Recent Submissions

  • Effective Advocacy for English Language Learners

    Wolf, James Francis (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-07)
    The present capstone project explores the role of English as a New Language (ENL) teachers as advocates for English Language Learners (ELLs) within the context of K-12 schools. As the population of ELLs grows within the United States, ENL teachers are especially positioned as experts and changemakers to notice issues encountered by ELLs and to find solutions to those problems, improving their educational and life outcomes. However, ENL teachers face barriers to this work, including lack of support from colleagues or administrators, xenophobic or discriminatory attitudes from various stakeholders, and misunderstandings about effective advocacy work, among others. A professional development product and accompanying tools were developed to increase ENL teachers’ confidence regarding advocacy and provide practical strategies for advocating within their schools. Such strategies include implementing culturally responsive teaching practices, finding a network of collaborative support, being informed on state and national legislation regarding ELLs, and using the Harvard Implicit Bias Test with colleagues to confront negative and deficit-oriented perspectives about these learners. Finally, an advocacy checklist is presented to assist ENL teachers to create informed, effective, and reflective plans each time they engage in advocacy work.
  • Reading Instruction for Ells

    Wittmer, Heather (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    Teaching reading to English Language Leaners (ELLs) is a difficult task. Farrell (2009) notes there are some issues with reading instruction that play a role in why these students struggle. The problem addressed in this capstone is how to meet the literacy needs of ELLs in elementary school. The research suggests that a whole language approach is the most effective way to teach ELLs how to read. In addition, it is important to also have teachers incorporate a students’ L2 in their instruction as this is an example of culturally responsive teaching. I designed a professional development (PD) for elementary school teachers where they can work together to develop and incorporate research based skills and strategies for reading instruction to best serve ELLs based on their NYSESLAT level. This PD will give teachers information on teaching ELLs in addition to culturally responsive teaching. Using the information given in this PD, teachers will be able to create standard and curriculum based materials to use with ELLs in their future classroom.
  • Home Language Literacy: The Crossing to Bilingualism

    Velazquez-Sabathie, Marta Flavia (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    n recurring situations, teachers of heritage language students encounter a lack of vocabulary and knowledge of their language from an early age. This situation worsens as students grow older and move through the grades. Moreover, this situation implies negative repercussions of learning a second language. It is necessary to understand the cause for the gaps in knowledge to uncover teaching alternatives. Therefore, the main question is, how can bilingual teachers strengthen home language and cultural diversity through reading and vocabulary to facilitate L2 acquisition? According to studies conducted by scholars, sociolinguistic factors affect heritage language learning, which in turn cause attrition and incomplete acquisition. To ameliorate this problem, three professional developments are presented for primary grade bilingual teachers. The professional developments will focus on identifying a heritage learner profile that helps delineate reading approaches to learn Spanish and cultural awareness. In this way, the heritage learner should strengthen the vernacular within an environment of cultural acceptance. Unfortunately, the lack of empirical studies on heritage students' vernacular learning methods limits the development of new strategies. Finally, the heritage student who participates in a bilingual program is expected to become a bilingual and bi-literate person.
  • Teaching Strategies that Enhance Student Motivation in Physical Education

    Tuttle, Eric G. (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    The purpose of this synthesis project is to examine teaching strategies and determine which specific strategies are best for motivating students in physical education. Previous research has indicated low levels of student motivation through traditional teaching strategies. The studies in the critical mass compare student motivation from these traditional teaching methods to non-traditional strategies with an emphasis on self-determination. Self-Determination Theory was the main basis in determining motivation throughout the studies in the critical mass. The Cooperative Learning, Sport Education Model, Teaching Games for Understanding and the Constraints-Led Approach strategies are all non-traditional teaching methods examined in this synthesis. All analysis concluded that these non-traditional approaches aid in student motivation and raise the three main components of self-determination: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.
  • Supporting Educational Opportunities for Rural ELLs

    Travis, Scarlet Anne (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-07)
    This capstone aims to support rural educators, administration, and surrounding community members who work with English Language Learners (ELLs) to increase educational opportunities. With the projected increase in this population it is a concern that the rural ELL population will grow; however, mainstream teachers may be underprepared from the lack of exposure to the ELL population. As a result, marginalization and microaggressions may exist. Solutions to the problems within rural areas such as Romulus School district include educating and supplying all K-12 mainstream teachers with culturally responsive teaching techniques and tools, providing electronic pen-pal opportunities with diverse students around the world, promoting participation of cultural events within the school district and surrounding communities, and advocating for parental involvement and/or district liaisons for ELL students. Several conclusions such as culturally responsive teaching techniques and measurements of advocacy are made in attempt to decrease the deficits found within rural school districts. In addition, recommendations are included to implement ongoing professional development of ELL students as the population within the Romulus School District rises. Other recommendations such as further research of rural ELLs themselves is discussed as much of this research focused more on the impacts of educators and not the students.
  • A Curriculum Project Using Interactive Notebooks in the Application of the Concrete - Representational - Abstract Model in the Inclusive Secondary Algebra II Mathematics Classroom.

    Thoburn, Josephine Louise (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-05)
    Teachers can help support the learning of mathematical concepts of students with learning disabilities by incorporating specific teaching strategies. These strategies include concrete-to-representation-to-abstract model, advanced organizers, teacher demonstrations, guided problem-solving practice, and independent practice. This curriculum project applies these instructional methods to an Algebra II unit on trigonometry and the unit circle through the use of interactive notebooks. The curriculum provides a variety of hands on, interactive manipulatives with the intent of increasing the comprehension level of mathematical concepts for students with learning disabilities.
  • Implementing Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Practices in Mainstream Classrooms: Developing an Inclusive School Community for English Language Learners

    Theodorellis, Marissa (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    ELLs are socially isolated and marginalized within their learning environments. Therefore, this capstone explores the overarching research question: How can elementary schools meet the socioemotional and cultural needs of ELLs by becoming an inclusive community? The academic literature reveals some of the barriers that ELLs face in elementary schools include deficit teacher beliefs, a lack of inclusion, and a loss of cultural identity. To mitigate these issues, this capstone will support the creation of a positive learning environment that welcomes and affirms ELLs’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds, in accordance with the NYSED’s (2018) CR-S framework. Along with this capstone, a PD session will be offered to elementary teachers concerning the socioemotional and cultural issues that ELLs are experiencing, while engaging them in a variety of activities, including self-reflections and questionnaires, which utilize the methods and tools implemented by scholars, as provided in this capstone. The expectation is that teachers will promote positive student-teacher, peer, and family relationships to bring about equitable opportunities for ELLs. The research reveals benefits of implementing the CR-S framework, for both teacher development and student learning. It is necessary that future research be conducted and focused heavily on the advantages of implementing culturally relevant and sustaining strategies to create an inclusive school community for ELLs.
  • Solving Equations: Exemplar Lessons to Support Students with Disabilities in the Algebra I Classroom

    Sporano, Chelsea (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This curriculum project was designed to provide educators with a comprehensive set of lessons and materials that support solving multi-step equations instruction for students with disabilities (SWD) in the Pre-Algebra and Algebra I classrooms. The lessons incorporate different scaffolding strategies including explicit inquiry, concrete, representations, abstract (CRA) intervention, color coding, and graphic organizers to break down the skills needed to simplify expressions and solve two and multi-step equations. These lessons focus on providing SWD additional support so they can be successful with solving multi-step equations in the inclusive classroom setting. The four lessons have been designed with New York State Next Generation Standards and can be brought into an 8th grade general education classroom.
  • Fostering High Expectations for ELLs in a Math Classroom

    Skala, Madison (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project aims to support teachers in fostering high expectations for ELLs in a math classroom. Fostering high expectations is a common issue in education due to teachers' beliefs that ELLs are not capable of succeeding because of their cultural and language backgrounds. The goal of this capstone project is to make teachers aware of this issue and how it can be resolved within their own classrooms. The literature review states that this is a common issue due to teachers' initial perceptions of ELLs and the inadequate teacher training programs. The issue is significant due to the impact it has on ELLs such as decreasing their motivation, self-efficacy, and academic achievement outcomes. This capstone project includes a Professional Development which guides teachers to reflect on their mindsets and implement effective teaching methodologies and approaches that foster high expectations within the math classroom.
  • Using Project-Based Learning in Trigonometry: Mr. Baber’s Wall Assignment

    Schneider, Ryan (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-05)
    This Curriculum Project presents a series of five lessons designed to incorporate project-based learning (PBL) into a Trigonometry unit using the NYS Next Generation Standards Mathematics Learning Standards. PBL is an alternative to the traditional method of teaching (teacher-focused, notes, drill-and-practice, etc.) and has been proven to enhance motivation, participation, and learning in an educational environment. Since the project is the driving force of the curriculum, each lesson is tethered to different aspects of the project. Each stage of the project is intended to have a problem that you must solve, and through each lesson learned the students will be able to solve each problem as it arises. As each lesson is taught, the students can complete more and more of the project until the final day where they will bring it all together in a final PBL project.
  • Increasing Social Emotional Learning for ELLs

    Scheuerlein, Brittany (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project aims to support school counselors, administrative staff, and teachers who work with English Language Learners (ELLs). In the United States, the number of ELLs enrolled in public schools is 4.6 million and only increasing (Ortiz, 2021). To increase social emotional learning for ELL and non ELL students, teachers can implement explicit social emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom. This can result in closing the achievement gap that ELLs face compared to their non ELL peers, increase well being, increase supportive relationships, promote conflict resolution, and ease the challenge of learning new cultural norms. Most importantly, social emotional learning can result in easing ELLs transition into the community and school. Explicit social emotional learning is being considered to address the problem that ELLs are not receiving social emotional learning to support academics and well being for elementary ELL students within Warsaw Elementary School. Solutions to the problem at Warsaw Elementary School include an implementation of a committee that directly supports SEL by informing teachers of different strategies and benefits of supporting ELLs through social emotional learning. This is supported by the committee educating elementary staff about each of CASEL’s social emotional competence. Included in this solution are a variety SEL strategies and lessons that committee members will implement; social emotional lessons through picture books that support social awareness, relationship building activities, self management skills to identify emotions through cool down kits, self awareness skills to identify one’s emotions and feelings, reflection of social emotional learning throughout the year. Several conclusions can be made about implementing explicit social emotional learning in the classroom. But the most profound conclusion is creating an equitable education for ELLs to succeed in an academic and social setting.
  • Limiting Unequal Education for ELLs

    Scarpellini, Marina (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    The intent of this capstone project is to provide school faculty and staff with proper assistance when educating English Language Learners (ELLs), also known as English Learners (ELs). ELLs are a group of students which are rapidly growing at Saint Anthony’s High School, however, the only individuals who know how to properly educate these students are English as a New Language (ENL) teachers. ELLs are suffering at Saint Anthony’s High School because of the lack of equal education opportunities provided to them. To increase equal education for ELL students, many aspects of the school’s environment have been considered with the overall goal of having all teachers be successful at educating ELLs. Recommendations for the solutions to this issue at Saint Anthony’s High School include incorporating a brand-new advocacy program which is for advocating both inside and outside of the school, educating each and every faculty and staff member, and working hard to close the learning gaps.
  • Co-planning and Co-teaching for ELLs

    Sauter, Lucy J. (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project seeks to provide the general education teachers and the English as a New Language (ENL) teacher at the Avon Middle School with the strategies and resources they need in order to effectively co-plan and co-teach in the mainstream classroom. The Avon Central School District is a small rural district with around one thousand students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. In this district, there is a very apparent lack of co-planning and co-teaching in the general education classrooms. The ENL teacher is often left pushing into the mainstream classroom and serving as a one-on-one tutor for the English Language Learner (ELL). This lack of co-planning and co-teaching strategies is due to a lack of knowledge on the topic as well as a lack of leadership support and guidance. Solutions to this problem involve a professional development series for the teachers and the administration of the school. This professional development series provides the audience with strategies for implementing effective instructional approaches and virtual resources that teachers can use as they begin to co-plan and co-teach. Conclusions to this research focus on the need for explicit instruction and professional development in order to effectively implement co-planning and co-teaching. Recommendations are for continued practice of co-planning and co-teaching strategies through additional professional development and reflections. The professional development should be modified in future years to reflect the feedback from the general education teachers, the ENL teacher, and the administration.
  • Preparing Mainstream Teachers to Support ELLs

    Roberts, Olivia (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone aims to resolve the issue of the lack of preparation of mainstream teachers in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs). Three influential factors to this issue include current legislation, inadequacy in teacher preparation programs, and insufficient professional development opportunities. These issues affect a teacher’s abilities to effectively instruct ELLs in a mainstream classroom setting. Research has also shown that these deficits and teachers’ perspectives and attitudes towards the ELLs play a critical role in ELLs’ learning and success. This capstone argues that all teachers are teachers of ELLs, and they need to be provided with various forms of training to support the needs to ELLs. The solutions to these issues are presented in the form of a professional development titles “Supporting ELLs.” This product also provides the schools with surveys to identify the specific content areas or trainings that need additional support. Additionally, this capstone makes recommendations to further research in relation to this problem.
  • Accountable Talk as a Practice in ENL Classrooms

    Rivera, Katrina M. (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project aims to support both English as a New Language (ENL) and general education teachers working with English Language Learner (ELL) students. In the United States, ELLs are a rapidly growing population. This is true of many districts on Long Island, NY, including Brentwood School District. Research has shown that ELL students are not being given enough opportunities to improve their oral language development. Different factors and theoretical frameworks have been discussed and related to oral language development. Additionally, the current state of the classroom and community have also been considered in the literature review. Solutions to the problem have been proposed in this project. These solutions include accountable talk, the use of sentence starters and stems, monthly school game night events, and the implementation of an evaluation rubric to monitor students’ oral language development and the progress they make over the course of the school year. Several conclusions are discussed to increase oral language development using components of accountable talk such as sentence starters/stems, talk moves, collaborative groups, language objectives, student observations, and monthly school events. Recommendations include the training of enrichment educators on accountable talk and its application to special classes. Faculty and staff are encouraged to review current practices and make changes where necessary to better support the oral language development of ELL students.
  • Increasing Family Educational Involvement for ELLs

    Rewinski, Hilary A. (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project aims to assist teachers, administrators, and parents and extended family to the English as a New Language (ENL) population at the Sag Harbor School District. Throughout the past few years, the ENL population in Sag Harbor has increased and is continuing on the upwards trend. In Sag Harbor School District. The ENL students are rated among the lowest for Family Educational Involvement (FEI) throughout our district and country. The lack of FEI has been shown to lead to lower academic success, hinders students’ socially and emotionally. To increase FEI among our ENLs and their families, there are many solutions to put into place at Sag Harbor School District. Ways of solving the problem within the district is to create more culturally relevant teachers and to create opportunities for school and community relationships. Examples of ways to make more culturally relevant teachers include use of Spanish to deliver key information to students and parents, use of Spanish in the classroom, and using family funds of knowledge. The Back to School Night at the beginning of the school year aims to create connections between community members, teachers, parents of our ENLs and the ENLs themselves.
  • Social Emotional Learning and English Language Learners

    Reinard, Mackenzie Elizabeth (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone discusses the increasing need for culturally conscious teaching practices in social-emotional learning curriculums. Due to the increasing diversity in schools, educators and other instructional staff must modify social and emotional curricula to accommodate the diverse needs of their English language learners. English language learners enter the classroom with social, emotional, and cultural needs that need to be addressed before academic learning. It is essential to include the diverse needs and cultures of these students in the classroom environment to increase self-efficacy and student motivation. The current social and emotional learning curriculums do not accommodate such needs. Solutions to this problem include implementing the CASEL framework and providing resources for teachers to modify their classroom curriculum for their diverse learner needs. Recommendations include conducting research on the social and emotional development of students and particularly English language learners over time and creating a culturally conscious social and emotional learning curriculum with standards and lessons for each developmental level.
  • Supporting Foundational Literacy for Elementary Aged Emergent Bilinguals

    Proctor, Rita-Louise Harris (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone addresses the problem of the reading achievement gap and subsequent lower graduation rates experienced by emergent bilingual (EB) students. Success in the area of reading is highly correlated to academic success. In order to engage the problem, an analysis of literature related to supporting foundational literacy skills for elementary aged EB students is synthesized to identify themes related to the problem. The literature review presents themes relevant to foundational literacy skills instruction for EB students such as employing an assets-based approach to EB students foundational literacy practices and proactively addressing EB learner differences to improve academic outcomes. The research informs a professional development (PD) product for elementary general education teachers to supplement their understanding of how to leverage students’ funds of knowledge and funds of identity to address the diverse needs of elementary aged EB students. The PD product provided in this capstone mitigates the issues faced by EB students in the area of foundational literacy by: (1) providing teachers opportunities to reflect on their perspectives of EB students’ behaviors related to literacy development; (2) prompting critical analysis of current instructional approaches for EB students; and (3) providing tools for leveraging EB students’ cultural and linguistic knowledge to develop curriculum to improve EB student outcomes. These tools include: a lesson toolkit, rubrics, and an action plan.
  • Parents as Whose Resource? Honoring Familial Connections of English Language Learners

    Porco, Catherine (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project will provide a professional development opportunity at Van Wyck Junior High School and implement a committee to establish an action plan for partnerships between the families of English Language Learners, school, and the community to improve student achievement. This study examines research that supports parental involvement in learning activities at school and in the community to improve students’ academic performance and increase school and community cohesion. English language learners experience language and sociocultural barriers that create misunderstandings and miscommunication between families and schools. It is important to honor the linguistic, cultural, and social diversity of English Language Learners in order to break down the barriers that impede their academic success. By engaging in the following research-based framework of six types of engagement, families, schools, and the communities can create student centered learning.
  • Dyslexia in Language Learners

    Plummer, Rebekah F. (SUNY Brockport, Department of Education and Human Development, 2022-08)
    This capstone project aims to look at the learning disability known as dyslexia as it relates to the language learning student population; both English language learners and bilingual students. The research addresses a problem that is three-fold: the growing population of dyslexics and language learners worldwide, the large number of undiagnosed and/or unaddressed students with dyslexia and the lack of teacher training in regards to best teaching practices for these students. The solution to the problem is creating greater awareness of dyslexia, as well as providing more teacher training for helping theses students flourish. This capstone project concludes with a 3-hour professional development course designed for current bilingual and ELL teachers focused on dyslexia awareness and classroom practices. As a result of this research and the accompanying product, dyslexic language learners will receive the services and accommodations they truly need and will experience greater success in the academic setting.

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