Fredonia is a comprehensive, public, liberal arts university in western New York that offers bachelor's and master's degrees and advanced certificate programs. With more than 4,600 students on a beautiful residential campus, students tell us it's the perfect mix of campus size and program variety. Fredonia offers strong programs and experiences in: sciences, arts, business, education, humanities, undergraduate research, interdisciplinary studies and athletics.

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  • The Importance of Incorporating Critical Literacy Instruction Into the Early Elementary Classroom

    Valvo, Samantha (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Early literacy experiences are critical for the development of young children. More specifically, quality literacy experiences are beneficial to children’s understanding of the world around them (Ekvall, 2013). Exemplar critical literacy instruction was evaluated for its significance at the Pre-Kindergarten to second grade levels. Data came from a collection of current critical literacy research and the following themes were created: the need to foster information literate students, how to address emotional collisions in the classroom, the importance of deconstructing and reconstructing familiar texts, critical awareness in the areas of identity, race, and culture, and social justice dialogue and student emotions. Analysis focused on the two methods of critical literacy instruction, teacher-led discussions and student-engaged strategies. The most effective method, student-engaged strategies, was then further evaluated for potential lesson structure in the classroom. The results led to four findings. The first finding suggested critical literacy instruction could be incorporated into the classroom through teacher-led discussion and student-engaged strategies. The second finding revealed student-engaged strategies as the most effective way to incorporate critical literacy instruction into the classroom. The third finding discovered the most often used critical literacy strategy, using familiar texts to engage students in interacting with the text from a new perspective. The fourth finding supported New York State learning standards, which expects students to have critical literacy skills to demonstrate their college and career readiness as they continue into higher levels of education, thus all suggesting the importance of students learning critical literacy at the early elementary level.
  • What are the Main Factors that Contribute to ELLs' Pronunciation?

    Xiao, Haiying (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Pronunciation is viewed as a difficult part in the English learning process of ELLs. This study aimed at exploring the factors that influence the pronunciation of ELLs. In this qualitative research, oral interview was a method for data collection. The sample of the study contained of 7 international students with age ranges between 18-25 from a State University in Western New York. The students were asked questions regarding their pronunciation difficulties. The results produced three general themes: personal reflection, difficulties and bias. Also, this study uncovered the implication of students’ pronunciation problems towards the teaching and learning of English. The findings of this study have implications for administrators, ESL educators and students.
  • What are the Parent Perceptions of Daily Homework Assignments Within a Kindergarten Classroom?

    Vara, Jessica (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the increasing educational demands and homework assignments within primary grade levels, it is important to understand the different structures and supports, or lack of structures and supports, that parents/guardians implement during homework completion. This study examined the views, beliefs, opinions and practices of the parents/guardians in regards to daily homework assignments within a kindergarten classroom and the overall home to school connection/relationship. Data for this study was collected from a parent/guardian survey that asked the participants to reflect on their parental involvement during their children’s homework completion. Findings indicated that parents/guardians established homework routines, offered support and assistance as necessary during homework completion and valued the homework assignments as a useful tool for children to understand how and when to complete homework as they become older. Findings also showed that that parents/guardians were made aware of all important happenings within the classroom, curriculum and school and felt comfortable engaging in open means of communication with their children’s teacher as necessary.
  • Mentoring Program for Novice Teachers in Private Catholic School

    Sullivan, Candice (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    We invest in our children and young generation, as they will one day lead this country. Yet, we do not invest in our teachers. Through research it was concluded that mentoring programs for novice teachers can have a major impact on the result of high quality teachers. I report on the features of, challenges, and highlights that emerged during research and formation of the mentoring program for novice teachers. These findings conclude the vital significance of mentoring novice teachers. With the concluding points, a detailed guide was created to assist with mentoring in districts with no mentoring in place for novice teachers. There is a desperate need to provide active mentoring for novice teachers to develop into a high quality educator.
  • The Impact of Background Music on Student Reading Comprehension

    Seewagen, Amanda (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Reading is the foundation for lifelong learning. It has been shown that music has an impact on students learning depending on what music you use in the classroom (Rashidi & Faham, 2011; Chew, Yu, Chua, & Gan, 2016; Chou, 2010). This brought up the problem of music impacting students reading comprehension. This problem led to the research question of does background music have an impact on students reading comprehension. An online survey was used to find if middle school general education and special education teachers used music in their classroom and if the music has an impact on the students reading comprehension. The results showed three major themes. The first theme was that music helps the student’s comprehension. The second theme was that the music teachers used in their classrooms are a range from upbeat to slow soothing music. The third theme was that music that the participants who used music in their classroom found their students to be more engaged and focus more on the lesson. The teachers also stated that they would also recommend using music in the classroom to other learners. These findings were important to the research because they showed that more research needs to be done on this topic. The teachers found differing results from the research stated in this study. There are limitations and recommendations offered for a future study.
  • The Perception of Preservice Teachers Regarding the Impact of a Math Methods Course on Their Ability to Instruct Mathematics in Their Future Classroom

    Schmidt, Courtney (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the pressure of teachers to challenge and increase achievement in the area of mathematics, it has become imperative to effectively train teachers to have this mathematical knowledge. Research has shown that more teacher preparation programs are focusing on introducing the foundation of mathematics for preservice teachers knowing that they are generalist elementary educators. This study looks at the perceptions of mathematics based on the completion of a mathematics methods course in a small liberal arts college in Chautauqua County. A questionnaire was distributed and consisted of both qualitative and quantitative questions. The results show that undergraduate mathematics courses are crucial to the implementation of mathematics in the preservice teachers future classroom. Future research could pair the questionnaire with an observation to examine their delivery of mathematics instruction.
  • The Impact of Middle School Teachers' Personal Reading Habits on Their Literacy Instruction

    Ruber, Jessica (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    All educators, regardless of subject or grade level taught, are expected to incorporate literacy best practices into their classroom (Huang, 2017). They are also expected to inspire their students to be lifelong readers which can be problematic when teachers do not have positive personal reading habits (Nathanson, et al., 2008). Based on this understanding, this empirical study sought to answer the question: what is the impact of core middle school teachers’ personal reading habits on their classroom literacy practices? Participants consisted of nine middle school teachers. The study used an online survey tool and resulted in three main findings. First, there was no clear connection between the participant’s personal reading habits and their use of literacy best practices in the classroom. Second, the participants mainly valued reading but were not frequent readers themselves. Third, within the qualitative data, there was no connection between the participant’s reading habits and their use of best practices as they value a variety of best practices with an emphasis on more “non-social” strategies. In conclusion, the lack of reading habits of the middle school teachers surveyed did not impact their use of literacy best practices in the classroom.
  • Altering the Home Literacy Environment: A Look into How Teachers are Supporting Families Through Home Literacy Interventions

    Piatek, Kaitlyn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    This empirical research study investigated the following two research questions: what are kindergarten, first and second-grade teachers currently using to make improvements to the home literacy environments of their students and what supports are teachers providing to families of their students to make these improvements successful. In this study, nine elementary teachers were surveyed. An online survey containing qualitative and quantitative questions was used. The first finding from this research study was that teachers are currently provided families with literacy resources/activities to complete at home with their child/children. The second finding for this research study was that teachers stated that it would be possible to positively influence the home literacy environments of their students but they needed more literacy resources in order to adequately support their students’ literacy learning at home. The third finding was that the participants were confident in their ability to support families with home literacy practices and were knowledgeable about the most effective home literacy practices that families could use. The findings from this research study showed that kindergarten, first and second-grade teachers were supporting the home literacy environments and the families of their students by sending home literacy resources.
  • How to Adopt Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Practices and Educational Philosophies Through Shifting Mindsets, Changing the Classroom Environment, and Employing Collaboration and Interaction

    Streebel, Ashley (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the resurgence of transnational immigration across the United States of America over the past several decades, it is no longer optional for a teacher to choose to adopt culturally relevant practices; it is a necessity. Research has shown that when there is a mismatch between students’ personal cultures and the classroom culture, it can negatively influence the mindset and feelings of English Language Learners (ELLs) towards their education. Thusly, there is a vital need for educators to be trained on the ways to adopt culturally relevant pedagogies and educational philosophies. In order for educators to be able to authentically and effectively implement culturally responsive practices, they need to be trained on the methods with which to do so. The indicated professional development program focuses on the three following elements due to the prevalence in authentically adopting a culturally responsive practice: shifting mindsets, changing the classroom environment, and employing collaboration and interaction. These results show that these professional development seminars serve as a stepping stone and guide for educators to begin to make this positive change in their classrooms. Future research could explore additional facets that are embedded in the complex process of creating a culturally responsive classroom. Further research could also expand its bounds in order to encompass other grade domains outside of elementary education.
  • Effective Practices to Increase Kindergarten Readiness and Promote Literacy Skills for Preschool Teachers, Literacy Specialists, and Families

    Shaffer, LeighAnn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Researchers have found that students have been coming into kindergarten with difficulty, in need of additional reading support, causing challenges for teachers to meet the learning needs of all students (Brown, 2014; Curby, Rimm-Kaufman, & Ponitz, 2009). The purpose of this research was to investigate effective emergent literacy practices that could be implemented by teachers and families to increase kindergarten readiness. To determine effective practices, a qualitative methodology was used to conduct empirical research through a thematic analysis of data collected from a focus group interview that consisted of five consented participants. The participants included a mixture of general education teachers, a special education teacher, and a literacy specialist. From the data analysis, four overarching themes were found including: the importance of phonics in emergent literacy development, children’s behavior and social skills, the gap between low and high academically performing students in relation to literacy skills, and exposure to literacy-based activities. The participants explained that engaging in early literacy practices such as reading with and to children, everyday conversations to increase vocabulary development, and providing young children with activities to increase fine motor skills such as cutting and coloring can increase kindergarten readiness and literacy development to decrease the student performance gap.
  • A Curriculum Plan for Implementation of the New York State Social and Emotional Learning Benchmarks for Early Childhood Grade Levels Within a First Grade Classroom

    Schanbacher, Kara (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    The New York State (NYS) Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) benchmarks were first published by the New York State Department of Education in the August of 2018. Research suggests that student learning benchmarks may increase the likelihood that students will receive better instruction in SEL experience improved school connectedness, and become better learners. These SEL standards were published as a resource for voluntary implementation within New York State Schools. This Curriculum Project consists of a succinct, 40 lesson curriculum designed for first grade students, aligned with the New York State Social and Emotional Learning Benchmarks for Early Childhood Grade levels, first grade Common Core State Standards for reading and writing, and New York State Next Generation standards for reading and writing. Future research may further differentiate these lessons for students with disabilities, as well as English Language Learners (ELLs).
  • Implementing a Spanish/English Dual-Language Bilingual Program in a Diverse Elementary School Setting

    Richir, Jacklyn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the passage of Part 154 in New York State, Bilingual Education has become more prominent and necessary in public schools with a high population of English Language Learners (ENLs). Dual-language Bilingual Programs have become increasingly more significant because they are designed to build bilingual and biliterate learners from a variety of home languages. This curriculum project is designed to assist schools, specifically Dunkirk City School District, in implementing a Dual-Language Bilingual Program in an elementary school. The curriculum project includes guidelines for assessment and accountability, curriculum, instruction, staff quality and professional development, program structure, family and community engagement, and support and resources. Although this program is specific to one district, with modifications it could be implemented in other districts as well.
  • The Most Effective Fluency Strategies to Use in the Classroom

    Parrotta, Natalie (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Many adolescent students have often struggled with reading fluently which hindered other aspects of literacy, such as comprehension. Therefore, it was necessary that elementary school teachers used more effective fluency strategies to remove this deficit in middle and high school. To address this problem the principal investigator asked the question, “What are the most effective fluency strategies that elementary teachers can use in the classroom?” Since technology has been an up-and-coming feature in the classroom, specific studies that focused on technology-based fluency strategies were selected along with repeated reading, peer-assisted tutoring, and Readers Theatre. Studies had taken place only in the elementary classroom (grades one through six). After a review of the literature and a research synthesis, it was found that technology-based fluency strategies contributed to student motivation and contained a student-centered approach, more so than the other fluency strategies. Improvements in reading fluency were also noticed with the technology-based fluency strategies. These findings formed the basis of a professional development project presented through a workshop for elementary school teachers (grades one through six). Technology-based fluency strategies were explained and practiced during the workshop, and then implemented in the classroom.
  • Barriers to Postsecondary Education for Western New York Rural High School Students

    Mulcahy, Collin (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Rural high school students in Western New York are faced with numerous challenges when deciding to enroll in postsecondary education. Rural students are faced with limited support, both inside and outside of school. Research has shown that faced with these barriers, rural students are less likely to enroll in higher education than are urban students. The purpose of this study was to the needs of rural high school students as well as to identify the supports in addressing their perceived lack of self-efficacy for their educational abilities in postsecondary education. This qualitative case study analyzed the viewpoints of three high school guidance counselors who provide crucial college admissions assistance to high school students in Western New York. The results of the study illustrated that rural high school students need further support in addressing their perceived lack of efficacy when deciding whether or not to pursue a college education after graduating from high school. Furthermore, many rural students and their parents/guardians are not informed about the costs of higher education. Positive perceptions of postsecondary education were identified as a motivator that helps students overcome the identified challenges in higher education. Higher education institutions can better aid rural students by addressing the challenges they face when making the decision to enroll in postsecondary education.
  • Effective Multimodal Texts to be Implemented in Secondary Science Classrooms

    Kucharski, Megan (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    There has been an abundant amount of multimodal texts in which high school science teachers were able to use throughout their instruction to communicate science content. The problem related to this topic was high school science teachers were either not using them or not using them appropriately. The question related to the problem of high school science teachers not correctly using multimodal texts was “What are effective multimodal texts that support content comprehension and science literacy and how can these resources be implemented in the secondary science classroom?” To address this question an extensive literature review, research analysis, and research synthesis were completed. The participants of the studies were in a variety of science courses at the middle school, high school or college level. Multiple findings resulted from the research synthesis. The findings were trade books and technology in science classes were effective at both middle and high school levels, primary literature in science classes were effective at the collegiate level, and middle and high school science students benefited from teachers embedding multimodalities in their instruction. The fifth finding was simulations at the high school level enhanced student science literacy. This was the finding that answered the research question. This finding was then used to create a professional development Google Site for high school science teachers of all content areas. The Google Site provided a resource for the teachers to learn about simulations, understand the research behind it, practice using them, and be instructed on how to implement them into science instruction at the high school level.
  • What are the Perceptions of International Students Regarding Their ESL Program?

    Hur, Hwibum (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    As the world gets more globalized and many people choose to receive their education abroad, there are an increasing number of international students coming to the United States. In this qualitative study, 8 international students that were currently attending or had graduated from an English as a Second Language (ESL) institution in a state university in Western New York were interviewed. The students were asked multiple questions regarding different aspects of the program and expressed their candid opinions regarding their current or past program. The three main themes investigated were facility, content, and personnel. Within each theme there were three subthemes: positives, negatives, and suggestions. The results from this study are intended to help educators, staff members, and students better understand this increasing subgroup.
  • Perceptions of Social Studies Teacher Roles in Literacy Instruction

    Hubbard, Justin (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Research has found that Social Studies content teachers struggle implementing literacy into their content area. This study focused on the question, what are Secondary Social Studies teachers perceptions of their role in literacy instruction? The principal investigator of this study interviewed two experienced Secondary Social Studies teachers on their perceptions and implementation of literacy in the Social Studies content area. It was found by these interviews that these participants had been using higher level literacy instruction techniques as part of their daily instruction in the content area and that they perceive literacy instruction as the responsibility of the Social Studies teacher not only for the benefit of literacy ability, but for Social Studies content knowledge as well.
  • Inclusive Education at a 4 Year Institution in New York State: Perspectives of Students, Faculty, and Administration

    Halewski, Daniel (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    The goal of this research was to conduct an overview assessment of the inclusive education program at Rush University through the perspectives of students, faculty, and administrators. This research was developed and conducted in order to add to the existing knowledge on inclusive education at the post-secondary level. The study used quantitative surveys to poll students with disabilities (SWD) and faculty that have been involved in the program. The findings found a several commonalities between responses related to effectiveness and an understanding of inclusive education. The inconsistencies arise in the students understanding of their personal accommodations and the faculty opinions of effectiveness, training, and support from their institution. These results highlight a need for further research into the inconsistencies and a larger scope of the effectiveness of the program.
  • What are English Language Learners' Attitudes to NNES Teachers and What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of NNES Teachers?

    Guo, Qiang (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the Chinese economy developing, the relationship between China and the world has become stronger and stronger. English as a Second Language (ESL) education plays an important role in China now. There are millions Chinese English Language Learners (ELLs), and their attitudes toward non-Native English Speaking (NNES) teachers influences the prospects of NNES teachers. In this study, I interviewed 10 Chinese ELLs to explore their attitudes toward NNES teachers and the advantages and disadvantages they think regarding studying with NNES teachers. Some of my participants were university students and the rest of them were studying in a private institute. However, all participants had studied with Native English Speaking (NES) for teachers over 3 months. This point is the most distinctive factor of this study. During the interviews, most participants expressed positive attitudes to NNES teachers; nonetheless, when comparing NNES teachers with NES teachers, they chose to study with NES teachers? I used a number of graphic displays to show students’ attitudes toward NNES teachers and the advantages and disadvantages they found through their experiences that studying with NNES teachers. I hope that, through this study, NNES teachers can get an idea of their real status in students’ minds. Moreover, NNES teachers also can get a sense of the kinds of improvements they should try to make during the teaching practice.
  • Home Literacy Support for Families

    Franchina, Emily (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Building a bridge between home literacy and school literacy has become very important for young children. A creation of consistent school to home communication about what went on during the school day was another important factor. To address the issues of the gap between students’ home and school literacy skills, the research question was created, “How can teachers support home literacy connections for families with children in preschool to kindergarten?” First finding was to ensure that their is positive communication among teacher and families about their children's reading and writing abilities which would then promote positive student literacy achievements at school. The Second finding was found that when families kept a steady communication connection (newsletters, face-to-face conversations or emails) between themselves and the school the students showed reading and writing improvements. The third finding was that when families took an active role in their children’s literacy activities at home and at school their children felt supported and showed improvements in reading and writing. Finally it was determined that when teachers took their time to get to know their students personally by talking to their families the students felt welcomed and did their best in reading and writing. All of these findings led to a Prezi professional development project to answer the question and support teachers abilities to engage families in different literacy activities.

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