Reading Matters T he J ournal of the S outh C arolina S tate C ouncil of the I nternational R eading A ssociation
VOLUME 18, WINTER 2018
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T he J ournal of the S outh C arolina S tate C ouncil of the I nternational R eading A ssociation
Volume 18, Winter 2018
Make It Matter Letter from the President by Dale Anthony.............................................................................................................................. VI Letter from the Editors by Sarah Hunt-Barron & Jacquelynn Malloy.............................................................................. VII Vocabulary Matters Cultivating Word Choice Through Personalized Learning and Community by Heather Sox....................................8 Strengthening our Students’ Scientific Vocabulary Knowledge by Jennifer L. Altieri.............................................. 12 Research Matters Professional Development, Technology Integration, & Rural Educators by Brooke Orrell Sievers & Emily Howell.................................................................................................................................... 15 Teaching Matters Transdisciplinary Lessons Learned from the Reggio Emilia Approach and Art by Tracey Hunter-Doniger, Kathryn Templeton, Kelsey McNeel, Katherine Tobin, Jillian Wen, Alyssa Walker & Alexandra McGrath.................................................................................................................... 21 A Disciplinary Lens on Elementary Literacy and Learning by Judy Britt, Kavin Ming & Samantha Smigel........................................................................................................................ 26 Technology Matters Increasing Engagement in the Writing Process: Effective Strategies and Digital Tools by Lindsay Yearta, Katie Kelly & Tanner Slagle......................................................................................................................... 31 Literature Matters A Review of Children’s Literature for Teachers by Jonda McNair...................................................................................... 34
SCIRA Executive Board/Officers 2017-2018
Editors Sarah Hunt-Barron, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Upstate Jacquelynn Malloy, Ph.D. Clemson University
President Dale Anthony firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President Vickie Brockman email@example.com
Editorial Review Board Jamie Colwell, Ph.D.
Old Dominion University Lea Calvert Evering, Ph.D. Seneca Middle School Susan Fernandez, Ph.D. Lander University Susan King Fullerton, Ph.D. Clemson University
Treasurer Judy Arnold firstname.lastname@example.org Corresponding Secretary Christine Corbett CCorbett@newberry.k12.sc.us
Janie Riddle Goodman, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Kela Goodman, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Upstate Shawnna Helf, Ph.D. Winthrop University Emily Howell, Ph.D. Iowa State University Elizabeth Hughes, Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University Victoria Oglan, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Kelly Nelson Tracy, Ph.D. Western Carolina University
Executive Secretary Judy Redman email@example.com Recording Secretary Melanie Guill firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Director Jean Brewington email@example.com
State Coordinator Pat Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Yearta, Ph.D. Winthrop University
Immediate Past President Eddie Marshall EddieMarshall@lcsd56.org
CALL FOR MANUSCRIPTS SCIRA’s Reading Matters Classroom teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and researchers are invited to submit manuscripts to SCIRA’s professional journal, Reading Matters. Authors are requested to submit unpublished work not under consideration by any other publication. Types of Submissions: Reading Matters welcomes practical, theoretical, and research articles, generally no more than 15 pages, related to all areas of literacy. Articles should be clearly written, purposeful, and discuss the topic in some depth where treatment of the topic is interesting, insightful, and based on the writers’ experience. Brief commentary pieces on teaching literacy are welcomed, as well as short teaching tips, teacher or student poetry, vignettes of classroom experiences, and student writing and/or artwork (with parental permission). Manuscript Form: Manuscripts should follow APA 6 style guidelines. Please be sure to include an abstract. As manuscripts are subject to blind review, content should not reveal author identities or affiliations. Full references for all citations should be included, following APA guidelines. Submitting a Manuscript: Manuscripts should be typed in Microsoft Word and sent as an email attachment to email@example.com and malloy2@clemson. edu. When naming your file, please use simple, clear file names. Include a cover page giving the author(s)’ names, affiliation, complete mailing address, email address, and home and work telephone numbers. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed and edited for style, content, and space limitations by the editor. The Review Process: Manuscripts undergo a blind-review process, with at least two reviewers from the Editorial Review Board. Acceptance decisions are based on interest and relevance to SCIRA membership, usefulness, clarity, timeliness, and cohesiveness. The overall balance of the journal’s content also influences editors’ selections. Manuscript Deadline: July 1, 2018
As the 2017-18 President of SCIRA, let me begin by saying a huge THANK YOU to all of our members for your continued support of literacy throughout our state. Our members voluntarily give time and resources to our communities and schools, supporting our youth and instilling a love for literacy in their lives. I am so proud of our organization and of each and every member who serves selflessly in our schools and within our communities. This year has been the beginning of our transition under the umbrella of the International Literacy Association. We have felt the “growing pains” as we work with the ILA as the organization researches and shares how we can continue to promote and support literacy within and beyond our local and state chapters. As we continue to adhere to our mission of providing professional development, resources, instruction, and support in the name of “all things literacy,” we will also continue to support all of our stakeholders, within our borders and beyond.
new letter of agreement would need to be signed for this option. SCIRA would not need to complete any additional legal components. SCIRA would keep our current name. We would complete this process by completing a form with the IRS and the state of SC and paying the necessary fee. Option 3. Limited Nongroup. The legal com- ponents would be the same as with the full nongroup, however all support and services would be charged individually. The transition committee proposed that we accept Option 2, which would enable our state chapter to continue to function under the ILA umbrella, but we will retain our independent tax-exempt status with IRS, support our chapters within the state, and retain our name-South Carolina Council of the International Reading Association, SCIRA-instead of having to incorporate the change from“Reading” to “Literacy.” We will continue to receive updates in our affiliation with ILA in this transition process, which will enable us to share with our local councils. I know that I speak for all of the state officers in saying that we appreciate your diligence in sharing and supporting your passion for literacy. Borrowing from the commercials, I want to add: “Your tireless support in providing instruction and resources to our youth is awesome…your passion for literacy, stated and demonstrated…PRICELESS!” We look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming 2018 state conference, “Snapshots of Literacy,” on Hilton Head Island. Vickie Brockman, SCIRA President-Elect/ Conference Chair, the conference committees, and each of you as members have worked hard to provide the best professional development opportunities through our sessions led by educators and authors. It is an honor to serve as your state President this year. Let’s continue our journey and share our “Snapshots of Literacy”within our schools, districts, local and state councils, communities, and the world.
Reading Matters Make it Matter
Over the past few months, ILA has shared with us the following:
“IRS granted South Carolina State of the Inter- national Reading Association an independent 501 (c) (3) status by the IRS when they filed to reinstate their tax-exempt status.”
All chapters, from all around the world, were given the following options in this transition process:
Option 1. SCIRA can move forward with the affiliation under the full group option. The independent 501 (c)(3) status would go dormant and we would begin the legal process of incorporating in DE. The current letter of agreement will still be valid. The state would select a new name that includes literacy, and the subscription dues would remain the same. All benefits and services would still be included. ILA would still cover up to $2000 for legal service associated with the new incorporation, and filing. Option 2. SCIRA can choose to remain an independent 501 (c)(3) nonprofit and still affiliate under the Full Nongroup option. A
It is with pleasure that we bring you this 17th edition of Reading Matters . After several years of themed issues, we are thrilled to offer a journal to our readers that was an open call. Teachers and teacher-educators throughout our state and beyond responded with fantastic teaching tips, literacy strategies, success stories and research that are part of this issue. We hope you will find these articles relevant to your classroom and your professional interests. scientific vocabulary (Altieri). Digital literacies are the focus of several articles, with ideas for scaffolding student writing instruction using digital tools (Yearta, Kelly, & Slagle). We are also reminded the digital gap still exists; Brooke Orrell Sievers and Emily Howell explore this gap and provide us ideas to ensure all students, regardless of access to digital tools, can develop the skills they need to swim in the sea of devices in which we live. Our Teaching Matters articles help us bridge disciplinary divides, with transdisciplinary lessons learned through art (Hunter-Doniger, et. al) and disciplinary literacy instruction in an elementary classroom (Britt, Ming, & Smigel). As always, Jonda McNair and her students offer reviews of the latest and greatest in children’s literature, with a focus on culturally diverse literature, that is sure to expand and enhance your classroom library. We are proud to serve you, the teachers and teacher educators who ensure an excellent education grounded in literacy for all. Our next issue of Reading Matters will focus on putting our students at the center of all we do. Please consider sharing your classroom practices and research focused on student-centered practices in classrooms. We look forward to hearing your voices in our next issue of Reading Matters . In this issue of RM , you’ll find articles focused on personalizing vocabulary instruction in classrooms (Sox) and strengthening
CultivatingWord Choice Through Personalized Learning and Community
By Heather Sox, Fork Shoals School
Inquiry and Research Process In the Spring of 2017, my students wrote memoirs about moments in their lives that made them who they are today. I analyzed their writing using Ruth Culham’s 6+1 Traits of Writing (2003) to see the area in which they were lacking. I found that across the board, students’ word choice was an area of weakness. I completed a more detailed analysis of three student samples, a struggling writer, an average writer, and an advanced writer, and found that all three students’ lowest trait score was word choice. I had previously taught lessons on word choice throughout the year, such as utilizing vivid verbs and using accurate and descriptive words in their writing. Even though students had been given the strategies to use effective word choice in their writing, when given the chance to revise, students were still not changing any of their words. This led me to teach several minilessons on revising for word choice (Spandel, 2013). I modeled how to revise for word choice with my own writing, and we spent time revising together as a class for that specific trait. Students then took part in peer revision, looking only for word choice and helping each other improve the language in their writing. Student word choice definitely improved, but I found that struggling writers still lacked the vocabulary to choose words that effectively enhanced their memoirs. This led me to begin wondering how I could build all students’ vocabulary in order to improve their word choice in their writing. There were two concepts that I felt I needed to incorporate into my classroom in order to begin closing the gap in vocabulary: community and read alouds. I have always used read alouds in my classroom because of student engagement and interest. Over the past several years, I have utilized more interactive read alouds in order to gain the benefit of constructing meaning through shared experiences and conversation, but I was not teaching vocabulary or word choice using read alouds. Schippert (2005) also shared a similar experience, “Although I taught vocabulary each day in various subjects, I had never considered the richness of words that I had been sharing with my students for years in read alouds as potential vocabulary instruction.”These opportunities that we as teachers are already creating in our classrooms everyday can be used to improve students’ vocabulary knowledge. Read alouds are an easy and effective way to build vocabulary in the classroom. Just reading to students encourages vocabulary development, and discussing key concepts and words within the story, increases the amount of words students will learn (Gunning, 2006). Even though read alouds are proven to increase student vocabulary, I decided that just reading aloud
ABSTRACT — The author of this article is a fifth grade teacher whose goal was to improve her students’ word choice after analyzing writing pieces during the school year. After teaching revising for word choice, there was still a large gap in effective word choice between struggling readers and writers and more advanced students. Collaborative revising seemed to help some students, but the most struggling writers did not modify any words to make them more precise or descriptive due to not having a large vocabulary foundation. This article uses student data and research to plan a strategy to cultivate all students’ vocabulary in order to improve their word choice in their writing through community and personalized learning. Effective word choice in a student’s writing is essential and can also impact voice and sentence fluency. When students use descriptive and detailed words, it truly takes their writing to the next level. We’ve all taught lessons on word choice, such as “vivid verbs” and “showing and not telling,” and some kids take off with it. They use words that enable the reader to truly visualize what is happening, and their word choice becomes precise and effective. Then you have students who are still using very basic words. Their word choice is bland and even after modeling how to revise for word choice, they change nothing. This difference in vocabulary is evident in most classrooms, and it can be easy to just accept it. Language is the foundation of writing, and research shows that students’ language development varies depending on background. Before children even come to school, there is a gap in the amount of language they have been exposed to. Gunning (2006) describes that discrepancy: “Within the first four years of life, children from welfare families would have heard about 13 million words, children from working-class families would have heard about 26 million words, and children from professional families would have heard about 45 million words” (p. 35). As children get older, vocabulary development also varies depending on ability level and background. Children below the 25th percentile, come to school knowing 3,000 words; whereas, students above the 75th percentile, know about 8,000 words (Gunning, 2006). This gap stresses the importance of developing language in the classroom. This led me to begin questioning this obvious gap in word knowledge in my own classroom. I wanted to build all students’ vocabulary to improve their word choice in their writing not just my students who had solid language foundations. I knew this would not be a one and done strategy. In order to truly cultivate every student’s vocabulary development, it would have to be a year long practice that would hopefully transfer to their writing.
to students wasn’t enough. I need to intentionally choose read alouds that have brilliant word choice and discuss that vocabulary during interactive read alouds. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2001) develop a strategy called Text Talk where teachers ask questions to discuss ideas in the story and connect them throughout. They indicate two ways that this strategy develops language: “One is that the kind of questions asked elicit greater language production. The other is that Text Talk takes advantage of some of the sophisticated vocabulary found in young children’s trade books by explicitly teaching and encouraging use of several words from a story after the story has been read.” Being intentional with interactive read alouds and vocabulary is essential to growing a child’s language. The above research validated my use of interactive read alouds in my classroom, but I also felt like I needed to take it a step further in order to truly begin to close that vocabulary gap. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2002) stress the importance of a rich language environment where students are discussing and recording words they come in contact with in daily life and literature. This became the next essential step for me. Students have to do more than just hear and discuss them during a read aloud. They need to record and interact with them as well. vocabulary knowledge. There needed to be a community aspect, a language community where students shared words they found independently and learned from each other. Ruddell and Shearer (2002) acknowledge the importance of reading to build vocabulary, but they add that “social and environmental influences can be used not only as sources of vocabulary, but also tools to heighten awareness and motivation for discovering the meanings of unknown words.” They implemented a strategy called Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy where students record words they come in contact with that they want to study. Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy was also an important part of interactive word walls discuss in the article “Interactive Word Walls: More Than Just Reading and Writing on the Walls.” The authors researched word walls in the classroom and their impact. They found the interactive word wall “holds potential for enhancing vocabulary learning with older learners when used in conjunction with effective instructional practices, such as visual coding, context application, collaboration, and self- selection” (Harmon, Wood, Hedrick, Vintinner, and Willeford, 2009). Classroom word walls definitely improve language development, but in order for it to be effective, students have to select words on their own and in a collaborative environment. Recording words the students discover in all types of literature as a class and independently could combine the benefit of reading aloud and being aware of words around them. Sharing them and keeping a running list as a class, builds a rich language environment and encourages students to be independent word learners. Building a language community through read alouds and independent word acquisition will expose students to a wide range of words to use in their own writing; therefore, enhancing their word choice. Just reading aloud to students and recording words they notice in those books would not single handedly build students’
The Strategy Implementation Plan There were five steps that I initially planned to take during the school year in order to create a rich language environment in my classroom. I planned to collect literature to use for interactive read alouds throughout the year that contain quality word choice. This allows me to model beautiful language that authors use for my students. A great resource for choosing literature to help students with their writing is Dorfman and Cappelli’s book titled Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6 (2017). This text discusses using mentor texts in the classroom to teach writing, but it also provides a list of literature that addresses certain traits of writing. I set up a class word collection space in the classroom and modeled how to record words during our read alouds. Our word collection space became anchor charts titled Words We Love . We record the word, how the author used the word, and why we chose the word. Through this process, students discover effective, precise, and descriptive words that authors use in their writing. Using mentor texts to teach word choice gives students access to words they might not have known or paid attention to before. We also set up a student word collection site in individual student word study notebooks where students will record word choice they come across in their independent reading books that they love. This personalized aspect to collecting words gives students access to words on their level and also teaches them to become word learners on their own. The process of word learning cannot just end at recording words in a chart. Throughout the year, I modeled various vocabulary strategies, such as, the Frayer Model, Four Square, and using the app WordFoto to describe a vocabulary word. After recording words they love from their independent reading books, students choose one word a week to explain and illustrate using a vocabulary strategy that has been modeled and add it our class Words We Love Google Slide. This slide is be accessible on Google Classroom where all my students can access it and check out their peers’ new words. This technology piece adds engagement and interest and also gives students an online database of words from their classmates, which they can access in class or at home. The last and most important step is the sharing piece. Once a week during word study, three or four students share the word they chose to illustrate with the class. We discuss this word and add it to our class Words We Love list. This community aspect of sharing words through read alouds and words from their independent reading books allows students of all levels to learn from each other and be exposed to words they might not necessarily access in their personal literature. Strategy Implementation After implementing the Words We Love strategy in my classroom for a semester, I have been thrilled with the results. We have been collecting words we find as a class during interactive read alouds. Students have also been
collecting words on their own during independent reading from their own books that are on their level. They are finding descriptive words and words that they had never thought to use before. Rich discussions are taking place about vivid, detailed words and what they mean and also thinking about why authors choose specific language in their writing.
descriptive, detailed word choice in the beginning paragraph of her narrative writing: “It was a beautiful day, not disturbed by any dull clouds, a classic barn in view of a shimmering, pristine pond located in Paris Mountain State Park. A big day was approaching.” She also used a word from our Words We Love Google slide that another student added: casting. “I approached all the loved friends and family casting upon me.” In just a few weeks, my students are exploring new words and learning new vocabulary. They are using these new words in their writing and sharing them with their peers.
Reading Matters Vocabulary Matters
Figure 3. A student’s slide for a new word
Building a community of readers and writers is essential in growing all students’ vocabulary knowledge. Personalizing the process by also having students record their own words and share with their classmates meets learners on their level and gives them ownership of their learning. After analyzing student data and researching word choice, I wanted to improve all students’ vocabulary knowledge in order to enhance their word choice in their writing. I wanted to give my struggling readers and writers a language foundation that they can utilize during writing through a reading community where we learn about words together. It is also essential to meet students where they are and provide opportunities for them to learn new words on their level. Sharing these words allows the different levels of students in my classroom to learn from each other and grow as word learners. By cultivating students’ vocabulary knowledge, I continue to hope to improve their word choice in their writing and build a community of students who love language. Resources Beck, I. L., & McKeown, M. G. (2001). Text Talk: Capturing the benefits of read- aloud experiences for young children. (Cover story). Reading Teacher, 55(1), 10.
Figure 1. Our class “Words We Love” chart
Figure 2. A student’s “Words We Love” chart Students have also been taking their favorite word for the week and adding it to our class google slide to share with their peers. Engagement and interest is high when students are adding their words to our class google slide. They are able to see each other’s words and learn new language from their peers. This strategy has started to develop a love of words and language in our classroom. Students are excited to share new words and use them in their writing. I have already started to see excellent word choice in students’ writing and anticipate that it will continue to improve. One of my students uses
Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: robust vocabulary instruction . New York: Guilford Press
Culham, R. (2003). 6 1 Traits of Writing: the Complete Guide. New York, NY: Scholastic Professional Books.
Gunning, T. G. (2006). Closing the literacy gap. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Harmon, J. M., Wood, K. D., Hedrick, W. B., Vintinner, J., &Willeford, T. (2009). InteractiveWordWalls: More Than Just Reading theWriting on theWalls. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(5), 398-408. doi:10.1598/jaal.52.5.4
Dorfman, L. R., & Cappelli, R. (2017). Mentor texts: teaching writing through childrens literature, k-6 . Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Ruddell, M. R., & Shearer, B. A. (2002). ‘Extraordinary,’‘tremendous,’‘exhilarating,’ ‘magnificent’: Middle school at-risk students become avid word learners with the Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS). Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(5), 352. Schippert, P. (2005). Read Alouds and Vocabulary: A NewWay of Teaching. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 33(3), 11-16. Spandel, V. (2013). Creating writers: 6 traits, process, workshop, and literature. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Heather Sox is a fifth grade teacher at Fork Shoals School. She holds a BA in Elementary Education with a minor is Spanish and a Masters in Literacy from Clemson University. She is in her eighth year of teaching fifth grade and is certified in Elementary Education, English as a Second Language, and Literacy. She is passionate about researching and providing an engaging and authentic learning environment that meets the needs of all learners. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Erupting Volcanoes to Building Simple Machines: Strengthening our Students’ Scientific Vocabulary Knowledge
By Jennifer L. Altieri, Coastal Carolina University
ABSTRACT: With the increasing emphasis in our classrooms on informational text and strengthening content knowledge, we must focus on the strong link between literacy skills and content information. This article specifically addresses the importance of developing academic vocabulary as it relates to science so that our students can continue to build their scientific knowledge. Details are given for several specific strategies and the importance of using local text to support this goal is addressed. In classrooms across the country, we are seeing a growing emphasis on developing our students’ knowledge in the various content areas, and we realize the importance of the link between literacy skills and acquiring content information. Science is no exception. Whether we are creating volcanoes or asking small groups of students to use unique objects to build simple machines, we realize that our students have to be able to access scientific information in text in order to strengthen their science knowledge. Our students’ ability to read and understand digital and print text is necessary in order for them to learn about past scientific accomplishments, engage with experiences that we cannot recreate in the classroom, and even to compliment the hands-on learning they do on a daily basis (Altieri, 2016). Students also have to be able to follow written directions for experiments and read the class text. As our students engage with science through digital texts, the class textbook, and informational trade books, we want them to deepen their scientific understanding, but often the vocabulary is challenging. This isn’t surprising because research shows that science text is lexically dense. This means that there are a large number of content words compared to other words in a piece of science text (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). As educators, we know that our students will more than likely only encounter these terms when engaged with science content. Chances are our students won’t use terms such as photosynthesis , anemometer , or dwarf planet when they are texting or emailing friends or participating in a family activity, and yet not knowing the terms will keep our students from understanding that science knowledge we seek to deepen. In fact, research shows us that vocabulary knowledge is extremely important for informational text comprehension (Liebfreund & Conradi, 2016). KnowingWhat Does and Doesn’t Work To begin with, we have to consider what we already know does and doesn’t work with strengthening scientific vocabulary in the classroom. We know that assigning students a list of vocabulary
terms to learn at the beginning of a science chapter and assessing these terms with a test at the end doesn’t motivate students to build their vocabulary. Many students fail to remember the words as soon as they complete the test, and sometimes they don’t even remember them that long. Looking up a list of terms and writing their definitions is also a time-consuming task that can quickly kill the scientific passion we are trying to develop in our lessons. Since we know that motivation plays an important role in the development of students’ scientific knowledge (Schumm and Bogner, 2016), these are practices we want to avoid. However, it is important that we have some specific ideas to build our students’ knowledge of these vocabulary terms and create lifelong science learners. Vocabulary activities we use must be motivating to our students so as not to create a negative association with science. If we leave students to struggle with unknown terms or to dread the introduction of science terms, it won’t help to build that love of science we want to pass on to our students. We also realize that we won’t always be there to help students figure out specific science terms they encounter in texts. Our students have to be able to engage with scientific text long after they leave our classroom. Strengthening Scientific Vocabulary Let’s look at a few specific ways that we can best address strengthening students’ scientific vocabulary. Each of the following suggestions can be used with almost any science topic and can easily be modified as needed for diverse grade levels. Talking Drawings Talking Drawings (McConnell, 1993) is a great way for students to develop their vocabulary through drawing. As students begin studying a new science topic, introduce the topic to them briefly and ask them to draw a picture about the topic showing what they know. Then have students share their drawings, and talk about their drawing. After students study the topic, participate in experiments, view videos on the topic, and look at texts, ask them to draw another illustration on the topic. Encourage students to label any aspects of the illustration that they can, using the vocabulary terms that they are learning. A first-grade teacher chose to introduce her students to sea turtles. Before reading a text on sea turtles, the students drew pictures. Many of the pictures were very basic, and some even contained anthropomorphic characteristics. In fact, the female turtles in one student’s illustration had long eyelashes. However, as the unit drew to a close, the students again drew a
picture. The student who drew the picture with the turtles with eyelashes drew a much more scientific picture of a turtle leaving the beach to go back into the water. In her drawing, there was a label for the shell of the turtle as well as the sea and eggs. This strategy reinforces the use of scientific terms as students write the terms and then orally explain their drawings to peers. Through class sharing, students may decide that they want to modify their drawings to show additional terms. We know from research (Van Meter, Aleksic, Schwartz, & Garner, 2006) that students learn more when they not only write but also draw an image about a science topic. In fact, the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC 2011) emphasizes the importance of students learning to communicate scientific information through both drawing. With Talking Drawings, we not only reinforce student learning through drawing, but students can see how much they are learning. As students look at drawings they create, their most recent drawings will contain many new vocabulary terms and concepts which were initially unfamiliar. This can instill confidence and a desire to learn more about the scientific topic. Depending on the length of the unit, teachers may also choose to have students create several drawings at different points throughout the unit. Ten Important Words Plus While Ten Important Words Plus (Yopp and Yopp 2003) doesn’t involve drawing, it does provide students with choice , and choice is powerful both in and outside the classroom. As adults, we often have a lot more choice in what we read and learn than children do, and we value the opportunity to have a say in what we do. Our students also value having a choice in their learning, so if we can enable them to feel that they are actively involved in their learning, they will be more engaged. We can begin this strategy by asking students to read a chunk of a science text in groups. As they read the text, ask them to note any words that they think are important. In a chapter on the solar system, diverse words such as telescope, star, and even constellation might be listed by students. This will often lead students to question and discuss what it means to be an important term. Are words in titles or subheadings typically important? Does word importance tie to the frequency of use in a text? If the author uses a unique font or highlights a word, does that mean anything? If a word is longer than many others does that mean the word is important to understanding the text? There is no definitive answer to this question, but it’s a great way to encourage students to think and discuss the words they encounter in science text. After students individually read the text, put students into small groups and ask them to come to agreement on the ten words they think are the most important in the text. Ask one person in each group to write down the ten terms. After each group creates a list, ask the first group of students to read their list, and write those words on the board. Then ask the second group to state any of the words they have on their list that are not already on the board. As students orally share the words, add these to the list on the board. Repeat this procedure with remaining groups. Many words will be written on more than one group’s list.
After chorally reading and discussing the words on the board with the entire class, have the students form new groups. Select a word off the board and ask each of these groups to complete a task with that word. Tasks can vary greatly depending on the words. As a class, students can brainstorm tasks for this strategy. Students might act out the word, create a visual to help classmates learn the term, write other forms of the term, create a short rap about the term, or produce a graphic organizer showing the term’s relationship to other words on the board. Students will not only benefit as they complete their group task, but they will be talking with group members about each term and expanding their knowledge of it. Ask each group to share their creation and then select another word. (Be sure to frequently change the group tasks so that the same group of students isn’t always drawing or acting out terms.) Even though students create the list of terms on the board, the teacher selects the one for each task. Most, if not all, of the terms you will want to teach students will be on the board. However, this strategy motivates the students to learn the terms because they feel they have choice in their selection. Sniglets Hall, a comedian in the 1980s, created the idea of a Sniglet as a term that wasn’t in the dictionary but should be. Unlike the previous two vocabulary strategies which focus on teaching entire terms, this activity focuses on developing vocabulary through the teaching of smaller units of meaning often found in science terms. Tying the idea of Sniglets to science works well because many science terms have roots that are the same in many scientific words. As we look at the demands of science terms, we can see that it may not always be best to teach entire words. Think about roots such as –osis , -ology , hydro- . Those roots are the basis for many scientific terms students encounter in text. Have students look online for lists of morphemes, or small units of meaning, or provide students with a list of morphemes that they encounter regularly in science. There are many lists available on the Internet which contain morphemes and their meaning. As a class, create a list of morphemes on butcher paper from which students can pick to use in their Sniglet. Be sure to also include some affixes such as pre- , re -, and – er which students see in many words including scientific terms. Ask students to create a Science Sniglet that combines three of the morphemes on the chart. Remember the purpose of this activity is to help students develop vocabulary so that they can develop scientific knowledge. We all have the student who will try to use as many morphemes as possible to create a Sniglet and therefore, not actually remember the meaning of any of the morphemes. If we limit the number of morphemes students can use in a Sniglet, they are more apt to remember the morphemes beyond the creation of the Sniglet. Students can write the definition, use the Sniglet in a sentence, and even draw a picture of it. While our students are creating fictitious words, they are learning important morphemes that can help them decode unfamiliar terms they will see in future scientific texts (Altieri, 2011).
Local Text The use of Local Text is not a strategy, but it is a strategic way to use student-created text to strengthen their science vocabulary. Local text is text that the classroom community creates (Maloch, Hoffman, & Patterson 2004). It isn’t text that is brought into the class (e.g. textbooks and digital worksheets) but instead includes student-created charts, displays, and even informational texts. The more opportunities our students have to see, say, and write the scientific terms, the more they will remember them. Local text also serves to create a sense of community within our science classrooms and build confidence and pride. Students will eagerly show local text to classroom visitors long before they will run to point out something they read in a textbook. The following student-created texts are just a few suggestions for the use of local text in the classroom: INFORMATIONAL BOOKS — Informational texts can be written on any topic students are currently studying, and students can then share the texts they create with peers, other classrooms, or even younger students. The texts can then be put on a shelf in the classroom for later reading and reference. WORD WALLS — Create a word wall, and encourage students to add interesting scientific terms they hear or see outside of class. Be sure to discuss new words as they are added. Ask questions. Do they see relationships between new words added and words currently on the wall? Keep the wall up and tie the words to science learning when possible. DISPLAYS — Students can create displays of science experiments, charts of information they are learning, or even posters about interesting scientific information. BLOGS/WEBSITES — Classrooms can set up a science blog or website and allow students to share information they are learning in class with other classes and parents. Even more important than the creation of local text is how students engage with it. In fact, the process of creating it is at least as important as the finished product. Draw their attention to it as it relates to lessons taught in the classroom, and don’t hesitate to replace the local text as necessary. Referring back to student- created local text is a great way to acknowledge their contributions to the class and strengthen their scientific vocabulary. Talking Drawings, Ten Important Words, Sniglets, and Local Text are all ways that we can build our students’ science vocabulary. Each of these suggestions are unique and have their own advantages. We want our students to enjoy learning new scientific terms. After all, vocabulary learning doesn’t end with science class, but it is a skill our students will continue to use the rest of their lives. In Conclusion Students learn best through experiencing science. However, we also realize that there are times that engaging with text is absolutely necessary. Students can’t fly to the moon or may
never live in a desert, but they can engage with text that contains scientific information about those experiences. In science, our students can expect to encounter many unfamiliar academic terms. Whether students are reading directions or texts regarding their science field trips and experiments, we don’t want the challenge of content specific vocabulary to create a barrier to deepening our students’ scientific understanding. Through various strategies and the use of local text, we can prepare our students for not only the science content they are currently learning but the future content they will encounter. References Altieri, J.A. (2011). Content counts!: Developing disciplinary literacy skills, K-6. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association.
Reading Matters Vocabulary Matters
Altieri, J.A. (2016). Reading science: Practical strategies for integrating instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Liebfreund, M.D., & Conradi, K. (2016). Component skills affecting elementary students’informational text comprehension. Reading and Writing, 29 (6). 1141- 1160. Maloch, B., Hoffman, J.V., & Patterson, E.U. (2004). Local texts: Reading and writing“of the classroom.”In J.V. Hoffman & D.L. Schallert (Eds.), The texts in elementary classrooms (pp. 129-138). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
McConnell, S. (1993). Talking drawings: A strategy for assisting learners. Journal of Reading , 36 (4), 260-269.
National Research Council (NRC). (2011). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington: National Academies Press. Schumm, M.F., & Bogner, F. X. (2016). The impact of science motivation on cognitive achievement within a 3-lesson unit about renewable energies. Studies in Educational Evaluation . 50, 14-21.
Van Meter, P., Aleksic, M., Schwartz, A., & Garner, J. (2006). Learner-generated drawing as a strategy for learning from content area text. Contemporary Educational Psychology , 31 (2), 142-166. Yopp, R.H., & Yopp, H.K. (2007). Ten important words plus: A strategy for building word knowledge. The Reading Teacher, 61 (2), 157-160. Jennifer Altieri coordinates the M. Ed. in Language, Literacy and Culture Degree at Coastal Carolina University and teaches both undergraduate and graduate literacy courses. She has written texts with the International Literacy Association and Heinemann. Her primary area of interest is disciplinary literacy. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Professional Development, Technology Integration, and Rural Educators
By Brooke Orrell Sievers & Emily Howell, Iowa State University
ABSTRACT—Rural school districts face challenges in the areas of technological access, technology support, consolidation, distance education, and high teacher turnover. These challenges prevent overcoming barriers to technology integration and developing skills needed for effective digital literacy. Yet, a systematic review of technology integration in K-12 rural schools is missing from the research literature. Thus, this review of the existing theoretical, empirical, and practitioner education literature focused on the following research question: How are rural school districts preparing teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum? Although relatively few studies focus on technology integration in rural areas and the professional development being done to improve that integration, we discuss 28 sources that helped to answer our research question. The findings presented focus on four emerging themes influencing rural K-12 schools and technology integration: professional development and personnel support, teacher attitude toward technology, access to technology, and cultural influence. Current education standards demand that teachers integrate digital literacy into educational curriculum (Hutchison & Woodward, 2014; National Governors Association Center for Best Practices [NGAC] & Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2010); however, there is evidence that teachers struggle with such integration (Howell, Butler, & Reinking, 2017; Hutchison & Reinking, 2011). Digital literacy is defined as the “skills, strategies, and dispositions that students and teachers develop and use when learning literacy skills with digital technology” (Hutchison & Colwell, 2015, p. 2). Thus, digital literacy builds upon, rather than replaces, traditional literacy skills that are embedded across content areas (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, &Weigel, 2006). To authentically integrate technology, teachers need support in planning instruction and determining the best digital tools for students to achieve specific goals, in both content learning and digital literacy. Supporting teachers in both this planning and integration process, however, is challenging, particularly in rural school districts. Many K-12 rural schools struggle to keep pace with technology integration due to limited financial resources, lack of professional development and technology support, and teacher attitudes toward technology (Cullen, Brush, Frey, Hinshaw, &Warren, 2006; Howley & Howley, 1995). Rural school districts across the United States struggle to keep up with the increasing demands of technology, including long-term teacher professional development that supports classroom-integrated technologies (Blanchard, LePrevost, Tolin, & Gutierrez, 2016). Rural students, in particular, are not being given the school support needed to develop digital literacies needed in a technological society. For instance, rural students are underrepresented in technological opportunity and the ability to create content,
which is increasingly afforded via online platforms and digital tools (Bouck, 2004; Goh & Kale, 2016; Lenhart & Madden, 2005).
Reading Matters Research Matters
Rural school districts face challenges in the areas of technological access, technology support, consolidation, distance education, and high teacher turnover. These challenges prevent overcoming barriers to technology integration. Howley and Howley (1995) suggested that technology holds the promise for rural communities to “participate in the mainstream of American life without sacrificing traditional virtues” (p. 129). However, the recent United States presidential election highlighted that rural citizens may instead feel overlooked by the American majority (Pappano, 2017). Although there have been reviews of the literature on technology integration in K-12 education (DiMaggio, Hargittai, Celeste, & Shafer, 2001; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007) and rural education overall (Arnold, Newman, Gaddy, & Dean, 2005), an overview of what the research literature says specifically about technology integration and the support for such integration in rural schools is missing. Thus, this review of the existing theoretical, empirical, and practitioner education literature focused on the following research question: How are rural school districts preparing teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum? Method This review of technology integration in K-12 rural public schools is composed of peer-reviewed articles and books. To pull the most contemporary studies and discussion on technology integration, the researchers narrowed the search from 1994 to 2017 with a specific focus on schools in the United States, and technology integration programs within school districts as compared to distance education. This range focused on research during an era when the internet became an accessible tool for most classrooms and communities. The National Center for Education Statistics noted that only 35% of schools in the United States had internet access in 1994, compared to nearly 100% in 2005 – including rural school districts (Wells & Lewis, 2007). This range also reflected relevant technologies available in current classrooms with the availability of wireless internet and broadband connections, classroom technology access, student and teacher computers, laptops, or hand-held computers (Wells & Lewis, 2007). Initial search terms included rural K-12 school technology integration, rural technology integration, United States rural schools technology, technology in K-12 schools and professional development technology integration. Using the EBSCOHost search engine, the researcher focused on studies, practitioner articles, and literature reviews specific to K-12 education in the United States, and refined these search results for publications between 1994 to 2017. Manuscripts were classified into