understand your students through journaling and/or group activities. I experimented with private journals, self-esteem building activities, and group discussions in order to meet individual needs.

Where to Go Next? How to Use a Multigenre Research Project of Enhance your Language Arts Curriculum.
Bauer, Jennifer
When faced with what to do with some advanced level language arts learners in my first grade classroom, I turned to a Multigenre Research Project in order to find out if it could be modified to use with first graders, and beneficial in advancing their Language Arts skills.

“Let’s Take the ‘Un’ Out of Unmotivated!”
Bayne, Sarah
The world is full of individuals whom possess different ideas, interests, thoughts and feelings. A classroom is no different. Therefore, what can teachers do to incorporate the interests of all their students, especially the students that need that extra “flare” to get motivated. A mentor and intern team concentrates on two particular students to see what they can do to take the ‘un’ out of unmotivated.

Know Yourself, Know Your Students.
Becker, Erica
Since the beginning of the school year, I have had questions about the five learning support children in my class. My questions have frustrated me, confused me, and even motivated me to find out what is best for these children. Each of these students has his own set of specific needs. The more I thought about this, questions kept coming up that went deeper than finding a method that works. It was my hope that by expanding my knowledge of the different types of learning disabilities in our class and by exploring my own views and expectations, it would lead me to a new perception or a new approach in dealing with these students.

“Climate Control”: A Look at Community Building for Teachers and Staff.
Begg, Patti
Children who come to school are taught by a community of teachers and staff members. This study used a questionnaire to collect teacher and staff opinions inquiring into these wonderings: (1) To what degree do people feel “connected” to the community of teachers and staff in their buildings? (2) Is this “connected-ness” as important as the community building we try to achieve with students in our own classrooms?

Two Sides to the Story: Parental Involvement.
Bird, Christie
Parental involvement is such an essential part of school success. But what kind of parental involvement do we hope to foster? Is there a significant difference in the quality of involvement based on the geographic location of the school (urban, suburban, rural)? Are their notable differences in parents that are effectively involved compared to those that are either under- or over-involved? Teachers and parents share their ideal view of what a parent-teacher relationship should look like.

The Path for the Reluctant Middle School Writer.
Blackburn, Eric
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.

Improving the Classroom Community Through the Implementation of Cooperative Learning Groups.
Bowers, Heather
How can cooperative learning groups fundamentally change the structure of the classroom community? The focus of this inquiry has been to find ways to help students gain cooperative learning skills and to motivate students to become critical thinkers and active participants in the classroom in order to help build a positive and nurturing classroom community. I explored how group dynamics, size, and the use of roles affect the effectiveness of cooperative learning groups.

The Effectiveness of Outdoor School in Teaching Elementary Students the Pennsylvania Environment and Ecology Standards.
Brubaker, Kristen and Paterson, Beth
Outdoor school is an overnight outdoor program run through Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center for fourth through fifth grade students. Students and their teachers attend outdoor school from Tuesday-Friday for one week during the year. I decided to design a study that would determine how effective outdoor school was as a method of teaching students material covered in the Pennsylvania Environment and Ecology standards that were passed in January of 2002. Students that attended outdoor school in October were given pre and post tests to determine which, if any, standards were most effectively taught during the course of outdoor school. If outdoor school is found to be an effective way to teach content covered in the standards, the program could be even more useful to school districts trying to find ways to satisfy the standards.

Rock Buddies: A Simple, Concrete Approach to Elementary Classroom Community Building.
Bruce, Ann and Kelly, Nancy
As educators, we are all acutely sensitive to the importance of a child’s sense of belonging in the classroom. We’ll introduce you to a practical approach which addresses not only the behaviors of the student who is being excluded but also of the student who, consciously or unconsciously, may be shutting others out of the social fabric of the classroom. If you have been searching for a new community building program, Rock buddies might be for you.

How can Literature Circles be Effectively Employed in a Primary Classroom?
Bryan, Candy
The practice of reading stations had become monotonous and mundane for both students and the author. Since looping with her class, a new approach was desired that would promote reading skills, independence, enthusiasm, self-esteem and confidence through the use of heterogeneous groups. This inquiry project focuses on how literature circles became a part of this second grade classroom and enhanced the learning of all.

Exploring an Issue Long Overdue—A Librarian’s Dilemma.
Caldwell Collins, Becky
The issue of overdue and lost library books is often the source of much anxiety for young students and their parents. As an elementary librarian I wanted to explore why the idea of overdues raises such furor and consider possible ways to make the whole process less stressful for everyone involved—the librarian, the parents, and most of all, the students.

An Interesting Perspective on Reluctant Writers and Their Quest to Become Playwrights.
Chin Sang, Christine
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.

Giving the Silent Student a Voice: Strategies to Encourage Active Participation.
Correll, Thomas
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.

Nothing Rhymes with Silver – Helping Students Struggling with Phonemic Awareness.
Dobah, Lynn; Duffy, Linda; Forster, Laura; Hampton, Darice; and Shoemaker, Katrina
An intern, instructional support teacher, and three kindergarten teachers wondered how to meet the needs of struggling emergent readers with phonemic awareness instruction. Additionally, the team focused on incorporating phonemic awareness strategies with developmentally appropriate instruction to meet the needs of kindergarten children.

Confessions of an Ex-Gradeaholic; Redirecting Student Motivation.
Dudley-Perry, Kate
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.

How Can Reading Stations Make Instruction More Effective in the Intermediate Classroom?
Feldman, Sue and Kamin, Jodi
The reading program in our intermediate classrooms had become ineffective for many of our students. The children were lacking the basic skills to read fluently for meaning, decode multisyllabic works, and answer inference questions. This inquiry project focuses on bringing more structure to the intermediate program through reading stations. This approach enabled the authors to teach fluency, think-alouds, and the mechanics of reading. By focusing more on these specific areas, our students truly became fluent, questioning readers.

Morning Meetings in a Sixth Grade Classroom.
Fitzgerald, Mike
Morning meeting in middle schools are called Circle of Power and Respect or CPR. There are four components to CPR: announcements, greetings, sharing and activities. Given the time demands to cover the existing curriculum could I justify fitting CPR into my daily lesson plans? How could I fit CPR into my schedule? I wondered whether CPR would help build our classroom’s community? Would my students value CPR?

Using Both Ends of the Pencil: Editing.
Giordano, Erin
What do you do when your fourth grade students were innovative in their ideas in writing, but their grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes overshadow that? My focus in this inquiry project was on improving the skills my fourth graders possessed for writing mechanics, so they could eventually improve on editing their own writing.

A Literacy Based Approach to the Secondary Science Curriculum.
Gipe, Philip and Kennedy, Heather
How can a narrative text affect student interest levels in an Earth Science classroom? A mentor and intern secondary science PDS team looks at how engaging in narrative text can enhance student interaction with the topic of volcanoes. Using reading strategies, multidisciplinary activities, and collaborative efforts this team explores an out of the box approach to teaching science.

Literacy Strategies in ELL American History.
Griffin, Tabatha
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.

Guided Reading.
Hipp, Susan
In many primary classrooms, students are deeply immersed in guided reading programs. How can intermediate teachers implement a guided reading program that teaches specific reading strategies that will help students make sense of the text?

Developing a Professional Persona: Veronica vs. Ms. Iacobazzo.
Iacobazzo, Veronica
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.

Reading with Meaning.
Impala, Kristin
Exploring ways to help first graders become better at comprehending what they read was the focus of my inquiry. More specifically, I wanted to investigate how student behavior and instructional methods impact students’ reading comprehension skills.

Stonewall: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Physics for Middle School Students.
Jennings, Jay

This novel, coupled with a teachers’ supplement designed to explain the physics present in the story and provide lesson suggestions, offers an alternative method of presenting age-appropriate physics concepts to Middle School students. In a war-ravaged world where knowledge is both highly prized and feared, Omar Bell, a young man of seventeen, must overcome the plots of deranged advisor to the king and the turmoil of an invading army to uncover an ancient cure to the Wasting—a terrible disease that steals the minds and lives of its victims. Throughout the novel, Omar and his allies utilize physics to draw nearer their goal. This thesis promotes in-depth learning of essential physics concepts through the integration of English and physics while encouraging an inquiry approach to learning.

A Comparison of Lab Approaches.
Jennings, Jay and Ricker, Andrew
This inquiry explores the comparison of two approaches for laboratory data gathering and distribution in the science classroom. Traditional group centered data collection and analysis is compared to a fragmented approach using whiteboard presentations to distribute findings between groups.

A Classroom Electronic Discussion Board.
Kasper, Sara
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.

Wake up! What Teachers Can Do To Wake up Sleepy Children in their Classrooms.
Krimmel, Ken

My inquiry project focuses on what my students are doing outside the classroom that makes them tired at the start of school. Using a variety of different strategies during opening, I attempted to wake certain students up.

We Are All Storytellers.
Light, Andrea
Can oral storytelling be used with emerging readers and writers as an avenue to more imaginative writing and developed vocabulary? This intern attempts to weave storytelling into the kindergarten language arts curriculum through daily group storytelling sessions which gradually work their way to the kindergarten writing table. Her experience highlights the importance of allowing children to use words as their creative medium, because we are all storytellers.

Renewing My Spirit for Teaching All Over Again.
Margusity, Linda
A sabbatical is an ideal time to reflect and renew one’s sense of self. It’s also a perfect time to renew one’s “teacher self”. This sabbatical has helped me clarify what I find to be important to me. It’s given me time and space to, bit by bit, examine my priorities and feelings about teaching. Teaching is complex; it is also exhausting. During this year I’ve realized I have three desires or goals. I’d like to share these with you, as well as what I’ve learned about myself, about teaching, about the Professional Development Schools, and my hopes for the renewal of others.

Writing for a Community Audience.
McGrath, Kristi

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.

Lights, Cameras, Action! - Integrating Drama to Foster Positive Classroom Communication.
McGregor, Sandy and Poehner, Priya
What’s one way to improve classroom community, students’ confidence, and communication skills all at once? Could a class musical be the answer? Is it possible to engage an entire class in a musical production that fosters closer classroom relationships? Does it increase the confidence and risk-taking especially among students with special needs? In this study, we followed the progress of our entire class through the project but focused on five children’s growth in particular.

Read Aloud Strategies with Drama.
Miller, Scott
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.

Exploration with Literature Circles.
Mintmier, Jackie
My journey into literature circles began as I wanted my students to take on more responsibility with our reading discussions. I kept finding myself in the role of the discussion director, where our reading discussions started with and focused around my ideas, instead of the students. This practice did not align with my student-centered philosophy. Through my inquiry I set out to change this aspect of my teaching and hoped that I would find a way to have my students lead the discussion as they analyzed and evaluated the literature they were reading. Literature circles became the vehicle to lead my students into taking control of their reading discussions. It is now a tool that I will continue to develop and use throughout my teaching.

A Learner Identity Crisis.
Molessa, Kristin
How can knowing who I am as a learner translate to less frustration and better interactions with learners who are like and unlike me? By formulating my learner identity, understanding the process of learning, and analyzing class interactions, I realized how this knowledge positively impacts how I teach children at different levels.

Avoiding “Once Upon a Time” and “Happily Ever After”
Morton, Amy
After observing my second grade students at the writing station for a few weeks, it was very apparent that they struggled more often with creative writing than other forms of writing. They could come up with wonderful ideas, but getting those ideas down on paper was a challenging task! In an effort to help students to write interesting, engaging beginnings “Once upon a time” was no longer allowed! Complete, satisfying endings that include more than the characters just living “happily ever after” were encouraged!

Exploring the Uses of Math Journaling in My Classroom.
Murphy, Emily
As an intern, I was struggling to find a way to understand what my students were learning in math, and they were struggling to explain their thoughts behind what they were thinking. I explored using math journals as a way to help them learn mathematical concepts and to help me assess their understanding of topics in math.

Yakety Yack, Please Talk Back.
Ordons, Lauren
Literature circles provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to literature. In order for literature circles to be successful, the teacher must provide effective structure and scaffolding. In my project, I explored various strategies to construct a student-guided discussion environment with second grade students.

Last Week in Math.
Oswalt, Stephanie
As I began to lead and teach more subject areas, I noticed a change in my perception of my students, attitudes and behavior throughout the school day. The lessons I was implementing became more personal, and I would often go home feeling frustrated and disrespected due to missing assignments, lost or incomplete homework, and constant chattering during activities. These behaviors were particularly noticeable in my math class students. I felt the need for a change not simply in the structure of certain math activities, but also in the degree of responsibility of these 25 students. I questioned whether or not weekly communication with parents and/or guardians would aid in increasing accountability in my math students.

Probing Literacy Experiences in My Classroom.
Pangborn, Rebecca
From teacher directed classroom activities to student driven responses to literature, literacy explorations and encounters take many different forms. In the organized chaos of the classroom, theory blends with practice, and we often forget to celebrate the positive outcomes of our pedagogy. With the use of video technology, I inquired into what successful reading looks like in my classroom. I captured images of my students engaging in successful literacy experiences, where individual strengths, talents, and learning styles were emphasized. I recorded the personal connections students made with various texts and the ways in which they became self-directed in their literacy learning. Probing into my practice has guided me to appreciate and value a range of language and literacy experiences.

The Write Math-Heard the Word?
Paone, Christine
How can math talks, shared writing, and independent journal writing in math class help to boost understanding and give me a better insight into students’ thinking? Using a combination of an Imovie and a verbal presentation, I will describe my adventure in using effective questioning, real life applications, and how speaking and writing in math affects all the students in my second grade class.

Information Technology and the Curriculum: Enhancing Students’ Learning Experiences.
Richardson, Nancy
Does technology make your eyes widen, your heart rate increase and the hair on the back of your neck stand on end? Discover one intern’s dance with the “technology devil” and learn how the convergence of information technology and curriculum can enhance students’ learning experiences in the classroom and throughout the curriculum.

Mission: Q.U.E.S.T. Developing Critical Thinking Skills in an Elementary Classroom.
Rose, Kristina
How do you find ways to take students who think they know “everything” and guide them into seeing that there is a lot in the world that we do not see and do not take the time to understand? Through the help of my puppet friend, Professor Quest, I was able to accept this mission through developing a series of lessons that Professor Quest and I would teach to model and encourage specific problem solving strategies. Through this “elementary adapted” scientific process, the students were given opportunities to Question, Understand, and Experience, Science and Technology through the use of scientific experimentation and journaling which are skills and experiences that will benefit my students for a lifetime.

Must-Haves for a New Elementary Library Facility.
Rossman, Linda
Conversing with librarians at recently completed libraries in our district, observing traffic patterns, shelving heights, teaching and computer areas in those facilities, and researching related articles will aid in planning for the new Park Forest Elementary School library that will break ground in 2004. The intention of this study is to alleviate problems that exist in the Easterly and Gray’s Woods libraries and to emphasize communication between the architects and myself to facilitate a design for the PFE library that will be both efficient and pleasing to staff and students.

Seeking a Sequence that Makes Sense: How I Am Rethinking My Third Grade Writing Program.
Ruth, Amy
As each year of third grade flies by, I struggle with many issues related to my teaching of writing. Questions consume me, such as: How should I sequence my writing lessons? What is the best way to incorporate grammar so it makes sense to my students? How can I balance creative and expository writing? When will writing fit into our daily schedule? Do my students know they are writers, or what it means to be a writer? Through my data collection and research I am just beginning to formulate some answers AND some new questions regarding my writing program.

“Exploring” the Quiet Child.
Schultheis, Jennifer
Can a unit that emphasized teamwork and cooperation allow an extremely quiet child to open up to peers and teachers? This inquiry project investigates the effect that team building activities and constant interaction with a small group of peers has on an introverted child.

She’s Not a Morning Person.
Shannon, Jessica
Did you ever have a student put his/her book order in the lunch envelope and send it to the cafeteria? Why do some children have so much difficulty following simple classroom routines while others grasp them in just one day? I pondered this question as I worked with a second grade student who had a difficult time following our simple morning routine.

Classroom Management: Who Needs to Change?
Sheppard, Kirstin
As a beginning teacher, I wanted to explore classroom management and find the best plan to make use of instructional time. I realized that I needed to change my behavior, instead of developing a strategy to change student behavior. This project describes how my students behaved originally, the ways I changed my teaching, and the affect these changes had on student conduct.

ADD or Not ADD: That is the Question!
Sherman, Marianne
In a first grade classroom, I worked with a child who lacks the skills to find success throughout most of the school day. I wondered how to increase his self-confidence and, at the same time, decrease his dependency. As the data piled up, I refocused my wondering to what influences this child’s behavior.

Issues with Plagiarism.
Shubert, Abby
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.

A Student Teacher’s Reflections: What Can Be Discovered Through Reflection Facilitated by Daily Journaling?
Single, Angela
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.

Operation Smiles, Positive Attitudes, and Caring Deeds!
Smith, Stacy
Come and experience a classroom’s struggle to recreate a sense of community! This session will provide an in-depth look at how important a caring environment is to a classroom and its teachers. Topics include how to fit in time for community building activities, how to cope as a teacher, and what to do about the students who choose to interfere with what the class is trying to accomplish.

Avoiding Homework Havoc: How to Make Homework Less Stress for Everyone Involved.
Stegall, Paije
As a child, I always loved school. Therefore, it saddened me to hear my fourth graders talking about their dislike for school. After analyzing individual student surveys, I discovered that homework is the most predominant factor for their dislike. Because I spend countless hours planning an exciting, enriching school day, it bothered me that my students tended to focus more on their out-of-school time when rating how they feel about school. As I reflected on my findings, I began feeling apprehensive about my personal homework beliefs. Therefore, for my inquiry project, I continually asked myself, “What are my underlying beliefs about assigning homework to fourth graders?” and “How can I interlace students’ and parents’ suggestions and concerns with how I handle homework in my own classroom next year to make it a positive experience for everyone involved?”

Encouraging Student Independence and Self-reliance in a First-Grade Classroom.
Voigt, Betsy
As I began to take over more of the teaching in my first grade classroom, I quickly began to realize how challenging a day could be when there are 22 children in my classroom and only one of me. This was when I realized how important it is for first grade children to learn to become self-reliant and responsible for learning to complete tasks on their own.

Self-esteem: A Reputation We Acquire With Ourselves.
Werner, Allyson
The purpose of this inquiry project is to determine the best method for increasing a student’s self-esteem while decreasing aggressive behavior. My research focuses on the effects of a behavior modification program on the self-esteem of a particular student who exhibits aggressive actions.

Monitoring Classroom Behaviors: A Student’s Journey Through the Self-Monitoring Process.
Wilson, Kimberly
It is one of my goals as an educator to instill self-monitoring skills in my students in order to enhance the management of my class. My focus in this inquiry was to look at a particular 4th grade student in my classroom and provide a simplistic monitoring system for this student to follow. My efforts strived to help reduce his consistent, spontaneous outbursts and talking out that occurred during my whole group instruction and independent student work time.

Musical Injection.
Wooley, Wade
Teachers always put others’ needs before their own. A colleague needs this or a child needs that, and of course the state needs something new to be fit into the school day along with everything else that a curriculum demands. What happens when what you need in your classroom to keep sane is not there? Do you just keep staggering through the daily routines that have been established for the kids or do you try to fit just one more thing in? I needed music in a classroom and I wanted the students to experience all the wonderful sensations, experiences, and emotions that come from diverse forms of music. How can a regular education teacher find the time to fit in just one more thing? This is a story about how I found the passion that I was missing in the classroom and then tried to make this piece fit with all the others that make up daily activities in the classroom.

Skits As a Pre-Reading Strategy For Novels.
Zuch, Lauren
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.