Engaging Students and Moving Past Labels Through a Writing Resiliency ProjectCollege of Education and Human Development
Dr. Christine SherretzAssistant Professor, Literacy Education and University Liaison at J.B. Atkinson
University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public SchoolsJ.B. Atkinson Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning: A University of LouisvilleSignature Partnership School
University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools
Classes Are Held On Site
What Teachers Really Believe Schultz, Neyhart, and Reck (1996)80% of preservice teachers surveyed believed that urban children from low socioeconomic status were lower in learning ability that other children or that their ability to learn was limited by personal dispositions or their environment. Zimpher (1989)More than 85% preferred to teach in schools not located in urban areas with high SES. Haberman (2002) and Howey (2002)Half the teachers who begin teaching in high poverty schools leave within three to give years.
Teacher Beliefs Directly Impact Student Achievement
Many teachers of low SES students have lower expectations of their students. (Ferguson, 1998; Taylor 1979). Song and Christiansen (2001) reported that teachers of low SES believe they cannot teach high order thinking skills because it is too difficult for their students.
Teacher Beliefs Impact Student Achievement.Tavani and Losh (2003) Measured variables related to academic performance of secondary students. Student expectations and motivation were highly correlated as were expectations and self-confidence.
I began to wonder if I could design a project that might change students beliefs while teaching the content in my class.
My Instructional ObjectivesEngage my pre-service teachers in a project that will give them experiences in teaching students how to write a personal narrative or memoir.Challenge some assumptions my pre-service teachers had regarding working with students from a low SES.Design a project that includes digital literacy. Incorporate critical thinking skills in an authentic context.
First I taught my students about the latest brain research. Science has proven definitively that the brain is subject to neuro-plasticity and can continue to learn and grow as long as a person challenges it.
What you believe about the brain affects student learning. Innate Ability (aka the full bucket theory)VersusNeuroscience Findings of Brain Development(aka the rubber band theory)
Which kind of teacher will you be?The one who believes:
Peoples brains are set at birththey have a potential for growth that is innate and they can learn less, but not more.The one who believes:
Peoples brains are like rubber bandsthey stretch and grow with each new experience and with the right learning conditions they are limitless.
Digital StoryAligns with Academic GoalsFor U O L Students Aligned with common core standards for Language Arts. Students know what they need to teach as future educators.Met Critical Thinking Standards related to challenging assumptions and analyzing data.Met new teacher technology standards related to teaching students how to use multi-media pieces. Gave students the opportunity to guide a group of students through he writing process. FOR 4th Grade StudentsMet common core standards related to write a personal narrative.Allowed students to work in small groups and receive individualized instruction in writing. Students could practice reading fluently.Met common core standards related to digital literacy.
Progression of ProjectFall 2009: Three sections of EDTP 311 visit Atkinson to work with a group of students for one day on writing stories of being resilient. U of L students write digital stories that are shared on campus.Fall 2010: Two sections of EDTP 311 are now held on site. U of L students work with small groups on of 4th graders on writing stories on being resilient. U of L students write their own digital stories and share with 4th graders.Fall 2011: One section of EDTP 311 worked with small groups of 4th grade students. This time the U of L students teach the 4th graders how to write digital stories. This aligns with new common core standards and teaching standards.
The ProcessPrewritingDraftingRevising EditingDigital Stories
Digital Story Nuts and BoltsUtilized Photo Story, a free program that is very simple.Intro to Photo StoryConferenced with students regarding pictures and music that should be used that would set the mood and tone for the story.Worked with students to record story using microphones.Helped students in the editing process.
Critical Thinking Components
Research ComponentCompleted pre and post assessment surveys related to students beliefs.Completed reflections of the writing process.Artifacts collected of 4th grade students work. Sherretz, C. (2012). Engaging students and moving past labels through a writing resiliency project. English in Texas, 41.1, p. 58-65.
Pre and post assessment surveys were given to all sections of EDTP 311. Students in my section had a better perception of working in high poverty schools compared to students who did not. Reflections demonstrated that assumptions had been changed as a result of the project.
Presentation of Student Storiesand Example of Student Work
How could you use digital stories in your class?
We are done!
ReferencesFerguson, R. F. (1998) Teachers perceptions and expectations and the Black-White test score gap. In C. Jencks, & M. Phillips (Eds.), The Black-White test score gap (273-317). Washington, DC: Brookings.Haberman, M. (2002). Can teacher education close the achievement gap? Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Symposium. Retrieved from http://www.educationnews.org/aera_sympsium_can_teacher_educa.htm.Schultz, E., Neyhart, T., & Reck, U. (1996) Swimming against the tide: At study of prospective teachers attitudes regarding cultural diversity and urban teaching. Western Journal of Black Studies, 20( 1), 1-7.Song, K., Christiansen, F. (2001. Achievement gap in preservice teachers in urban settings. East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. Retrieved from ERIC database (ED456187)Zimper, N.L. (1989). The RATE project: A profile of teacher education students. Journal of Teacher Education, 40(6), 27-30.