Instructional Services

Directory Of OAISD 2006-07 Classroom Action Research Reports

Click on the title of a report to open that file

  1. Strengthening Student Vocabulary with the Small Group Differentiated Reading Model

    Lara Parent, Bev Allgaier, Elizabeth DeJongh, Barb Folkert and Pat Schoettley
    East K-8 School, Holland Public Schools

    Abstract:   The researchers set out to better understand how students internalize new vocabulary by posing the following question: "How could the word study component of the Small Group Differentiated Reading Model, developed by Beverly Tyner and Sharon Green (2005), be used to strengthen students' vocabulary, build word awareness, and help students internalize and apply newly learned words?" The group discovered that for students to truly internalize and be changed by new vocabulary, the following must occur:

    •  new vocabulary must be taught in a meaningful context to the student, (what s/he is reading/writing, or into the context of the content area the student is studying);
    • repeated word exposure throughout content areas is crucial for internalization;
    • the focus must be on high frequency words and word parts (such as cognates, prefixes, suffixes, as well as Latin and Greek roots and bases) that help students deconstruct other words, build word awareness and aid in internalization;
    • these high-frequency words must be taught as early as kindergarten;
    • categorization is necessary in helping new vocabulary knowledge to stick;
    • the way in which words are presented and played with affects students' interest, excitement, and openness towards new vocabulary;
    • and, lastly, teachers need time to meet, to collaboratively plan and to shares challenges and successes.

    The findings of the study and the need to enrich students' lives with vocabulary have led to a collaborative implementation for a school-wide vocabulary study in grades K-8 during the 2007-08 school year involving the entire K-8 staff.

  2. Using Evidence Based Practices for Early Reading Assessment and Intervention in the Kindergarten Population to Improve Student Performance

    Lynn Hekman, Cheryl Hop, and Susan McCann
    Hudsonville Christian School, Hudsonville, Michigan

    Abstract:  In this study, the use of evidence based early reading assessment and intervention with kindergarten students was evaluated. Eighty-six kindergarten students were given two pre-reading skill assessments in the fall and spring. Students who did not meet the test benchmarks in the fall received small group pre-reading instruction at least twice a week for 30 minutes. Each small group session included instruction on naming of letters and their sounds, developing print concepts with storybook reading, and phonological awareness skills. Results show that the group which received the small group intervention had an average gain of 48 points on the PALS-K, while the whole kindergarten group gained an average of 23 points on the same measure.

  3. The Importance of a Four Square Writing Organizer to Writing Improvement

    Gwen Luban, Linda Lutke, Kari Powell, Jill Wilson
    Springview Elementary School, Allendale Public Schools

    Abstract:  This research provides information for improving student writing with the use of the Four Square Writing Method. The targeted population was one classroom of first graders and one classroom of second graders. The eight-step program was taught two times a week in both classrooms. Student writings were scored with a holistic rubric (MLPP); evaluation indicated an improvement in the overall organization and use of detail in student writing.

  4. What Impact Does Evidence Based Literacy Instruction Have on Reading Achievement and Spelling Outcomes?

    Pam Brady, Russ Doane, Wendy Miller, Kathy Roper, & Pam Wicks
    Douglas Elementary School, Saugatuck Public Schools

    Abstract:  In an attempt to service students who were not reading at grade level and to raise students spelling scores Douglas Elementary School implemented Evidence Based Literacy Instruction in various classrooms and school settings. Evidence Based Literacy Instruction is a program that helps students to understand the logic of the English language. Evidence Based Literacy Instruction contains research based instructional strategies which have been proven to have a high rate of success with struggling readers. The following report explains the process and the results of a year long study using Evidence Based Literacy Instruction. Douglas Elementary found that Evidence Based Literacy Instruction does increase students' reading achievement but more research needs to be done on the program's effectiveness with regard to a student's spelling score.

  5. Response to Intervention: A Collaborative Literacy Model of Differentiating Instruction in a Mixed Ability Classroom

    JoEllen Barron and Kendra St. Antonie
    West Ottawa Public Schools

    Abstract:  This study was designed to evaluate the impact of Literacy Learning Rotations, as a model for differentiating instruction in a mixed ability classroom, on student achievement. The researchers felt that a more dynamic Response to Intervention model would insure greater achievement gains for their students. The study was conducted with a general education and special education teacher in a 4th grade inclusion classroom of 26 students. Achievement scores in writing, spelling, and DIBELs reading fluency were positive.

  6. Impact of Thinking Dispositions on Student Motivation & Achievement

    Julie Monetta
    Glerum Elementary School, West Ottawa Public Schools

    Abstract:  This project was designed to study the impact of Thinking Dispositions on student motivation and achievement. Artful Thinking Routines were developed to be used in regular education classrooms to help deepen student learning by teaching high level thinking dispositions in and through the arts. Through a qualitative and quantitative analysis, eight students were observed to determine if these routines had an impact on their disposition to learn and their academic performance. For every student in the sample group, there was progress made in at least one of the assessment instruments.

  7. Visible Thinking Rountines: Creating a Classroom Culture of Thinking

    Marcia F. Hildebrand & Helen S. Simpson
    Holland Public Schools

    Abstract:  The purpose of this project was to research and implement Visible Thinking Routines in order to develop a culture of thinking in two classrooms at the fourth and fifth grades. Although there are many thinking routines that can be used in the classroom to promote learning, the authors chose four specific routines to focus on for the school year: (1) I See/I Think/I Wonder, (2) What Makes You Say That, (3) Headlines, and (4) Think/Puzzle/Explore. In comparing scores on a first quarter essay test in social studies and a third quarter test, seventy-two percent of the students in one class and ninety-six percent of the students in the other class scored higher. The questions being asked were higher level thinking questions where students needed to compare and contrast and provide evidence. Scores ranged from three to forty-two percentage points higher on the third quarter test. Teachers observed a better classroom climate of curiosity and engagement.

  8. The Effect of Bal-A-Vis-X on Math and Reading Scores for Non-Credentialed Elementary Students in the Saugatuck Public School System

    MaryAnn Short
    Saugatuck Public Schools

    Abstract:  In an effort to increase MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test scores for non-credentialed students at Douglas Elementary School, a group of non-credentialed students participated in a program called Bal-A-Vis-X. This program utilizes a series of balance, auditory, and visual exercises, revolving around rhythm and requires complete body coordination and focused attention. These activities are used to integrate the hemispheres of the brain to ease the stress of learning, develop eye tracking and audio-visual teaming. These integration activities are founded on other research based activities and programs which have proven to be successful and provide positive results in students. The following report explains the process and results of a year long study using Bal-A-Vis-X at Douglas Elementary school.

  9. Differentiated Instruction & Student Achievement

    Kathy Herrick, Wendy Miller, and Melissa Raywood
    Douglas Elementary School, Saugatuck Public Schools

    Abstract:  This action research project, conducted in an elementary school building, examined the role of differentiation in meeting the needs of at risk students. The participants studied the use of differentiation by the classroom teachers and support staff when looking at students who were not credentialed in reading and math through the North Central Accreditation process. Overall, student achievement increased in both reading and math. Based on the data, the finding was that differentiation does positively impact student achievement. A further finding was that differentiation is not one strategy, but rather building a systemic process that allows for varied approaches for varied student needs.

  10. Increasing Student Achievement Through the Use of Specific Reading Strategies, Think Alouds, and Audio Books

    Gayle Johnson
    Holland Public Schools

    Abstract:  This study was designed to look at whether the student creation of audio tapes that model reading strategies would increase students' successful use of these strategies. A group of middle school students identified as poor performing readers where involved in this project. Students appear to have made significant gains in reading confidence, motivation, and strategy use. Most students have improved their SRI score by more than fifty points, and a significant number have increased it by over one hundred points, or one full year's reading growth.

  11. What is the Impact on Student Achievement of Explicit Comprehension and Vocabulary Instruction within One Elementary Science Classroom?

    Nicole Scanlan
    Grand Haven Area Public Schools

    Abstract:  This study was designed to look at the impact of explicit comprehension and vocabulary instruction in a 5th grade science classroom. Throughout this action research, student achievement was first measured by pretest scores and initial vocabulary usage in a personal response journal. After a variety of instructional strategies were implemented with informational text and direct vocabulary instruction occurring, posttests and response journals were used to show growth over time. The results of this study directly correlate student achievement to direct vocabulary instruction and a variety of independent reading strategies.

  12. Improving Literacy in Science

    Annette M. Coval
    Blue Star Elementary/Hamilton Community Schools

    Abstract:  The question addressed in this Action Research Project was "How can I improve literacy in science?" The project started in the summer of 2006 with collecting resources to enhance science instruction through including literacy strategies and skills for improving overall comprehension in science. The sample chosen for the study included fifteen students from a 5th grade class. The pre and post assessments included three passages from several Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) released items and a pre-post test Informal Reading Inventory (IRI) assessment. After the initial assessments were administered the teacher began intervention strategies. The interventions included weekly literacy lessons in coordination with science expository text and weekly book-talks on numerous non-fiction science related texts. The book-talks led to weekly time slots of non-fiction silent reading followed by written reflections of the material read. Students also kept a science journal where they recorded questions, predictions, connections, conclusions, literacy lesson graphic organizers and comprehension quizzes. The results of the project revealed an overall increase of 24% on the MEAP assessments and an increase of 1.9 years (l year and nine months) growth on students' overall reading level.

  13. Increasing Academic Success and Reading Achievement Through Implementation of Reading Strategies for Middle School Students in the Science Content Areas

    Kristin M. Graham
    Jenison Public Schools

    Abstract:  The ability to effectively use reading is becoming more critical to student success at the middle and high school levels as the state and federal governments implement more high-stakes testing and have greater accountability for students. With the implementation of content standards within specific content, teachers are pushed to focus the majority of their instructional time on content-specific data, leaving less time for development of reading and writing skills in secondary content area classes. In addition, when many students transition from elementary to middle school, they are faced with the transition of instruction practices focused on proficiency of individual subject matters, rather than overall proficiency in reading and writing. To assess the impact of reading strategies on reading within specific content areas, the subjects of student attitudes, science content knowledge, and overall reading growth were addressed in this study of seventh grade science students. It was concluded that students receiving supplemental reading assistance in their content science area performed as well as their peers on science content tests and were able to increase their reading scores almost a full year. In addition, students participating in the at-risk class were also identified to have a more negative attitude regarding reading and reading content.

  14. How Can Direct Vocabulary Instruction in Mathematics Impact Student Performance?

    Jason Hubbs, Sandra Rotier, Elizabeth Voss, Karen Wit, Dana Zyrowski
    Allendale Middle School, Allendale Public Schools

    Abstract:  This quantitative project was intended to improve middle school student performance in mathematics through direct vocabulary instruction. The goal was to discover if certain teaching methods would heighten students' vocabulary awareness as well as improving problem solving skills. Students in fifth through eighth grade were tested on three separate occasions using vocabulary words appropriate for each specific grade level. The results verified that students benefited from direct vocabulary instruction. On average, students improved 14% in grades 5-8 from the first test to the last.

  15. The Use of Literary Works in Advanced Placement Government Courses

    Gregory J. Dykhouse
    Black River Public School

    Abstract:  This Action Research Project allowed connection among three targets: substantive reading, instructional activities, and national or state standards. The College Board has developed specific target material in support of the Advanced Placement subjects U.S. Government and Politics and Comparative Government and Politics; the Project allowed an introduction of "serious reading" as students explored The College Board's focus material. How do students show academic progress from reading challenging works? Four assessments, three of a qualitative and one a quantitative nature, may correlate with the benefit of the reading list: mock congressional hearings, book reviews of the target literature, a submission to a national essay contest, and reading comprehension on the PLAN and ACT assessments. Student achievement results for each of the assessments were positive.

  16. Teaching Students to Access Prior Knowledge While Reading Helps Improve Lexile Scores and Reading Enjoyment

    Kim Sabatino
    Grand Haven Area Public Schools

    Abstract:  This study was designed to look at the impact of specific targeted instruction of reading strategies, especially focusing on schema/prior knowledge, on Lexile reading scores in a computer-based, remedial reading class (Read 180). The study was conducted in an Alternative Education High School. Findings showed that students seemed receptive to using schema and transferring that new learning to other applications such as other classes. They seemed to naturally use it on a regular basis, as evidenced by their written and verbal responses to writing and discussion prompts. The positive result with their Lexile growth was also encouraging.

  17. Evidence Based Literacy Instruction as an Intervention Strategy for Improving Reading Fluency and Comprehension in Sixth Grade Students at Saugatuck Middle School

    Linda Gilbert, Jeff Pellerito, Tim Travis, and Sue Wireman
    Saugatuck Public Schools

    Abstract:  As students transition from elementary school to middle school a shift occurs from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Students who are behind in reading by middle school are at a significant disadvantage in other classes including science, social studies, and mathematics. As part of the North Central Accreditation process, Saugatuck Middle School teachers were searching for an intervention strategy for improving reading fluency and comprehension. Fifteen sixth grade students were identified at least two grades below grade level in reading. The students were given one-on-one instruction using Evidence Based Literacy Instruction (EBLI) for a period of eight weeks from November, 2006 to January, 2007. Results showed marked improvement in word identification and word attack skills. Most encouraging was an average improvement of 1.24 grade levels in reading comprehension over a four month period.

  18. Student Motivation to Learn

    Jay Woods
    Holland High School, Holland Public Schools

    Abstract:  This study described the factors impacting the motivation to learn of disparate groupings of students, two 11th grade Advanced American Literature classes and two 9th grade low-achieving Guided Studies classes. Three areas of interest were reviewed: (1) course content/environment factors, (2) student-related factors, and (3) teacher-related factors. Results showed that the 11th grade students placed much more emphasis on teacher-related factors as influencing student motivation than did the 9th grade students. Both groups rated the student-related factors as positive contributors to their motivation.

  19. The Effects of Metacognition and Studying the Brain on Student Achievement

    Karen Gabrielse
    Wayland Public Schools

    Abstract:  When students are provided the opportunity to learn about the brain and have time for metacognition, what will be the short-term effects on test scores and long-term challenges students may take with them for life? Different areas of study included: (a) learning functions of the different lobes of the brain, (b) reviewing foods and sporting activities that are brain friendly, (c) handling problems when the lobes do not function properly, (d) learning strategies which help the brain to transfer data into long term memory and (e) taking time to process and experiment with all this information. Throughout the 2006 - 2007 school year, selected students at Wayland Union High School were given the opportunity to learn about the brain from Dr. Daniel Amen through a program he developed called Making a Good Brain Great. Students reflected daily on the brain and strategies to help the brain remember. Although overall test scores did not rise in comparison to previous years, test scores did rise when graphic organizers were used. Student comments in reflecting on the year showed they recognized all the instructional strategies used and appreciated the value of these strategies.

  20. Technology in Education

    Traci Brewer, Angela Dressander, and Sara May
    St. Michael Catholic School

    Abstract:  This study was designed to look at how the integration of technology tools into the general curriculum would impact students' motivation to learn and ability to use technology effectively. Students in grades 1, 3, 4, and 6 participated in this study. By increasing students' technology skills, teachers were able to enable students' creativity, cater to the students' learning styles, motivate the students in learning, and help students be more successful.

  21. Integrating a One-on-One Laptop Program at the Middle School Level

    Beth Diepenhorst, Kristyn Kamps, Dan Vos
    Holland Christian Schools

    Abstract:  This study was conducted to analyze the impact of technology integration on student achievement, instruction, and learning. While the research emphasizes laptop programs take three to four years to achieve success and become an integral part of the curriculum, it is hoped that this baseline study will help to measure future student academic gains. The project was designed to incorporate a variety of data that will help track students' academic growth as they work with laptops over the coming years. Incorporated into this study are standardized test results, individual writing samples, surveys, reflections, and taped interviews to track changes in student achievement and attitudes toward technology integration as part of their educational experience. Even though most teachers report feeling more competent in use of technology and students report feeling the quality of their work has improved, not enough time has passed, nor has enough data been collected to verify this.

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