Recent Submissions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Historical & Contemporary Immigration Curriculum

    Eschner, Samantha (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With changes occuring in our current immigration laws, schools are becoming increasingly more affected by immigration as a whole. This leads to a need for both teachers and students to remain educated on immigration. However, current immigration curricula do not address immigration from a contemporary perspective. Immigration is presented as a historical event through the superficial “Ellis Island Perspective,” and does not address current laws and policies. This curriculum was created with a goal to integrate both historical immigration and current immigration in order to provide a complete curriculum that addresses all aspects of immigration no matter how controversial, or uncomfortable they may be.
  • A Project-Based Learning 6th Grade Science Unit Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standard

    Drummond, Kelsey (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Project-Based Learning (PBL) has become a prevalent term in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) classrooms. Teachers are introducing hands on and student-centered learning into their science classrooms to create a different atmosphere. By using PBL in the classroom environment for consecutive years of education, a gain in academic development and social skills are created. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are used heavily throughout K-12th grade as the science curriculum. With limited resources provided for middle school science teachers, this PBL unit will focus on how 6th grade students can design a model to minimize water and land pollution in the environment around their school community. Background knowledge on pollution and human impact on the environment throughout the world will help student succeed during this unit. Guest speakers and field trips to their community water source and surrounding land will help influence students design model. This unit can be modified for 7th or 8th grade science teachers teaching the same curriculum.
  • Participatory Approach Curriculum Guide for Teachers of Incarcerated English Language Learners

    Crowley, Megan (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    As the number of English language learners (ELLs) in the United States educational system, a group which includes adult ELLs that are incarcerated in state prison, continues to rise, so will the demand for effective and appropriate instruction for this unique group of students. Research has shown that instruction of adult ELLs is most effective when it tactfully includes the students’ backgrounds, home cultures and languages, and actual interests or concerns in the curriculum. Further, research indicates that ELLs fare better when they are involved in creating their content and are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning and language acquisition. This curriculum project looked at the Participatory Approach as a means to empower incarcerated ELLs as they acquire English in their state-mandated educational programming. While the Participatory Approach is a method often used for adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, its use in a prison classroom is especially poignant given the oppressive environment. This curriculum guide is meant to aid in an ESL teacher’s execution of the Participatory Approach in a prison ESL classroom and to provide flexible options supported by researched principles of second language acquisition and critical pedagogy. Future research could follow up with this curriculum guide to document its implementation to find areas of success and promise when using the Participatory Approach in a state prison’s ESL classroom.
  • Effective Literary Resources to Support Adolescent Parents Ensuring Kindergarten Readiness for Their Children

    Castellano, Andrew (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Adolescent parents often lack the skills needed in order to provide their children with the proper supports that promote efficient growth in several areas dealing with early literacy skills such as letter identification, vocabulary, and phonological awareness. When these children then enter school, they have not acquired the skills they need to be academically successful. To address the problem of adolescent parents needing more support to help foster early literacy skills at home, the research question focused on what are effective resources teachers can provide adolescent parents to help support early literacy practice at home as well as how can teachers show these parents how to use them effectively on their own? To answer that question, an extended literature review and research synthesis were completed and produced multiple findings. The findings were; adolescent parents needed more support in order to provide a larger amount of involvement with their child, letter identification, letter sounds, phonological awareness, vocabulary, lap reading, and concepts about print were the skills adolescent parents should have practiced with their children before kindergarten, adolescent parents required more strategies in responsive parenting and behavior management plans, and with the right support systems in place, adolescent parents could foster a proper at home literacy environment. These findings were the foundation of the professional development project presented through a multimedia application for adolescent parents. This application allowed parents to receive the guidance they needed in order to practice the literacy skills needed for Kindergarten.
  • Impact of Dialogic Reading Intervention on Student Vocabulary Development

    Carlson, Aldyn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    The language learning gap between students has become greater as students enter school. It was also noticed that parental involvement seems to be lacking. To address these problems a research question was created to be studied which included “Does using a dialogic reading intervention have an effect on early childhood language development?” To answer this question, literature was collected that fell into four different themes. These themes were then analyzed and coded for commonalities and two new themes derived from the research in which included teacher shared book reading and parent shared book reading. Four findings were collected from the synthesis of the data. The first finding included that elaborating on vocabulary words increased students vocabulary knowledge. The second finding concluded that asking questions that were connected to the text increased students comprehension of the text. The third finding inferred that expanding on the student's response to the questions being asked by a teacher or parent showed to have a major impact on student comprehension of the text. The fourth finding indicated that students learned vocabulary words when parents asked yes/no questions. These findings were used in the creation of the professional development project in-person training to educate teachers on how to efficiently implement reading techniques supported by research. These techniques were used to increase student vocabulary knowledge.
  • Students with Disabilities in a Less Restrictive Environment and Learning Social Skills

    Carlo, Julianna (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    Students with disabilities (SWD) are often placed in more restrictive environments and there has been an ongoing debate on whether more restrictive environments are beneficial as opposed to inclusive or less restrictive environments in regard to social skills and academics. Research has shown that SWD are more successful in less restrictive environments, but still struggle in their social skill area. The curriculum is designed to incorporate social skills into a third-grade literacy curriculum and incorporates the New York State Literacy Learning Standards in an inclusive room to both SWD as well as general education students. This curriculum is designed for third grade literacy but may be modified for any grade level and may be aligned and modified to fit in any standards.
  • Implementing the Common Core State Standards to Students with Disabilities

    Benson, Natalie (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
    With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010, challenge and rigor for all students is a must. With the passing of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), students with disabilities (SWD) are required access to these challenging standards with any necessary supports and modifications needed. A multitude of research has already been made on the instructional strategies, such as explicit and scaffolded instruction, that would be helpful in implementing the standards and the concerns teachers who have SWD have on instructing these standards, such as time constraints and academic ability. Although much research has been conducted on the strategies to use in order to help implementation, there was little to no research on the implementation of actual modified lessons. Due to this, I created a curriculum project where I modified a Common Core 6th grade ELA figurative language unit in order to appropriately teach it to my special education class. The unit resulted in 17 lessons and two summative assessments. After evaluating the results upon completion of the modified unit, results indicated three major areas where I made appropriate accommodations in order to fit the needs of my students. Those accommodations include, adding in a lesson of the teaching the different types of figurative language before reading the required texts, creating exit tickets for formative assessments that were easier to understand and limited the number of questions given, and adding in accommodations to the summative assessments in order for the students to not feel overwhelmed. The use of this modified unit can be used as a guide for other teachers creating a modified unit and future research and work will be completed in order to create other modified units for other grades and subject areas.
  • Real World Experiences in Social Studies Curriculum in a Kindergarten Classroom

    Walczak, Christina (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2018-12)
    Kindergarten curriculum has vastly changed in the United States since Elizabeth Peabody started the first English speaking kindergarten started in 1860 (Fromberg, 2006). The curriculum has changed from play-based, exploratory learning to a more academic learning process focusing on meeting standards, instruction, and assessment (McLennan, 2011). For teachers, it is extremely difficult to balance the required curriculum/assessments and to implement more developmentally appropriate practices such as play for kindergarten aged children in social studies. The main purpose of my project is to incorporate more exploratory social studies curriculum into my kindergarten classroom. By including more social studies in an elementary classroom, it helps to create a deeper community of thinkers, learners, and civilians that can work together to understand and solve problems in society. I reviewed the C3 Framework, Inquiry Design Model (IDM), National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, and the New York State social studies resource toolkit, including all their resources in order to generate ideas for my curriculum project. The curriculum allotted three to five days for this curriculum. It can be modified to take longer than 5 days depending on the classroom and community. Therefore, through reading this curriculum, teacher can get clear guidance in implementing hands on social studies in a meaningful way. This curriculum project was made as a tool of reference to guide the findings of a single way to use hands on experiences in social studies in a kindergarten classroom.
  • Using Project-Based Learning in Special Education Classrooms

    Kilby, Ashley (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2018-12)
    This curriculum project investigates the use of Project-Based Learning (PBL) within special education classrooms. PBL is a student centered, evidence based practice that allows students to connect academic content to real-life investigations. Using PBL allows special education teachers to increase student motivation & socialization, target students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), imbed cross-curricular concepts into one project, and begin IEP transition services in order to prepare students for life after school. Specifically, this curriculum is designed for a fourth grade resource room. This curriculum allows students to further investigate the Haudensaunee Culture that resides within New York State. Students play the role of a museum curator and design various artifacts to display in their museum to parents and community members.
  • Explicit Instruction in the Special Education Classroom

    Hayes, Leah (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2018-12)
    Explicit instruction has been proven to improve the abilities and outcomes in academics for students with special needs. According to Lyon, et. al. (2001), students with disabilities are at particular risk for experiencing reading difficulties; for a majority of students with learning disabilities, reading is their primary area of difficulty. This project was created in order to streamline and to incorporate explicit instruction into the district-mandated curriculum for students with special needs in the area of reading in Kindergarten and First Grade. With the addition of explicit instruction into specific curricula, can students with special needs improve academic abilities in the resource room setting? The benefits of the addition of explicit instruction to the Read Well curriculum were successful and productive. Students were able to grow not only academically, but also in confidence and appropriate behavior. Although there are some limitations of time and materials, this project was successful for my Kindergarten and First Grade students. They were engaged in the lesson through the activities and modeling. The students were able to produce taught sounds, blend words with known sounds and read sentences based on the data collected. This curriculum was built as a basis for teachers who utilize the curriculum with the hope that it will be built upon and future grade levels and various subject areas will use the core concepts when building lessons in the future.
  • Differentiated Instruction in the General Education Elementary Classroom

    Adesso, Briana (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-07)
    Differentiated instruction is the way in which a teacher anticipates and responds to a variety of students' needs in the classroom. To meet students needs, teachers differentiate instruction by modifying the content, the process, and the product of the way that students demonstrate their learning. Differentiation involves making a learning task fit students need instead of the other way around. The goal of differentiated instruction is to bring the ideas and concepts of the curriculum to the learner at a pace and a depth that is appropriate for the ability of each student. I created a handbook for teachers to utilize when they need suggestions on differentiating instruction in the classroom. Different learning styles, and tips for teachers to accommodate to those learning styles will be categorized in the handbook. It will also include information on how the teacher can set up the classroom to promote differentiated instruction. The purpose of this handbook is to provide teachers information about differentiated instruction and give ideas about how it can easily be done. It is important to keep each student in mind when lesson planning, and making sure everyone is on the same page with the content being taught.

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