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Writing Improvement through the Whiteboard Carrie Gilbert, Second Grade Teacher Forestville Elementary Great Falls, Virginia 1
Introduction In the year 2005, our staff began training on how to use the SMART Board. Our school community was generous enough to provide fund raisers to support purchasing enough SMART Boards, projectors, and carts to share amongst grade levels
. Prior to the 2007 2008 school year I shared the SMART Board with four other teachers. Our rotation allowed us to have the SMART Board once every five weeks. I found the SMART Board to be an invaluable teaching tool. The SMART Board allows for all three modalities of learning to be used and therefore provides me the resource to reach all students' learning style
s. With the brief periods of receiving the SMART Board in my room and my passion for meeting student's learning styles, I chose to write a grant proposal to be a candidate to receive a SMART Board in my classroom from the SMARTer Kids Foundation. An area of weakness in my teaching is writing. I chose to work with our reading specialist to enhance my abilities to teach writing to my students. I believe the SMART Board is one major component in supporting this goal. For writing purposes the SMART Board would be a useful tool in the classroom setting. It would allow me the opportunity to share graphic organizer
s, morning messages, vocabulary lessons, and class writing. Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, authors of Guided Reading, suggest that shared writing, interactive writing and guided writing are all important aspects of a good writing program. The SMART Board would play an active role with these types of writing with students. In July 2007, I submitted a proposal to The Foundation. By the middle of July, The Foundation informed me that I was chosen to receive a SMART Board to use in my classroom to support my theory and belief on the effectiveness of this technology tool. I informed my administration of the fabulous news and they immediately pulled together funds both from the school and the PTA to provide me with a projector, a cart, and audio speakers. Knowing I would have the SMART Board in my classroom full time, I began developing lessons that focused on writing to increase my students' writing abilities. 2
Abstract From a pedagogical perspective, this project is important because I have witnessed the SMART Board grasp 24 students' attention. I share an interactive whiteboard SMART Board with a team of five teachers. I get the board for a week at a time every five weeks. The students remain engaged for a longer period of time and stay vested in the lesson because of the SMART Board. This increases learning time verses controlling behavior
. Eric Jensen, author of Teaching with the Brain in Mind, states, "More attention to the learning also usually means better results" (Jensen, 2005). William B
eeland, Jr. conducted a study on the SMART Board's effectiveness on student engagement
when using the board as an instructional tool. The student's responses to the SMART Board were positive. They agreed that the SMART Board helped them focus on the material presented. The students also reported that they felt that they were able to learn more because of the visual projected on the SMART Board. Constant access and use of the SMART Board would enhance my teaching which benefits the student's motivation to learn. Intrinsically motivated students would be able to show the class their knowledge by manipulating the text or pictures. The student who needs support for becoming motivated would see the SMART Board as a fun way to learn and will have the opportunity to manipulate the board as well (SMART Technologies, 2006). This includes general education students, students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), students with sensory deprivation disorder, and students with fine motor skill deficits. teachers need
to meet the needs of all of their students. My students have a variety of writing abilities and they have a variety of ways they learn the material (kinesthetic, visual, and auditory). active learning
: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject by Mel Silberman states, "Teaching has to be multisensory and filled with variety" (Silberman, 1996). The SMART Board lends itself to all the learning styles. Kinesthetic learners are able to manipulate the texts and symbols. Because the whiteboard is large, visual learners are able to see what the teacher is teaching. According to Silberman, "Adding visuals to a lesson increases retention from 14 to 38 percent. Studies have also shown an improvement up to 200 percent when vocabulary is taught 3
using visual aids" (Silberman, 1996). Auditory learners are able to hear various programs (e.g. United Streaming) projected onto the whiteboard. For writing purposes the SMART Board would be a useful tool in the classroom setting. It would allow me the opportunity to share graphic organizers, morning messages, vocabulary lessons, and class writings. Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, authors of Guided Reading, suggest that shared writing, interactive writing and guided writing are all important aspects of a good writing program. The SMART Board would play an active role with these types of writing with students. ReSearch method
My research strategy is to increase the writing skills of an identified group of second grade students in a self contained classroom in a suburban school in Northern Virginia. The identified students are ineligible for special education
services but require additional support due to weak writing skills. My research will be collected throughout the school calendar year. The subjects are in one of five second grades in an Elementary School
of approximately 780 students. The students will be identified through the use of previous year's portfolio writing, previous year's teacher input
, second grade writing samples, anecdotal notes, school developed writing rubric, and reading teacher
input. The frequency of use of the SMART Board will improve the quality of the identified students' writing skills. I hypothesize that a byproduct of this study will be the identified group of students will increase their attention and excitement in the area of writing, which will affect an increase in their skills. I will control the variables in the research by conducting the lessons the same time each day of the week, using the same rubric for each assessment, using the same group of students, and following the state and county required writing skills. I will collect the data through teacher observational checklist, writing samples from previous year's portfolios and throughout the year, student survey, writing conferences, student self evaluation, and the use of the school developed writing rubric. I will be observing the 4
students ability to stay on task during the lesson. I will survey the students' attitudes towards writing. Teacher observation will include elicited information from previous year's teacher and my own observation throughout the year. The writing samples will be taken from last year's portfolio and compared to writings throughout the students' second grade marking periods. The student survey will be conducted four times throughout the data collection
period. The survey will focus on the child's personal feelings about their work and their SMART Board usage. Writing conferences will be documented and will focus on the student's strengths, areas of need, and growth. I will use a school developed writing rubric to assess the writing samples for consistent grading. Method Design, Procedure, and Results In order to identify the five students, the five first grade teachers were asked to fill out a survey in which was developed. The survey included the teacher's name, the student that came from their class and are now in my current 2007 2008 second grade classroom, and indicators of weakness in their writing. Once returned, collaboration with the reading teacher allowed for five students to be deemed part of the research being conducted (Appendix A). Student 1 was identified for his lack of interest in writing. Student 2 was identified for being easily distracted. Student 3 was identified for a weakness in ideas, details, spelling, and sentence structure
. Student 4 was identified with a weakness in details, spelling and sentence structure. Student 5 was identified for being easily distracted and unorganized in her writing. Once the students were identified, a student survey was developed and every student in the class took two surveys. The first survey was based on aspects and feelings about writing (Appendix B). The second survey was based around the SMART Board (Appendix C). The surveys were completed three times throughout the year to see if the student's perception of writing or the SMART Board changed within the school year. On the following page you will find the results from these surveys. Overall, the student's feelings and perceptions of their writing have improved. More of the students enjoy picking their own topics for writing; they feel their writing makes sense to others; 5
their punctuation has improved; they are more willing to share their writing with other, and they
will now reread their stories to add details by themselves. Some students still continue to dislike
the task of writing and do not see that each time they write that they are becoming better writers.
The five students continue to enjoy learning from the SMART Board. The positive
aspects of the SMART Board are the interactivity it provides; both with the pens and manipulating
the objects. There were improvements made in both learning from others when they are at the
SMART Board and student's focus on the lesson when using the SMART Board.
Writing Survey Results For the Identified Students 1. I like to write. 2. I like to pick my own topics. 3. I go back to a story to add to it or to change it on my own. 4. My writing makes sense to others. 5. My punctuation is correct most of the time. 6. I check my spelling. 7. I share my writing with others. 8. Each time I write I am a better writer. 9. I like to publish my writing. 10. Other people enjoy my writing.
JKLJKLJK L 11313121 2 23023041 0 20322113 1 23023032 0 22104141 0 22122122 1 03213122 1 22113122 1 40113122 1 23013132 0
SMART Board Results For the Identified Students 1. I like the SMART Board. 2. I like learning from the SMART Board. 3. I like using the pens on the SMART Board. 4. I like touching or pushing icons on the SMART Board. 5. I learn from others when they are at the SMART Board. 6. The SMART Board helps me to pay better attention to the lesson. 7. The lessons from the SMART Board make me a better writer. 8. I enjoy watching videos taken from United Streaming on the SMART Board better than the television.
October JKL 500 410 500 500 221 221 320 410
January JKL 320 320 500 500 131 221 221 320
June JK L 50 0 50 0 50 0 50 0 32 0 32 0 04 1 21 2
Although writing was done throughout the school year and in a variety of styles, the research was based off of four writing samples that went through the formal editing process. The writings included My Favorite Party, The Thanksgiving Turkey, My Friend, and Diary of an Animal. The writings were evaluated by both me and another second grade teacher. We used the school's developed writing rubric to assess the student's pieces (Appendix D). For the first writing assignment the students scored a majority of 2s according to the second grade rubric. They had some correct punctuation and capitalization, and used simple sentences. Most of them had a beginning to the story. They stuck to the topic but did not give any details. They used a combination of inventive and conventional spellings. Based on this initial writing piece I knew my first writing lesson
s needed to focus on punctuation, capitalization, and beginning, middle and end (Appendix E). As a mini-lesson in the mornings I would create a paragraph for the students to correct the punctuation and capitalization. After we corrected the writings, we would discuss the structure of the piece of writing. For the second assignment, The Thanksgiving Turkey, I focused on a structured beginning, middle and end. The reading teacher and I created a mock story so that the students would not use our story as theirs. After manipulating the story elements
(setting, characters, problem and solution) to the correct parts of the graphic organizer the students filled the out same organizer based on their story ideas (Appendix F). From the graphic organizer the students were given a model as to how to begin their story. The students were shown two strong beginnings to start the story (Appendix F). After the lesson the students were given time to work on their story. When evaluating these stories the students scored more in the 3s and 4s from the writing rubric. The students were using capitalization and punctuation correctly most of the time. They were using simple sentences to sequence their topic. They were creating stories with longer text and used a more logical order which allowed their stories to contain stronger beginnings and included endings to their stories. Based on this information, I needed to create SMART Board lessons that continued to focus on capitalization, punctuation, and story structure, but I also needed to create lessons that focused on supporting details, creating transitions, and creating expression so the reader can get a mental image of the author's story. 7
The third structured writing piece was about a friend. The students were given another graphic organizer. This organizer was identical to the one created on the SMART Board (Appendix G
). When going through the graphic organizer, the students completed their paper at the same time. Once the organizer was completed, the various sections were outlined with different colors by using the pens attached to the SMART Board. The class was shown how to take each section and put it into a writing piece. This was done section by section (Appendix H and I). Three out of the five students (students 1, 3, and 4) chosen for this research continued to stay in the 3s section of the writing rubric with an occasional element found in 4. One student (student 2) scored mostly in the 4 section, and the fifth student had a majority of 4s and also scored several elements found in the scoring of 5. All of the students continued to use capitalization and punctuation correctly. They all were able to stay on topic and to write longer text. They were able to answer some of the reader's questions as to who was in the story and what was happening, but two were able to add more detail that included a who, what, when and why to their stories. These two writers (student 2 and 5) created a distinct beginning, middle and end to their story. They also created a writing piece that allowed the reader to get a mental picture of what the writer was telling them about. One of the writers (student 5) created a piece of writing that gave supporting details, used a variety of sentence structures and used a variety of words to begin each sentence. All of these elements allowed the reader to feel how the writer felt about the subject. From these writing pieces I realized that I needed to continue with the same writing lessons. The students need
ed more guidance on structure. They needed to continue focus on grammar and more examples of beginning, middle and end. Focus lessons on writing to a topic and setting a tone for the writing were also important. The last formal writing
piece used with this grant was based on writing a story like a diary. The students read Diary of a Spider, Diary of a Worm, and Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin
and Henry Bliss. From these three writings we created a Venn diagram comparing the elements found in the books (Appendix J). After completing this diagram the students were allowed to choose an 8
animal to create a diary around. The students for this research all chose a different animal. The graphic organizer the children used was like a page in a diary. They were to create 5 days events (like those in the stories by Cronin and Bliss) for their animal. Each date had an idea or topic the student wanted to express. When it came to the writing portion of the assignment the student created a beginning, middle and end for the events of each day. Three of the children were writing in mostly section 3 of the writing rubric. These students were still using a combination of inventive and conventional spellings. They were using simple sentences. Their writing contained a lengthier text in a logical order and had added some details to their writing. Student 2, who was chosen for the distractibility, continued to stay focused on the assignments and created another writing piece that experimented with transitions, connected ideas, had a distinct beginning, middle and end, and allowed the reader to produce a mental image. For these reasons this student was in the 4 category of the rubric. This student also makes some progress into category 5 because of the use of strong verbs to enhance specificity and created emotions for the reader to feel. The story also moves through time without significant gaps in beginning, middle, and end. Student 5 continues to stay in category 4 and 5 for this writing piece. As a final writing project of the year, I had the students create another story focused on their favorite party. We worked on the first party story the first week of school. I gave no instructions other than the story had to be about their favorite party. The students were allowed to either free write their ideas or to first create a graphic organizer and then write their story. Student 1 was chosen for his lack of interest in writing. His initial party writing sample was very brief, told basic details (who, what, where), correct spelling and had correct punctuation and capitalization. His final party writing was longer, much more detail (who, what, when, where, why), and he continued to use correct punctuation and capitalization. He also used emotions in his writing and allowed the reader to get a mental image of his favorite party. His opening sentence set the tone for the story, "The end of the year party was fun." Student 2 was chosen for his ability to become easily distracted. His beginning writing piece had incorrect capitalization, but his punctuation was correct. He had some details (who, 9
what, where) to the story and it had an ending: "It was a lot of fun." His final party writing piece had more details to the games that were played, better use of capitalization and continued correct punctuation. His sentences were longer and more complex. Student 3 was identified for a weakness in ideas, details, spelling, and sentence structure. His first writing demonstrated all of his identified weaknesses. The final writing showed growth in ideas and details. He was stronger in his use of capitals and punctuation. He continues to struggle with conventional spelling. Student 4 was selected because she showed a weakness in details, spelling and sentence structure. Her original party writing had correct punctuation, capitalization at the beginning of the sentence and stayed on topic. She used basic sentences and conventional spelling. In her final writing piece she had more complex sentences and had details in her writing. Her writing was on topic, but she did not stay on topic the entire time. She has made improvements with her spelling, but still uses inventive spelling on some words. Student 5 was identified for being easily distracted and unorganized in her writing. At the beginning her writing had simple sentences with correct punctuation and capitalization. Her writing was on topic, but was not in sequential order and showed gaps in her thoughts. She lacked transitional words in her writing to connect ideas. In her final writing, she chose to create a graphic organizer to organize her thoughts. From her organizer she created a story that contained supporting details for a beginning, middle and end. The details in the story allowed the reader to produce a mental image. She created sentences that were declarative, interrogative and exclamatory sentences. Conclusion As the data concludes, the SMART Board has had a positive impact on the five identified students in the research. Although the research design
was focused on five students, it is evident with all my students that the SMART Board has had a positive impact on my whole class. More of the students are learning from others when they are not the ones at the SMART Board. They are paying more attention to the lessons and staying focused when we are using the SMART Board. Their thoughts and feelings
on writing have improved as well. The students are creating 10
writing pieces that others understand better. They are editing their stories themselves and are
enjoying the task of writing more.
Writing Survey Results For Whole Class 1. I like to write. 2. I like to pick my own topics. 3. I go back to a story to add to it or to change it on my own. 4. My writing makes sense to others. 5. My punctuation is correct most of the time. 6. I check my spelling. 7. I share my writing with others. 8. Each time I write I am a better writer. 9. I like to publish my writing. 10. Other people enjoy my writing.
J KL J K L 8 7 7 11 8 3 14 8 0 15 7 0 7 8 7 7 12 3 7 8 7 13 9 0 12 10 0 16 6 0 14 6 2 12 8 2 8 10 4 11 7 4 12 8 2 11 8 3 15 5 2 9 8 5 9 12 1 13 9 0
SMART Board Results For Whole Class 1. I like the SMART Board. 2. I like learning from the SMART Board. 3. I like using the pens on the SMART Board. 4. I like touching or pushing icons on the SMART Board. 5. I learn from others when they are at the SMART Board. 6. The SMART Board helps me to pay better attention to the lesson. 7. The lessons from the SMART Board make me a better writer. 8. I enjoy watching videos taken from United Streaming on the SMART Board better than the television.
October JKL 21 0 1 17 4 1 20 1 1 20 1 1 12 5 5 10 9 3 11 6 5 15 4 3
June JK L 19 3 0 17 5 0 19 2 1 19 2 1 11 10 1 13 9 0 5 12 5 10 6 6
The SMART Board exceeded my personal goal of wanting to improve my area of weakness; writing. I have seen such growth in my ability to incorporate the SMART Board in the writing process
that I can't see how I will function without on a daily basis. The academic subject of writing has been integrated into all Subject Area
s because of having access to the SMART Board at all times during the school day.
Further Positive Impacts Having access to the SMART Board at all times during the day I have been able to meet the needs of the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners. I have been able to incorporate outside sources available to me through the county including United Streaming sponsored by Discovery Channel and outside websites. Thank you for affording me this opportunity to participate in a product that has increased my teaching abilities and had such a positive impact on my students. 12
Appendix Appendix A: First Grade Teacher Survey Appendix B: Writing Survey Appendix C: SMART Board Survey Appendix D: Second Grade Writing Rubric Appendix E: First Writing Lesson Appendix F: Second Writing Lesson Appendix G: Third Writing Lesson Appendix H: Completed Graphic Organizer Appendix I: Continued Writing for Graphic Organizer Appendix J: Venn diagram 13
Dear First Grade Teacher,
Appendix A September 11
Many of you are aware that I applied for a grant and received a SMART Board for use in my classroom. In order to be granted the SMART Board as a "gift for long term use," I must provide evidence of its effectiveness. My main goal in using the SMART Board is to increase the writing skills of identified weak writers in both the areas of mechanics and content. I am in need of your support to help identify the students I will be choosing in my study. PLEASE fill out the questions below by highlighting your responses.
Students In Your 2006-2007 Class: (Please highlight any student in which you felt had weak writing skills)
Based on the students above that you highlighted, please highlight any reasons you believe the child is weak in the area of writing: Interest Physical Ideas Organization Motivation Details Spelling Sentence Structure Self- concept Distractibility Time Experience
Appendix B Date: ______________
Directions: Place an X over the face that best describes your thinking about each statement. Smile circle tells if you really agree with the statement, straight face tells if you think it's sometimes true, and a frown tells if you disagree.
1. I like to write.
2. I like to pick my own topics.
3. I go back to a story to add to it or to change it on my
4. My writing makes sense to others.
5. My punctuation is correct most of the time.
6. I check my spelling.
7. I share my writing with others.
8. Each time I write I am a better writer.
9. I like to publish my writing.
10. Other people enjoy my writing.
SMART Board Survey
Directions: Place an X over the face that best describes your thinking about each statement. Smile circle tells if you really agree with the statement, straight face tells if you think it's sometimes true, and a frown tells if you disagree.
1. I like the SMART Board.
2. I like learning from the SMART Board.
3. I like using the pens on the SMART Board.
4. I like touching or pushing icons from the SMART Board.
5. I learn from others when they are at the SMART Board.
6. The SMART Board helps me to pay better attention to the lesson.
7. The lessons from the SMART Board make me a better writer.
8. I enjoy watching videos taken from United Streaming on the SMART Board better then the television.
Minimal N 1
Partial N 2
Basic S 3
Proficient G 4
Exceeding O 5
Writing lacks capitalization and punctuation Attempts to write words, but lacks vowels Use of repetitive simple sentences on different topics Lack of opening sentence that expresses topic
Attempts proper use of capitalization and punctuation Attempts to write words with vowels, but lacks correct lettersound relationship Use of simple sentences relating to one topic Attempts to write a story by stating topic as a title
Uses capitalization and punctuation correctly most of the time Uses a combination of inventive and conventional spelling Use of simple sentence to sequence a topic Begins a story by stating the topic
Uses capitalization properly and ends complete thought with proper punctuation Spells most high frequency words correctly and rarely uses inventive spelling Use of simple and complex sentences to clearly sequence a topic Creates an expressive beginning sentence to launch into the topic.
Writes declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences Spells high frequency words correctly, uses inventive spelling correctly, and uses outside resources for unknown words Consistent use of complex sentences, with a clear topic in sequential order. Opening sentence sets a tone for the topic and attracts the reader to continue reading
Uses labels and or simple phrases that match the picture/graphic Uses pictures and/or print (i.e. labels) to add detail
Begins to write noun-verb phrases Has a distinct beginning to the story May extend some shorter sentences (using connecting words "and" "because") Begins to write thoughts in sequential order States a topic, explains about the topic, but does not produce details in a story format Uses print to explain or describe picture or thought
Story has two of the three story elements beginning, middle, and end Begins to write lengthier text in a logical order Answers some of reader's questions by including who, what, and where with minimal details Adds details by using some specific words or extensions Writes with details that are clearly related to the topic
Distinct beginning, middle, and end Provides supporting details for beginning, middle, and end (often middle OR end is lacking details) Experiments with transitions to connect some ideas Answers reader's questions by including who, what, where, and why with basic details Uses some specific details such as examples and descriptions to allow the reader to produce a mental image and hear the writer's voice
Story moves through time without significant gaps in beginning, middle, and end Provides supporting details for beginning, middle, and end Uses a variety of sentence structure Uses a variety of words to begin sentences Answers reader's questions and includes who, what, where, when and why with strong details Uses strong verbs or interesting language to enhance specificity The writer produces emotions within the writing piece for the reader
Support / Elaboration
Created by Tara Belke Dutton and Lisa Magdaleno Copyright: 2005-2006 Developed to support 2nd grade
Foestville Elementary Writing Program
November 7, 2007 November 28, 2007
Appendix F 19
Appendix G 20
Appendix H 21
Appendix I 22
Appendix J 23