• Music integration in the kindergarten classroom : an ethnographic case study.

      Gronski, Stacie (02/01/2013)
      This ethnographic case study focuses on the use of musical teaching techniques in one general education kindergarten classroom in a rural school district in the Northeastern United States. It explores the importance of using music in the general education classroom, and reasons why it should be used. It is an attempt to answer the question, “What does a musically rich general education classroom look like?” The main participant of this study was a general education kindergarten teacher/self-taught musician who uses music in almost every aspect of his daily teaching. The findings of this study show how this master teacher effectively utilizes music in the general education classroom in a way that actively engages his students in their learning.
    • Supporting ELLS by addressing cultural differences in the classroom: a professional development program.

      Davis, Tonya L. (02/01/2013)
      There is a large and ever growing population of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the Buffalo Public School (BPS) system. The majority of ELLs in the BPS come from a Spanish language background, but there are students from approximately 56 other countries within the school l system. In order to ensure the success of students, teachers must have cultural competency - knowledge about teaching a culturally diverse population of students. Mainstream or general education teachers may not have adequate training to work with this population of students. If teachers have not been trained in dealing with culturally diverse students, they may find themselves feeling uncomfortable or unqualified to work with this growing population of ELLs. Without this knowledge, these teachers are not able to provide the best service to students and generate high student achievement. My objective is to provide a document and recommendations for professional development training for Buffalo Public School teachers that will inform them about the growing population of students from Myanmar (Burma), which is one of the fastest growing groups of ELLs in the Buffalo Public Schools today.
    • English language learners' perceptions of high stakes assessments and accommodations.

      Taylor, Alina A. (02/10/2012)
      English language learners (ELLs) are mandated under federal legislation to take standardized tests in mathematics, even if they arrive in the United States with limited English proficiency the day the test is given. The problem is that standardized tests, which are intended to measure knowledge and skills in a content area, really become assessments of English proficiency for ELLs. The purpose of this study was to investigate ELLs' perceptions of high-stakes assessments and the legal accommodations offered to them. The quantitative, attitudinal surveys provided information regarding students' experiences and opinions on taking the New York State Regents exam in mathematics and the accommodations they used. The researcher hypothesized that ELLs may hold negative perceptions of the New York State Regents exam in mathematics. Also, it was hypothesized that ELLs may report mixed feelings about accommodations on the exam. Data taken from the surveys were tabulated and results revealed students' mixed opinions about the exam and the accommodations they used. Participants reported the use of the following accommodations: time extension, separate location, bilingual dictionaries/glossaries, simultaneous use of English and alternative language editions, and oral translation. Overall, the present study found that high school ELLs may have negative or mixed feelings toward high stakes assessments and accommodations.
    • Using informational text to motivate marginalized male readers.

      Bigelow, Jackelyn (02/11/2012)
      This Master’s Thesis, which resulted in a professional development project, focused on using nonfiction text to motivate marginalized male readers. The project was guided by the following questions: What reasons cause boys to become marginalized? What is the role of informational text in the classroom? In what ways could teachers use informational text to motivate marginalized male readers? Research pertaining to struggling male readers shows many boys experience literacy under achievement in schools, which could be contributed to gender identities, societal norms and expectations, or lack of motivation. Informational text may facilitate engagement in reading and assist in narrowing the reading achievement gap for boys. The professional development project resulted in a workshop consisting of one full day with three follow-up sessions over the course of one month.
    • College level English Language Learners' narrations of their educational experiences learning English.

      Condon, Shauna Michelle (03/01/2013)
      The purpose of this research study was to investigate advanced level English as a second language learners’ perceptions of learning English. The participants were collegiate level international education students from South Korea currently attending a college in New York State. Four advanced level English language learners were interviewed to determine their perceptions of learning English as a second language. The literature that informed the study consists of language learning theory, beneficial practice for teaching English, and pertinent research on education in South Korea. The responses were coded for themes commonly represented in the interviews. The respondents were successful college level advanced English language learners. The findings call in to question the commonly held theory that Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills are easier and more readily acquired than Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency, particularly for this population of Asian college level students educated to be successful in an English language academic setting.
    • Using criterion referenced assessment in a living environment curriculum.

      Turybury, Shane H. (03/01/2013)
      This purpose of this curriculum project was to design Criterion Referenced Assessment’s (CRA's) to be implemented into a New York State (NYS) Living Environment Curriculum to provide an ongoing means of formative assessment. All CRA’s within the project are aligned with the NYS Living Environment curriculum objectives and standards. CRA data can provide teachers with information that can influence their future instructional decisions. For the project, twenty-four daily CRA’s were made and four units were developed in connection to the four Living Environment units of Ecology, Mitosis, Meiosis, and DNA/RNA. By design, answers for each CRA are provided, as well as, two scoring matrices to link CRA scores to re-teaching strategies based on student group and test question scores. The data obtained from the CRA’s will then be utilized by the teachers to influence future instructional decisions as well as help students recognize what more is needed to be learned in order to meet criterion mastery. Limitations of this project are developing CRA’s for a partial amount of the NYS Living Environment curriculum (four units) and just two scoring matrices. Therefore, further research can be conducted to investigate whether or not the creation of CRA’s for the complete Living Environment curriculum and additional scoring matrices further enhanced the feedback mechanism of the project. Furthermore, an empirical study on the effectiveness of this tool on student state tests scores and implementing this tool into other content areas can be conducted.
    • Effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system for preschool children with special needs.

      Drozdiel, Sonja L. (03/01/2013)
      Young children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder have poor communication and interpersonal skills. As a result, they are at great risk for numerous adverse academic and behavioral outcomes. A considerable amount of research suggests, however, that the Picture Communication Exchange System, an augmentative and alternative communication system improve students with ASD’s communicative competence and reduce behavioral disruptions. The present study examined the effects of PECS on the independent interactions of three, preschool males with ASD. The classroom teacher and teaching assistant used PECS whenever target students began to struggle or appeared to be on the verge of emotional outbursts. Findings indicated that PECS produced positive but variable improvements in pupil performance across both communication and interpersonal skills. Implications for practitioners and future researchers are provided.
    • Impact of building elementary students' background knowledge in social studies.

      Drayer, Tammy S. (03/01/2013)
      This Master's Thesis project resulted in a Professional Development Project on building elementary students' background knowledge in the social studies. The project placed an emphasis on implementing effective resources and strategies in the curriculum as well as ways to use children's literature instead of the traditional textbook.
    • Interactive read alouds.

      Steinert, Priscilla (04/01/2013)
      This Master’s Thesis project focused on interactive read-alouds as a strategy to increase preschooler's vocabulary and comprehension skills. The findings from the literature review suggested that reading aloud provided a means of engaging students as they constructed meaning and explored the reading process. Findings further indicated that reading aloud to children provided them with opportunities to discuss the text and explore language usage by verbalizing their own interpretations. This resulted in a professional development project for prekindergarten teachers on interactive read-alouds and ways in which this strategy can increase vocabulary and comprehension in preschoolers.
    • Strategies and therapies for English language learners as refugees (STELLAR).

      Clayton, Sarah Marie (04/01/2013)
      Literature in the fields of education and psychology focuses on cognitive and linguistic development and/or rehabilitation for individuals overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some refugee students dealing with PTSD are also English language learners (ELLs). Not only may refugee ELLs need to manage living with PTSD, but they also need to simultaneously master English as a second language to succeed in school. From the spectrum of strategies and therapies for PTSD, it was the goal of this study to investigate what methods may work best specifically with individuals who are refugee ELLs. The purpose of this study was to contextualize (in a specific urban school district) which approaches work best in for these ELLs in the opinions of teachers, therapists, counselors, and administrators. Using a snowball sample, professionals working with refugee ELLs who may be suffering from PTSD were interviewed. Results and implications for those people working with this unique group of students will be discussed.
    • Motivating the adolescent reader : engaging the disengaged.

      Bogardus, Sarah M. (04/01/2013)
      This Master’s thesis project focused on the factors associated with the decline in adolescent reading motivation and the literacy strategies that can be implemented in the classroom to improve reading motivation. In addition, it also includes recommendations for a professional development project that addresses literacy strategies for adolescent students. Results revealed that implementing hands-on literacy strategies in the classroom can have a positive impact on reading motivation. Teachers who offer a variety of texts, offer student choice, acknowledge home/school connections, incorporate technology, and promote social collaboration help create engaged learners in the reading process. Therefore, all educators should be aware of appropriate and effective hands-on literacy strategies. Results of the professional development experience suggest that professional development opportunities need to be improved in order to help influence literacy outcomes in the adolescent world. It is of critical importance that teachers receive adequate professional development on adolescent literacy because findings indicate that there is a correlation between effective professional development and the reading achievement of students.
    • The effects of social stories on the communicative competence of four pre-school students on the autism spectrum disorder.

      Logsdon, Roberta J. (04/01/2013)
      What effects do social stories have on the interpersonal interactions of preschool children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? This study was conducted with four male preschool students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a 6-1-1 self-contained, special education classroom. The effects of social stories were assessed across two primary domains: (a) ratings on a standardized behavioral rating scale and (b) pupils' overt behavior during baseline and intervention class sessions. Results were mixed for the most part with more positive than negative outcomes noted overall. Implications for future research and practice are provided.
    • Vocabulary interventions for emergent bilinguals during sociodramatic play and project investigations.

      Weber, Natalie B. (04/01/2013)
      Research literature on vocabulary interventions for primary aged students, sociodramatic play, and project investigations is examined in this Masters project in relation to the reduction of the vocabulary gap for emergent bilingual students. Professional development was prepared from the results of the literature review. Research based techniques to incorporate the interactive vocabulary interventions used during shared storybook reading into sociodramatic play and project investigations were presented to Pre-K to 2nd grade teachers at a state conference. The workshop consisted of small group role-plays of interactive storybook reading strategies, small and large group collaboration and a presentation of the research literature. The workshop addressed instructional techniques to decrease the vocabulary gap, with an emphasis on emergent bilinguals. Continued opportunities for co-generative dialog and extensions into classroom settings were made available to participants through a group blog.
    • The influence of electronic books on third grade reading comprehension.

      Rich, Sarah A. (04/01/2013)
      This study investigated the silent reading comprehension of three third grade participants who struggle to decode grade level material. The participants were given seven passages, four from a paper book and three from an e-book. After reading, the participants completed graphic organizers and met with the researcher to retell the story. The amount of what the participant recalled was estimated using a retelling guide. The amount of points the participant obtained from the retelling guide when reading from a paper book and reading from an e-book was compared. Data indicated that all participants retold more literal information when they read from an e-book. All participants also completed a survey to express his or her feelings about reading each type of text. Two participants preferred using an iPad to read and one preferred reading from a paper book. The participant who preferred reading from a paper book also had the smallest increase in comprehension score. Another participant stated that she would have liked the e-book more if it had a pronunciation feature that read individual words for her. In conclusion, it was found that there is no harm in giving participants the choice of reading a paper book or e-book in an elementary classroom. Also, e-books are most supportive for struggling readers when a pronunciation tool is provided.
    • Cultivating language: and English as a second language gardening curriculum.

      Stock, Molly K. (07/01/2013)
      Experiential learning and the use of gardening in schools has been effectively used to teach content. Yet, there is a lack of gardening curriculum available specifically for English language learners (ELLs). The purpose of this master’s project is to fill this deficit by creating a curriculum specific for ELLs using gardening as a medium of teaching English. This Master’s Project examines literature relevant to establishing an experiential based curriculum that integrates gardening as a viable medium to support the acquisition of English. The Cultivating Language curriculum provides English as a second language lessons that use gardening activities to teach English. The Cultivating Language curriculum is created for use with 9 through 11 year-old English language learners with intermediate English proficiency. The curriculum consists of 11 lessons that occur on a once weekly basis. All lessons have been created following the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) framework designed for ELL's. The gardening content contains elements from the Junior Master Gardener Grow Team in Monmouth County, NJ and the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girl’s Club in Dunkirk, NY. The language content covers using descriptive language and relating events as communicative strategies for ELLs.
    • Middle and high school math teachers' narration of Ti-Navigator use as a formative assessment tool.

      Swackhammer, Michelle Lynn (07/01/2013)
      The present study was designed to examine how middle and high school math teachers narrate their uses of TI-Navigator and describe sources of external school support for using this technology. A three-part, written survey was sent to 35 math teachers in three school districts across two counties in Western New York. Fourteen usable surveys were returned (i.e., 40% response rate) that indicated that: (a) graphic calculators were more accessible and used more often than TI-Navigator, (b) there was a reported under-utilization of the technology and specific program features, and (c) professional development and support appeared to be equally minimal. Those teachers who did use TI-Navigator regularly noted some additional time demands from its use but that pupils responded favorably to the technology. Implications for future research and practice are described.
    • A Guide for Pre-Service Teachers in Supporting Middle School English Language Learners (ELLs) in General Education Classrooms.

      Dewe, Jenna Michelle (07/11/2012)
      The following guide was developed for pre-service and in-service middle school teachers who work with English Language Learners (ELLs). The basic propositions outlined in the paper were derived from the English for Second Language literature and should be used to support classroom teachers in meeting the academic and interpersonal needs of ELLs. This manual highlights many effective strategies for teachers of ELLs and promotes the need for social and academic success among all students. The manual can help to prepare everyone involved in the challenges of teaching ELLs, including students, peers, teachers, schools, and communities. The manual is arranged into the following sections: (a) Introduction, (b) Understand the students, (c) Understand the Friends, (d) Understand the Teacher, (e) Understand the Team, (f) Understand the school, (g) Understand the Community, and (h) Conclusion.
    • Enriching students' oral language through active play.

      Beringer, Kristine M. (08/01/2013)
      The purpose of this Master’s Thesis Project was to identify the relationship between active play and oral language development and create the Professional Development Project: ENRICHING STUDENTS' ORAL LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ACTIVE PLAY. The Professional Development Workshop provided teachers with the tools to implement a play-based curriculum and with activities to use in their classroom. A literature review was conducted and the aspects that were explored included the relationship between play and oral language development, what a play-rich environment includes and how it can be implemented into the school curriculum to promote language development. The findings indicated that play and language and cognitive development are intimately linked.
    • Effects of gifted and talented programs on standardized test scores of fourth grade students in two school districts.

      Ruggiero, Melinda J. (08/01/2013)
      Gifted and Talented (G/T) programs have been implemented in many school districts for a number of decades. In that time, these programs have sought to improve academic and intellectual abilities of students with unique gifts and talents. Unfortunately, these programs have often been surrounded by problems such as insufficient funding, inadequate professional development, limited program availability, and excessive rules and regulations. In addition, there is little research to support specific academic, intellectual, and/or interpersonal benefits that such programs have produced. This is particularly true with regard to improved student achievement. This investigation compared the performance of two groups of 4th grade students, one of whom received G/T services and the other who did not, on New York State ELA test scores. Results indicated that 4th grade students enrolled in a program for Gifted and Talented students received higher average test scores on the 2010-2011 New York State English Language Arts (NYSELA) exam than those students in a similar district with comparable grade averages who did not participate in a program for Gifted and Talented program. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
    • What effect does an extra-curricular physical activities program have on the behavioral ratings and academic performance of adolescent males in a residential setting?

      Yelich, Kyle (08/01/2013)
      What effect does an extra-curricular physical activities program have on the behavioral ratings and academic performance of a small group of adjudicated youth in a rural residential school? That was the primary question addressed in this project. Four male adolescent residents of a Special Act School participated in an after-school program designed to engage them in formal physical exercises, organized games, and structured partner- and team-building activities. The students' school-related behavior was then monitored before, during, and after the program was initiated. Present findings indicated that there were slight but positive improvements in all four students’ behavioral ratings and academic performance over time. Previous research has shown a positive correlation between student participation in organized physical activities and academic success, lower truancy rates, less consumption of unhealthy products, and fewer physical altercations. Implications for research and practice are offered.