|USFDC Home | USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations||| RSS|
This item is only available as the following downloads:
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam Ka
controlfield tag 001 001927274
007 cr mnu|||uuuuu
008 080212s2006 flu sbm 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a E14-SFE0001916
Sylvester, Betty Ruth.
An examination of the interaction between exemplary teachers and struggling writers
h [electronic resource] /
by Betty Ruth Sylvester.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: This study examined the interactions between teachers of writing and struggling writers. There were two main research questions: (1) What is the nature of the interaction between exemplary teachers of writing and struggling writers? (2) What arethe responses of struggling writers to exemplary teachers' scaffolding? To answer these questions, qualitative analysis was conducted on data. Two struggling writers were selected for the study based on their responses to the Writers Self-Perception Scale,writing samples, and teacher recommendation. Data collection included observation in two separate fourth grade classrooms during the writing block for 30 days. Data sources included audio-recording of writing instruction and teacher and student interviews, field notes, and writing samples. Several areas of similarity across the participants emerged from the data. They included mediated action through teacher response, written response to mediated action,social positioning, and best practices? By examining the interactions the researcher was able to speculate on social consequences of the interactions between teacher and studentas they relate to literacy learning.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 357 pages.
Co-adviser: Jenifer J. Schneider Ph.D.
Co-adviser: Kathryn Laframboise, Ph.D.
x Early Childhood Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
An Examination of the Interaction Between Exemplary Teachers and Struggling Writers by Betty Ruth Sylvester A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Childhood Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Kathryn Laframboise, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Jenifer, Schneider, Ph.D. Frank Breit, Ph.D. James King, Ed.D. Date of Approval: December 12, 2006 Keywords: writing instruc tion, literacy, discourse Copyright 2007, Betty Ruth Sylvester
Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my teacher s: Mom, Dad, Chad, Matt, Chris, and Tim
Acknowledgements While reflecting on the many people who ha ve contributed to the fulfillment of this dream, I am reminded of an old saying, If you see a turtle on a fencepost, you know it didnt get there by hims elf. For these people, I am deeply grateful. There are members of my family that deserve great thanks. Though my dad is no longer with me physically, his faith and prid e is always present. My moms words of encouragement and promised prayers were as comforting as the meals she cooked for Tim, Chris, and me twice each week during the la st year of this process. Barb helped me with the tab leads that I simp ly could not figure out. Chris willingly gave up the computer when I needed it. Tim was in credible. I can never thank him enough for selflessly taking on so many extra responsibiliti es during the last few years and reassuring me hed much rather wash dishes or do laundry than write a disserta tion. I am truly loved!! There are many friends that have seen me struggled through this process and have offered words of encouragement. Though I declined numerous invitations in order to work on my paper, they thoughtfu lly continued to include me in the event Id be in the waiting to hear stage. Now I ll be the one extending invitations. There are many people at the University of South Florida to whom I am deeply grateful. First I was so blessed to have the dynamic duo as my co-major professors: Kathryn Laframboise and Jenifer Schneider. Kathy was not only a master editor, her knowledge of pedagogy enriched my study. Her patience with me will be remembered when I work with students. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to learn from Jenifer through the course we team-taught and observing her leader ship while assisting her during a Suncoast Young Au thors Celebration not to mention her knowledge of
writing instruction. Jim Kings endless knowledge brought anothe r layer of analysis and depth of understanding to the dissertation. Fra nk Breit brought his year s of experience to the dissertation, and his kind words and gentle voice were appreciate d. I am so thankful for the connection I made with a group of intelligent and fun Phemales who read parts of my paper, offered support and a sympatheti c ear on numerous occasions: Jody, Keva, Margaret, Rewa, and Robin. Last is my l ongtime friend, John, who carpooled with me while we took coursework, was willing to meet with me within a moments notice to serve as a peer debriefer, and made this pro cess more enjoyable through his good humor and wit.
i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES...............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUC TION TO THE STUDY.........................................................1 Introduction and Problem.........................................................................................1 Theoretical Frame................................................................................................... ..3 The Purpose of the Study..........................................................................................6 Research Questions.................................................................................................. .8 Significance of the Study..........................................................................................8 Definition of Terms................................................................................................. ..9 Limitations of the Study..........................................................................................11 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..........................................................14 Introduction....................................................................................................... .....14 Overview of Effective Teaching Research............................................................15 Characteristics and Practi ces of Effective Teaching..................................16 Cognitive Processes of Effective Teachers................................................17 Limitations of Studies on Effective Teaching...........................................18 Teacher Knowledge...............................................................................................19 Overview of Expert Pedagogues............................................................................23 Exemplary Teachers of Literacy............................................................................26 Writing Pedagogy and Quality Writing.................................................................34 Classroom Talk in Knowledge Construction.........................................................40 Common Talk Patterns..............................................................................42 Talk as the Hidden Curriculum..................................................................42 Assisted Performance.................................................................................43 Talk as Discussion.....................................................................................45 Scaffolded Talk as Instruction...................................................................46 Conferencing..............................................................................................47 Inequity in Conferencing................................................................50 Written Comments..........................................................................52 Summary of Conferencing..............................................................53 Struggling Writers.................................................................................................. .54 Writing Characteristics..............................................................................54 Behaviors of Struggling Writers................................................................56 Summary of Struggling Writers.................................................................59 Strategic Writing Instruc tion for Struggling Writers.................................60 Cognitive Strategy Instruction in Writing.......................................61
ii Self Regulated Strategy Developments.........................................62 Strategic Writing Instruction..........................................................63 Meta-Analysis of Research on Writing Interventions...................64 Summary of Strategic Writing Instruction.....................................65 Gender Differences in Writing................................................................................67 Summary............................................................................................................. ....72 CHAPTER 3 METHOD..................................................................................................74 The Purpose of the Study and Research Question.................................................74 Design of the Study ................................................................................75 Qualitative Inquiry.....................................................................................75 Cultural Considerations ............................................................................76 Case Study Design.....................................................................................77 Participants.................................................................................................78 Selecting Exemplary Teachers.......................................................79 Mrs. Ring.......................................................................................82 Mrs. Mac........................................................................................88 Selecting Struggling Writers..........................................................94 Kyle ............................................................................................98 Ray .............................................................................................99 Colleen.........................................................................................100 Chad .........................................................................................101 The Roles of the Researcher........................................................101 Procedures and Data Collection...............................................................103 Data Sources................................................................................105 Writers Self Perception Scale..........................................107 Interview Transcripts.......................................................107 Instruction Transcripts.....................................................107 Documents.......................................................................108 Field Notes.......................................................................108 Journal..............................................................................109 Data Analysis Procedures............................................................109 Transcript Analysis...........................................................110 Interview and WSPS Analysis..........................................113 Document Analysis...........................................................114 Cross Case Analysis..........................................................116 Trustworthiness ........................................................................................116 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS...............................................................................................118 Kyle ..................................................................................................................119 Introducing the Vignettes.........................................................................121 Vignette 1......................................................................................122 Vignette 2......................................................................................127 Vignette 3......................................................................................143 Vignette 4......................................................................................153 Summary of the Interactions betw een Mrs. Ring and Kyle and His
iii Responses to the Interactions.................................................................160 Ray ...................................................................................................................167 Introducing the Vignettes.........................................................................170 Vignette 1.....................................................................................170 Vignette 2.....................................................................................172 Vignette 3.....................................................................................175 Vignette 4.....................................................................................177 Vignette 5.....................................................................................184 Summary of the Interactions between Mrs. Ring and Ray and His Responses to the Interactions................................................................187 Cross Case Analysis Between Kyle and Ray.......................................................191 Colleen.................................................................................................................193 Introducing the Vignettes.........................................................................197 Vignette 1......................................................................................198 Vignette 2......................................................................................201 Vignette 3......................................................................................203 Vignette 4......................................................................................206 Vignette 5......................................................................................215 Vignette 6......................................................................................218 Vignette 7......................................................................................224 Vignette 8......................................................................................228 Summary of the Interactions be tween Mrs. Mac and Colleen and Her Responses to the Interactions................................................................230 Chad .................................................................................................................235 Introducing the Vignettes.........................................................................236 Vignette 1......................................................................................237 Vignette 2......................................................................................238 Vignette 3......................................................................................240 Vignette 4......................................................................................247 Vignette 5......................................................................................250 Vignette 6......................................................................................252 Summary of the Interactions between Mrs. Mac and Chad and His Responses to the Interactions...............................................................252 Cross Case Analysis Between Colleen and Chad................................................255 Cross Case Analysis Among All Students...........................................................256 Deconstructing Brainstorming.............................................................................259 Chapter Summary................................................................................................264 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION.........................................................................................265 Purpose of the Study............................................................................................266 Exemplary Teaching Revisited............................................................................267 Mediated Action Through Teacher Response......................................................270 Praise........................................................................................................268 Affirmation...............................................................................................271 Brainstorming...........................................................................................274 Written Response to Mediated Action ................................................................275
iv Teaching in Small Chunks.......................................................................275 Explicit Instruction...................................................................................277 Transfer of Learning................................................................................281 Some Practices May Be Count erproductive for Some Students..............285 Social Positioning.................................................................................................2 86 Best Practices?..................................................................................................... .288 Return of a Difference.............................................................................290 Daddy Knows Best (Scolding in the Generic).........................................292 Implications for Classroom Instruction...............................................................293 Implications for Future Research.........................................................................295 Conclusion...........................................................................................................296 References..................................................................................................................... ...299 Bibliography................................................................................................................... .325 Appendices Appendix A Characteristics of Exemplary Teachers.................................327 Appendix B The Writer Self-Perception Scale..........................................329 Appendix C The Writer Self-Per ception Scale Scoring Sheet...................332 Appendix D Teacher Interview Guide........................................................333 Appendix E Transcription System Used in the Study................................334 Appendix F Sample Checklist of Writing Elements Used in Mrs. Macs Classroom..............................................................................335 Appendix G Kyles August Baseline..........................................................336 Appendix H Kyles The Bad Day ...............................................................337 Appendix I Kyles The Toy Store .............................................................340 Appendix J Rays August Baseline...........................................................341 Appendix K Rays The Bad Day ................................................................342 Appendix L Rays The Magic Pencil .........................................................343 Appendix M Colleens Prewriting for Invisible for a Day ..........................344 Appendix N Colleens Saving Someones Life ...........................................345 Appendix O Colleens Being Invisible for a Day .......................................346 Appendix P Colleens Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen .....348 Appendix Q Chads Prewriting for When You Found An Object ...............350 Appendix R Chads When You Found An Object ......................................351 Appendix S Chads Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico ................................352 Appendix T Chads Saving Someones Life ...............................................354 Appendix U Concept Introducti on in Mrs. Rings Classroom...................355 Appendix V Concept Introducti on in Mrs. Macs Classroom....................356 ABOUT THE AUTHOR.......................................................................................End Page
v LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Comparison Between Capa ble and Less Capable Writers...............................55 Table 2 Class Mean Scores on Wr iter Self Perception Scale.......................................96 Table 3 Recommended Students Raw Scores Compared to WSPS Suggested Low Range Scores..............................................................................................96 Table 4 Research Questions and Study Design..........................................................106 Table 5 Details Demonstrat ed in Kyles Writing........................................................126 Table 6 Kyles First Draft to The Magic Pencil ..........................................................130 Table 7 Kyles Revision to The Magic Pencil ............................................................132 Table 8 A Comparison of the First Two Draft of The Magic Pencil ..........................134 Table 9 A Comparison Three Drafts of The Magic Pencil .........................................139 Table 10 Story Beginnings Kyle................................................................................142 Table 11 Rays First Draft to The Magic Pencil ...........................................................179 Table 12 Colleens Introductory Paragraph..................................................................202 Table 13 Third Attempt to Retu rn the Alien to His Planet...........................................214 Table 14 Story Beginnings Colleen...........................................................................218 Table 15 Beginning to Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico ..............................................221 Table 16 Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico (Entire Story).............................................222 Table 17 Beginning to Saving Someones Life ............................................................225 Table 18 Mrs. Macs Feedback to Students During Sharing.......................................228 Table 19 First two paragraphs from Swimming in the Gulf Of Mexico ........................249
vi An Examination of the Interaction Between Exemplary Teachers and Struggling Writers Betty Ruth Sylvester ABSTRACT This study examined the interactions betw een teachers of writing and struggling writers. There were two main research que stions: (1) What is the nature of the interaction between exemplary teachers of wr iting and struggling writers? (2) What are the responses of struggling writers to exemplar y teachers scaffolding? To answer these questions, qualitative analysis was conducte d on data. Two struggling writers were selected for the study based on their respons es to the Writers Se lf-Perception Scale, writing samples, and teacher recommendati on. Data collection included observation in two separate fourth grade cl assrooms during the writing block for 30 days. Data sources included audio-recordin g of writing instruction and teache r and student interviews, field notes, and writing samples. Several areas of similarity across the pa rticipants emerged from the data. They included mediated action through teacher res ponse, written response to mediated action, social positioning, and best practices? By exam ining the interactions the researcher was able to speculate on social c onsequences of the interactions between teacher and student as they relate to literacy learning.
1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Introduction and Problem Writing has intrigued scholars for thousands of years. Some modern day movies, such as The Adventures of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), are based on the deciphering of an ancient linguistic system in order to unearth a legendary artifact of history. Sophisticated meanings embedded with in crude cave drawings, pictographs, and hieroglyphics have fascinated archeologists for centurie s. Early forms of written communication were confined to those who were privileged to know how to inscribe the signs and who were able to understand the m eaning of those signs (Patai, 2003). In later societies, scribes were given power and pres tige within their culture because of their ability to write and interpret the symbols. In contrast, writing is currently linked to basic literacy and viewed as a life skill. To effectively function in society, indivi duals must know how to communicating through writing. Letters, requests, tha nk you notes, cards, memos, dir ections, and instructions are a few examples of the nearly endless writt en forms of expressions found in todays literate society. In the school setting, skill in written communication is critical to the demonstration of what has been learned. Teach ers may require students to demonstrate in writing their knowledge of specific concepts, su ch as writing a lite rary analysis of a specific poem or writing a reflection on an assigned text or activity. Recently the high-stakes testing trend acr oss the United States has placed an emphasis on writing instruction w ithin the classroom (Florida Department of Education,
2 2003). Consequently, students may be required to frequently respond to a prompt in order to prepare for state-mandated writing a ssessment. Writing on demand is common in many public schools across the United States an d advancing to the next grade or even graduating from high school ofte n rests on satisfactory scores. When testing carries high stakes, it can dominate classroom life (Freedman, 1993) and influence teachers instructional practices (Bri ndley & Schneider, 2002). Wh en Brindley and Schneider (2002) surveyed fourth grade teachers in one district, they found that while teachers prepared students for high stakes testing, their instructional methods focused on shortsighted attention to particular techniques to improve students ability to score higher on the test (p. 332) and teachers instructional strategies were influenced by the state and the district-level training. Teachers reported feeling more skilled at teaching writing and supported this claim by their increased expectations of their students and the more frequent writing instruction during the da y. Though teachers may feel more skilled at teaching writing, the focus of instruction in some fourth grade classrooms is on two writing genre, expository and narrative, and in narrowly defined forms. This shortsighted genre focus minimizes the importance of writing as a form of communication. Being able to articulate ones thoughts through written communication is central to being literate. Yet, for th e struggling writer, writing can be an overwhelming task. Murray (1984), an expert writer, sympathizes: writing is one of the most complicated human activities (p.6). The layers of comple xity are different for each writer, but having an exemplary writing teacher may make a difference for the struggling writer.
3 Theoretical Frame The importance of oral language in soci al settings is one of the foundational assumptions of the work of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), a Russian psychologist whose interest in child development and in theories of language and social interaction are useful in the field of education (Moll, 1990). Th erefore, examining interactions between teachers and struggling writers seems best viewed through a socio-cultural lens. Vygotskys theory, often called the sociocultural approach to learning (Wertsch, 1985), is concerned with how the surrounding soci al and cultural forces affect childrens cognitive development. Vygotsky did not s ee thinking as individualized, but rather theorized that the mind extends beyond the skin (Wertsch, 1991, p. 90) and is irreversibly connected to other minds. Vygots ky, therefore, emphasized the social nature of cognition rather than its i ndividual nature. Social experi ences form the way one thinks about the world, thus social experiences authorize how rea lity is constructed. Vygotsky argued that every function in th e childs cultural development appears twice: first on the social level, and later, on the indi vidual level (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 57). Language is the primary means of so cial communication. Vygotsky placed a strong emphasis on oral language in the so cial setting for childrens cognitive development and emphasized the role of a dults and more capable peers in that development. Learning appears as an interpsy chological category (between individuals), and then as intrapsychological category (with in the individual) w ith the assistance of knowledgeable members of the culture. Child ren are exposed to and learn cognitive processes through social inter action, and as the external, so cial plane is internalized, children reorganize and reconstr uct their social experiences in to individual, psychological
4 processes. Thus for knowledge to be inte rnalized it must be transformed from an interpersonal process, or knowledge that exists outside the child, to an intrapersonal one. Vygotsky theorized that a childs cognitive ability can be defined in various ways depending on whether or not a child is rece iving assistance in a particular task. He formulated a construct named the zone of proximal development (ZPD), the difference between the potential level and the actual level of a childs learning. The potential level is the level at which a child can perform a task with the assistance of an adult or expert other. The actual level is th e level that a child can func tion independently without any assistance. Vygotsky argued that the lower actual level ability is raised to the potential level ability through interacti on with and assistance of e xpert others. The successful interaction is at the ripening rather than the ripe functions because th e task is slightly beyond what the child can do i ndependently (Vygotsky, 1978). Sociocultural theory assumes social origins of knowledge and learning and focuses primarily on the need for educators to build on the cultura l and sociolinguistic knowledge of learners. Thus sociocultura l theorists view know ledge as a cultural phenomenon and learning as social as well as cognitive. The influence of sociocultural theory within the classroom is reflected in the following statement by Sulzby and Teale (1991): Vygotskys theory that cognition is intern alized social intera ction, explains how literacy is acquired through the social interaction that occurs between literate adults and young children. More spec ifically, children acquire their understandings about literacy, and they in ternalize structures for reading, writing, and speaking through conversations and supported, purposeful engagement in
5 literacy events with adults. Adults sca ffold such events in moving toward the ultimate goal of increasingl y greater autonomy for the child. Adults and peers facilitate routines where children operate through repe titions of tasks and the introduction of variations on those tasks so that the child internalizes not only the task but also the ability to engage in similar tasks independently. (p. 730) The organization and structure of the social interaction in particular activities in a particular setting determines the structure and organization of consciousness and learning (Dixon-Krauss, 1996). This thinking and lear ning develop differently depending on the particular setting or context in which they occur. Learning viewed from a sociocultural perspective supports the research findings that classrooms of exemplary teachers create an environment or a classroom culture that de velops a particular wa y of being a learner (Berliner, 1994; Collinson, 1994; Noddings, 1995) For one classroom, this way of being may be very different from a similar classr oom just next door. Fr om the socio-cultural perspective, a particular way of talki ng, acting, responding, knowing, doing, and being is constructed through the discursi ve and social practices of the classroom (Bloome, 1985; Gee, 1989). Mediation is needed in order for high er mental processes such as voluntary attention and thinking to build on lower mental processes, such as involuntary attention. (Dixon-Krauss, 1996). Exemplary teachers view their role as mediating the childs learning activity as they share knowledge and meaning through social interaction (Allington & Johnston, 2002; Pressley, Wh arton-McDonald, Allington, Block, & Morrow, 1998). According to Vygotsky (1978) when students are learning within the
6 zone of proximal development, there is an interaction between the student and the more knowledgeable other. The Purpose of the Study Understanding the specific pr actices of exemplary teachers as they attempt to disrupt the writing difficulties of their fourth grade strugg ling writers may aid educators as they continually search for effective ways to facilitate learni ng. At the heart of the study is my belief, supported by research (Berliner, 1994; Collinson, 1994; Noddings, 1995), that there are teachers with ways of knowing that distinguish them from others. These teachers are often referred to as exem plary teachers by their colleagues and parents of students. Though they may be aware of the broad brushstrokes of their teaching repertoire such as management, strategi es, and methodology, in contrast the smaller brushstrokes, nuances, and subtleties, though discernible, typically go unnoticed. These teachers hold a wealth of knowledge about teach ing and learning that is infused in the daily lives of their students. Through anal ysis and interpretati on, I endeavored to discover, identify, and develop a better understanding of how these teachers interact with struggling writers within th eir classrooms. My assumption was that because of the exemplary teachers levels of expertise (B erliner, 1994), they may address the struggling writer in meaningful and productive ways. Of the numerous studies regarding ch ildrens writing published in professional journals, specific populations, such as str uggling writers are typically examined in articles found in journals that focus on learning disabilities (Christenson, Thurlow, Ysseldyke, & McVicar, 1989; Englert, 1990; Graham & Harris, 1997; Graham, Harris, MacArthur, & Schwartz, 1991). In addition, a nd with some exceptions, little has been
7 written about the practices of exemplary wr iting teachers, what they do, or how they implement and sustain the teaching of writing to struggling writers in their classrooms. Berliner (1994) strongly advocates the st udy of expert teachers in order to provide extremely useful case material from which to learn. Gallimore and Tharp (1990) further argue the need for an investigation of th e interaction and expe riences of struggling writers with expert teachers: Teachers do not conduct instructional conve rsations because they do not know how. They do not know how, because they have never been taught. They almost never have opportunities to observe effective models or occasions for practicing and receiving feedback or for competen t coaching by a skilled mentor. Like all learners, teachers themselves must have th eir own performance assisted if they are to acquire the ability to assist the performance of their students. (p. 198) The purpose of this study was to descri be and explain the interaction between exemplary teachers and fourth grader strugg ling writers. Vygotsky (1978) states, What a child can do with assistance today she will be able to do by herself tomorrow (p. 87). Exemplary teachers can provide learners the scaffolding necessary to support and extend their learning. Through mediation, teachers pr ovide instructional strategies so that learners can extend their skills thus allowi ng them to accomplish a task not otherwise possible. When social interactions in a clas sroom focus on content or strategies within a learners zone of proximal development, a teacher or more able peer supplies scaffolding for the novice learner. Such scaffolding pr ovides the support or assistance that enables learners to develop understandi ngs or use strategies they w ould not have been capable of independently (Meyer, 1993; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976).
8 Research Questions Consistent with qualitative inquiry, the research ques tions identified by this study were broad in scope. Two research questions guided this inves tigation of exemplary writing teachers and struggling writers: 1. What is the nature of the interacti on between exemplary teachers of writing and struggling writers? 2. What are the responses of struggl ing writers to the interaction? The studys structure and resear ch questions were intentionally left open-ended to encourage me to look beyond fixed categories to nuances and sub tleties of thought. Significance of the Study Central to school reform and the quest for student achievement is the tacit understanding supported by research (Allington & Johnston, 2002; Allington, WhartonMcDonald, Block, & Morrow, 2001; Bond & Dykstra, 1967; Darling-Hammond, 1999; Duffy & Hoffman, 1999; Pressley, Rankin, a nd Yokoi, 1996) that improved teaching, certainly, exemplary teaching, is critical to the efforts. This study will add to the research that focuses on the interactions between wr iting teachers and their students who struggle with writing within the classroom. Much of the data identifying pr actices of exemplary language arts teachers has been obtained through large-scale surveys and limited classroom observations (Cantrell, 19 99; Morrow, Tracey, Woo, & Pressley, 1999; Pressley et al., 2001; Pressley et al., 1998). Yet, very few st udies have provided in-depth description of how exemplary teachers interact with struggling writers. This research study will help fill this gap by providing a hol istic description and interpretation of the
9 many layers of teaching practices and know ledge that are expressed in literacy instruction. Definition of Terms Effective teaching For this study, the term effective teaching refers to teacher competencies or the technical skills of teaching as identified through process-product research that was most prev alent during the 1970s and 1980s. Exemplary teaching The term is becoming more common in the literature to describe outstanding teachi ng. Collinson and Killeavy ( 1999) view an exemplary teacher as someone whose professional accomplishments and results serve as a model for peers ( p. 353) and Shulman refe rs to this teacher as a portrait of expertise (1987, p.1). Berliner (1994) has c ontended that expert teachers function on an intuitive or automatic level and have di fficulty explaining or defining their own or other experts traits that they observe For the purposes of this study, the term exemplary refers to someone who is an ex emplar of teaching excellence to which the profession can aspire. Struggling writers Because the term str uggling writers is most often used in research journals to descri be individuals who have probl ems with written expression, the term will be retained in this study. The definition of a struggling writer is intentionally left to include a broad gr oup of students who view themselves as struggling writers by their response to Writer Self Perception Scale (Bottomley, Henk, Melnick, 1998) and according to the classroom teachers comparison of the students writing with some standard that the s/he deems an appropriate benchmark. An example may be establishing a central id ea, organization, elaboration and unity in
10 relation to purpose and audience. These wr iters may include high academic achievers who toil with writing ideas as well as those who simply appear to be unmotivated to write. Struggling writers may also include students who have difficulty processing cognitive expression into written expression. Shared Writing The teacher and student s compose collaboratively, the teacher acting as expert and scribe for her appr entices as she demonstrated, guides, and negotiates the creati on of meaningful text (Routman, 2005, p. 83). Writing Skills and Strategies This phrase will be used throughout chapters 4 and 5 when referencing the focus of the writing lesson. Writing skills are information processing techniques that writers use au tomatically such as spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and handwriti ng to name a few. Collins (1998) describes writing strategies as deliberate th inking procedures writers use to solve problems that they encounter while writing, (p. vii). A few exam ples of strategies are adding details and sensory words to make writing more vivi d, using organizers to organize and group ideas, or brainstorming to tap prior knowle dge. Both teachers us ed several different terms to describe a writing skill or strategy such as technique, concept, or element, as well as, skill and strategy. However, to a void confusion, the phrase writing skills and strategies will be used extensively. Writing Process In the early eighties, writing pedagogy shifted from an emphasis on product to a focus on the process of wr iting thus making writing practical for children. Hallmarks of process writing pedagogy include student-composed text, teacher-student and peer-conferencing, revi sion of ones text based on peer input, publishing the text, and publicly sharing th e text. Enthroned in the Authors Chair
11 with peers for the audience, children were able to find their voice to make writing meaningful (Graves, 1983). Ch ildrens writing is cultivated by writing about topics of their choice to maintain c ontrol and ownership of their writing rather than depending on writing welfare (Graves, 1976). These wr iting activities are often collectively referred to as writing workshop (Calkins, 1994; Atwell, 1998). Writing events Anderson, Teale, and Estrad a (1980) define literacy events as action sequences involving people producing or comprehending print. For this study, writing events will be the action sequences that le ad to the production of written text. These events may include whole group instru ction, mini-lessons, teacher-student conferencing, peer conferencing, indepe ndent writing, shared writing, or guided writing. Limitations of the Study Five important limitations of the study need to be acknowledged. First I do not profess that my research is an objective desc ription of the students and teachers though through thick rich description encapsulated in vignettes, I have attempted to present the data. I recognize that this study cannot be duplicated be cause the findings are situated within the spaces of two unique classrooms. The second limitation is that this study examined the classroom of only two four th grade writing teachers who had been recommended by the language arts coordina tors in the county where the study was conducted. The county is one of the larges t in the state and undoubtedly, there are exemplary writing teachers who were unknown to the language arts c oordinators at the time of recommendation. However, the intent of the study was not to select the BEST writing teachers because that w ould be very difficult to determ ine, but rather to examine
12 classrooms where teachers empl oyed writing instruction that re search has determined to be most effective. If two other writing t eachers had been selected, it is possible that findings other than those presented in th is study would emerge. While both teachers stated in the initial interview that they conferenced with students, this practice was only observed twice in Mrs. Rings class during a conference with Kyle, though I observed her on several occasions referencing conferences she had with both Kyle and Ray. Mrs. Ring explained several weeks into the study that she did not conference during the writing block. No conferencing was observed during th e writing block in Mr s. Macs classroom either, because she chose to conference later during the day. Mrs. Mac recorded conferencing notes in students writing fold ers and frequently referenced conferencing during the writing lesson thus substantiating th at she did conference wi th her students. While both teachers admitted constraint by the state-mandated writing assessment, many best practices associated w ith quality writing instruction were evident in these classrooms. Though it was not the intent of the study, data analysis revealed the teachers were not holistically exemplary. The third limitation of this research is that a state-mandated writing assessment was slated for fourth grade, the level where the study was conducted. Narrative and expository writing, though narrowl y defined by the states department of education, were the focus of the assessmen t; however, I was present in the classrooms only during the instruction for narrative wri ting. Fortunately, narrative writing instruction in the two schools was not taught during the sa me quarter; therefore, I was able to observe during the first quarter of the semest er at Cypress Grove Elementary and during the second quarter at Lakeview Elementary.
13 The fourth limitation is related to the grade level of the students. Primary grade students and students above four th grade have different leve ls of writing competence and thus the way in which teachers interact with struggling writers may be different at other grades. The final limitation is related to the tim e and duration of the study. Observation in Mrs. Rings classroom was halted several times due to schools closi ng in her county as a result of hurricanes. Two of the interruptions lasted for a week at a time, thus the duration of my observation in Mrs. Rings class was two weeks longer than the observation in Mrs. Macs classroom.
14 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction The focus of this chapter is to review the literature that is foundational to addressing the questions that have prompted th is research: (1) What is the nature of the interaction between exemplary teachers of wr iting and struggling writers? and (2) What are the responses of struggling writers to th e interaction? The review will build an argument that creates a space for the study as a contribution to and expansion of what is currently known and thought about the inte raction between teach ers and struggling writers. The review begins with a discussion of the literature that has informed my understanding of effective teaching. Research on expertise and the notion of teacher as an expert pedagogue will then be reviewed. Fo llowing this, strands from each of these bodies of research weave their way into the ke y findings of the research on the practices of exemplary literacy teachers. The next section of the re view continues by considering the classroom research that has investig ated effective writing pedagogy. Vygotskys sociocultural theory frames the notion of soci al interaction and classroom talk as the allpervasive element in childrens learning; theref ore an investigation of classroom talk that will inform this study will then be reviewed. Ne xt, an examination of research relevant to struggling writers will be examined, specifically the characteristics of struggling writers, behaviors of these writers, and strategic instruction that has empirical evidence for consideration in writing inst ruction. Finally, because gende r differences may influence
15 the writing behaviors and writi ng content as well as the evaluation due to perceived gender of the writer, a brie f selection of gender resear ch will be included. Overview of Effective Teaching Research Cooper and McIntyre (1996) give a brief su mmary of the history of the evolution of research into teaching. Until the 1950s research tended to be of two kinds: experiments on the implementation of a method for teaching particular subjects or topics or for managing the classroom and explorations of the personal characteristics of the good teacher. By the 1960s, research was b ecoming increasingly clear that teaching was a very complex process and could not be confin ed to standardized methods. Therefore, in order to understand teaching, one needed to st udy what happens within classrooms. In the 1970s, there was a growing realization that obs erving within the classroom needed to be complemented by accessing the thinking and decision-making of the teacher. The process-product model was the dominant m odel of the 1970s that evaluated teaching effectiveness. Central to this model was th e examination of correla tions between product measures and process measures of classroom activities that were hypothesized to be conducive to desired outcomes. Studies were de signed to look at an aspect of effective teaching in relationship to student academic achievement data. Effective teachers were identified as those whose students had made the greatest gain on achievement tests. Furthermore, the research tended to be linear and categorical so that effective characteristics and behaviors of teachers c ould be measured based on student learning achievement. By observing and recording inst ructional practices of expert teachers, researchers hoped to identify these behaviors. A number of researchers have attempted to review and synthesize the findings of this ex tensive area of researc h. The various reviews
16 prompted educators to generalize across st udies, consider common principles of the studies, and to describe teaching practices more fully. Characteristics and Practices of Effective Teaching Characteristics Rosenshine (1987) conduc ted a review of correlati onal process-product studies and found five teacher processes that consiste ntly resulted in positive student outcomes. These include teachers (a) clarity of pres entation and ability to organize classroom activities, (b) task orientation of academic fo cus with structured r outines, (c) enthusiasm, (d) flexibility, and (e) us e of varied materials, media, and activities. Instructional Practices Walberg (1991) provides a summary of th e effects of approximately 8,000 studies on teaching and instruction in elementary and secondary school. By comparing the effect size of various psychological elements of t eaching, he found that the use of cues, student engagement, corrective feedback, and reinforcem ent to be the most effective practices. Cues show what is to be learned and explai n how to learn it. Cues take on many forms such as advance organizers, adjunct questi ons, goal setting, learni ng hierarchies, and pretests. Effective teachers foster engageme nt of students who are active and purposeful participants in learning activities. Student engagement is increased by teachers high expectations of standards of learning and performance, freque nt tests, and questioning. By corrective feedback, teachers atte mpt to remedy difficulties, and through reinforcement, students are made aware of their progress. A notable work of Brophy and Good (1986) provides a comprehensive review of process-product studies c onducted from 1973-1983. According to their review most
17 reliable findings about effective teaching describe a classroom teacher who is well organized, efficient, task-oriented and businesslike. Coverage of academic content, clear feedback and remedial instruction when neces sary leads to superior performance on tests of facts and skills. Control, efficiency, and objective measurement of learning outcomes are key descriptors of the process-pr oduct approach to e ffective teaching. Classroom Management Later research of effective teaching was often associated with classroom management and many terms were rooted in Kounins (1970) princi ples of classroom management research. Terms used to describe effectiveness were with-it-ness, smoothness, clarity, alertness, p acing, momentum, overlapping, and student accountability. Cognitive Processes of Effective Teachers Another line of research of effective teaching shifted from the efficient behavior and management ability to the mental lives of teachers. Clark and Peterson (1986) concluded that their own and others attempts to develop models of teachers classroom decision-making may have been premature. We would suggest, therefore, that before specifying a new model or revising the existi ng models of teacher interactive decisionmaking, researchers should first do more de scriptive research on how teachers make interactive decisions (p. 278). In 1975 Clar k and Peterson began to study the cognitive processes of teachers in order to descri be and understand the rationale underlying effective teaching. These cognitive processes were the planning, decision-making, beliefs and theories of teachers that guide d and influenced teacher action. Personality Traits
18 Research on personality traits and behaviors of teachers has produced few consistent findings, with the exception of studies finding a recurring positive relationship between student learning and teachers who are flexible, creative, and adaptable (Walberg & Waxman, 1983). The importance of flexibility is essential in meeting the needs of individual students. Successful teachers tend to be those wh o are able to use a range of teaching strategies and adjust their teaching to fit the needs of different students and the demands of different instruc tional goals, topics, and met hods (Doyle, 1985). The use of different strategies occurs in the context of "active teaching" that is purposeful and diagnostic rather than random or laissez faire and that respon ds to students' needs as well as curriculum goals (Good, 1983). Limitations of Studies on Effective Teaching Although effective teaching research ha s shown that good teaching does make a difference, teacher effectiveness models, teacher competency lists, and research on teacher effects may narrow the vision so that other nuances of exemplary teaching are missed. Much of the research during th e 1970s and 1980s overlooked the emotional, qualitative, and interpretive descriptions of classrooms. However, some studies conducted during the same period of time or as a result of effective teaching research provided specific contextual information th at began to expand the understanding of exemplary teaching. For Greene (1986), good teaching and learning involved such intangibles as values, experien ces, insights, and appreciation. E ffective teachers have also been described as caring and flexible and ab le to create a good so cial/psychological and physical climate in the classroom (Noddings, 1995).
19 In summary, from the effective teaching research there appears to be a consensus of behaviors and fundamental ch aracteristics that are typica lly demonstrated by effective teachers. These behaviors and characteristic s are further striated into the areas of instructional strategies a nd classroom management or organization. The personal attributes of the teacher cont ribute to the effectiveness of his or her instructional strategies and classroom organization. Another important entity to explore is the thinking behind the action, or teachers knowledge th at is expressed through their teaching. Teacher Knowledge Teacher knowledge is made up subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. Subject matter knowledge is knowle dge and understanding of a particular content. The teachers own background knowledge in a subject affects how well the nature of knowing is communicated to the st udents. Teachers who are weak in specific content are likely to relate the nature of knowing as rulegoverned, factdriven, and low level knowledge (Steinberg, Marks, & Haym ore, 1985). Teachers lack of content knowledge may cause the student to develop or reinforce misconceptions. Furthermore, teachers who have procedural knowledge, but lack conceptual knowledge may be limited in their effectiveness in explaining the content to students (G rossman, 1987). Doyle (1976) hypothesized that tasks th at require problem-solving ar e typically more difficult to manage than the routine tasks associated with rote learning. The lack of knowledge about how to manage an active, inquiry-oriented clas sroom can lead teachers to turn to passive tactics that "dumb down" the curriculum, busying students with workbooks rather than with complex tasks that require more skill to orchestrate. Teaching effectively requires giving reasons, providing explanation, and c onstructing activities a nd representations to
20 facilitate childrens understanding of the c oncepts which in turn rests on knowing the subject. Teachers with subject matter e xpertise knowledge typi cally ask high-level questions (Hashweh, 1987). Effective teachers go beyond the underst anding of a subject to effectively facilitate understandi ng of that particular subject to their students. Shulman (1986) called this specialized body of knowledge for teachers pedagogical content knowledge (p.4). Teachers serve as mediators between the worl d of the discipline, on one side, and the world of the students, on the other (G rossman, 1991, p. 209). Knowledge of subject must be supplemented with knowledge of st udents and learning and with the knowledge of curriculum and school context (Shulman, 1986). Shulman (1987) and his colleagues at Stanford University initiated a series of cas e studies of high school teachers ability to transform their knowledge of subject knowledge in order to represent it to their students. From the study of these teachers, he noted se ven components of teacher knowledge: (a) content knowledge, (b) general pedagogi cal knowledge, (c) curriculum knowledge, (d) pedagogical content knowledge, (e) knowledg e of learners and th eir characteristics, (f) knowledge of educational contexts, and (g ) knowledge of educat ional ends, purposes, and values. Collinsons (1994) research on exemplar y teaching extends the elements of Shulmans model to include interpersonal knowledge and intrapersonal knowledge as well as professional knowledge. Collinsons (1994) study of exemplary teachers is based on the work of Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Taruels (1986) ways of knowing, that considers that there are many ways of knowing and many kinds of experiences that contribute to ones knowledge. Thus exemplar y teachers ways of knowing may provide
21 a wealth of insight into merging their know ledge of students and knowing how to merge professional knowledge and personal knowledge to help students learn. Collinson (1994) proffers a model that includes development of a triad of knowledge that is necessary for exemplary teaching. Although professional knowledge plays a foundational role in ensuring exemplary teaching, it is far more effective when it is balanced with interpersonal knowledge and intrapersonal know ledge within and beyond the classroom. Interpersonal knowledge and intrapersonal knowledge are two of the seven types of intelligences identified by Gardner (1983) in his theory of multiple intelligences. Interpersonal knowledge incl udes human relationships w ith students, within the educational community, and lo cal community. Intrapersona l knowledge includes: (a) a disposition toward continuous learning, (b) in creasingly refined use of reflection (good thinking and judgment), (c) development of an ethic of care, and (d) development of a work ethic. Noddings (1984) contends that acts of teach ing are special instances of moral and ethical relationships which she interprets as caring. She argues that education from the care perspective has four key compon ents: modeling, dial ogue, practice and confirmation. By modeling care, educators are showi ng in their behavior what it means to care. As educators try to care, they are assist ed in their efforts by the feedback received from the recipients of their care. To produ ce students who care, educators must give students practice in caring and reflecting on that practice. Finally, confirmation is affirming and encouraging the best in others (Noddings, 2007). These caring acts are between the carer (teacher) and the cared for student. Noddings (1984) contends that, W hen I care, I really hear, s ee, or feel what the other
22 tries to convey (p.16). The ethi c of care also binds the pair in a relationship of mutual responsibility. Further, the ethic of care requi res each individual to recognize his or her frailty and to bring out the best in on e another (Noddings, 2007). According to King (1998) while teachers may want to respond a nd help students, their focus is divided between mastery of skills and students n eeds. Caring may potentially be rewarding, while simultaneously the demands of the cared for may be exhausting. To confound the notion, what one individual may describe as a caring act may differ from another individual based on their own experiences of being the carer or cared for. Care may also be invisible or have the appearance of not caring. And care may be absent in appearance and intention during a teachers cons tructions of interactions with students (King, 1998, p.126). Tronto (1994) suggests that caring is laye red with four relate d practices including care about, taking care of, caring for, and receiving care. By its very nature, care is fraught with conflict because there are so many more care needs than can ever be met. "At the most personal level, caregivers have n eeds at the same time that they give care to others, and they need somehow to balance th eir needs and those of others" (Tronto, 1998, p. 17). Care also is infused with power. Caring about, and taking care of are associated with the more powerful while car ing for and receiving caring are relegated to the less powerful. King (1998) describes thes e caring behaviors with in the classroom. Caring for behaviors are asso ciated with face-to-face endea vors such as tying shoes and talking with a child while caring about are be haviors related to that interaction such advocating on behalf of a student caring e ndeavors in the classroom. Tronto (1994) argued for making "this devalued aspect of human life" (p. 157) and an ethic of care itself
23 more central in political discussion. "Only if we understand care as a political idea can we change its status and the status of those who do it" (Tronto, 1994, p. 78). Care work is often demanding, inflexible and not always productive, yet people who are engaged in care acts recognize its intr insic value. However, a society who places a high premium on extrinsic values such as the accumulation of wealth and recognition does not hold the same view of care work. Th erefore, equating teaching with caring may position teaching with a less valued stat us as a profession (Tronto, 1998). Overview of Expert Pedagogues Some of the more recent investigations of exemplary teaching is based on the theory of expertise. Glaser (1987, 1990) has reviewed the literature on expertise in different fields of endeavor such as che ss, taxi driving, radiology, and physics. He believes there are over twenty propositions about the development of expertise. Berliner (1994) has paraphrased them and lists the most significant: 1. Expertise is specific to a domain, deve loped over hundreds and thousands of hours, and it continues to develop. 2. Development of expertise is not linear Non-monotonicities and plateaus occur, indicating shifts in understa nding and stabilization of automaticity. 3. Expert knowledge is structured better for use in performances than is novice knowledge. 4. Experts represent problems in qualitativ ely different ways than do novices. Their representations are deeper and richer. 5. Experts recognize meaningful patterns faster than novices.
24 6. Experts are more flexible, are more opportunistic planners, and can change representations faster when it is appropr iate to so do. Novices are more rigid in their conceptions. 7. Experts impose meaning on ambiguous s timuli. They are much more top down processors. Novices are misled by ambiguity and are more likely to be bottom up processors. 8. Experts may start to solve a problem slower than a novice, but overall they are faster problem solvers. 9. Experts are usually more constrained by the task requirements and the social constraints of the situ ation than are novices. 10. Experts develop automaticity in their be havior to allow conscious processing of ongoing information. From his research on classroom processes, Berliner (1994) be lieved that expert pedagogues needed to be inve stigated. Using the data co llected on the acquisition of pedagogical expertise, Berliner adapted Dreyfus and Dreyfuss (1986) heuristic developmental model to specify five stages an individual moves through from novice to expert. The stages are: (a) Novice Level, (b) Advanced Beginner Level, (c) Competent level, (d) Proficient Level, and (e) Expert Level. Student teachers and many first-year teachers are considered novices. Their instruction and interact ion is typically rule governed, such as allowing six seconds of wait time or identifying student interest through surveys. They are very dependent on their methods courses in college and stay within those perimeters. Advanced beginner level is made up of secondand third-year teachers. Typically they are able to recognize and
25 classify context, but are not yet actively determining through personal agency what is happening or willfully choosing what to do. They know when to adhere or break the global rules they were taught in college courses. Only with further experience and motivation do teachers reach the competent le vel. Competent teachers are characterized by their ability to consciously choose what th ey are going to do and determine what is and what is not important in areas of cu rriculum and instruction and mastery. Teachers who reach the proficient level may attain it by the fifth year. This is the stage at which teaching becomes automatic, and teachers weal th of experience creates a holistic way of viewing any situation that occurs. Teachers at the expert level show fluid, effortless performance and have an intuitive grasp of situations. Berliner (1994) reviewed the literature on pedagogical expertise, and based on the consistency across the studies, he was able to create propositions about expertise in pedagogy that seem to be robust. Some overl ap the propositions created by Glaser (1987, 1990) and some are specific to the domain of teaching. 1. Experts excel mainly in their own domain and in particular contexts (Berliner, et al., 1988; Chi, Glaser, a nd Farr, 1988; Glaser, 1987;) 2. Experts often develop automaticity for the repetitive operations that are needed to accomplish their goals (Car ter et al., 1987; Gr eene, 1986; Glaser, 1987; Krabbe & Tullgren, 1989). 3. Experts are more sensitive to the task demands and social situation when solving problems (Cushing, Sabers, & Berliner, 1989; Glaser, 1987; Housner & Griffey, 1985).
26 4. Experts are more opportunistic and flexib le in their teaching than are novices (Borko, 1992; Glaser, 1987). 5. Experts represent problems in qualita tively different ways than do novices (Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1988). 6. Experts have fast and accurate patter n recognition capabilit ies. Novices cannot always make sense of what they ex perience (Cushing, Sabers & Berliner, 1989; Sabers, Cushing, & Berliner, 1991). 7. Experts perceive meaningful pattern s in the domain in which they are experienced (Carter et al., 1988; Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1988; Pinheiro, 1992). 8. Experts may begin to solve problems slow er, but they bring richer and more personal sources of information to bear on the problem that they are trying to solve (Peterson & Comeaux, 1987). Berliners propositions of expertise in pedagogy serve to facil itate a description of an expert pedagogue. Extrapolating from the re search of the process of novice to expert, unlikely will all teachers be considered expe rts, but for the teachers who truly are, researchers should learn from th eir practice. Over the last fe w years, several researchers have undertaken this endeavor that examines literacy practices of exemplary teachers, or in light of Berliners work, expert pedagogues. Exemplary Teachers of Literacy A series of studies have shown that e ffective teachers are more efficacious than curricular materials, pedagogical approach es, or programs (Allington & Johnston, 2002; Bond & Dykstra, 1967; Darling-Hammond, 199 9; Duffy & Hoffman, 1999; Pressley,
27 Allington, Wharton-McDonald, Block, & Mo rrow, 2001; Pressley et al., 1996). Following is a review of some of the major studies of exemplary literacy instruction. Pressley et al. (1996) surveyed 83 prim ary teachers who had been nominated by their supervisors as effectiv e in educating their students to be readers and writers. Information about these teachers lite racy practices was obtained through two questionnaires. The first questionnaire asked each respondent to lis t ten practices that they believed to be essential in their literacy instruction. Each teacher generated a list for good readers, one for average readers, and one for weaker readers. The 300 practices that were cited in response to the questionnaire we re categorized and used to develop a final questionnaire. This questionnaire reques ted 436 responses and was 27 pages long. Analysis of the survey indicated shifts in reported practices be tween kindergarten and grade two. Yet, all teachers claimed commitme nt to (a) qualitatively similar instruction for students of all abilities, (b) literate classroom environments, (c) modeling and teaching of both decoding and comprehending sk ills, (d) extensive a nd diverse types of reading by students, (e) teaching students to pl an, draft, and revise as part of writing, (f) engaging literacy instruction, and (g) mon itoring of students progress in literacy. In a comparative study, Pressley, Whar ton-McDonald, Allington, Block, & Morrow (1998) expanded the earlier research with the goal of determining teaching practices that distinguish outstanding primar y-level teachers of literacy from typical teachers of literacy. Five schools from five di fferent American states were selected for the study. Each school supported students fr om a diversity of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. At each site, schoo l officials nominated teachers for the study. The participants were observed and interviewed for selection. Then through
28 prolonged study, the researchers were able to construct case descriptions of each schools most outstanding teacher. Pr essley et al. (1998) found ni ne characteristics that distinguished the successful classrooms in the study: 1. high academic engagement and competence 2. excellent classroom management 3. positive, reinforcing, cooperative environment 4. explicit teaching of skills 5. literature emphasis 6. much reading and writing 7. match of accelerating demands to student competence and scaffolding 8. strong connections across the curriculum These teachers did not confine themselv es to one teaching model but selected practices that worked well. There is no single magic bullet that develops effective literacy, but rather that lear ning strategies and skills, metacognition, content knowledge and motivation work in interaction (Pressley et al, 1998, p. 19). Another study was conducted to examine th e characteristics of exemplary first grade literacy instruction and to capture as many dimensions as possible of expert performance (Morrow, Tracey, Woo, & Pressl ey, 1999). The purpose was to learn from the modeling of exemplary teachers and to study exemplary teachers practices and beliefs. As such, the research might provide insight from experts regarding concerns of constructivist, explicit, and balanced instructional approach es that have been disputed for decades. Participant selection and data co llection were similar to other exemplary teaching studies.
29 Teacher interviews showed that exemplar y teachers believed in holistic practices, with literacy programs designed around themes and integrated with other content areas. Teachers advocated strong programs for skill development and well-designed instruction as well as spontaneous skill development. E xplicit skill development was taught within the context of authentic liter ature and content areas and the social collaboration and problem solving associated with an integr ated language arts approach. Teachers took responsibility for meeting indi vidual students needs and pr oviding instru ction within small, flexible groups based on specific need s. Partnering with the home in students literacy development was seen as important as was a positive, supportive classroom climate that was motivating to students. The presence of thematic studies and in terdisciplinary studie s was an outstanding characteristic of the exemplary literacy in struction. Teachers felt comfortable articulating their philosophies of how child ren learn and consciously based their classrooms on their philosophies. Their teaching repertoire included traditional direct instruction as well as constructivist models of learning. In their efforts to improve teaching and to reform schools, school jurisdictions, school boards, or entire states may mandate particular strategies or approaches to teaching and learning that are believed to im prove student achievement results. Such is the case in Kentucky, where literacy instructi on has shifted from traditional skills-based instruction to an integrated curriculum th at emphasizes a meaning-centered, integrated approach to teaching reading and writing. A review of Cantrells study (1999) merges with the study by Morrow et al (1999) as Ca ntrells work investig ated schools within a district where characteristics of exemplar y teaching were infused within the academic
30 program. The purpose of Cantrells study was to address the concerns that many teachers had in regards to replacing the basics fo r recommended practices for primary students literacy learning. Its specific purpose was to ascertain wh ether practices such as providing developmentally appropriate instruc tion, creating an integrated curriculum, and teaching reading and writing through a meani ng-centered approach were effective. Eight teachers were chosen from a sample of 72 t eachers. Four were selected based on their high implementation of recommended practices Four were selected based on their low implementation of recommended practices and use of a skills-based approach to teaching reading and writing. Cantrell (1998) found that all of the teach ers in the study who were considered to be successful used a wide range of childrens literature and structured their classrooms so that students were engaged in reading and writ ing activities for extend ed periods of times. Students were grouped for instruction as needed with flexible, within-class, mixed-ability groups that changed according to student needs. Explicit skill instruction was provided as needed within the flexible groupings. Open-ended writing activities that involved st udents in higher-level writing skills were an important feature of the teachers literacy instruction. Journal writing and interdisciplinary writing allowed students to increase their writing proficiency. Skills were taught within th e context of reading and writing instruction. Achievement test results indicated that the four teachers w ho had high implementation of the recommended practices for primary programs helped their students become capable readers and writers rather than regress due to the limiting of traditional skills -based instruction. Another comparative study was conduc ted by Wray, Medwell, Fox, and Poulson
31 (2000). This study investigated the characteristics of 228 primary teachers who were identified by an advisory staff as effectiv e in the teaching of li teracy and 71 primary teachers who were less effective. All teache rs completed a questionnaire designed to inquire about their teaching beliefs and tec hniques and professional development. The pool was narrowed to 26 effective teachers a nd 10 less effective teachers. Teachers were observed twice and interviewed about the t eaching episodes. Exemplary teachers differed from the less effective teacher s in their ability to develop skills through a wider range of teaching activities and through their use of whole texts. Skill development was embedded within the context of reading rather than through worksheets. Grammar instruction was taught within wr iting activities. Lessons were focused and fast-paced and typically contained more than two tasks. Ti me on task was monitored and expectations were clearly in place for what was to be accomplished at each stage of the lesson and during work periods. Attention to students t hought-processes was evident in the kinds of questions that teachers aske d the class, small groups of students, and individuals. Two key findings distinguished exemplary literacy teaching. First, they taught a range of literacy skills and knowledge by actively assisting their students in making connections between the text, sentence and wo rd levels of literacy work. Second, they utilized modeling, demonstration, explanations, and exemplifications in order to make the purposes and processes explicit for their student s, thus encouraging a mindful approach to literacy learning fo r their students. Much of the research on exemplary langua ge arts instructi on investigated the teaching practices of primary grade teacher s. A qualitative study by Allington, Johnston, and Day (2002) examined the key features of exemplary fourth grade teachers. Thirty
32 teachers from five states were nominated using a snowball procedure from multiple sources in each locale. They were observed te n full instructional days over the course of a year. Data were collected through field notes, audiotapes, videotapes and structured and unstructured interviews with the teachers a nd some students. Members of the research team used these various data sources to pr epare case studies for 12 of these exemplary teachers. By performing a content analysis of the features identified in each case analysis, five focal elements emerged: the nature of classroom talk, the curriculum materials, the nature of instruction, the work students completed, and the nature of evaluation. First, the students in these classes routinel y read and wrote for as much as half of the school day typically with a 50/50 ratio of reading to writing. In addition, exemplary teachers created multi-leveled, multi-sourced curr icula that met the needs of the diverse range of readers in their classrooms. Moreove r, text selection was based on the reading level of individual students so that they w ould experience success in their reading. Also, teaching was typified by crafting direct a nd explicit demonstrations of the cognitive strategies used by good readers when they read. Exemplary teachers modeled and supported lots of purposeful ta lk, teacher-student and student -student, across the school day. The classroom talk was more often a conversational nature discussing ideas, concepts, hypotheses, strategies, and responses with others. In addition, assignments were often interdisciplinary and ex tended over several days. Assign ments were typically based on student choice. Finally, evaluation of student work was based on effort and improvement more than achievement, there by creating an instructional environment where the playing field is more even fo r high-achieving students as well as lowerachieving students.
33 Key findings from this study show that students of exemplary teachers show superior educational gains as measured on st andardized tests, although their instructional style omitted the drill and practice of test pr eparation. A finding that left the deepest impression on the researchers was the comple xity of classroom conversations. These students demonstrated dramatic improvements in their literate conve rsation, evidence of internalizing the thinking that was routinely demonstrated. Themes emerge from the research regard ing the nature of exemplary practice in teaching reading and writing and the implicit th eories that seem to underlie the approach of the teachers. The exemplary practice of language arts teachers appears to be distinguished by the following characteristics: (a) the classroom is noted for its literacy rich learning environment, (b) class mana gement and organization is apparent, (c) teachers have expectations and hold stude nts accountable for learning as well as behavior, (d) teachers meet individual n eeds and engage students in learning, (e) excellent instructional strate gies are used, (f) skills ar e taught explicitly within meaningful and contextualized activities, and (g) a meaning centered approach is employed. The large sample size for each of these st udies as well as data collection primarily through surveys, interviews, and observations served to validate the findings. However, the longest period of observation was 10 times over the course of a year. Yet, findings from current research into the practice of exemplary language arts teaching will be useful in identifying exemplary teachers to observe for my study as well as practices that characterize the exemplary teachers instructiona l repertoire. Therefore, a synthesis of the
34 Characteristics and traits illustrative of exem plary teachers will be compiled to frame the criteria selection for prospec tive participants for the study. The review of the research on effectiv e teaching and expert literacy pedagogy affirms that teaching expertise rather than programs is crucial to the improvement and facilitation of literacy instruction. Next an examination of Hillocks (1984) meta-analysis of 60 writing studies and a follow up to his study by Sadoski, Willson, and Norton (1997) will be reviewed. Writing Pedagogy and Quality Writing Hillocks (1984) examined how pedagogical approach and specific instructional activities affect the quality of students writing. Four researchers narrowed the pool of 500 published studies between 1962 and 1982 to 60 studies that met minimal criteria: involvement of a treatment, use of a scale of writing quality a pplied to samples of writing, the exercise of minimal control for teacher bias, control for differences among groups of students, and scoring under conditio ns that help to assure validity and reliability. The researchers categorized the teach ing methodology into four modes of instruction: environmental, presentational, natural proce ss, and individualized. Studies reflecting the natural process mode positioned teachers as facilitators for students discoveries and development. The na tural process mode is described as offering (a) generalized objectives, (b) student choice in topic selection usually composed in journals, (c) writing for audien ces of peers precipitated by generally positive feedback from peers, and (d) high levels of inte raction among students. Studies reflecting the presentational mode situated teachers as the dispenser of knowledge about writing and were found to have the least si gnificant gains in posttest writing scores. This mode is
35 characterized by (a) relatively clear and sp ecific objectives, (b) lecture and teachercentered presentation dealing with concepts to be learned and applied, (c) the study of models that illustrate the concept, (d) sp ecific assignments which generally involved imitating a pattern that have been previ ously discussed, and (e) teacher feedback following the writing. The environmental mode combined the fact ors from the presentational and natural process modes and is named suitably to reflect that learning is the result of the interaction of all aspects of the classroom: teacher, peer s, materials, and ideas. Studies reflecting the environmental mode showed teachers leading students in understanding the criteria used to judge writing and engaging them in activitie s whereby they learned to apply strategies that helped them achieve the criteria. Th e environmental mode of instruction is characterized by (a) clear and specific objectives, (b) materi als and problems selected to engage students with each ot her in specifiable processes im portant to some particular aspect of writing, and (c) activ ities, such as small group problem-centered discussions, conducive to high levels of p eer interaction. Studies empl oying this approach produced an effect 22 times greater than the presentati onal mode. This was the largest, and the only significant, effect for mode of instruction in the meta-analysis. Hillocks study showed the environmental mode of instruction had an average effect size of .44, compared to the presentational mode, natural process mode and the individualized mode, which had average effect sizes of .02, .19, and .17 respectively. Beside the mode of instruction, he code d each study for its instruction associated with writing: grammar and mechanics, senten ce combining, models, scales, freewriting, and inquiry. Most of these activities or foci had a positive average effect size with the
36 exclusion of grammar and mechanics that had an average effect size of -.29. The negative effect of exercises in declarative knowledge, such as grammar and mechanics, was due to their displacement of opportuni ties to actually engage in writ ing. Of the six instructional variables, Hillocks found the st rongest relationships to gains in pretest-posttest writing quality demonstrated by those that addressed procedural knowl edge: (a) the use of scales, (b) sentence combining, and (c) inquiry. Hillocks grouped as post-writing treatments five other variables that addressed aspects of feedback and revision and repor ted the associated effectiveness of each. Negative feedback had an effect size of .20, feedback on operationa lly clear objectives for improvement, .74, and positive feedback, .43. Treatments in which feedback came from both peers and teachers produced slightly greater effects than did those in which feedback came from teacher alone. Treatme nts that focused on what writers had done well produced far greater effect s than treatments that focused on what was wrong with the writing. Hillocks clearly demonstrated through his meta-analysis that a teachers mode and focus of writing instruction has a significan t impact on changing the quality of student writing (p. 217). Hillocks found that effective writing instruction had clear and specific objectives and prepared students to write a bout specific topics. Br ainstorming activities that helped students organize information prior to writing was common in effective writing instruction. Less effective were methods in which students merely wrote lots of text with minimal teacher guidance or interac tion. Utilizing models to emulate features of good writing or isolated skills, such as parts of speech, to teach declarative knowledge is
37 inconsequential if students do not have th e procedural knowledge to compose quality writing, because treatments emphasizing proced ural knowledge have very strong effects Sadoski et al. (1997) attempted to furt her investigate the interpretations of Hillocks by investigating the relationship s of 17 instructional variables to the improvement of writing quality and quantity. Their study included 16 classroom teachers from grades 1, 3-6, and 8 and their 275 stude nts. All 16 teachers had attended a threeweek summer writing workshop. Their student s were given the same writing prompt in September and again in November although th e teacher did not know the prompt was the same. Eight graduate students scored th e writing prompt compositions. Interrater scoring reliability was established for writing quality, degree of prewriting, and handwriting quality. Writing quality was quan tified using the holistic scoring system developed by Spandel and Stiggins (1990). Quantity was determined by word count. Every week the teacher-partici pants responded to a 17-item que stionnaire in the form of numerical rating scales. The 17 items were in structional variables that were based on research and had been explicitly taught in the writing workshop. Results from this study showed large gains between the two writing samples in quality and quantity in the lower grade write rs and smaller gains in the middle grade writers. Factor analysis was used to determin e the related sets of teaching activities that occurred in the classrooms studied. Only one combination of activities was associated with large gains in writing quality, and the researchers interpreted it as closely resembling Hillocks environmental mode. Teachers w ho represented this approach emphasized inquiry activities, prewriting strategies, writing about literature, and the use of evaluative scales. Regardless of socio-economic status residence, or primary language spoken,
38 lower grades made gains in writing quality and quantity over the ten weeks, indicating that teachers in the lower gr ades can produce substantial gains in writing quality and quantity in a relatively short amount of tim e. Amount of physical prewriting preceding the final draft had no relationship to quality. Results indicated that middle grades (5, 6, and 8) made minor gains in writing quality and quantity in the 10 weeks (effect size of .22). Time spent composing was the only variable that had high loading and was noted almost exclusively among poorer writers. Sadoski et al. (1997) confirms some of the major findings of Hillocks (1984) review and meta-analysis. Though the research by Sadoski et al. ( 1997) was consistent with Hillocks research, several factors may have affected the validity and generalizability of the findings. First, the findings reflected the in structional practices of only a small group of teachers. Only seven of the sixteen participan ts were elementary grade teachers, but not as imbalanced as the grade levels represen ted in Hillocks study. Next, gains in writing quality were measured by administering the same prompt in the posttest as they had administered in the pretest. Familiarity with the prompt could have enhanced students writing performance on the posttest, thereby in flating the gains repor ted in the findings. Finally, researchers did not in clude any measure to verify teachers responses to the weekly surveys such as follow-up interviews or observations. Because the majority of the groups re presented in the meta-analysis were secondary students, Hillocks (1986) cons idered his pedagogical recommendations predominantly to grades six and higher. The majors findings from these two studies had major implications for teacher selection for my study of exemplary teachers interaction
39 with struggling writers. In this vein, teacher s selected for this study were described as emphasizing instructional practices and foci of instructi on that have been identified as influencing the quality of writing. These incl ude instruction that has clear and specific objectives, activities conducive to high levels of peer interaction with a specific task, prewriting activities, the use of literature in their writing instru ction, the use of evaluative scales, and instruction in specific strategies that actively engage student in controlling their own writing skills and writing processes. Though conferencing is employed in many el ementary classrooms today, it was not included in Hillocks (1986) meta-analysi s as an isolated treatment for effective writing instruction. I view conferencing as a m ode of instruction that engages teacher and student in a personalized scaffolded inst ruction, thereby provid ing the teacher the opportunity to note first hand w hy a student is struggling and to provide support in order to avoid or minimize possible frustration. In addition, conferencing may be associated with written and oral feedback, a treatment that was included in the meta-analysis. The research reported by Hillocks suggests that f eedback has very little effect on enhancing the quality of student writing. He cautioned, how ever, that feedback in his review did not examine all the possible variables systema tically. These variables associated with feedback include the character of the feedback, the source of feedback (teacher, peer, or a combination), when feedback appearance in the instructiona l sequence, and the combination of other features of writing in struction with feedback. As a result of the effects of unknown variables associated with feedback, feedback should not be dismissed as an ineffective feature of writing instru ction. Stein (in Hillocks, 1986,) suggests that the success of the environmental appro ach may be the frequent opportunities for
40 feedback through the interaction of all asp ects of the classroom: teachers, peers, materials, and ideas (p. 241). In additional, Hillocks recommends that observational and experimental studies shoul d be extremely useful in adding to knowledge about the nature and effects of feedback of this kind (p. 241). The benchmark study by Hillocks (1984) and a follow up study Sadoski et al (1997) examined pedagogical approaches a nd instructional activi ties that are most effective in the teaching of writing. The focus of my study resides not only in the writing event but also in the social context. Ther efore, the following section will focus on some of the research on talk within the classroom that is relevant to the study. Because talk is a form of scaffolding, a review of the rese arch on scaffolded instruction will follow. Finally, for the purpose of the study, conferencing will be viewed in the context of talk rather than a mode of writing instruction, therefore it will be in cluded in the review associated with classroom talk rather than writing instruction. Classroom Talk in Knowledge Construction Classrooms have practices and particular ways of structuring interactions and discourse depending on the literacy events in which children participate (Cazden, 1988), and many researchers assert that classroom di scourse to be one of the most critical elements in effective schooling (Calfee, Dunlap, & Wat, 1994; Kuhn, Shaw, & Felton, 1997; Nystrand & Gamoran, 1991; Wiencek & OFlahavan, 1994). Through talk, teachers guide, organize, facilitate, or dire ct student activities. Allington and Johnston (2000) identified classroom talk as the most important feature of e ffective fourth-grade teachers classroom. In such conversational communities (p. 14), collaborative learning allowed for a great deal of instruction done not by the teacher but by the students (p.
41 15). The researchers described the talk as respectful, supportive, and productive and not only modeled by the teach ers in interactions with st udents, but also deliberately taught (p. 14). Discourse extends beyond what is said by participants; it addresses the entire context and implications of the social inte raction. Gee (1996) identified two types of discourse. Little D, discourse, examines th e interchange of words such as reading, writing and talking. Big D, Discourse, ex amines how discourse is situated or understood in a specific cultural co ntext. Critical discourse an alysis is used to examine how social and power relations identities, and knowledge ar e constructed through written and spoken texts in social setting. The term critical in Critical Discourse Analysis may serve several purposes. First, it is often associated with studying power re lations. Next, it may be used to describe, interpret, and explai n the relationship between the form and function of language. Finally, it may be used to explicitly address social problems and se ek to solve social problems through the analysis and accompanyi ng social and political action (Rogers, 2003). Gee (2003) sums up his description of Discourse Analysis: HOW people say (or write) things (i.e., form) helps constitute W HAT they are doing (i.e., function). In turn, WHAT they are saying (or writing) helps cons titute WHO they are be ing at a given time and place within a given set of social practices (i.e., their socially situated identities). Finally, WHO they are being at a given tim e and place within a given set of social practices produces and reproduces moment by moment, our soci al, political, cultural, and institutional worlds (p. 48).
42 Common Talk Pattern Most classroom talk is characterized by single dominant discourse pattern: A teacher asks a question, a student responds, and the teacher gives feedback (Alvermann, OBrien, & Dillon, 1990; Cazden, 1988). This pattern is of ten called the IRE pattern (initiate, respond, evaluate). Al though this pattern has the po tential to support discussion, it is often used by teachers to quiz students a bout content they had just studied. Typically teacher talk to elaborate on previous info rmation or presentation of new information accompanies the IRE pattern. Chinn and Waggoner (1992) assert that most teachers who employ this pattern find it very difficult to m ove away from it. They speculate reasons for the difficulty are because teachers embrace the control and authority associated with this approach, and it seems an effective way to probe student comprehension. Talk as the Hidden Curriculum Barnes (1976) asserts that the oral language used to communicate in the classroom is the major factor in determining the actual curriculum that is being taught. He refers to this as the hidden curriculum to contrast it with the curriculum that is written in teacher manuals and associated with state standards. Barnes also distinguishes between two types of language functi ons in the classroom, transmission and interpretation. Dillon and Searle (1981) explain In the transmission view, knowledge is seen as existing outside the learner, and teaching is seen as transferring a body of knowledge to the learner. In the interpretation view, knowledge is seen as being developed within the learner, and teaching is seen as giving students the opportunity to develop and express knowledge from a more personal perspective. (p. 312)
43 The interpretation view is more consistent with social constr uctivist paradigm while the transmission view tends to ignore the importance of what children bring to the task in the form of background knowledge. Assisted Performance Researchers have investigated classrooms in which the interpretation view of teaching and learning seems to be evident. Gallimore and Tharps (1990) establishment of the Kamahameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP) in Hawaii was based on a theory of teaching and learning as assisted performance, which drew from Vygotskys ZPD. Classroom discourse was similar to c onversations between a parent and child or between one who is in close touch with the learners relationship to the task. Gallimore and Tharp (1990) proposed six means of assist ance gleaned from diff erent theories and disciplines for the KEEP model: modeling, contingency management, feeding back, instructing, questioning, and cognitive structuring. Each in turn will be briefly described. 1. Modeling is the process of offering behavior for imitation (Gallimore & Tharp, 1990, p. 178). Typically children and members of a culture are socialized by imitation and unreflective acts of ma ture members. Modeling is a powerful means of assistance and of ten continues its effec tiveness to adulthood. 2. Contingency management assists perf ormance by means of rewards or punishments that follow a behavior. Rewa rds, praises, and encouragement of gains are essential as studen t advance through the ZPD. 3. Feeding back is an interactive method for assessment and can be done in many ways from paper-pencil tests to instantaneous teacher responses to childrens conve rsation.
44 4. The ubiquitous nature of instruction is effective when embedded in a context of other assisted performances. Ga llimore and Tharp (1990) state It is important that instructing be included in teaching, because the instructing voice of the teacher becomes the selfinstructi ng voice of the learner in the transition from apprentice to self-regulated perfo rmer. The noninstructing teacher may be denying the learner the most valuable resi due of the teaching interaction: that heard, regulating voice, that gradually in ternalized voice, which then becomes the pupils self-regulating still, sm all instructor (1990, p. 181). 5. Questioning allows the teacher to know what the students are thinking and goes beyond instructing by calling for an active linguistic and cognitive response whereby enabling the teacher to assist a nd regulate the students construction of support and their reasoning. One component of responsible instruction is assessment which allows the teacher to tailo r instruction to the students point in the zone of proximal development. An assessment question inquires to discover the level of the pupils ability to perfor m without assistant. In contrast, the assessment question inquires in order to produce a mental operation that the pupil cannot or would produce alone. 6. Last, cognitive structuring refers to provision of a structure for thinking and acting. In a school setting, cognitive structuring may be as grand as worldviews or as simple as labeling. It is furthe r divided into two t ypes: structures of explanation and structures for cognitive activity. Structures of explanation prompt students to make connections between old and new knowledge by
45 organizing perceptions in new ways. Structures for cognitive activity include structures for memorization, recall, or rules for accumulating evidence. Talk as Discussion Wiencek & OFlahavan (1994) holds th e teacher responsible for engaging students in authentic, extended discourses with each other and their teacher. They offer five strategies to create productive discus sion groups. The first strategy is to assist students in constructing group participation norms. Next, helping students develop interpretive norms for judging their progress. A third strategy is co aching. The two major forms are proving students with guidance and di rection and helping them reflect on their interactions and achievements. Next, by helpi ng students articulate wh at they are thinking the teacher is reminding students of assumpti ons they are making, drawing their attention to information, and providing new perspectives Finally, positive motiva tion is critical to successful classroom discourse. This can be ensured through discussions that are authentic (Calfee, Dunlap, & Wat, 1994; Nystrand & Gamoran, 1991). These studies of classroom discourse illustra te the complex nature of talk within the classroom. The focus of the study reside s not only in the writi ng event, but in the social context. The various types of talk aide d me in two specific ways: (a) selecting the teacher participant for the study based on her mani festation of an interpretive view of talk and (b) analyzing and describing the interact ion between the teacher and writers during data analysis. The next section will briefly describe the function of scaffolding because it is foundational to conferencing. Then the many facets of conferencing will be examined as a review of the literature will show the potential of conf erencing in composition development.
46 Scaffolded Talk as Instruction Vygotskys (1978) theory suggests that an e ffective teacher is one who is able to identify the zone of proximal development of the students within her classroom and construct discourse that scaffo lds childrens developing abili ties in environments that are highly social and where student s and teacher engage in meaningful activities that are characterized by a great deal of productive talk. Vygotskys conception of student-teacher interaction in the zone of proximal development parallels Bruners (1975, 1978) obs ervation that in facilitating the childs acquisition and development of language, a dults provide scaffolds for children as fundamental to their interactions with th em. Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) proposed the metaphor of scaffolding to describe the adult s temporary support of the child through the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). Aspects of scaffolding reflect theoretical tenets of the zone of proximal development (Meyer, 1993). First, meaning is negotiated through th e reciprocal relationship between the scaffolder and the scaffoldee. The simplifica tion of the learning ta sk and provisions for necessary support is dependent on the comp lementary participation of students contributing to instructional decisions. This reciprocity is similar to the apprentice and master relationship. Second, the goa l of scaffolding is to tran sfer responsibility to the learner whether he may be a child, apprenti ce, or student. The goal of the teacher and student is for the student to achieve inde pendently what was once only possible with assistance. Finally, scaffolded instruction is socially constructed because it is collaborative, yet nonevaluative. The scaffold ing occurs through dial ogue indicating that the teacher and student jointly construct an outer structure of shared meaning. When the
47 student assumes ownership of the newly acqui red knowledge, the scaffolding is gradually removed. Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) suggest six functions of scaffo lded instruction later described further by Meyer (1993): (a) r ecruitment, initiating student interest in the task; (b) reduction in degrees of freedo m, constraining the task; (c) direction maintenance, supporting goal-directiveness and ri sk taking; (d) marking critical features, highlighting discrepancies between progress an d goal; (e) frustration control, mediating frustration and independen ce; and (f) demonstration, modeling solutions. In the words of Vygotsky, (cited in Th arp and Gallimore, 1988, p. 31) teaching is good only when it awakens and rouses to life those functions which are in a stage of maturing which lie in the zone of proximal development. The research on exemplary teachers indicates that frequent scaffolding is characteristic of highl y successful teachers, regardless of the grade level taught (Alli ngton, Johnson, Day, 2002; Berliner & Tikunoff, 1976; Block & Mangieri, 1996; Medley, 1977). Conferencing Conferencing has a strong theoretical basis in the work of Vygotsky. The intensive interaction with someone who not only serves as a present and responding reader but who is more skillful and experien ced than anyone in the learning context is central to Vygotskys insisten ce on the dialectic between the individual and society. That is, teacher-student writing conf erences theoretically allow students to work in a zone of proximal development. Thus, the writing c onference is a scaffold that may provide needs-based one-to-one instruction.
48 Spoken text has an instantaneous feedback system that provides the speaker with immediate cues to indicate that the recei ver comprehends the message. Response from the receiver may include questions, comments facial expressions, hand gestures, or a laugh, depending on the comprehension and interp retation of the receive r. If the speaker is alert to the feedback, he or she will clar ify the message in order to more adequately communicate the point of the message. Convers ely, in written text, the writer cannot see the response of the reader in order to clarify his or her intended message. Often in childrens writing, there are gaps in the text, bits of viable inform ation that the writer omitted assuming the reader could follow th e writers thought. Sim ilarly, only parts of what is going on in the mind of the writer ar e reproduced as written text. These gaps may leave the reader confused, uni nterested, or frustrated. Poor written communication can be improved by scaffolding the writer with more capable peers (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86). Conferencing is analogous to the questi oning, commenting, gesturi ng, and responding of the listener duri ng verbal text. Conferencing is a private conversation be tween the teacher and student about the students writing or writing process. Writing e xperts assert that conf erences with children about their writing enable teachers to learn what students already know (Atwell, 1998; Calkins, 1994; Graves, 1983, 1994). As Grav es (1994) contended, "The purpose of the writing conference is to help children teach you about what they know so that you can help them more effectively with their writing" (p. 59). Still, the art of conferencing is not simply marked by teachers acting as good liste ners. While students convey what they know about writing through the creative pro cess of writing personal narratives, poems, short stories, and editorials, teachers simu ltaneously respond to this writing both as
49 instructional leaders and as interested and knowledgeable readers. Teachers use the writing conference as one way to provide the models or demonstrations that enable student writers to "discover the meanings they don't yet know" (Atwell, 1987, p. 94). In an effective conference, the te acher plays a key role as th at of co-discoverer of the writers meaning and writing processes (Calki ns, 1994). Thus, the writing conference is an optimal moment for teachers to employ th eir pedagogical content knowledge or "the most powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, and demonstrations-in a word, the ways of representing and formulati ng the subject that make it comprehensible to others" (Shulman, 1986, p. 9). Based on the perceptions of twelve middl e school teachers and students, teachers who are good at conducting conferences unders tand their dual roles. They must see themselves as text-oriented instructors who build skill and student-oriented nurturers who build confidence (Wilcox, 1997). According to those interviewed for the study, teachers were valued more for their skill at generating ideas and facilitating revision than for their skills in writing mechanics. Focusing on the ro le of student-oriented nurturers was by far the most important teacher role. Caring about students and being recognized as consultants and coaches rather than managers and critics were paramount. Other aspects of nurturing teachers were (a) respect for their students, (b) students trust in the sincerity of their teachers, and (c) high expecta tions during a writing conference. The research on writing conferences of teacher and adolescent has been reported as a successful scaffold to generate, ela borate, and extend student writing (Sperling, 1990, 1991). The amount of active participation by the student depended on the instructional purpose, duration, and place of the conference in the sequence of writing
50 tasks. Collaboration occurred on a conti nuum both across and among students. The multiplicity of conferences allowed different st udents to flourish at different times as active participants in confer ence talk (Sperling, 1990). In a study of three ninth grade students Sperling (1991) not ed that individual students may position themselves differently during a writing conference thereby influencing the discourse about their compositi ons as well the teachers response to their compositions. Findings from this study suggest th at it is not productive for the teacher to engage in the same kind of ta lk for each individual. Newkirk (1995) addressed the changing role s of conference participants with his notion that student-teacher conferences are performances in which both participants assume quasi-dramatic roles in collaborativ e negotiation, and in which teachers must engage in role-shifting to ease the conversational burde n on students (p. 193). Such interplay points to the need for finely tuned dialogue to individual learners (Sperling, 1991). Inequity in Conferencing Consistent with Sperlings (1991) assertion, writing conferences should not unfold the same way for each student. Differentia tion should occur if teachers are to meet the needs of writers with widely differing experiences and skill bases (Glasswell, 2001; Sperling, 1991 ). Glasswell, Parr, and Mc Naughton (2003) examined the conferences of teachers with six writers.Teachers in the study had been recommended by the district language arts curriculum advisors as exem plary teachers of writing. Three students had been identified by classroom teachers as struggling writers and three as proficient writers. Core activities in their classrooms included: teachers explicitly teaching writing through
51 modeling or mini-lessons, conferencing w ith their students, providing time for independent writing, and ensuri ng that children publishe d their writing. Though the teachers in the study were considered e xpert teachers of writing, the researchers discovered particular teachi ng practices and instructional choices worked against themselves in conferencing with their struggling writers. First, teachers may spend more time c onferencing with struggling writers than with more proficient writers, yet often there is less sustained interaction time between the teacher and struggling writer. In the study of one 22-minute conference, jointly focused interaction lasted only 2 minutes and 6 seconds and other students in terrupted the teacher over 10 times. During the interru ptions, the conferencing studen ts attention was diverted to other actions within the classroom, thus distracting him from the teachers goal of moving him toward sust ained writing effort. Second, teachers allowed themselves to be interrupted more frequently when conferencing with struggling writers. Data co llected across all nine teachers in the study indicated that struggling writers were interrupt ed twice as often as proficient writers and the higher the school grade the more frequen tly struggling writers were interrupted and less frequently were proficient writers inte rrupted. Furthermore, the interruptions were significantly longer for struggling writers. Next, teachers often focused on low leve ls of text during interaction with struggling writers. Text feat ures that received focus were mechanics, word choice, sentence structure, and syntax, thereby limiti ng the potential for these students to expand their emerging knowledge of writing. However, in teractional turns with proficient writers
52 were associated with higher levels or deep f eatures of texts such as goals, intentions, and rhetorical concerns. Finally, teachers demonstrated a co ntrol stance with struggling writers by controlling the focus and content of the conf erence. Also by identifying errors in the students compositions, teachers positioned the students toward dependence on them rather than giving the students opportuniti es to practice independence while having a knowledgeable other as a safety net. Written Comments Conferencing is superior to the wri tten response (Sperling, 1991; Sperling & Freedman, 1987) though written feedback is still common in many classrooms today. Written comments omit the nurturing that most writers value (Wilcox, 1997) and disregards the teacher as a key role player in the co-discovery of the writers meaning (Calkins, 1994), thus leaving a student flounderi ng in the zone of proximal development. Written comments, as opposed to conferenci ng, fail to provide the dynamic interaction between teacher and student and may result in students misinterpreting comments. Even in classrooms that are characterized by pro cess orientations, highachieving students may misinterpret teacher-written comments on studentscompositions (Sperling & Freedman, 1987). Written comments may not provide an adequate learning experience for all students simply because the verbal dynami c interaction between students and their teachers is missing or because comments may re fer to information that had not surfaced in class, thus leaving the writer to guess what the teachers comments mean (Sperling, 1991). Because some students may depend on the teacher as external authority, students
53 may revise texts in response to teacher comm ents, yet the revision may be inferior to the original text (Freedman & Sperling, 1987). Summary of Conferencing Supporting the notion of scaffolding th rough conferencing, Gallimore and Tharp (1990) argue that teachers do not conduct in structional conversations because they do not know how. They do not know how, because they have never been taught. They almost never have opportunities to observe e ffective models or occasions for practicing and receiving feedback or for competent coach ing by a skilled mentor. Like all learners, teachers themselves must have their own perfor mance assisted if they are to acquire the ability to assist the performan ce of their students (p. 198). The focus and the participants in observa tional studies on conferencing have been diverse, but the findings have offered c onsiderations for pedagogical practices. And though conferencing has been generally regarded by some as an effective form of writing instruction (Atwell, 1998; Calkins, 1994; McIver & Wo lf, 1999; Murray, 1979; Wilcox, 1997), the dialogic flaws (Sperling, 1991) ma y impair the benefits of conferencing (Glasswell, Parr & McNaughton, 2003; Lens mire, 1994; McCarthey, 1994; Nickel, 2001; Sperling & Freedman, 1987). Regardless of the focus or participants, most teachers who approach the often-difficult ta sk of a writing conf erence do so with the intent of guiding each student toward i ndependence. Some students need more individualized, guided instruc tion that conferencing afford s. Other students may feel more comfortable asking for assistance in a dyadic rather than a w hole class situation. Conferences may assume different formats a nd serve a variety of purposes. They provide the space for teachers to assess the progress of students, help students solve a problem
54 with their writing, offer suggestions for revi sion, discuss plans for student writing, and to provide direct instruction on a problematic area, or to listen to st udents talk about their writing. For many students, conferencing alone cannot provide adequate writing instruction, but is useful when it is employed as a means to monitor students writing and supported by effective writing instruction. The review continues by considering the re search relevant to struggling writers. Included in the review are char acteristics and writing behavi ors of struggling writers and the impact of inadequate in struction on the quality of th eir writing. Next, research on strategic writing instruction for struggling writers will be presented. Finally, because gender differences may influence the writing beha viors and writing content as well as the evaluation due to perceived gender of the writer, a brief selection of gender research will be included. Struggling Writers Students struggle with the act of writi ng for several reasons. Some students toil with generating ideas for written compositions or once that idea is established, they may find it difficult to add enough substance to suppo rt their idea. Others may struggle with the physical act of writing because they are hindered by poor handwriting, spelling, or mechanics. Still other students may struggle due to their limite d exposure to print. These are just a few of the many reasons that children may struggle with writing. Writing Characteristics Faigley, Cherry, Jolliffee, and Skinner ( 1985) compared the characteristics of less capable high school writers, or struggling writers, with more capable writers. Significant
55 differences were found between these two grou ps of writers. A comparison of the two groups are listed in Table 1. Table 1 Comparison Between Capable and Less Capable Writers (Faigley, Cherry, Jolliffee, and Skinner, 1985) Capable Writers Less capable Writers View writing as developing ideas See writing as putting words on paper Are aware of audience, purpose, and form adapt writing to meet these demands Do not write with audience, purpose, or form in mind Pause as they draft; reread Do not reread or reflect Are concerned with ideas Are concerned with mechanics; view correct spelling and punctuation as hallmarks of good writing Vary writing length based on purpose Assume that longer pieces are better than shorter pieces Collaborate with peers Do not collaborate effectively Assess their own writing Do not assess own writing Revise to communicate more effectively Revise to make cosmetic changes Use many strategies and vary according to assignment Use fewer strategies and do not monitor their use Struggling writers often have misconcep tions about capable wr iters. In a study of elementary age children, Bright (1995) noted that struggling writers view capable writers
56 as students who work hard, have good penmanship, and write long compositions. Additionally, they believe that good writers write single draft compositions without having to revise or edit it. P oor writers show clear problems in simply generating text (Graham, Harris, MacArthur, & Schwartz 1991) and are less knowledgeable about writing and the writing process than more capable writers (Englert, Raphael, Fear, & Anderson, 1988). Their compositions are generally brief and lack detail and elaborations (Graham et al., 1991). They are likely to produc e poorly organized text at the sentence and the paragraph levels. Poor writers are less likely to revise spelling, punctuation, grammar, or the text in order to increase the clarity of their communication (Englert, 1990; Graham et al., 1991) although their compositions are replete with spelling, capitalization, punctuation and handwriti ng errors (Graham et al., 1991). Behaviors of Struggling Writers Careful examination of children with lear ning disabilities in written expression has identified several factors that may intensif y the lack of content in their compositions. First, it is not unusual for these students to terminate their writing before they have accessed all they know about a topic. In one study, children with wr iting difficulties spent six to seven minutes writing an opinion essa y, but when prompted to write more, they generated two to four times mo re text, and at least one-half of the prompted material was new and useful (Graham, 1990). Yet, once an id ea is generated and reproduced as written text, they are reluctant to dis card it even if it is not pertinen t to the thesis (Graham et al., 1991). Next, interference from poorly de veloped text production skills such as handwriting, spelling, and mechan ics contributes to the failur e to generate possible ideas (Graham et al., 1991). Furthermore, lack of, or incomplete knowledge or interest in the
57 assigned topic may influence the quantity and quality of a composition (Graham & Harris, 1997). The quality and methodology for teaching struggling writers may impede writing achievement for some students. Difference in the quality of instruction for low reading achievement (McGill-Franzen & Allington, 1991) is resonated in some of the research on the writing of special needs students. Chri stenson, Thurlow, Ysseldyke, and McVicar (1989) studied 92 special needs students in ten schools, noting that these students averaged only about 20 minutes of writing each day and more than sixty per cent of that time was spent filling out worksheets, prac ticing handwriting, and completing spelling activities. Special education teachers of primary students often limited students experiences with writing to filling out worksheets and copyi ng words as well as working alone. In contrast, writing events that promote social interaction has shown promise for struggling writers. Cooperative tasks can introduce young writers to approaches and styles of writing that are different from their own, th erefore influencing their own composing (McCutchen, 1988). In a study by Z immerman (1989), children acquired selfregulatory skills through their interaction w ith others. Moreover, a study by Karegianes, Pascarella, and Pflaum (1980) suggests that peer feedback may be even more effective than teacher feedback in improving writing performance for high school students. The participants for this stud y were 49 low-achieving 10th grade students attending an inner city school largely populated by Latino student s. All students in the study had the same teacher and same instruction for 10 weeks, but one class participated in peer editing and the other class continued with teacher edi ting. Outside raters scored posttreatment
58 compositions. Though not significantly different, th e compositions of students in the peer editing group were better than the com positions in the teacher editing group. The researcher suggests that higher achievement may be related to time on task. Informal methods of learning may not be uniformly effective for all students (Mather, 1992; Pressley & Rankin, 1994). Pro cess writing teachers provide more direct assistance, but they may offer little or no explication: instead they may use hints, questions, tactful responding to guide students discovery during conferences, teachable moments, or mini-lessons (Freedman, 1993). Though this natural learning may present ample opportunity to write and read for re al purposes, learn to spell by immersing students in a literacy-rich environment, capitalize on teachable moments and minilessons, and share and publish student writi ng, these activities may not provide enough direct instruction for struggling wr iters (Delpit, 1988; Reyes, 1991). Reyes (1991) in her two-year study of 50 Spanish speaking sixth graders in two bilingual education classes noted that after two years of a process approach to writing most were still making the same spelling and grammar errors as before. Nor did these students adopt models of conventional form in their writing even though their teacher modeled correct form, presented mini-lessons on how to apply correct form, and even increased reading and writing activities. As Lisa Delpit (1986) implores, do not a ssume that the voices of the majority speak for all (p.20). Direct in struction may be the most eff ective instruction for students who are at risk for reading and writing di fficulties, including students with learning disabilities, those who are economically and socially disadvantage d, and those who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Delpit (1988) repor ted that wit hout explicit
59 instruction, minority students f eel they are being denied acce ss to information needed for success in mainstream society. The components of writing that hinder the acquisition of writing for some students may be amended through components that are identified with writing workshop. Tompkins (2002) observed in an intervention program of 24 sevent h-grade students who struggled with reading and writing. Many of the aforementioned characteristics of struggling writers were characteristic of the students in her study as well. Through the components of writing workshop, such as dire ct instruction during mini-lessons and through students sharing of their published wr iting in the Authors Chair, as well as teacher providing levels of support identifie d by Fountas and Pinnell (1996), the students were more motivated to write and worked to improve the quality of their writing though the researcher does not indicate whether th e writing quality did indeed improve. Summary of Struggling Writers The research on struggling writers in dicates that struggl ing writers have difficulties with mental operations that underlie generating content and revising effectively (Harris & Graham, 1996a). The research on strugg ling writers asserts common writing characteristics among strugglin g writers (Englert, 1990; Englert et al., 1988; Faigley et al., 1985; Graham, 1990; Grah am et al., 1991) and their misperceptions of competent writers (Bright, 1995). Writi ng instruction for struggling writers has typically focused on decontextualized, lowlevel skills (C hristenson et al., 1989). Informal writing instruction may not be unifo rmly effective for all students (Mather, 1992; Pressley & Rankin, 1994), and for some students, explicit instruction may be the most effective instruction for students who are at risk for re ading and writing difficulties,
60 including students with learni ng disabilities, those who are economically and socially disadvantaged, and those who are culturally and linguistically di verse (Delpit, 1986; Reyes, 1991). The body of research on struggling writers has implications for writing instruction that addresses the needs of str uggling writers. The next section will discuss strategic writing instruction along with the in structional implications of the research presented thus far and some of the issues surrounding implementation of these writing models. Strategic Writing Instructi on for Struggling Writers The nature of process writing has caused some concern among educators asserting that it does not provide enough support for st udents who face challenges in learning to write (Delpit, 1995; Graham & Harris, 1994; Mather, 1992; Reyes, 1992a). This concern is consistent with Hillocks (1984) report th at while the mean effect size for process writing was positive (.19), the effect size wa s more than two times smaller than the environmental approach (.44) th at is characterized by clear and specific objectives that are (a) pursued through structured tasks, (b ) activities, such as small group problemcentered discussions that are conducive to high levels of peer interaction, and (c) materials and problems are selected that enga ge students with each other in some specific process important to some particular aspe ct of writing. Students who struggle with writing require more extensive, structured, and explicit instruction in the skills and strategies critical to literacy ; however, but not as decontexua lized learning of meaningless skills, but rather in an envir onment that promotes students as active collaborators in their own learning and where dial ogue sharing and scaffoldi ng are critical components (Englert et al., 1991; Graham & Harris, 1993).
61 Several writing models have been develope d over the last decade in an attempt to provide strategic instruction fo r poor writers and have componen ts that are align with the environmental approach noted as effectiv e in Hillocks (1984) study. A sampling of these models includes Cognitive Strategy Instru ction in Writing or CSIW, (Englert et al., 1991), Self Regulated Strategy Developmen t or SRSD, (Harris & Graham, 1993), and Strategic Writing Instruction (Collins, 1998). Cognitive Strategy In struction in Writing Englert et al. (1991) deve loped a program that focuses on teaching writing strategies to middle elementa ry age students through verbal modeling. The strategies are solidly grounded in current theories of th e process-writing approach, and have been designed to guide students and teachers through the stages of planning, organizing, drafting, editing, and revising. The mnemonic P .O.W.E.R. is used to support students through the process. Each step of the pr ocess is supported by Think Sheets. Think Sheets correspond to each subprocess and guide students through the writing process by focusing on the metacognitive processes in wr iting. External questions are included on each Think Sheet in order to free some cognitiv e capacity that might otherwise be used to remember the questions. The seminal study by Englert et al. (1 991) was conducted simultaneously in both general and special education settings a nd included students both with and without learning disabilities. Students in the cognitive strategy inst ruction condition received 5 months of instruction that c onsisted of four phases: (a) te xt analysis, (b) modeling the writing process, (c) guided stude nt practice in composition, a nd (d) independent writing. Students in the control classrooms received regular writing instruction, which included
62 opportunities to compose texts two to thr ee times per week. The research of the intervention of CSIW by 183 th ird and fourth graders s hows that the intervention improves the quality of student writing. The essays of CSIW students included more of the elements of the Think Sheets and in more coherent ways, more aware of the needs of the reader, and the voice of their writing was more evident than essays of students not receiving CSIW. Though the concreteness of the model appears to present strategic writing instruction as memorized steps and proc edures, CSIW is based on principals of a sociocultural view of learning that writing instruction should be embedded in meaningful and contextualized activities a nd the role of social and dial ogic interactions to scaffold cognitive development (E nglert & Mariage, 1996). Self Regulated Strategy Development Harris and Graham (1996b) recommend that teachers combine instruction in process writing with more intensive inst ruction. Teachers conduct ongoing assessments of each students abilities, skills, knowledge motivation, social characteristics, and prior experiences. They then arrange whatever suppor t children need from direct explanation through discovery (p. 27). The Self Regulat ed Strategy Development (SRSD) model, (Graham & Harris, 1993) is a theoretically and empirically validated instructional approach that has been used to teach writing, reading, and math strategies to students experiencing academic difficulties (Harri s & Graham, 1996a; Harris, Schmidt, & Graham, 1998). Presently, more than 15 studies using SRSD to teach writing strategies have been conducted in a variety of settings. These settings include resource and regular classrooms, one-on-one tutoring sessions, and small and large group instruction (Graham & Harris, 1993; Harris, et al ., 1998), with most of the wr iting strategies typically
63 mastered in six to nine 40-minute sessions (Graham & Harris, 1999). Studies indicate that teaching writing strategies using SRSD leads to improvement in four main aspects of students performance: quality of writing, know ledge of writing, approach to writing, and self-efficacy (Graham, Harris, MacArthur, & Schwartz, 1991; Harris et al., 1998). Effect sizes for measures of writing performance almost always exceed 1.0 in SRSD studies (Graham & Harris, 1993). Strategic Writing Instruction Strategic instruction is rooted in cognitive science that claims the basic tenets of declarative knowledge and pr ocedural knowledge. Declar ative knowledge supplies the writer with knowledge about the world, ideas, ent ities, and relations that is stored in ones memory, yet research by Bereiter and Scarda malia (1987) has shown that expert writers have more knowledge of the procedure for wr iting, such as elaboration, focus, and goal direction, than do novice writers Idea generation, translati ng ideas into text, correcting errors of organization, grammar, and spel ling, improving the transition between ideas, and monitoring the overall written product can be a daunting task for most writers, especially for struggling writers. Thr ough instruction in procedural knowledge, specifically in the form of self -regulatory strategies, teachers instruct students in ways of thinking about writing by setting goals and monitoring progress (Collins and Collins, 1996). Collins and Collins (1998) present an approach to writing instruction by integrating skills and processes in what th ey call Strategic Writi ng Instruction. They contend that many writers automatically turn to default strategies when they are faced with daunting writing tasks. Th ese strategies include copying, visualizing, and narrating.
64 Rather than discouraging the us e of default strategies, Col lins suggests rec onceptualizing these strategies as a scaffold for strategic writing. Collins claims There is nothing wrong w ith the copying strategy when it is used to conceive but not to deceive (1998, p. 144). Educators may promote writing by helping students learn to tran sform copied materials to suppo rt their ideas rather than steering writers away from copying altogeth er. Exposing writers to published pieces can expand the writing of struggling writers. Indeed, what were once considered plagiarisms are now referred to as writing innovations. Anot her strategy that may benefit writing is the Read, Think, Summarize, and Interpret St rategy. Students write a summary of what they are reading in one column and their res ponses and interpretations in another column. This double-entry note-taking encourages writ ers to put ideas into their own words. Finally, visualizing may help wr iters organize their compositi ons, a strategy that has been noted within the cont ext of strategic writing models (Englert et al., 1991; Harris & Graham, 1993). Collins (1998) maintains that strategic writing instruction involves the teacher co-constructing strategies with students by examining the difficulty the student is experiencing and collaborati ng with the student a strategic way around the difficulty. Meta-Analysis of Research on Writing Interventions Gersten and Baker (2001) conducted a me ta-analysis of 13 studies that used experimental or quasi-experimental designs and explicitly implemented interventions to improve the content of expository, narrative, and creative writi ng of students with learning disabilities. Participants in the st udy were given the opportuni ties to select their own writing topics. Three inte rventions were common among th e studies and consistently produced strong effects on the quality of st udents writing. Summed across all 13 studies,
65 the mean effect size on the aggregate writing measure was .81, which is considered moderately strong. The three interventions are explicit teaching of the recursive processes in the writing process, providing students with a framework or plan sheet to guide their planning and writing of different writing genres, and giving feedback to students on the quality of their writing from either teachers or peers. Consistent with previous studies, the results of the meta-analysis suggests that soci al interaction coupled with explicit teaching of writing strategies and text st ructures is considerably benefi cial to the writing quality of struggling writers. Summary of Strategic Writing Instruction Research in strategic writi ng instruction has provided th e field with a wealth of knowledge of effective instructi onal strategies that assist st ruggling writers. A sampling includes modeling and using Think Sheets ( Englert et al., 1991), gr aphic organizers and mnemonics, (Harris & Graham, 1993), and reform ulating and restating ideas from source documents(Collins, 1998). Whereas some students may own strategies that support their writing, students who struggling with the development of more mature writing pro cesses often require more intensive instruction a nd greater support (Harris & Gr aham, 1996a). The goal of all strategic writing instruction is for teachers a nd students to begin to think strate gically and carefully about writing as they come toge ther to co-construct personal meaningful strategies that will assist the struggli ng writing in overcoming writing difficulties. The writing needs of individual students will vary as well as the purpose for the writing; therefore, no single set of strategies will provide the right approach to all students at any given time.
66 While it appears that cognitive strategy in struction is an effective way to teach written composition, the research is limited in at least two ways. First, most of the experimental studies have been conducted in controlled environments where selected, small, and relatively homogeneous groups of students have been pulled out of regular classroom writing instruction to participate in an intervention. Thes e studies have focused on students with learning disabilities (Gra ham & Harris, 1993; Graham & Harris, 1999; Harris, et al., 1998). The researchers of the SRSD model described above assert that it was not designed to replace any existing writi ng curriculum, but rather to complement effective practices in writing instruction. Howe ver, most of the experimental studies were conducted outside of a regular classroom s ituation. And secondly, l ong term maintenance and generalization of knowledge gained during instruction has been minimally investigated. In three studies (Harri s & Graham,1989a, 1989b; Sawyer, Graham, & Harris, 1992), students were pulled out of thei r special education re source classrooms for writing instruction. To test for generalization of strategy use, they were asked to write a story while in the special education classrooms. In all three studies, students were able to generalize instruction from one se tting to another. The results from these studies indicate that the effects of instruc tion on writing achievement are maintained for students with learning disabilities for up to four weeks (Harris & Graham; 1989a, 1989b; Sawyer et al., 1992). The effects of strategic writing instructi on to struggling writers within the context of social interaction is consistent with many of the tenets of Hillocks (1984) description of the environment approach to teaching writi ng, the mode that had the most significant effect size. This study extended beyond the a ssumption that achievement is related to a
67 particular writing model, instructional event, or specific cognitive strategies, to examine the socially constructed learni ng of writing. Once that learning is detailed and chronicled, the establishment of critical principles that cut across students, gender, and cognitive ability can be orchestrated to advance th e cognitive and social participation of group members. Gender Differences in Writing Gender differences in choice of writing topics and writing behaviors may have unintentional effects on student s writing performance, thereby contributing to the struggle some students have with writing. Outcomes on national writing assessments indicate that there is a di fference in writing performance between genders and between races The National Assessment of Educatio nal Progress 2002 writing assessment, (National Center for Educatio nal Statistics, 2003) conducted both nationally and at the state level, examined students writing abiliti es in three types of writing: informative, persuasive, and narrative. Approximately 276,000 students at grades 4, 8, and 12 were included in the assessment. The complex sampling design followed several stages: selection of geographic areas, selection of public and privat e schools within those areas; and random selection of students with the selected schools. About 139,000 4th grade students in 5,500 schools, 118,500 8th graders in 700 schools, and 18,500 12th grade students in 700 schools were asse ssed. Nineteen per cent of 4th graders, 17 per cent of 8th graders, and 11 per cent of 12th graders were identified as special needs students. Special needs students were provided with required accommodations. The results showed substantial performa nce gaps between males and females at all three grades, with females outscoring th eir male counterparts. The difference in
68 writing scaled scores favoring females was 17 at 4th grade, 21 at 8th grade, and 25 at 12th grade. Though there was no significant diffe rence in the scaled score gap between genders in 4th and 8th grades, there was a si gnificant gap at the 12th grade level. Characteristics of boys as they interact with literacy may c ontribute to the poor writing of some boys. Primary teachers observe that boys do not get as involved in role play or dress up as readily as girls or e xpress their thoughts and f eelings about books as openly as girls (Barrs & Piedge on, 1998 as cited in Barrs, 2000) Girls, more often than boys, journey into the lives of others and also into the self through reading. Because reading and writing often summ on the aesthetic stance (Rose nblatt, 1978), a position that may be uncomfortable for some boys, it is on ly natural that their minimal engagement will produce insubstantial responses to the literacy event. Graves (1973) monitored the thematic c hoices of 69 seven-year-old children by categorizing topics represented in their 860 unassigned papers. The themes were grouped according to territorial choice. Primary territ ory covers the areas of childrens greatest experiences, namely, home and school. Sec ondary territory widens to include the metropolitan area around the child such as transportation, professions, sports, and community events. Extended territory refers to national and world events and persons identified with them. Data from the writing samples showed that girls wrote more in primary territory whereas boys wrote more in secondary and extended territories. The content of writing by boys was typically aggressive, violent, and was more about omnipotent persons and objects. Names and use of the first person was characteristically ignored. Conversely, girls expressed their pers onal feelings, devel oped characters, and typically wrote in first person. Graves offere d that during the four months of observation,
69 girls were never exposed to extended vocatio nal roles of women and their changing adult roles whereas boys were stimulated by cont act with various community helpers and many male professions, thereby representing th e changing role of the adult male. Twenty-two years later and despite feminist influence, writing choices of girls and boys has remained fairly constant. Flem ings (1995) study of second grade students noted that students wrote along stereotypical gender lines. The boys in her study tended to write adventure and sport st ories, whereas the girls wrot e stories about relationships and descriptions of events. Gormley, Hamm er, and McDermott (1993) also noted clear gender differences of 6th grade boys and girls in their response journals with their classroom teacher. The study extended over a twoyear period with nine girls and eleven boys the first year and eight girls and eight boys for the following year. Girls were more likely to initiate and provide scriptal inform ation from their own lives than were boys. Boys wrote more questions to the teacher. Li kewise, the boys received more directives from their teacher than did the girls. Peterson (2002) examined the ways in which the public nature of peer conferencing influence the writing choices of 8th grade students. Examination of students writing over five weeks suggests that boys generally positioned themselves within dominant masculine discourses, yet some wrot e about relationships between male friends, and some girls wrote about personal experien ces playing team sports a more powerful masculine discourse. Five groups of two boys and two girls met with researchers to discuss writing topic selection for boys and gi rls. The boys claimed that they would never consider writing about roman tic relationships, a common t opic choice for girls, yet students supported girls in cro ssing gender lines to write spor ts stories. The peer groups
70 created different social factor s thus situating the authorial voices of stude nts. Girls and boys in the study wrote with the knowledge th at the content of their writing would open up or constrain their literate identiti es by their choice of writing topic. Gender differences in topic selection c ontinue throughout high school and cross ethnic groups as well. Hunt (1995) examined 196 free choice writing samples of bilingual high school student in Puerto Rico. The researcher determined that males were more likely to write about philosophical questions, adventure, and social problems, whereas female students were more likely to write about relationships and subjects closer to home such as family and school. A Swedish study examined the themes within compositions by 1314-year old boys and girls a bout their future fictitious families. Thirty-eight of 58 narratives written by boys were coded as having family life, sports, or work as the main content. Friendships and relationships to othe r people were also central issues in their compositions. Twenty of the 58 boys wrote about odd or eccentric persons who lived incredulously. These narratives were char acterized by irony, humor, and absurdity, but this genre was not evident in the girls text s (Hallden, 1997). Hallden (1999) suggests that the detached humorous style of some of the male writers is a way to write about maleness without the familiarity and to keep intimacy at a distance. Not only are there noticeable gender differe nces in choice of writing topics, but males may position themselves differently from females during writing conferences. Males reserved approach to peer -confere ncing may contribute to their functional writing expertise, but may minimize the advantage of personal and intimate scaffolding. According to Styslinger (1999), peer revision is biased toward female students. In a study of seniors in an English composition class, Styslinger noted her female students, who
71 were much more social than her male stude nts, tended to dominate the peer revision process. Though students prefe rred to conference with member s of their own gender, they occasionally turned to the opposite sex for advice. When these intergender conferences occurred, female students tended to begin th e conversation and main tain it with prodding questions. Males tended to contribute purely functional questions, such as Where does the period go if I have quotations? Female students seemed more comfortable with the peer revision process than did the male students. When males conversed with one another, their interaction was minimal and di alogue was editorial, yet further complicated by their bodies turned outward and away from one another. Five male students secluded themselves entirely during peer revision. Clearly, when given a choice, boys a nd girls generally do not write about common topics. The tone of compositions wr itten boys is usually more assertive, detached, and physical. Writing by girls tends to be reflective and more oriented toward relationships. The interacti on of high schools boys during wr iting conferences was clearly different from their girl count erparts. Therefore in order to curtail bias and promote fairness when assigning topics to students, st udents may benefit if teachers are aware of gender differences and writing habits. When addressing the gender gap in writi ng, specifically viol ence as a topic selection by some boys, Newkirk (2 000) contends that for them: Literacy gets in the way of the need to m ove, to talk, to play, to live in and with ones own body in one sense, writing repr esents the choice of language over physical action; yet this choice can be mitigated by stressing action in the writing. Watch any firstgrade boys co mposing and you will see the drama of
72 hands simulating explosions, accompanied by sound effects, with intervals of consultation with friends about who is in which space ship. When I have asked boys how their writing differs from that of gi rls, they are dismissi ve of the lack of action in the girls stories. As one sai d, making a face, They write about walking home together. (p. 296) In summary, struggling writers have am azing thoughts and ideas, but because of repeated failures, false starts, illegible handwriting, limited knowledge of grammar and mechanics, and perhaps even gender or ethnicit y or other inherent fa ctors, they seldom learn to appreciate and value their ideas as text. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to review th e theory and research that are relevant to understanding the interaction between struggling writers and exemplary writing teachers. The review began by examining Vygotskys socio-cultural theory and the construction of meaning as heavily dependent on oral language in social settings. The review was organized around four bodies of knowledge: effective teaching and expert pedagogues, classroom talk, struggling writers and gender differences in writing. An indepth examination of Hillocks (1986) meta-a nalysis of writing instruction and a follow up study by Sadoski et al. (1997) were also reviewed. The ability to articulate ones thought s through written communication is central to being literate. Yet, for th e struggling writer, writing can be an overwhelming task. Murray (1984), an expert writer, sympathizes: writing is one of the most complicated human activities (p.6). Struggling writers may toil with generating ideas for written compositions or once that idea is established may find it di fficult to add enough substance
73 to support their idea. Others may struggle w ith the physical act of writing because they are hindered by poor handwriting, spelling, or mechanics. Still other students may struggle due to their limited experiences or e xposure to print. A synt hesis of the research on effective teaching, and more specifically ex pert pedagogues, indicates that the teacher is more instrumental in promoting academic achievement than methods, models, or approaches. Building on prior research on wr iting instruction, this study examined more thoroughly the interaction between struggling writers and their writing teachers.
74 CHAPTER 3: METHOD This chapter explains how the study was conducted, including the research questions, the design of the study, participan ts and site select ion, data collection procedures, and data analysis The Purpose of the Study and Research Questions The purpose of this study was to descri be and explain the interaction between exemplary teachers and fourth-grade struggli ng writers. Central to school reform and the quest for student achievement is the no tion that improved teaching, particularly, exemplary teaching, is critical to the efforts (Pressley et al., 1996). Exemplary teachers typically create instructiona l plans derived from their analysis of students needs (Pressley et al., 1997) and seem to hold a pr ivileged knowledge of teaching and learning that is enacted in their practice (Ber liner, 1994; Collinson, 1994; Noddings, 1995). Exemplary teachers also have been shown to have a substantial effect on the achievement of struggling students. The difference between having a good teacher for three years in a row versus another teacher can represent as much as 50 percentile points in student achievement on a 100-point scale (Babu and Mendro, 2003; Mendro et al., 1998). This is an influence greater than race, poverty le vel or parent's education (Carey, 2004). This study examined the interaction be tween teacher and student during writing instruction, particularly whole group instruction because this was the instructional format used most frequently by Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Ma c, the fourth grade teachers selected for
75 the study. Through analysis and interpreta tion, I anticipated developing a better understanding of how these teach ers interacted with struggling writers during instruction. The two research questions were: 1. What is the nature of the interacti on between exemplary teachers of writing and struggling writers? 2. What are the responses of struggli ng writers to the interaction? Design of the Study Qualitative Inquiry This study adheres to factors sugges ted by Bogdan and Biklen (2003) and Merriam (2002) that define and characterize qua litative research. First, this study was naturalistic in order to preser ve the important factor of c ontext (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). I was an observer in the participants daily lives, more specifically in a fourth-grade writing block. Second, qualitative methods typically produce a rich description about a much smaller number of people and cases due to the duration of th e study and the direct contact the researcher has with real-world situations as they unfold naturally (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). Data are descri ptive and anecdotes and quotes from the data are used to support findings. Third, qualitative researcher s are concerned with process rather than simply with outcomes or products (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). By examining the how, qualitative research emphasizes the process by which data are gathered. Fourth, because researchers are primarily concerned with co llecting and describing, data analysis is inductive rather than deductive (Bogdan & Bikl en, 2003). The researcher is the primary instrument for data collection (Merriam, 2002, p.5) which enabled me to focus on the process by which I gathered da ta, while noting emerging patterns and trends in the data
76 along the way. I examined and analyzed th e data as it was co llected, and after transcribing the data, used the constant co mparative method of analysis. Finally, the participants perspectives are important to the final analysis (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). This study provided adherence to this factor that characterizes qua litative research by asking participants for their perspectives a nd consulting them when I needed to clarify my interpretations. The goal of analysis was depth of understanding of the interaction of teachers with struggling writers. In order to answer the research questions, this study incorporated these features throughout the data collection and analysis. Cultural Considerations Foundational to a theory of culture is an understanding that classrooms are cultures where each classroom develops a part icular way of being a learner (Collins & Green, 1992; Dixon, Frank, & Green, 1999). For one classroom, this way of being may be very different from another similar clas sroom just next door. From this view, a particular way of talking, acting, resp onding, knowing, doing, and being is constructed through the discursive and soci al practices of the classroom (Bloome, 1985; Gee, 1989). Classroom culture begins to develop on the firs t day of class and perhaps even before that by the classroom arrangement, bulletin boards and material on the walls, and preceding reputation of the teacher. The discourse patter ns and academic and social practices build throughout the year and eventually create a cultural belief system shared by most members (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999). In addition to understanding classrooms as cultures, this study was from a social perspe ctive that views the cl assrooms of exemplary writing teachers as particular kinds of cultures within educational institutions.
77 Case Study Design In order to answer the research ques tions, a case study design was employed. A case study is a detailed examination of one settin g, or a single subject, a single depository of documents, or one particular event (Merriam, 1988; Stake 1994; Yin, 1994). This genre of research was appropria te to address the research questions because through case study, the idiosyncrasies of the classroom could be more closely examined and described. And secondly, through case studies, a view of individuals and the many factors that influenced their behaviors could be examined more intensively. By incorporating more than one case study into its design, this project took the form of a comparative case study (McIntyre, 1969). Miles and Huberman (1994) suggest two specific reasons for employing multiple cases and the ensuing cross-case analysis. One reason is to enhance generalizability. Although its argued that this goal is inappropriate for qualitative studies, the question does not go awa y. We would like to know something about the relevance or appli cability of our findings to other similar settings multiple cases, adequately samp led and analyzed carefully can help us answer the reasonable question, Do these findi ngs make sense beyond this specific case? (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 173). Cross-case analysis for this study was not intended for broad generalization, but rather for deep understanding of the natu re of interactions between teachers and students. A second, more fundamental reason for a comparative case study is to deepen understanding and explanation and as a re ality check among the cases. In addition, Glaser and Strauss (1967) suggest multiple cases to examine under what sets of structural conditions [the ] hypotheses are minimized and maximized (Miles &
78 Huberman, 1994, p. 173). Examining similarities and differences across cases may help the researcher find negative cases to streng then the theory, a quick er and easier process than with a single case. Two exemplary classroom teachers of writing were selected for intense observation and study. Two student s who struggle with writing were selected from each class in order to discover the interaction of exemplary teachers with struggling writers. This study was bounded (Stake, 1995) to the language arts block for an approximate nine-week period for each classroom. In a ddition, this study followed the suggestion by Bogdan and Biklen (2003) to carry out the study in each classroom before going to the next in order to avoid confusion Participants The participants in this study were sel ected through purposeful sampling (Patton, 2002) which is to choose information rich case s. Information-rich cases are those from which one can learn a great deal about issues of central importance to the purpose of the research (p.169). Foundational to the study was incorporatin g exemplary teachers that are recognized as expert pedagogues (Shulman, 1986). Because the initial data collection was designed to be daily and extend for at leas t five weeks at two lo cations, I chose to conduct my study in the school district where I live. The district is made up of one county, which is geographically the fourth la rgest in the state a nd contains seventeen cities and municipalities. There are approximately 550,000 people in the county. The largest race and ethnic groups are White at 83 pe rcent, Black at 14 percent, and Hispanic or Latino at 12 percent. Eight y-eight percent of the households speak English only. Management and professional related occupa tions make up 26 percent of the workforce
79 and while sales and office occupations make up 27 percent. This county has the second largest amount of farmland in the state. The annual median household income is $35,000 and 9.4 percent of the population live in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Selecting Exemplary Writing Teachers I contacted the three language arts coordinators within the school district through both e-mail and the U.S. mail service for possi ble referrals of exemplary teachers. These sources were considered because this me thod was employed in several studies of exemplary teaching, for example Glasswell et al. (2003), Morrow et al. (1999), Pressley et al. (1996), and Pre ssley et al. (1998). I received an e-mail from one coordinato r who was also the supervisor of the other two language arts coordi nators. She agreed to recommend names and consult the other two for recommendation fo r the study. Next, the coordinators were asked to rate the recommended teachers using a 4-point Like rt scale (Appendix A). The scale was a compilation of some of the characteristics of exemplary teaching I synthesized from the review of literature and writi ng research. Each characteristic was operationalized to more concretely describe the characteristic and assi st the coordinators in rating the teachers. The scale included 5 categories (1 = Strongl y Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree, 4 = Strongly Agree, and Not Observed). In order to be considered for selection, the teachers had to score Strongly Agree and Agree for every characteristic. If the coordinators rated the teacher with two or more Not Obse rved, she or he would not be considered for the study. In addition to th e scale, the coordinators were asked to list any awards, recognitions, or anecdotal comments about the teachers that gave assistance in recommending the teachers for the study. Because the comments were minimal, they had
80 little impact on the participant selection. Finally, the coordinators were asked to describe his/her contact or experiences with the teachers. The refe rrals suggested by the county language arts coordinators were an initial step toward narrowing the search for exemplary teachers. I faxed the Likert scale to the supe rvisor of the coordinators, who then made copies for each recommended teacher, had th e coordinators complete the scales and additional notes, and faxed the information b ack to me. I reviewed the information and then contacted via e-mail all the teachers because they al l met the criteria described above. However, one recommendation, a middl e school teacher, rather than a 4th grade teacher, was not considered because her teach ing assignment did not qualify her for this study in that all teachers needed to be at the same grade level for comparison purposes. In the e-mail, I briefly described my interest in writing instruction and shared that the teacher and her class had been referred as a possible candidate for a future study. One teacher never responded to the e-mail, the e-ma il written in the form of a letter through the U.S. Postal Service, or my phone call to the school asking her to return my call. A second teacher only responded after I left a phone message regarding my study. She returned my call with an apology for not contac ting me sooner. She informed me that she would not feel comfortable participating due to a change in her schools Exception Student Education program from a pull-out model to inclusive education and that she would have 9 students with an Individual Education Plan. Because the remaining seven teachers show ed interest, I scheduled a time to observe in their classrooms. After the initial visit to the classroom, I discovered that three were writing coaches, t hus not candidates for my study because I wanted to observe writing by regular classroom teach ers who were responsible for all subjects. Two of the
81 writing coaches had moved into that position th is past school year, and one had been a writing coach for several years. During the obser vations of the remaining four teachers, I took notes and rated each teacher using the Ch aracteristics of Exemplary Teaching Scale (Appendix A). This is the same scale that the district language arts coordinator used to rate each recommended teacher. Expertise was determined through observation of the teacher interacting with the students during wr iting. Informal conversations about writing instruction with the prospective participant alerted me to some degree to the teaching style. Observation of the physical environm ent, such as displayed student work and resources that promoted literacy and level of student engagement were key indicators of the teachers instructional appr oach. One of the four remaini ng teachers informed me that she would possibly have an intern sometime within the semester so I excluded her as a potential participant. The last three partic ipants were equally remarkable based on my impressions of their instructi on, interaction with students, and display of student work even though school had only been in session for a few weeks for two of the three schools. Two were in the same city. One was teach ing narrative writing and the other was teaching expository writing the first quarter. The teacher who I retained was from a yearround school and would begin teaching narrativ e writing during the second quarter. The other school that I retained wa s 45 minutes away from home and in another city and was focusing on narrative writing duri ng the first quarter. I thought it would be interesting to observe writing instruction of the same genr e by different teachers. The two teachers who were selected as participants were Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Mac (pseudonyms). Following is a description of the teache rs and examples of how they uniquely demonstrated characteristics of exemplary wr iting instruction within their classrooms.
82 These exemplars compiled to construct the Characteristics of Exemplary Teacher Scale include the following: (a) Passionate about writing (Hashweh, 1987; Shulman, 1986) (b) Committed to, cares about, and advocat es for actions that improve students lives (Collinson, 1994; Pressley et al., 1998; Shulman, 1986) (c) Develops highly effective instructi onal repertoires and knows how and when to combine instructional methods (Ber liner, 1994; Doyle, 1985; Rosenshine, 1987) (d) Assesses children and relates progress to previous experiences (Allington, Johnson, Day, 2002; Brophy & Good, 1986; Wray et al., 2000) (e) Provides students with strategies to support independent le arning (Englert et al., 1991; Gallimore & Tharp, 1990; Graham & Harris, 1993) (f) Writes with her students (Graves, 1983; NCTE, 2004) (g) Allows students to select their own writing topics or modify teacher assignments (Ball & Farr, 2003; Graves, 1994) h) Teaches grammar and mechanics within the context of oral reading and writing (Hillocks, 1986; Hillocks & Smith, 2003; Langer, 2002; Weaver, 1996). Mrs. Ring Mrs. Ring is a middle-aged white female and a former licensed cosmetologist who went back to school to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. She has taught for ten years, and received a Masters degree in Educational Leadership and was awarded National Board Certification in elementary education. When I met Mrs. Ring for the first time, she was conducting her class in the library because her classroom had been displaced due to leaks in th e ceiling. The state had just experienced a hurricane a few
83 days prior to my initial observ ation, and the students were writing about their experience. Poems describing the hurricane, festooned with real moss and twigs, lined a wall outside the library. A hurricane-tracking map was pos ted on a makeshift wall to keep students alerted to impending hurricanes. Mrs. Ring had been composing a story about teaching an alien to eat an Oreo cookie. She was taking he r students on a visual field trip to meet the alien and how he was introduced to Oreo cookies. She reread her writing from the previous day and modeled her thinking for the next event as she composed at the overhead projector. Mrs. Ring modeled for he r students her own thinking strategies as she composed for or with her class. She told students You are going to take a trip inside my brain. She had given st udents two cookies on the previ ous day, and they shared the different ways they eat them. A chart listed th eir individual methods of eating the cookie. She had created an organizer that bulleted th e major events and details. Beside modeled writing, Mrs. Ring engaged students in a coopera tive learning activity to talk about how they eat Oreos, and then students indepe ndently described th is in their writing. She modeled almost every writing assignm ent whether at the sentence level or compositions. Her delivery sounded almost c onversational and her instruction flowed effortlessly from one episode to another. Below are qualities I observed during initial observations and throughout the study. A de scription of these qualities follows the characteristic of exemplary writing teachers. Passionate about writing When I visited Mrs. Ring s class for the first time, it was obvious by the displays inside the classr oom and on the walls out side the classroom, that writing extended beyond the writing bloc k and beyond narrative writing, the genre I mainly observed during the writing block. Po ems written by students were posted on the
84 walls. I observed later that students rote in connection to their reading. For example, students took on the perspective of a charac ter in a story in re sponse to a reading selection. In another example, students selected a person to research, read short books about the person, and then wrote a brief bi ography. Throughout the st udy, I recorded art activities that extended the writing lesson. For example, after a lesson on onomatopoeia, the class brainstormed words associated with fireworks. Mrs. Ring constructed a painted poem about fireworks with the words forming th e shape of fireworks, and then students wrote their own painted poem. Committed to, cares about, and advocates for actions that improve students lives. Regardless of the extent of the independent writing assignment, whether the assignment was three sentences to describe a scene or entire story that w ould take a week to complete, Mrs. Ring modeled a similar writ ing piece for the class or facilitated the composing of a shared writing or the genera tion of ideas through class brainstorming. The combination of writing events illustrate s her philosophy regarding student success. MR I think that I care very much about my students, and I think they know that. I have high expectations and I w ill tell them at the very beginning of the year that I am going to push you and push you and push you, but Im always going to be there to help you if you fall. Ill give you the tools. (Interview, 10-06-04) Develops highly effective in structional repertoire and knows how and when to combine instructional methods. Mrs. Ring had a 3-day trai ning in Kagans Cooperative Learning (Kagan, 1994; Slavin, 1992) and used this teaching method in almost every lesson and more than once in some lessons. Typically after guiding students through a
85 lesson, Mrs. Ring would direct students to practice the skill or strategy within a cooperative group before students independe nt rehearsal or pr actice. Cooperative learning was employed as an opportunity for stud ents to share their writing with and get feedback from members of th eir team. She always ended di rectives with a reminder to coach and praise. Often Mrs. Ring would take her students on a visual field trip (Dwyer, 1988; Harvey & Goudis, 2000) as a prewriting activ ity. For this study, a visual field trip involved students closing their eyes while Mrs. Ring described a place or event. The timing of a visual field trip differed accord ing to the purpose but usually followed the shared planning of a story and before students began their drafts. A visual field trip was occasionally employed so that students could see the importance of adding details for the reader to visualize the scene. Modeled (Mrs Ring does all the composing) and shared writing (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996 ; Routman, 2005) (students co mposed and Mrs. Ring did the physical writing) were staples of her writi ng instruction. During the initial interview, Mrs. Ring stated that she conferenced with her students. Though I observed conferencing only on one occasion with Kyle, this method of instruction was included in times other than the writing block, indi cated by her reference during whole group instruction to conferences that she ha d with students. Assesses children and relates pr ogress to previous experiences Mrs. Ring gave feedback to students regarding their writi ng throughout instruction. She gave students feedback at the beginning of writing instruct ion having read their compositions from the previous day, after guided instruction, or af ter independent writi ng. During instruction she evaluated whether students we re grasping a concept or if th ey were struggling with it.
86 I can look at something and say this isnt working, lets stop and lets change because Im not getting things across. I think that Id like to say that Im more objective about myself, but I do feel that I can look and say, I re ally did not do well with this and its not the kids its got to be the de livery because there are too many th at arent getting it. I also try to use a great variety of things. I get excited. (Interview, 10-06-04) Provides students with strategi es to support independent learning Guided instruction zigzagged throughout the lessons usually preceding a cooperative learning activity or a modeled or shared writing. M odeled and shared writing though frequently blended, were an essential component of Mrs. Rings writing instruction. It was not unusual for Mrs. Ring to begin modeling a writin g piece, then after a few sentences elicit ideas from the students in the manner of a shared writing. Composing on an overhead projector, Mrs. Ring modeled for her students her thinking as she composed for or with her class. She told students You are going to take a trip inside my brain. I may make mistakes because this is my first draft (O bservation, 9-1-04). Students saw their teacher grapple with spelling, reread for clarity, re vise awkward sentences get excited about a descriptive phrase, or conn ect vocabulary words from the reading anthology to the written composition. Through modeling and shar ed writing, Mrs. Ring demonstrated to students that the writing is recursive rather than a smoot h and immediate product. Throughout data collection, Mrs. Ring m odeled every writing assignment before students were expected to write independently with the exception of an occasional timed writing that prepared students for the st ate-mandated writing assessment. Typically, students were invited to brainstorm before all writing assignments regardless of purpose and length.
87 Writes with her students. Once again, Mrs. Ring demonstrated almost every writing assignment through shared and m odeled writing. Occasionally, when students wrote independently, she would write simu ltaneously and then share her composition with the class. It was not unusual for her to ask for feedback about her composition from her students and then for them to comfortably point out parts they en joyed and parts that they did understand or wanted more details. Allows students to select their own writi ng topics or modify teacher assignments. Because writing objectives for fourth grad e were bound by the constraints of the statemandated writing assessment, Mrs. Ring was required to teach two major, though narrowly defined, writing genres, expository an d narrative, and prepare them to respond to a given prompt within 45 minutes on the da y of the assessment. However, writing was not limited to only the writing block, but o ccurred across the curriculum. Knowing that her students had to practice responding to a given prompt, Mrs. Ring selected writing topics that were proven to be engaging to f ourth graders for the last several years. Other than lists of vocabulary words for the two read ing levels in the class and lists of spelling words according to students spelling developmen t, few prescribed lists were displayed. However, charts displaying lists generate d by the class were displayed throughout the room and were referenced by Mrs. Ring and the students during instruction. Rather than give students lists, they individually and coll ectively created their own. For example, students were familiar with a few transitional words that had been introduced in the previous grade, but Mrs. Ring wanted them to add to their existing knowledge. Focused lessons were conducted to facilitate the ge neration of words or phrases that students
88 already owned in their speaking vocabulary as opposed to words predetermined by an outside source such as co mmercial lists. Teaches grammar and mechanics within the context of oral reading and writing. During modeled or shared writing, Mrs. Ring explained to students why she used certain punctuation, specifically commas or quota tion marks. She explained in the formal interview after selecting her as a participate, I integrate my grammar and punctuation in my writing lesson. I dont have a separate grammar block. (Interview, 10-06-04) Mrs. Mac Mrs. Mac is from Cuba and moved to the U.S. when she was a young child. She has taught for 15 years and gives her mother, a former teacher in Cuba, credit for instilling in her a love for teaching. Her instru ctional style tended to be very linear and upbeat and every minute of instruction seemed planned. Any instructional material was easily accessible for distribution and transparenci es for the overhead were always within reach. I noticed in her lesson plan book that she checked off each daily objective after it was taught. All the students seemed engaged in learning and appeared to enjoy Mrs. Mac. Though her instructional pace was faster than Mrs. Ring, she was careful to continuously monitor student understanding, give lots of wait time, and listen attentively to student responses. Passionate about writing During an interview Mrs. Mac explained that she has the kind of classroom that has words everywhe re. Just a rich litera ture based classroom is very important as well. This is here for you. [Spreading out her arms to indicate classroom generated resources]. Copy any of it that you want. The kind of classroom that emphasizes writing is very important and to know that ch ildren should feel
89 comfortable knowing that all th ese things (points to charts on wall) are here for you. Use whatever you see. (Interview, 10-06-04) Though Mrs. Mac had taught writing in a s econd grade classroom for five years before moving to Lakeview, she was proactiv e in obtaining professional development in the pedagogy of writing instruct ion for intermediate grade students. She learned about workshops for writing instruction that were offered on Monday evenings from a former elementary teacher in the state and attende d all ten workshops. After the workshops she persuaded her administrator to purchase the books written by the workshop presenter for all the teachers in grades three through five In addition she was the facilitator at the school workshops for writing. Attendance was not required, but most teachers attended. Her enthusiasm and expertise spread to sc hools in the area and consequently she was asked to facilitate workshops in other schools as well. She expl ains, I was just so excited about what I had learned and sharing it with others that I didnt want to stop writing. I wanted to teach my children and the rest of the teachers. Teach anyone who would listen, basically. (Int erview, 10-06-04) Committed to, cares about, and advocates for actions that improve students lives. Mrs. Mac described in an interview she wants students to know in a very positive way some of the things they do co rrectly and some of the things that they can improve. Do it in a way so theyll feel comfortable and not humiliate them. I try to maintain the aspect that children need to be respected just lik e adults need to be respected as well (Interview, 10-06-04). Mrs. Macs respect fo r students was typically demonstrated in the way in which she talked to all students. Fo r example, Now make sure you connect all the pictures. I know you can do it. Nice id eas (Transcript, 1104-04). Her view of
90 children was obvious in the respectful way she interacted with them not only during instruction, but during nonins tructional moments as well. Now, Sarah, would you be kind and distribute one of these. This is to practice dialogue. Will you (class) go ahead, as usual, and write your name, date, and number at the top? (Transcript, 11-03-04). She expressed her concern that so much emphasis is placed on the state mandated assessment. I really feel that we should teach our children how to write, but right now in 4th grade it is not something that should be te sted. I really feel that they should be exposed to it, but its not something th at should take 80% of our time throughout the year. I dont, I really do not believe that. I think it should just be a learning process. EXPOSURE is what I feel should be done. I would really like to do more fun writing. I have to be honest, I en joy writing, but I think expository and narrative is very limited. Its very limiti ng, and I really feel that the children HAVE TO stick to that format in orde r to get a good score. If you dont stay within that format, no matte r what a wonderful writer you are, youre not going to get a good score. (Interview, 11-01-04) Develops highly effective in structional repertoires and knows how and when to combine instructional methods. Mrs. Mac describes her approach to writing: I dont want them to be uncomfortable. I dont think they all go through the unknown at the same time. I have to start from the familiar what they know. And little by little I may spend one day on a skill or a whole week on it depending on how the children respond to it. So I think it needs to be a process of little by little by little. I believe modeling is the most important thing. Modeling with children. I always, and I do this without fail, mode l the whole week a certain
91 prompt. Of course Im getting input from the children, but Im guiding them as we go along. (11-01-04) Assesses children and relates prog ress to previous experiences. Mrs. Mac informally used Sharing as a venue for stude nts to share their writing with an audience and to informally assess their writing deve lopment. Sharing was similar to Calkins (1994) Authors Chair. Students were invi ted to share their writing almost daily. Sometimes sharing would occur at the beginning of class, but occurred most frequently when students returned from physical educ ation. The amount of writing students shared depended on the focus of instruction. Because student volunteered to read their writing, the purpose of feedback from Mrs. Mac and students was to comment on positive aspects of the writing. More evaluative feedback by Mr s. Mac was through frequent and specific written comments on students writing. C onferencing was employed to discuss major areas that needed improvement. Mrs. Mac explains: I say, Lets look at some of the comm ents, and lets talk about how we can improve it. Before they write the next paragraph, they have my comments in front of them so they know what are some things they need to stay away from and some things that they need to add. Then they write the next paragraph, and I take that night to look at it again. So they are getting constant feedback on a daily basis. I like to conference with each indi vidual student at least twice a month. It doesnt take long, no more than 5 minutes with each child. I just go over some of the things that I see that they are sti ll having problems wit h. I make a note of it and what we talked abou t. (Interview, 11-01-04)
92 Provides students with strategi es to support independent learning. Writing instruction in Mrs. Macs entailed events during which a carefully planned sequence of writing events prepared and enabled most children to independently accomplish an assigned writing task. Lessons typically be gan with an introdu ctory, lively teacherdirected discussion or a review of homewor k that had been assigned to give students practice in a specific skill or strategy. Th en students would practice a writing skill or strategy in isolation through guided instruction. Typically Mrs. Mac provided students with a worksheet from the writing curriculu m she had asked the sc hool to purchase that they would complete and then store in thei r writing folder. Stude nts were invited and even expected to include the focus skill or strategy in their independent writing. Finally, students would share their writing with the class during Sharing. A ll writing during the writing block was prompt driven. For the firs t few weeks, all students responded to the same prompt when the class was practicing at the paragraph level. Later students could choose between several prompts. The following is a list of prompts students could choose to write about over the course of a week: (a) Tell a story about a time when you were lost, (b) Tell about how you became invisible for a day, (c) Tell about a time when you found an object at the park, and (d) Write about your adventure on a jet ski. Many of the same writing events employed in Mrs. Rings class were also a staple in Mrs. Macs clas sroom. Common events were gu ided instruction, shared writing, independent writing, a nd feedback. While cooperative learning structures were employed usually on a daily basis and freq uently throughout writ ing instruction in Mrs. Rings classroom, cooperative learni ng was seldom observed in Mrs. Macs classroom. Authors Chair, referred to as Sharing in Mrs. Macs room was observed
93 only in her classroom. Writes with her students. Similarly to Mrs. Ring, Mrs. Mac not only enjoyed teaching writing but also enjoyed writing. On a personal level, Mrs. Mac liked to write poetry and sometimes her poems were published in the newsletter from her church. Though she kept a journal, she admitted that she did not write on a daily basis. In the classroom, Mrs. Mac demonstrated through sh ared and modeled writing almost every writing assignment. Allows students to select th eir own writing topics or m odify teacher assignments. Like Mrs. Ring, Mrs. Mac was bound by the co nstraints of the state-mandated writing assessment. She described state-mandated wr iting as very limiting and explained why: I really feel that the children HAVE TO s tick to that format in order to get a good score. If you dont stay w ithin that format, no matter what a wonderful writer you are, youre not going to get a good score And I would really like to do more fun writing. I have to be honest, I enjoy writi ng, but I think expository and narrative is very limiting. (Interview, 11-01-04) Mrs. Mac was referring to expository and narrative as the structure of the writing assessment mandated by the state departme nt of education. While expository and narrative subsumes almost all writing formats, for the asse ssment, expository refers to writing to explain and narrative re fers to writing to tell a stor y. So that students would be familiar with the format of the state writing assessment, she frequently had them respond to prompts. However, she selected prompts th at former students had found enjoyable. In addition, she gave them several prompts from which to choose. For instance, starting a story with a catchy beginning was the focused writing strategy for several days. Each
94 day after she facilitated the brainstorming of ideas for the beginning to a story, students would compose their own beginning. Then afte r they had composed beginnings to five different stories, they selected one to develop into a story. Teaches grammar and mechanics within the context of oral reading and writing. While Mrs. Mac taught grammar and mechan ics in a short focus-lesson during guided instruction, she also encouraged them to inte grate the skill or strate gy in the writing they were currently composing. She also rehear sed writing conventions during modeled and shared writing. While Mrs. Mac tentatively followed a scope and sequence that she had developed over the past few years, she was flexible and altered instruction based on her evaluation of students compositions. Selecting Struggling Writers Two students were selected from each class. Participating students were established through criteri on-based selection (LeCompt e & Preissle, 1993), which included teacher recommendati on, writing samples, and the Writer Self Perception Scale WSPS (Bottomley, et al., 1998). (See Appendix B). These students were selected because they possessed characteristics related to the studys central question: What is the nature of the interaction betw een exemplary teachers of writing a nd struggling writers? In order to describe and explain the interaction, t eachers were asked to recommend struggling writers for the study based on students writing samples and writing behaviors. Mrs. Ring suggested four students and Mrs. Mac suggested two students. Though a thorough analysis of students writing was not conducted during the par ticipant selection process, the writing samples of the suggested students were less developed and shorter than their classmates. A final data source for student selection was the Writer Self Perception Scale
95 because students attitudes, values, beliefs, a nd motivation play a significant role in their literacy learning (Turner & Pari s, 1995). According to Harr is et al. (1998) children who consider themselves poor writers, who have negative attitudes and emotions about writing, or who have learning di fficulties that make writing even more challenging need an approach to instruction that directly addresses these issues (p.133). Students who scored below the class mean on the scale we re considered for the study. (See Table 2) The Writer Self Perception Scale (Bottomley et al., 1998) is an effective public domain instrument that measures individuals attitude toward their writing. The scale is grounded in theory of perceived self-efficacy (Bandura, (1977) and the affective domain (Cramer & Castle, 1994; Turner & Paris, 1995). The scale consists of 38 items that assess self-perception along five dimensions of se lf-efficacy. The five dimensions are (a) General Progress perception of improvement in writing, (b) Specific Progress explicit dimensions of writing such as focus, clar ity, organization, style, and coherence, (c) Observational Comparison how a child perceives his/her writing performance in relation to peers, (d) Social F eedback direct and indirect input about the childs writing derived from teachers, classmates, and family members, and (e) Physiological States internal feelings that the ch ild experiences during writing. To administer the scale, I introduced st udents to the scale and worked through the example with the class. I read aloud each ques tion while students independently indicated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with each statement using a 5-level Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagr ee, 3 = Undecided, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree). The WSPS took about 20 minutes to complete. The Writer Self Perception Scale Scoring Sheet (Appendix C) was used to analyze indivi dual attitudes toward writing. Students
96 whose mean scores on the WSPS were lower than the cla ss average on the WSPS were considered for the studys focal students. Th is scale was triangulated with teachers knowledge of the students and students writing portfolios for selecting the focal students for the study. Students who were recommende d by the teachers were also students who scored in the low range on the WSPS. (See Table 3) Table 2 Class Mean Scores on Writ er Self Perception Scale General Progress (GP) Specific Progress (SP) Observational Comparison (OC) Social Feedback (SF) Physiological State (PS) Mrs. Ring 30 29 27 24 25 Mrs. Mac 36 33 28 37 21 Table 3 Recommended Students Raw Scores Compared to WSPS Suggested Low Range Scores General Progress (GP) <30 Specific Progress (SP) <24 Observational Comparison (OC) <23 Social Feedback (SF) <22 Physiological State (PS) <16 Kyle# 33 26 15 20 20 Ray# 21 25 20 25 10 Trevor# 34 30 24 21 12 James# 30 31 27 27 27 Colleen+ 12 11 9 7 6 Chad+ 32 29 24 23 6 #Mrs. Rings Students +Mrs. Macs St udents Bold indicates low range
97 Mrs. Ring suggested Kyle, Ray, James, a nd Trevor as possible candidates for the study. These students also had the lowest scor es on the WSPS. Kyles scores fell below his class average in all dimensions except for General Progress and fell within the low range in Observational Comparison and Social Feedback. Rays raw scores fell below his class average in all areas except for Social Fe edback. He scored in the low range in areas that addressed General Progress State, Ob servational Comparison and Physiological State. Because none of James scores fell belo w the class average or within the low range he was not considered for the study. Trevors scores fell below the class average in Observational Comparison, Social Feedback, an d Physiological State, and with the low range in Social Feedback and Physiological State. When I compared baseline writing samples from Kyle, Ray, and Trevor, Trevors writing samples had more words and better plot development than the other two so he was not considered for the study. I decided Kyle and Ray would be the focus students from Mrs. Rings class. Mrs. Mac suggested Colleen and Chad for the study. All of Co lleens scores fell below the class average and within the low rang e. All Chads scores fell below his class average and within the low range in Physiol ogical State. The scores from both Colleen and Chads scales indicated th at they would be good participan ts for the study. Similar to the outcome in Mrs. Macs classroom, Colleen and Chad scores on the WSPS were the lowest in the class. Race a nd gender were diverse within both classrooms and would have been considered if there had been a pool of diverse struggling st udents to choose from; however, all the students suggested by the teachers, writing sample s, and the WSPS were male, with the exception of one girl, and all were White.
98 Kyle Kyles scores fell below the class average in all areas except for General Progress and fell within the low range in Observationa l Comparison and Social Feedback. Kyles score of 15 in the Observational Comparis on Scale and 20 in Social Feedback as compared to the class mean of 27 and 24 respec tively, suggest that Kyle did not perceive himself as competent in writing as his peers and had circled strongly disagree with all the statements that indicate his writing was comp atible with his classmates. Several of his responses indicate that he felt his writing wa s improving, and that his family considered him a good writer. Twice he disagreed with st atements that implied his teacher thought his writing was good, yet agreed wi th the statement, I can tell that my teacher thinks my writing is fine. (See Tables 2 and 3 for additional data). Mrs. Ring described Kyle as an active pa rticipate during writi ng instruction who really tries to apply the skill though he some times struggles to express his thoughts in a way that makes sense to the reader. In a late r interview she stated, He sometimes tries to be too elaborate. His (poor) understanding of la nguage causes his writing to be confusing at times (Informal interview, 11-08-04). Th e financial situation in Kyles home may have interfered with Kyles performance and is described in the fo llowing excerpt from my field notes. Mrs. Ring explains to me that Kyle probably did not do ve ry well on the timed writing from Friday. He came in a little upset because he did not have lunch money. The previous day he was given a lunch (meaning a PBJ) because he had already charged $10 in lunches and was give n an application to receive free or reduced lunches by the lunchroom manager. She explained that his parents must
99 have expressed their feelings about this with Kyle because he was upset about this. When this situation was brought to Mr s. Rings attention, she put money in his account unbeknownst to Kyle. She explai ned to him that his lunch was taken care of. (Observation, 10-25-04) Ray Rays raw scores fell below his class av erage except for the dimensions Social Feedback and Physiological State and within the low range in Observational Comparison and Physiological State. According to Rays responses to the WSPS, he did not perceive himself as competent in writing as his peers, nor did he perceive himself as making as much progress in writing as his peers. The onl y item that Ray strongly disagreed with on the WSPS was My writing is more interesting than my classmates writing suggesting that he perceived his writing as less interes ting that his peers wr iting. The only item that Ray strongly agreed with was People in my family think I am a good writer He circled undecided for all the statements that implied that his teacher thought hi s write was good. Mrs. Ring claimed that Ray was unmotivat ed and contributed to Rays struggle with writing. Ray's problem basically comes from lack of motivation and his being somewhat lazy. Ray is often reluctant to participant in writing instruction and must be reminded of the grading consequences that will apply if he does not complete the assigned task. He lacks concentration a nd when he does do his work, he rushes and then makes careless mistakes. (Informal Interview, 10-08-04)
100 Colleen Colleens scores fell consistently within the low range on all five scales of the Writers Self Perception Scale (general and specific progress, observational comparison, social feedback, and physiol ogical state). She circled SD strongly disagree, on 34 of the 38 items. Though 15 items were related to gene ral and specific progress, she strongly agreed with only two items: I am getting better at writing and The words I use in my writing are better than the ones I used before Colleen was an only child and lived with her mother and her mothers boyfriend, both of whom were deaf. Though they co mmunicated with each other through sign language, Colleen most frequently communicated with them by speaking, and they in turn would read her lips. Lip-reading was convenient for Colleen because, she volunteered, she was not competent at signing. She was sensitive to the challenges that her mother faced and often took a leadersh ip role in her family. Her mother was concerned about Colleens academic performa nce at school and behavior problems she was having at home. According to Colleen, sh e does not get much academic support from home. She explained, I have to practice on my own. My mom cant model for me because she doesnt understand writing ve ry much (Interview, 12-16-04). Colleens speech was slightly impaired; however, sh e did not qualify for speech. Colleens handwriting was noticeably poor and often diffi cult to read and admitted that handwriting was the most challenging part of writing (I nterview, 12-16-04). Mrs. Mac described that as a writer, Colleen has crea tive ideas, but the ideas are typically disjointed and the meaning and flow are impeded by her near illegible handwriting and weak spelling
101 ability. To augment Colleens poor handwriti ng, Mrs. Mac had given her two packets of handwriting worksheets for her to practice at home and at school. Chad Chad circled SD or strongly disagree on 7 of the 38 items. Six of these items were in the Physiological States scale which eval uated the writers feelings during writing. According to the instrument, Chad did not pe rceive himself as relaxed or comfortable when he writes, nor did he enjoy writing. He strongly disagreed that his writing was more interesting than his classmates writing. Howeve r, an average score in Specific Progress suggests that he perceived his writing was improving. He was undecided about his teacher and classmates opinion of his writing as indicated by several statements circled undecided but agreed that his family thought he was a good writer. Mrs. Mac explained that Chad had just transferred to her class fr om another school just a few weeks before I began collecting data in her classroom. Sh e described Chad as very methodical and anxious about completing a composition within the time frame. The Roles of the Researcher Glesne and Peshkin (1992) ascribe two role s to the qualitative researcher. In one role the researcher is the co llector and analyzer of data. In qualitative research, the researcher is the instrument of the research project (Creswell, 1994). The second role is that of learner and is described in th e following by Glesne and Peshkin, (1992): It is important to have this role of self from the beginning. The learners perspective will lead you to reflect on all aspects of research procedures and findings. It will also set you up for a part icular kind of interaction with your
102 others. As a researcher, you are a curious student who comes to learn from and with research participants. You do not come as an expert or authority (p. 32). As a learner, I made every effort to remain objective and open-minded throughout the study in order to learn as much as possi ble about the ways exemplary writing teachers interact with struggling wr iters. The researchers pers onal demographics, background, and experiences influence decisions regardi ng data inclusion and analysis (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992). I have over 20 years of expe rience as an educator. Seventeen of these years were as an elementary teacher in cluding experience in every grade except for kindergarten and third grade. During these ye ars as a classroom teacher, I studied and implemented various teaching models. For the past four years I have been an administrator responsible for the curriculum and instruction at the school where I am employed. My many years of classroom expe rience and continued concern for students who struggle with writing provi de passion and perspective to this study. Yet, experience and concern may also bring bias to the study. Therefore, I followed Strauss and Corbins (1990) advice to maintain theoretical and so cial sensitivity by retaining analytical distance while simultaneously drawing upon pa st experiences and theoretical knowledge to interpret what is seen by using astute observational and interactional skills. Three qualitative researchers, 2 doctoral candidates in the field of liter acy, and one Advanced Placement English teacher with National Boar d Certification were employed as peer debriefers in order to minimize bias. One p eer debriefer, the A.P. English teacher was consulted to assist in the sele ction of interactions. Their resp onsibilities were to assist with the interrater reliability of the codes and to alert me if they noticed any bias during the interpretive stage of the analysis. This process is explained later in the chapter.
103 The roles of the researcher may be conceptualized as ranging along a continuum of participation and observation (Glesne & Pe shkin, 1992). My role for the majority of the time was that of an observer of writi ng instruction in the classroom. I unobtrusively positioned myself in order to observe and record field notes. I was not actively involved in any of the classroom activities. I limited my interaction with the students and guarded my response to questions asked by the stude nts during instruction in order to avoid possibly influencing the data. However, interaction was a natural conse quence of my presence in the classroom; and to refrai n from any participation at all would be inconsistent with naturalistic inquiry. Procedures and Data Collection The initial stage of the res earch was to gain entry into the classrooms for formal observations by receiving permission from the schools administrators and teachers. The teachers who were selected for participati on in the study were provided with a form required by the university that outlined the research and the nature of their involvement. By signing the letter they consented to par ticipation in the study. However, they were assured that they could w ithdraw at anytime. The next step was to select two focal st udents by criterion-ba sed selection which included recommendation by the teacher, wr iting samples, and results from the Writers Self Perception Scale (This procedure is thoroughl y described on pages on 94-96.) Before selection occurred, each family within the classrooms was informed by letter that I would be observing the writing instruction of their childs teach er. The students and their families were asked to grant permi ssion for their child to be observed and interviewed in the classroom. Parents of st ruggling writers were not alerted to their
104 childs writing status. They were informed that the students names and identities were kept confidential and that they could withdraw their child from the study at any time. All participants were given a pseudonym similar to their actual name. All but one student returned the signed consent forms. Upon receiving a schedule of the writing block from the teachers, I scheduled the classroom observations. Rather than preplann ing what would be obs erved before arriving in the classroom, I decided who or what to observe based on which event(s) or situation(s) specific to that days visit woul d provide the richest da ta in light of the research questions. Concurrently examin ing focus students within each classroom allowed for a more effective comparison of observations and maximized my time within the classroom. During indepe ndent writing or cooperative learning activities I would observe one student for a period of time and then switch to the othe r student. The length of the observation differed according to th e situation. If something noteworthy was happening I would extend my observation. Ev en when my observation was focused on one student, I would take quick gl ances at the othe r student. This study followed the suggestion by Bogda n and Biklen (2003) to carry out the study in one classroom before going to the next in order to avoid confusion. I observed writing instruction in the first classroom, that of Mrs. Ring, for 30 visits over the span of 9 weeks. Data collection was paused severa l times during these 9 weeks due to schools closing in the county as a result of three hurricanes. I tapered off my visits to Mrs. Rings class when I began data collection in Mrs. Macs class. I observed daily in Mrs. Macs class for 7 continuous weeks. She was absent on two days due to sickness in her family and a wedding. Data collection began just as they were beginning a unit on narrative
105 writingthe same topic I had observed in Mrs. Rings class. Each student participant was present and observed everyday during writing instruction. Data Sources According to Patton (2002), qualitative me thods consist of three basic kinds of data collection: (a) in-depth, open-ended interview; (b) direct observation; and (c) written documents. The data collection for each res earch question is displa yed in the Table 4 below. A description of each data collection procedure follows.
106 Table 4 Research Questions and Study Design SOCIOCULTURAL TH EORETICAL FRAMEWORK QUALITATIVE INQUIRY In depth study in natural setting CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS Way of being a learner Exemplary Teaching CASE STUDY DESIGN Understanding of simila rities individual vari ations across cases Research Question1: What is the nature of th e interaction between ex emplary teachers of writing and struggling writers? Data Collection Analysis Lesson Plans Audio tape of writing instruction Vignette (Miles & Huberman, 1994) Audio tape of formal interview between Discourse Analysis (Gee, 1999) researcher and teacher Document Analysis, (Patton, 2002) Informal conversations between researcher Intervie w Analysis, (Patton, 2002) and the teacher Cross-case Analysis (Patton, 2002) Informal conversations between researcher and the students Field notes Research Question 2: What are the responses of struggling writers to the interaction? Lesson plans Vignette (Miles & Huberman, 1994) Audio tape of writing instruction Document Analysis (Patton, 2002) Informal conversations between researcher Intervie w Analysis, (Patton, 2002) and the teacher Cross-case Analysis (Patton, 2002) Field notes Student Written Documents Secondary data sources, such as unsolicited information, was included as well, but unlike primary data sources, they did not pr ovide data to be an alyzed in depth, but supported or extended analysis of primary data collected. Both teachers occasionally informed me about incidences that involved the focal stude nts. For example, Mrs. Mac had a conference with Colleens mother after school and shared with me the major points
107 of the conference. This unsolicited informa tion was helpful because it extended what I was able to observe in the classroom. By triangulating data sources, analysis was designed to avoid bias and shorts ighted conclusions (Denzin, 1989). Writer Self Perception Scale. The WSPS, introduced and described above was used to measure individuals attitudes towa rd their writing (Botto mley et al., 1998) and was administered at the beginning of the study in each classroom. Interview transcripts. A semi-structured, taped interview with the teachers occurred at the beginning of the study a nd informal interviews occurred throughout the data-collection period. An interview guide (Appendix D) was employed in the initial interview. Though some questions did not dir ectly address the research questions, they were useful for background information about th e teachers. Informal interviews included questions about ideas that emerged throughout the data-collection pe riod specific to each teachers practice, as well as questions regarding the teachers perspective of a writing event. The tone of the intervie w was conversational so as not to be intrusive or suggest a predictable behavior (Patt on, 2002). I had ongoing conversations with the teachers and students to clarify any misunders tandings as well as to obtai n further information as new data were added. I transcribed all interviews. Instruction transcripts. I began recording classroom instruction at the beginning of the study in each classroom. I recorded a nd personally transcribed all audio-tapes of writing instruction. A tape recorder was st rategically placed to record whole group instruction. Nonverbal behavior and aspects of the situation th at were not reflected in the audiotape were supported by fi eld notes of observations a nd were used as much as possible for corroboration with the taped instruction
108 Documents. Most of the students written text during the writing block was either photocopied or typed on my la ptop computer. Mrs. Ring stat ed at the beginning of the study that she would make photocopies of th e focus students written text; however, on several occasions and for an extended period of time, the copier at Cypress Grove was not functioning. Fortunately, lunch immedi ately followed the writing block. With approval from Mrs. Ring, I stayed in the cl assroom while students were at lunch and typed the two focus students texts onto my laptop. Obtaining written text in Mrs. Macs room was easier. Mrs. Mac gave me the writing folders at the end of each week so that I could make copies of students writing. In addition, when students left for P.E., I was able to stay behind and type the focus stude nts daily work onto my laptop computer. Field Notes. Field notes are the fundamental database for constructing case studies (Patton, 2002, p. 305). Descriptive fi eld notes were recorded to give an accurate account of the actions or talk by the teacher or focal students that I considered significant. This information included situatio ns, events, quotations, contexts, or details. Feelings, reactions to the experience, and refl ections will be recorded. Rather than relying on memory, field notes allowed me to better analyze the data as well as describe the experience to the reader. Consistent with a constant comparative method of analysis, insights, judgments, and interpretations were set off by brackets in order to separate the actual observation from my interpretation and hunches. Words and phrases that seemed to capture the topic were coded in the margin s. A laptop computer was used most of the time accept for the few occasions when the batte ry lost its charge. For these occasions, a spiral notebook was used to record notes. Handwritten notes were soon typed on the computer to keep a consistent format of field notes.
109 Journal. A researchers journal (Merriam, 2002) was kept throughout the study in order to record impressions, insights, and f eelings about events th at occurred during the course of the study. Recording thoughts and feel ings in a private manner is important, yet they are not intended for public display as data for support of findings. Though keeping a journal did not separate subj ectivity from other written obs ervations, it provided a way for me to monitor my concerns and biases and to remind myself of my role as researcher and learner. Recognizing that I was a research tool as I made deliberate decisions regarding inclusion and exclus ion of data, the data collect ion and analysis was never completely free from bias. Data-Analysis Procedures Data analysis consists of examin ing, categorizing, tabul ating, or otherwise recombining the evidence to address the in itial propositions of a study (Yin, 1994). Data analysis and interpretation were ongoing th roughout the research period. Analysis emerged from the data, instead of being impos ed from the beginning. The variety of types of analysis and data sources allowed for a broad understanding of data. By triangulating data analysis (Denzin, 1989), results were more reliable and better informed. A summary of how data that corresponded w ith the research questions we re analyzed is provided in Table 4. First I analyzed the Writers Self Perception Scale very early in the study as one source for determining struggling writers with in each classroom. Next, I analyzed the teacher interview transcripts because they were the first data sources acquired. To do this I read through the transcript and labeled phrases with descri ptive codes in the margin. This resulted in approximately 30 codes. I then reduced these codes to 10 broader
110 categories. I did not finely analyze these s ources because the interview analysis served primarily to support or disprove hunches as well as provide me with information about the instructional philosophy of the teacher. Ne xt, I began to analyze the transcripts of writing instruction though analysis did not begin until I began data collection at the second site. I analyzed the transcripts of wr iting instruction numerous times in order to adequately and critically describe the nature of the classroom interactions. A detailed description of the analysis pr ocess is described in the Tr anscript Analysis section. Document analysis was useful for obtaining a baseline of students writing performance at the beginning of the study but was primarily used to determine the response of students to the interaction. This analysis did not occur until the transcript analysis was completed. However, some preliminary analysis such as creating a table to display when a writing concept was introduced in each classroom was conducted throughout data collection. A full description of the document analysis is described in the Document Analysis section. Even after document analysis was complete, I reanalyzed some of the interactions during writing instruction. Student interv iews were analyzed shortly after they were conducted at the end of the study in each classroom. Throughout the en tire analysis process, I repeatedly went back and forth from one da ta source to another within the same data source genre as well as across genre. Finally a cross-case analysis was conducted across students within the same classroom and then across both classrooms. Transcript analysis. The daily transcripts for each t eacher were saved as the date of the observation in separate folders for each teacher on my computer. For example, the transcripts from a lesson in Mrs. Rings cl ass on September 9 were saved as 9-09 in a folder saved as Ring. The find tool on my word processing program was used to help
111 me isolate moments of interaction between th e teacher and struggling writer. I began by searching through each file in Mrs. Rings fold er and typed in KYLE for all text that included Kyles name. One by one I read th rough the text to determine if the text included interraction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring. Sometimes the name was embedded within a memo to myself and not necessarily an interaction. In othe r instances, the find tool located interactions be tween Kyle and other students during a coopera tive learning activities, but I did not include these interactio ns in the analysis. I copied and pasted the text into a new document. I read th rough the interraction to determine the purpose of the interraction, and then labeled it, for example, 10-7 sentence structur e. All interactions between Kyle and Mrs. Ring were saved into one lengthy document, but were separated by dates. All interactions were saved in a file named Kyles Inte raction. This same process was repeated for Ray, the other st ruggling writer in Mrs. Rings classroom. Focal students responses during brainstorming that did not result in a teacher response were not analyzed unless an interaction shortly followed or preceded the brainstorming. Interactions that served as an introduction to a concept or to m onitor understanding were not analyzed unless an uptake was used to further mediate students understanding. An example of an interaction that was not in cluded follows. MR is Mrs. Ring. In the interaction she is introducing students to th e idea of keeping their readers in suspense. MR What do we call an ending like that ? Any guesses? Its not something Ive told you. KYLE Endless MR This is something that a writer woul d call a cliffhanger. It leaves you hanging, wondering.
112 A peer debriefer was consulted to assist in the selection process. We read through the interactions together a nd used the above qualifiers to make the determination. However, we made a few allowances for Ray and Chad because there were fewer interactions between them a nd their teacher. Because I was the observer in the context and was able to pick up on nuances of the clas sroom instruction not obs ervable in the flat environment of transcripts, I clarified questi ons that she had about any interactions. This exercise was beneficial and served to prom ote credibility of th e study. I repeated the entire process of transcript analysis with the students in Mrs. Macs classroom. The unit of analysis was the conversationa l turn as well as holistic segments of discourse because meaning occurred w ithin the context of that segment. Combining some elements from Gee (1999) and Cazdens (2001) discourse analysis methods, I devised my own transcription system (Appendix E) to assist in transcribing the tapes. For example, nonverbal behaviors were described within brack ets, explanations and descriptions were placed within parenthesis, and words stressed by the teachers were tran scribed in italics. This system considers the complexity of th e interaction and also helped me relive the observation while analyzing a nd describing the interaction. I labeled every interaction with a verb, the function of discourse, to desc ribe the content of the teachers talk turn, such as praise, elaborates, and revoices. This procedure did not describe the multifacets of the interaction. Then I re peatedly read through each interaction and followed Bloome, Carter, Christian, Otto, and Shuart-Faris ( 2005) assertion to examine how language is used, by whom, when, where, and for what pur poses, along with what is being said and written, by whom, and how, and what import the uses of spoken and written language have to the people in the even t (p. 56). I wrote my interpretations of the interactions in
113 the margins of the transcript. This interpre tation involved the contex t of the interaction such as the writing event encompassing th e interaction, the classroom discourse preceding and following the interaction, and wh o was involved. A final layer of analysis involved a critical analysis of some of th e interactions when appropriate. Through this analysis I examined how social and powe r relations, identities, and knowledge were constructed through spoken text (Rogers, 2003). In short, I went from decontextualizing the interactions to recontextualizing them to gain a more holistic understanding of the social interaction. Miles and Huberman (1994) describe vigne ttes as a method of analysis that provides a framework from which to capture r ich pockets of especially representative, meaningfully data (p. 81). They suggest th e following structure and outline when using vignettes: the context, your hopes, who was involved, what you did, what happened as a result, what the impact was, and why this happened. I did not follow their suggestion explicitly, but used it as a guide when analyzing and describing the data. Interview and WSPS analysis. The semi-structured initial teacher interview and informal interviews were analyzed to provide further data to support each teachers point of view. I highlighted text that supported practices I observed in the classroom. I also coded the themes that emerged in the interv iews, but did not use th em for this study. The WSPS, described in the section e xplaining the procedure for selecting struggling students (pages 19-22), was anal yzed using the recommendation from the designers of the scale. Students who scored below the suggested low range scores were considered for the study.
114 Document analysis. I conducted a finely grained analysis of students writing. I read through available writing samples and underlined any text that possibly substantiated that the writer may have employed the skill or strategy on the day it was introduced or sometime within the bounds of the study. To manage the data, a table was constructed to display when a writing c oncept was introduced to the class. (See Appendices U & V) These tables were refe rred to repeatedly throughout the study. As data was collected, written evidence of empl oying a writing concept was added to similar tables for each student. Teachers served as member checks to conf irm the text I labeled as particular writing skills and strategies. At the end of the study I gave Mrs. Ring copies of three compositions written by Kyle and Ray. I provi ded her with a list of the eight major writing strategies that were li sted in her lesson plans as the objective of the writing lessons over the nine weeks that I was in he r classroom. Each stra tegy was coded with a letter. For example, detail was coded with a d. I asked Mrs. Ring to read through the compositions and code texts where the student had employed the strategy. I compared the table I had created to display wr iting strategies that appeared in Kyle and Rays writing to the coded text by Mrs. Ring. We were in 100% agreement with phrases coded as red flag and synonyms for said However, for other strategies some phrases could understandably fall under more than one category. For example, I placed the rain was sprinkling under Show, dont tell and Mrs. Ring had placed in under Details Mrs. Ring wrote the following note when she returned the coded documents: Ruth, I am sure there are several items I have overlooked. I tried goi ng over it, then putting it down and coming back to it. Every time I found something else (Document, 11-02-04). Finally the
115 participants writing samples were scored us ing the Six Traits Writing model (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2004) which focuses on ideas and content, organization, word choice, voice, sent ence fluency, and conventions. Two writing samples from each of the four students were given to graduate students who were obtaining a Masters in Reading to score using the Six Traits m odel. The graduate students were given a list of the traits along with bul leted explanations for the traits and were asked to score each of the traits in the writi ng samples. I also scored each writing sample using this model. Mrs. Mac provided students with a checklist (Appendi x F) that included writing elements that had been introduced or woul d be introduced sometime during the unit on narrative writing. Students stored them in the poc ket of their writing folders so they could remember to use the skills and strategies in their current composition. Students used a new checklist for each assigned writing whether it was a paragraph or an entire story. Once a skill or strategy was introduced a nd students had prac ticed it during guided instruction, shared writing, and usually as a short homework assignment, Mrs. Mac invited students to use it somewhere within their compositions. Th en students checked the skill or strategy off the list when it wa s used in the composition. After students had used the checklist for approximately fi ve weeks, Mrs. Mac stopped providing the checklist but encouraged students to continue using the elements from the list. Because the skills and strategies were more concrete in Mrs. Macs classroom and easier to detect in their writing (using similes for examples) th an the strategies in Mrs. Rings classroom, I did not ask Mrs. Mac to code students writing as I did with Mrs. Ring.
116 I also conducted an analysis that cons isted of a fluency measure in which I counted the number of word s in students baseline writing samples and other composition written throughout the duration of the study. Cross case analysis. After a case analysis was con ducted for each of the four students, a cross-case anal ysis (Patton, 2002) was conducte d between the two students within each classroom. I listed all my interpre tations of the interactions described in the vignettes for each student in one column in a matrix. I created a column for Kyle and listed my interpretations and then created a column for Ray. Interpretations of Ray that were similar to Kyles were listed in the same row. I followed the same method of analysis for the other two students. Interpre tations that were different for individual students were listed in a row by themselves. This method allowed me to visualize the similarities and differences between cases w ithin the same classroom and among all cases in the study. Though the analysis was syst ematically employed, the analysis was recursive and iterative, thus the nature of the consta nt comparative analysis. Trustworthiness The credibility of qua litative research depends on thr ee distinct but related inquiry elements: the rigorous methods employed by the researcher, the credibility of the researcher, and the researchers philosophica l belief in the value of qualitative research (Patton, 2002). The issue of reliability and validity are important to any method of research. Validity is important to the credibility of qualitative research. Validity refers to the goodness, authenticity, credib ility, and quality of the re search (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), or simply, does the researcher see what s/he thinks s/he sees? The use of multiple,
117 layered data sources provide triangulation in order to reduce potential bias and subjectivity and strengthen th e trustworthiness of the data collection (Patton, 2002). The classroom teachers and students were used as member checks. Throughout the study, I regularly met with the teachers and students to confirm or clarify observations and ask questions about field notes rather than assign interp retations based on my own experiences or professional or academic disciplines (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999). Three qualitative researchers, 2 doctoral candidates in the field of literacy, and one Advanced Placement English teacher with Natio nal Board Certification served as peer debriefers in order to minimize bias. Their responsibilities were to assist with the reliability of the codes. One peer debriefer, the A.P. English teacher was consulted to assist in the selection of interactions. One of the qualitative researchers and one doctoral candidate read through the vignettes to confir m my interpretation of the interactions to alert me if they noticed any bi as during the interpretive stag e of the analysis. Students in a graduate level literacy course scored writing samples and served to assist with reliability of scoring students writing samples. The use of the constant comparative method of iterative a nd recursive data analysis assured that the integrity of the inte rpretations of the findings are rooted in the data themselves (Guba & Lincoln, 1989, p. 243) rather than the product of the predetermined stances of the researcher. Findi ngs and conclusions were derived through the analysis of the data and supported by nu merous examples drawn from the data.
118 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS This inquiry began because of my interest in furthe r understanding the nature of the interactions between exem plary writing teachers and st ruggling writers. The study was conducted in two classrooms at two schools within the same county in a southeastern state. Two struggling writers from each of tw o classes and their teachers participated in the study. A sociocultural theore tical framework guided this st udy and required the use of research methods aligned with this theory ; therefore, the study was qualitative and conducted in the natural environment of two fourth grade classrooms. Two broad questions guided the research: 1. What is the nature of the intera ction between exemplary teachers of writing and struggling writers? 2. What are the responses of struggl ing writers to the interaction? I spent the first quarter of the school year in the Mrs. Rings classroom at Cypress Grove Elementary and the following seven w eeks in Mrs. Macs classroom at Lakeview Elementary. In an effort to understand what was occurring in the classrooms, I carefully recorded field notes to descri be the instruction. I audiotap ed almost every lesson as well as the semi-structured interviews with the teachers and focus stude nts, and I personally transcribed each tape. I kept a journal to document my personal thoughts, feelings, and hunches. Students writing samples were anot her data source that was beneficial in answering the research questions.
119 Mrs. Rings students, Kyle and Ray, will be presented first, followed by Colleen and Chad, students of Mrs. Mac. Each st udent will be introduced with a summary, then vignettes describing the interacti ons and context of the interactions will follow. Interactions that did not result in a teacher response were not analyzed unless an interaction soon followed or prec eded the initial inte raction. Interactions that served as an introduction to a con cept or that existed in order to monitor understanding were not analyzed unless an uptake was used to further mediate students understanding. Since Ray and Ch ad had fewer interactions with their teachers, almost all their interactions were described in a vignette. The analysis of the interactions within the vignette will be presented next and then will be followed in some instances by a critical an alysis to answer th e question: What is the nature of the interaction between exem plary teachers of writing and struggling writers? Then the analysis of the student s writing related to the interaction will be described to answer the question: What are the responses of struggling writers to the interaction? For some of the lengthy vignettes, the analysis is presented intermittently throughout the vignette. Following the results for the second student in the classroom, a cross-case an alysis of students within the same classroom will be presented. Finally, the da ta on all four students will be brought together at the end of the chapter. Kyle According to Kyles responses to the Writers Self Perception Survey (Bottomley, et al., 1998) he did not perceive hi mself as competent in writing as his peers and had circled strongly disagree with all the statements that indicate his writing was
120 comparable to his classmates. Several of his responses indicate that he felt his writing was improving and that his family considered him a good writer. Twice he disagreed with statements that implied hi s teacher thought his writing wa s good yet agreed with the statement, I can tell that my teach er thinks my writing is fine. He lived at home with bot h parents who were supportive of education, but Mrs. Ring did not feel that they helped much w ith schoolwork and according to her, Work Kyle does at home is definitely his own (Field notes, 10-10-04). His mother wrote a comment to Kyle on a composition that he ha d written about eating turkey. This was a fun paper to read. I agree we should never eat turkey. Throughout the study, Kyle always appeared attentive in that he looked at Mrs. Ring during instruction and activ ely participated by frequently volunteering to respond to questions posed by Mrs. Ring, interacted with his team during cooperative learning structures, and wrote during all independent writing tasks. Mr s. Ring described that Kyle always participates during writing instruct ion and has really tried to take the given instruction and apply it. (Informal interv iew, 11-08-04). During the first few weeks of school, Mrs. Ring offered the following advi ce to her students, Youve got to be confident. If you can explain your thinking, you will know whats going on. (Observation, 9-14-04). Kyle positioned himself as an ac tive participant by voluntarily responding to questions or discussion even though his responses occasionally may have been considered somewhat outside the cont ext. Mrs. Ring explai ned, Kyle sometimes has problems expressing his thoughts in a way that makes sense to the reader. He sometimes tries to be too elaborate. His unde rstanding of language causes his writing to be confusing at times. (Informal interview, 11-08-04).
121 Occasionally Kyle was observed using vi sual resources to support his writing, particularly listed vocabulary from selections the class was reading or words generated by the class during the writing block. Kyle was focused while composing and was usually the first person to finish a writing assignmen t. After completing a task, he would usually sit back in his seat with his arms crossed rather than reread his composition for possible editing or revision. This gest ure was not portraying defiance but appeared more as a sign to the people in his team of four stude nts that he was the first to finish. Kyles handwriting was legible and seemed to flow smoothly. His spelling was usually accurate. Words that were spelled in correctly were approximate to the actual spelling and did not impede the readability of the text. He was aware of most misspelled words and circled them as advised by Mrs. Ring as a signal to go back and check the spelling after writing the draft. However, he was never observed attempting to determine the correct spelling but left the word circled rather than correcting it. Similarly, though he complied, Kyle was reluctant to make revi sions to an original text even after conferencing. Kyle usually followed Mrs. Ri ngs directive to plan before writing. His organizers were detailed, usually written in phrases even though Mrs. Ring stated that jotting down ideas was sufficient. Introducing the Vignettes The following four selected vignettes desc ribe the interactio n between Mrs. Ring and Kyle. Vignette 1 occurs during guided inst ruction and describes a brief interaction in which Mrs. Ring employed Kyles respons es to mediate further his developing understanding of using a comparison to desc ribe. Vignette 2 occurs over two days and describes an interaction dur ing guided instruction in a whole group setting and brief
122 conferences that Kyle initiated with Mrs. Ring during independent writing. Vignette 3 describes the interaction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring during whole group instruction as she attempted to guide their understanding of show, dont tell In these interactions, Mrs. Ring used Kyles responses as teaching points. Vignette 4 occurs dur ing a shared writing. Mrs. Ring used a watercolor painting of an ol d house that she had pain ted as a catalyst to compose with the class the beginning of a Ha lloween experience. The objective of the lesson was to continue to revi ew the writing strategies that had been introduced over the last few months and to employ onomatopoeia in their writing. Vignette 1 Previous to the assignment described in this vignette, Mrs. Ring had supported students understanding of a dding detail to their writing du ring a visual field trip, a cooperative learning activity, and a shared wri ting. Then Mrs. Ring assigned students the short paragraph below to add description. There was a girl sitting on a park benc h. She had blond hair. Her dress was red. She had a dog on a leash. She was laughing. Before students began independent writi ng, she again briefly gave them some ideas for adding detail. Then she modeled how to ask themselves questions about each sentence in order to communicate a better description for the reader. As if an afterthought, she explained that adding speci fic details for comparison was a possible strategy. To practice adding a comparison to de scribe, she asked the class, How red is the dress? Then a lively brainstorming session followed. Almost every student contributed a common red object to comp are the red dress to; however, Kyles contribution did not parallel the responses from the majo rity of the class. KYLE As dark as a carpet
123 MR Make the connection for me. Tell me a little bit more about what you are thinking because Im thinking red, and youre saying dark. Youre not using red in it. My carpet is not red, so I cant see that color. KYLE As red as red paint MR Yes, but there are five m illion shades of red paint. Kait As red as red M&Ms. Alij As red as velvet. MR Not all velvet is red. Its not as easy as you think. Pick things that you know everyone would understand. How a bout a fire truck? How about a red light? If you say red like a pen, my pen might be maroon. It might be pink. (Transcript, 10-05-04) In this brief interaction, Kyle was the fourteenth student to contribute. Even though multiple voices were offered and incorp orated into the discourse, there was an apparent disconnect for Kyle as well as for Alij. Kyle volunteered dark as a carpet a comparison that did not include the target word red or a common object recognized universally as a shade of red. None of the students had suggested dark in their comparisons. Mrs. Ring asked him to clarify his thinking in order for her to make the connection between dark carpet and a shade of red. Then she reminded him that he had not used the target word in the comparison. She continued to explain that the comparison was difficult for her by personalizing the de scription to her own carpet. Though Kyle did not explain his thinking as Mrs. Ring requested, this reminder was helpful since he used red in his next response, as red as red paint. Kyles di sregarding Mrs. Rings request and offering another comparison suggests that he thought he had a better understanding of the concept and was willing to take a ri sk to demonstrate his understanding. On the other hand, perhaps he could not explain his thinking and ther efore made another attempt at the comparison. When Kyle offered as red as red paint, a comparison that had been
124 suggested a few talk turns ear lier by another student, Mrs. Ring countered with an exaggeration for Kyle and the class to unde rstand that vague comparisons would be difficult to comprehend. Then Mrs. Ring acknow ledged other students who were eager to share their comparisons. In this interaction, Mrs. Ring had en gaged the children in the process of comparing red in the dress to a familiar red object. She began with a question that allowed multiple voices to be heard and in corporated into the discourse. Though some students had grasped the concept of compar ison early in the discourse, she did not attempt to close the discourse but allowed all students opportunities to offer their description to provide an enla rged and richer description of the concept. When Mrs. Ring introduced comparison as an additional way to add detail, she simply stated, You have to be precise. How red is the dress? Then she allowed students to voice their comparisons. However, when Kyle offered a comparison, he still had not grasped the concept. Then Mrs. Ring attempted to scaffold his understanding. Because Kyle was not given the opportunity to respond again to this particular comparison, his eventual understanding of the concept was not evaluated. Prior to Kyles contribution, many of the 14 students had successfully compared the red dress to a commonly identifiable red object. Mrs. Ring had explicitly directed the students to make the comparison to objects that the majority of the people would understand and explained why some comparis ons offered by students were vague. While she was promoting students construction of knowledge by having them suggest the comparison, this method may not have been beneficial for Kyle. While there was no requirement to participate, Kyle volunteer ed, which suggested that he thought he
125 understood the concept. After Kyle neglected to explain his thinking for the response, dark as carpet but suggeste d red as paint instead, Mr s. Ring responded with an exaggeration, there are five million shades of red paint to emphasize the importance of the comparison with a common object. She di d not assess Kyles understanding after the exaggeration but moved on to another student. It was not until two talk turns later that she again explicitly explained the concept a nd then gave examples of commonly known red objects. According to Mrs. Rings lesson plans, using details was the objective of the lessons surrounding this vignette and that ob jective continued to spiral throughout the lessons for the next several weeks. I conducted a content analysis for details in the three stories Kyle had composed following this vignette. I based my decision on what constituted a detail from Mrs. Rings explanation duri ng instruction. One example follows: Teaching Sentence: He carried a parakeet on his shoulder. MR Now, what I want everyone to do is to close your eyes. Were going on a visual field trip. Everyon es eyes are closed. (Rereads paragraph.) MR What does that parakeet look like? What color is it? How big is it? Where is it sitting? Is it on the right shoulde r or the left? Is it pecking at the strangers face? Is it chirping? Is it trying to fly aw ay? Maybe it has a broken wing. Whats going on with th e parakeet? (Transcript, 10-05-04) Mrs. Ring also culled the stories for deta ils as well. (See Chapter 3 for analysis procedures). Table 5 below disp lays text that Mrs. Ring or I indicated provides details.
126 Table 5 Details Demonstrated in Kyles Writing Text not labeled by the other person Overall Mrs. Ring labeled more text as details in Kyles writing than I did. Although I labeled three pieces of text as deta ils, she labeled 15 phrases or words as details. While there was only one phrase that we both labeled as details, and a minute later she was gone, there were four phrases that we both selected but only one of us labeled as details. Some phrases could unders tandably fall under more than one category. For example, I labeled rushed to get in the jeep as precise language, and Mrs. Ring labeled it as details. But for another phrase, I buckled up and so did my mom I labeled as details, but Mrs. Ring labeled as precise language. In her instruction, Mrs. Ring gave several lessons of adding detail to make the wr iting more vivid to th e reader. As indicated Story /Text Mrs. Ring Ruth The Magic Pencil the rain was sprinkling Details Show, dont tell I saw a strange silver pencil Detail Metal Details started shaking Details Heavy and hard Details Short Details Shocked Details The Bad Day Rush to get in the jeep Details Precise Lang Bruise on my knee Details Tripped over my shoe lace Details I buckled up and so did my mom Precise Lang Details I hit by head on the back of the seat Details Score is 8 to 10 Detail Score was 16 to 15 Detail Toy Store On a Saturday morning Detail Red Flag and a minute later she was gone Detail Detail I was sad Detail
127 in the vignette, comparing one object to a nother was one way. However, Kyle did not show any examples of that in his writing. It appears that what Mrs. Ring labeled as details in Kyles independent writing was more lenient than her expectations of her class during shared and guided writing. What represented details was a difficult constr uct. Further, it was impossible to determine if the details were a result of classroom instruction and in teractions or if Kyle would have expressed the story with the same language before instruction. Vignette 2 The following vignette extends across three days and describes the interaction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring as he attempted to compose a story in response to the following prompt: Having a pencil to help you do your sc hoolwork is something that might be very helpful. Before you begin to write, imagine what it would be like to have a pencil that could do your work for you. Write and tell about a time your pencil came to life. (Observation, 10-18-04) The day before assigning the pr ompt, Mrs. Ring read aloud the book, The Widows Broom (Van Allsburg, 1992) and explained to the students that the read-aloud was intended for using a piece of literature as a launch for writing (Transcript, 10-1804). MR Just as a reminder. This story is based on what? We are using a piece of literature as a launch. Does anyone remember the story? Tan ? MR Not the prompt Ray The Widows Broom MR When the witch took off, the broom stayed behind and did what?
128 KYLE Went out of control. MR Well, it didnt really go out of control. It did what it likes to do best which was... Class Clean. Sweep. (Offered other suggestions) MR Yes and it took over and di d a lot of chores for Class The widow MR So of course you dont have a broom you have a Class Pencil When Mrs. Ring introduced students to th e prompt, she reviewed with the class some of the major points of the story, The Widows Broom When she asked what the broom did when the witch was away, Kyle stat ed that the broom went out of control. Mrs. Ring clarified that the br oom did not really go out of c ontrol but did what it liked to do best which was... She monitored student s recall of the stor y by inviting them to finish the sentence with tasks that the broom did. Kyle later retained the phrase went out of control that he initially offered duri ng guided practice to de scribe the broom to describe the magic pencil he f ound in his desk in his story, The Magic Pencil Mrs. Ring did not consider the possibil ity of correctness and thus did not attempt to query Kyle about his response but rather evaluated his response as in correct as indicated by her deferring the questi on to the class. The pencil from the writing prompt that Mrs. Ring anticipated doing a students work parallels the broom from the book doing th e widows chores while she is away. As a class, they brainstormed ideas for the story, and then each student independently planned a story.
129 The following day, Mrs. Ring introduced the strategy show, dont tell to make their writing more interesti ng. After much brainstorming of ideas for the sentence, It was a bright sunny day students shared their writing in a cooperative learning structure. Then Mrs. Ring read aloud some of their beginnings to a story they had started the previous day. MR One afternoon around 4:30 on a rainy morning there again, can they describe the rain? How rainy was it? Was it a light sprinkle or was it an annoying drizzle? Did it just pour down and get it over with or was it just one of those annoying drizzles that ju st goes on and on all day. Not raining hard enough to make you want to stay in but raining just enough to force you want to go out, but you cant go out. That type of rain. It was a regular day. But what does a regular day look like? It was an ordinary day like any other day Tell me what an ordinary day looks like. One gloomy, dark, rainy day Same thing. (Transcript, 10-19-04) Then Mrs. Ring transitioned the lesson to her expectations for their innovative story of The Widows Broom and referred to in the study as The Magic Pencil Next, she read aloud the story she had composed in re sponse to the prompt. Students questioned Mrs. Ring about some parts of the story, speci fically about the desc ription of the pencil and where she found it. Then she modeled her thinking in front of her students as she revised her story. Before students were given time to con tinue writing their story, she reminded them to read over the beginning of their stor ies and to make any revisions that would better describe things, actions, or feelings by using the strategy, show, dont tell that they had just practiced earlier during the writing block (Transcript, 10-18-04).
130 While students wrote indepe ndently, Mrs. Ring circul ated throughout the class giving spontaneous and brief comments to indi vidual students. At this time, Kyle revised It was a rainy day to It was a rainy morning merely changing one noun to another. After 15 minutes, while the remainder of th e class was still writing, Kyle approached Mrs. Ring and gave her the first draft to read. (See Table 6) Table 6 Kyles First Draft to The Magic Pencil It was a rainy morning. Daltin and I rode our bikes to school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin a nd I saw a strange silver pencil on my desk. I picked it up, it felt like mete l. Then it started shaking. When I picked it up it was metel. It was very short. I wounder ed why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did work. Da ltin asked if it is smart. So I let it do some of my work like math social studys and th e Fcat. When it finished the Fcat it went out of controle. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all sudden it hit me and Daltin The following transcript is Mrs. Rings directive to Kyle. Mrs. Ring read the first paragraph silently ( It was a rainy morning ) MR Show me it was a rainy morning. Remember what we worked on this morning? Mrs. Ring only made a cursory read of the paragraph and focused on the beginning sentence since the objective of the lesson was to show, dont tell but overlooked the disparity between the setting, a rainy day, and friends riding bikes to school and then finding a strange pencil on one students desk. The only comment she offered Kyle focused on the strategy show, dont tell an expectation for students to
131 attempt in their writing. She reminded Ky le, Remember what we worked on this morning? to prompt him to revi se the introduction to the story. While Mrs. Ring may have been attempting to scaffold him by hinting that he should apply a technique reviewed earlier in the lesson, the prompt was nonproductive since she did not talk him through the process of how he the writer, would show the reader a rainy morning. He returned to his seat, erased the original sentence, and revised it from It was a rainy morning to One rainy morning it was twenkling. Apparently Kyle did not understand the strategy show, dont tell or how to implement it in his writing since he did not give details to describe a rainy day but just added twenkling to describe the rainy day. Once again, he approached Mrs. Ring with his story. Below is her response to the revision. MR Honey, what does that mean? Do you mean, One rainy morning, the rain was sprinkling? KYLE Yes [Mrs. Ring continues reading without commenting] MR I think theres just a whole lot more you can do. [Mrs. Ring returns Kyles paper to him, and he goes back to his desk.] After Mrs. Ring read the sentence, One rainy morning it was twenkling she began her response to him with a term of endearment, Honey. Then she directly questioned Kyle about the meaning of th e sentence and then revoiced what she thought he was attempting to write by suggestin g that he meant sprinkling instead of twenkling. She continued r eading the composition withou t commenting other than stating, I think theres just a whole lot more you can do, and then returned his
132 composition to him. In this brief interaction, Mrs. Ring ma y have been attempting to avoid her frustration by prefacing her response with, Honey. She positioned herself as in the known by using the I voice to evaluate Kyles effort and leaving him to determine how he should proceed, thus leaving him in th e unknown. Mrs. Ring had used this writing prompt in the past as a writing innovation fr om a piece of literature and indicated that students typically enjoyed the prompt, but for Kyle, the prompt may have been dull and uninteresting thereby influenc ing his difficulty with writing a whole lot more. I observed that this encounter, Kyle approaching Mrs. Ri ng during independent writing, was unusual since Mrs. Ring encouraged and ex pected students to think and write during independent writing. Table 7 displays Kyles revisions. Table 7 Kyles Revisions to The Magic Pencil One rainy morning the rain was sprenkling. Daltin and I rode our bikes to school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin and I saw a strange silver pencil on my desk. I picked it up, it felt like metel. Then it started shaking. When I picked it up it was heavy and har d. It was very shor t. I woundered why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did wo rk. Daltin asked if it is smart. So I let it do some of my work like math social studys a nd the Fcat. When it finished the Fcat it went out of controle. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all sudden it hit me and Daltin. Then we got mad. The pencil hide into someone eleses desk. I asked him if he can give me my pencil. He gave me the pencil. Then It stoped shaking.
133 Kyle once again revised the text. Table 8 below compares Kyles writing before and after Mrs. Ring prompted him, I thi nk theres just a whole lot more you can do. Line A displays Kyles writi ng after the first extremely s hort conference when Mrs. Ring directed Kyle to show her it was a rainy mo rning, and Line B disp lays his writing after she stated that he could do more. He agai n revised the first sentence and taking the suggestion from his teacher, he changed One rainy morning it was twenkling to One rainy morning it was sprenkling The only other revision he made was to change the sentence from When I picked it up, it felt like metel to When I picked it up, it was heavy and hard Before the revision, I picked it up, it felt like metel (5a) was very similar to a sentence that shortly followed, When I picked it up it was metal (7a). He continued rereading the dr aft and added to the end, Then we got mad (14b). Then he reread through the en tire writing and added The pencil hide into someone elses desk. I asked him if he can give me my pencil. He gave me the pencil. Then it stoped shaking (15b).
134 Table 8 A Comparison of the First Two Drafts of The Magic Pencil 1a One rainy morning the rain was sprenkli ng. Daltin and I rode our bikes to 2b One rainy morning the rain was sprenkli ng. Daltin and I rode our bikes to 3a school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin and I saw a strange 4b school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin and I saw a strange 5a silver pencil on my des k. I picked it up, it felt like me tel. Then it started shaking. 6b silver pencil on my desk. I picked it up, it felt like metel. Then it started shaking. 7a When I picked it up it was metel. It was very short. I woundered 8b When I picked it up it was heavy and ha rd. It was very short. I woundered 9a why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did work. Daltin asked if it 10b why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did work. Daltin asked if it 11a is smart. So I let it do some of my wo rk like math social studys and the Fcat. When 12b is smart. So I let it do some of my work like math social studys and the Fcat. When 13a it finished the Fcat it went out of cont role. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all 13b it finished the Fcat it went out of contro le. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all 14a sudden it hit me and Daltin. 14b sudden it hit me and Daltin. Then we got mad. 15b The pencil hide into someone eleses desk. I asked hi m if he can give me my pencil. He gave me the pencil. Then It stoped shaking. The following day, without identifying the writer, Mrs. Ring read aloud parts of students compositions and gave them feedbac k. She noticed that most of the students had not expressed any type of emotion when the pencil began doing the work for them, so she addressed the class in a humorous discourse MR Now that one (referencing a student s composition she had just read) was one of the best for how all of the sudden this pencil became magic. But there again this writer wasnt shocked at all. Even as a teacher, if I were to walk in here on Monday morning, and I had not done my lesson plans. [Aside] See, I have homework too. Y ou know that because some of you help me pack my bags at the end of th e day. So if I havent done my plans,
135 and I get a note from my assistant prin cipal, and it said that shes going to check my lesson plans today, Id be a little worried. Oh, my gosh! I havent done my work. Have not done it. SO all of the sudden, this pencil says, Not to worry, I am magic. I d absolutely break about in a cold sweat. Well, by the time I came back from fainting, and by the time my heart stops racing, I probably wouldnt even be able to talk [stutters this]. I think Id be a little worried. I wont sa y that I wouldnt take advantage of someone who is going to help me out of a pinch there even a magic pencil. But I can say it will be a lit tle nerve racking up front. Now, Im an adult, and I can reason things. But if I were a 4th grade student who sometimes even gets a little scared when the lights go out or when I watch a scary movie, the fact of a pencil talking to me would just scare the jeepers out of me. (O bservation, 10-19-04) Kyle looked over his paper for a few minutes after Mrs. Rings challenge to the class, and without making any revisions, he took his composition to Mrs. Ring. She had been standing by a table in the library (w here they were displaced again due to roofing problems in the classroom) and sat down when she began reading over Kyles writing. Kyle followed suit. The following excer pt from my field notes describes the interaction. She reads his story aloud. He has writ ten two paragraphs the beginning and middle. Mrs. Ring comments about the middle of the story. MR Now think about this. When we star t a new thought, we go to the next line and indent. [She pulls a few books out of a nearby crate to show examples of indenting. Then she drew a box ar ound the sentences in Kyles writing that should be in one paragraph a nd explained the purpose as she drew.] We indent so our eyes, as a read er, can see a new thought, when a new person is speaking, or a ne w feeling. Who is that someone else? [referring to the person whose desk in which the pencil eventually hid] KYLE [shrugs] MR I mean, if its someone in your cl ass, Id assume youd know their name. KYLE Richard [MR writes in Richard on Kyles paper and then reads on. MR continues to divide into paragraphs as she reads.]
136 MR Notice how short each paragraph is they are not really developed. [Reads on] MR You want to use pencil not it. [Continues reading] How did you feel? KYLE Shocked MR [Continues reading]Now, when it hit you, where? KYLE Head MR How did it feel? KYLE [Inaudible] MR Even words like Ouch onomatopoeia. [conti nues reading silently] MR There again, it might scare me. (re ferring to the discussion she had earlier with the class about a pencil coming to life) MR I blew your plan because I know you r eally didnt want to start over. We are looking for quality. (Offers questi ons he should ask himself) How can I make it better? How can I make it clear to the reader? (Observation, 1019-04) When Kyle returned to his desk, he took out a sheet of paper, and using the original draft, he began anothe r draft of the story. He comple ted this draft in ten minutes. I asked him if he had made any revisions, and he responded that he had changed a few words. Table 9 shows the transformation of The Magic Pencil over three days. The only suggestions Mrs. Ring gave Kyle between the first two drafts were to clarify the rain twenkling to s prinkling and to state that he could do more. In the conference before Kyle composed the third draft, Mrs. Ri ng scaffolded his developing understanding of writing conventions, adding deta ils, and plot development. She pulled books out of a crate to show Kyle how authors divide text into paragraphs, a skill Mrs. Ring often
137 demonstrated when she modeled writing, th ereby helping him understand the purpose of organizing his thoughts into a readable form at. She used a combination of explicit directives and questions to clarify or to provide details. She explicitly gave him the alternative pencil for it suggested ouch to support how he felt when the pencil hit him on the head, and boxed in text to indicate separa te paragraphs. She read the text and asked him four questions: Who is th at someone? How did you f eel? Now when it hit you, where? How did it feel? She concluded the conferencing by sympathizing with him, I blew your plan because I know you really didn t want to start over. She realized that Kyle was anticipating completeness of the dr aft but reminded him, We are looking for quality, and then gave him questions to ask hi mself to make the story clear to the reader. Kyles verbal response dur ing the interaction was mini mal, supplying only one-word responses to Mrs. Rings questions. The questions that Mrs. Ring used to probe Kyle in order for him to clarify meaning for the reader suggests that Kyle did not take ownership of the writing but perceived the assignment as a task to complete First, he did not identify the owners of the desk in which the pencil hid in the sentence, The pencil hide into someone eleses desk. This would be an important detail for Kyle if he had chosen or embraced the topic. He even demonstrated resistance by shrugging his shoulders rather than give a vocal response to her probing, Who is that someone else? In the next talk turn, Mrs. Ring regains her position of power with her response I mean, if its someone in your class Id assume youd know their name. Kyle res ponded with a one-word answer, Richard. Kyle did not specify where the pencil hit Dalton and him thus eliciting Mrs. Rings question, Now when it hit you, where? Again, if the topic would have been interesting
138 or initiated by Kyle, he may have included th at detail. Mrs. Ring ta kes ownership of the piece in the next talk turn by suggesting ouch to show pain resulting from being hit by a pencil and fear of a magic penc il. She explicitly demonstrated that the paragraphs were too short by boxing in each paragraph and reiter ated the brevity of the paragraphs with, they are not really developed. Yet, she did not explain what she meant by developed an ambiguous construct for struggling writers and a term Mrs. Ring had not used before during any of the writing lessons. Therefore, it was unlikely that Kyle could deploy it in his revision. She implied that his writing lacked the quality that she expects as illustrated in the statement, We are looking for quality, and then she offered questions for Kyle to ask himself to compose quality writing. Howe ver, the statements, How can I make it better? and How can I make it clear to th e reader? may have been too general or perhaps even vague for Kyle. Though students had been given many lessons about using different techniques to improve their writi ng, she did not demonstrate when and how to use them during the conferencing.
139 Table 9 A Comparison of Three Drafts of The Magic Pencil One rainy morning the rain was sprenkling. Daltin and I rode our bikes to school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin and I saw a strange silver pencil on my desk. I picked it up, it felt like metel. Then it started shaking. When I picked it up it was metel. It was very short. I woundered why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did work. Daltin asked if it is smart. So I let it do some of my work like math social studys and the Fcat. When it finished the Fcat it went out of controle. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all the sudden it hit me and Daltin. One rainy morning the rain was sprenkling. Daltin and I rode our bikes to school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Daltin and I saw a strange silver pencil on my desk. I picked it up, it felt like metel. Then it started shaking. When I picked it up it was heavy and hard. It was very short. I woundered why a penicil was on my desk. When I let it go it did work. Daltin asked if it is smart. So I let it do some of my work like math social studys, and the Fcat. When it finished the Fcat it went out of controle. Daltin, and I thought it was loco then all the sudden it hit me and Daltin. Then we got mad. The pencil hide into someone elese desk. I asked him if he can give me my pencil. He gave me the pencil. Then It stoped shaking. One rainy morning the rain was sprenkling. Dalton and I rode our bikes to school. When we got there we had to go to the classroom. Dalton and I saw a strange silver pencil on my desk. I pick it up, it felt like metel. Then it started shaking. When I picked it up it was heavy and hard. It was very short. I was surprised how heavy this small pencil was. I wounder heavy small pencil will be on my desk. When I let the pencil go it did my work. I was shocked out of my skin. Dalton asked if the pencil was smart. So I let it do math, social studys, and the FCAT. The pencil finised the FCAT then it went out of control. It hit Dalton and I. We yelled OUCH!! That hurts. The pencil jumped into Richards desk. We asked him to please give my pencil back. Richard gave my pencil back. The pencil stoped shaking. We were mad. Dalton and I broke the pencil in half. Dalton took one half and I took another. When I was doing my work with a diffrant pencil I herd a nocie in our desk. We Yelled Oh NO!! at the top of our lungs. We noticed that the pencil multiplid. Kyle made the changes that Mrs. Ring had written directly onto his draft. Kyles revised draft was divided into more paragraphs than the original draft that was composed of two paragraphs. The BME model (Beginni ng, Middle, End) was used predominantly
140 in the classroom to promote organization of their narrative writing. Mrs. Ring shared with me that this model was more concrete than some models used in other schools. The planning was usually written in phrases and fr equently included ideas generated from the class during brainstorming, teacher modeling, or shared writing. Kyles division of the text into only two paragraphs may have been related to the organizer he drew and filled in which had three distinct boxes to indicate the thr ee parts of the story and Mrs. Rings directive from the previous day, You (t he class) have your plan, you have your beginning If you need to make some corrections, go ahead. Then you may work on the middle. Any questions? You may begin. (Trans cript, 10-18-04). Several weeks earlier, Mrs. Ring had taught a writing lesson that focused primarily on indenting. During modeled and shared writing, Mrs. Ring was obs erved throughout the study explaining to the class why she began a new paragraph a nd asking the class why a new paragraph was needed. A month before this vignette, a less on was given that focused on the reasons for beginning a new paragraph. During the conference, she helped Kyle di vide the narrative into paragraphs by drawing boxes around sentences that had the same focus. She also drew a few extra boxes at the bottom of the page to indicate to Kyle that he was not finished and that he needed to add a few more paragraphs. Kyle had se parated the text into the paragraphs on the revised draft that Mrs. Ring had boxed in during the conference. Kyle also made other changes that Mrs. Ring had written on his paper. These included the correct spelling of Dalton and the addition of Richard as the someone else. After Mrs. Rings directive to use pencil not it he changed When I let it go it did my work to When I let the pencil go it did my work In the paragraph that followed, he
141 also changed it to pencil on his own initiative thus indi cating some transfer. During the conference, she asked Kyle, How did you feel ? to which he simply replied, Shocked. She had written the question in the margin of his draft, How did you feel? Kyle added to the earlier version, I was shocked out of my skin to describe his feelings about the pencil completing his work. This phrase ma y have come from Mrs. Ring during guided practice after reading aloud students compositions when she said, I dont find anyone saying I almost jumped out of my skin when my pencil got off the desk and started doing my work for me. If that happened tomorro w, nobody would be startled or alarmed or wondering what in the worl d is going on? He added, We yelled, Ouch!! That hurts following Mrs. Rings suggestion, Even words like Ouch onomatopoeia to describe how it felt. For support, she had written, Ouch in the margin of his paper. In addition to the revisions suggested by Mrs. Ring, Kyle made several other revisions. In the second paragr aph, he added a new sentence, I was surprised how heavy this small pencil was. And in the next sentence, he added heavy and small to describe the pencil. In the fourth paragraph, he deleted the phrase, Daltin, and I thought it was loco He also deleted the phrase, all the sudden from the phrase, all the sudden it hit me and Daltin He revised It hit me and Daltin to It hit Dalton and I indicating that though he did not accurately use the subjective form of I, he used the name before the pronoun. He changed hid into to jumped into He also added please when asking Richard to return his magic pencil. During the conference, Mrs. Ring had asked Kyle where the pencil had hit him, and he res ponded, on his head; however, he did not include that in his revision. No r did he include the fact that he was scared, a suggestion
142 offered by Mrs. Ring. Kyle ende d the story by breaking the penc il in half and then, to his surprise, the pencil was resurrected. Since story beginnings had been one objective of the writing lesson surrounding the vignette and reviewed th roughout the remainder of the study, a content analysis was conducted to note possible change over time Table 10 displays the date, composition, and beginning words of the composition. It de monstrates that Kyle kept the same beginning pattern over the course of th ree months with little variation. Table 10 Story Beginnings Kyle Date Composition Beginning 8-04 Baseline (Timed Prompt) [After intro] One night me and my friend 9-10 Favorite Show (Timed Prompt) One sunny day a show came on 10-08 Why Mosquitoes (from Reading) Innovation On one sunny day 10-19 Magic Pencil One rainy morning 10-26 Bad Day One sunny day at the football field 11-2 Toy Store On a Saturday morning During the conferencing, Mrs. Ring phys ically divided Kyles text into paragraphs. She pulled several books off the sh elf to show him how the authors indented to begin new paragraphs. Two narrative pieces following the interaction were analyzed for organization, specifically paragraphing. Acco rding to an analysis of the two narrative pieces, Bad Day and Toy Store composed one and two weeks respectively after the interaction describe above, both stories were divided into four paragraphs.
143 Though Mrs. Ring did not explain in the interaction why he should replace the pronoun it with pencil in order to clarify the referent Kyle followed her directive and made the revision to the draft. A week later in Bad Day Kyle used it five times. Since the narrative was a simple story about a familiar topic, football, using it as a referent would not impede the readers comprehe nsion of the story. For example, Finally it was the fourth qurter. We had to kick the ball off. Two weeks later in Toy Store Kyle effectively used it several times in the composition, but in one passage, what he refers to as it is unclear: We looked at cool stuff. I ran off to see something eles. I played with it intill I heard the doors lock. Therefore, these passages sugge st that the e xplication of it was not taken up as a learned writing behavior. Vignette 3 Show, dont tell was the focus of the following brainstorming episode. Previous to the following transcript, the cl ass had brainstormed examples of a messy kitchen and a messy classroom. Kyle had s uggested that spaghetti hanging from the ceiling would show a messy kitchen and paint all over new books would show a messy classroom. In the transcript below, st udents were brainstorming what would show the reader that a bathroom was messy. MR What about the bathroom? (Students brainstorm examples of things they would see in a messy bathroom) Dal Someone hadnt flushed the toilet. (Students groan) Jos Toothpaste squirted out all over the counter. (Mrs. Ring decides to commen t on Daltons description)
144 MR I think the toilet thing, were not ta lking about bad manners. Were talking about a mess. Mess regular everyday mess. Cas Soap on the floor. Ami Counter is all wet Lin The shower curtain is off and the shower is spraying Trev Soap on the wall KYLE Toilet paper is clogged up in the sink. T OK. Guys, I am talking about a different kind of mess. See there again, you guys try to go way to the other e nd. Im just talking about a regular mess. Whats on the floor? Cai Towels MR What about dirty clothe s? Toothpaste is open and squirted out. The mirror has water spots all over it. Theres a dirty ring in the bathtub where dirty kids took a bath and all the dirt stayed in the tub. OK, those types of things are what wed find in a messy bathroom. Now weve done a bedroom, weve done a kitchen, classroom, weve done bathroom. Now, you guys should be able to do an incredible one. (Teacher gives the class 5 minutes to compose a sentence describing a messy room.) (Observation, 10-20-04) Kyle composed the following sentence to describe a messy room. The basement had mice running around bi ting on the pipes to make them leak After students wrote their show me sentence, Mrs. Ring circ ulated throughout the room and read aloud students sentences without making comments. According to students informal comments, wh en Mrs. Ring read aloud their sentences, they seemed to enjoy hearing the descriptions by their peer s of a messy bathroom. After students read aloud their descriptions, and without any urging from Mr s. Ring, Kyle revised his sentence.
145 The basement had clean clothes floati ng in the swere water making them stink like a garbage truck. He had circled the word basement and swere (sewer) to indicate that he was not sure of the spelling. In this interaction, students had brains tormed ideas for a messy bathroom. After Kyles description, To ilet paper clogged up in the sink, she suggests that the students responses are exa ggerated, though she maybe referri ng to Kyles response in particular since his is more extreme than th e descriptions offered previous to his. She possibly addressed the class, OK. Guys, as an attempt to deflect attention away from Kyle. Another interpretation of some of the in teractions is that Mrs. Ring was too limiting in what she considered a mess, looki ng at a room from th e perspective of an adult rather than that of a 4th grader. Factors that she descri bed as contributing to a messy bathroom, such as towels on the floor, ma y be overlooked by children and therefore not even considered in their desc ription. While most of the resp onses offered by Kyles peers could be factors that would contribute to a messy bathroom, Kyles description, Toilet paper is clogged up in the sink, prompted Mr s. Ring to clarify what she would consider a messy bathroom. Mrs. Rings response, OK. Guys, I am talking about a different kind of mess , suggests that Mrs. Ring had, if not specific descriptors of a messy bathroom, boundaries for the descriptors that she did not share with students be fore they began the brainstorm. In addition, she is addressing the entire class collectiv ely, even students who had not responded. Regardless, if her motive was to indirectly communi cate to Kyle that his response was unacceptable, the class could interpret her statement as a reprimand to
146 them as well and yet without voicing their resi stance, evaluate Kyle as the agent of the reprimand. After students shared their descriptions of a messy room, Mrs. Ring assigned them the following sentence to revise: The lady was beautiful Mrs. Ring underlined the word beautiful to indicate what should be described. Kyle revised the sentence. The lady had blond hair, and a bright wh ite dress waving in the breezy wind. The following day, rather than giving the cl ass a sentence to revise in order to practice show, dont tell, she gave them the phrase: friendly lady and underlined friendly to indicate the word to revise from an adjective to words that would show that the lady is friendly. She explained why she gave them a phrase, I dont want you to feel tied into the sentence. (Transcript, 10-2104). Typical of her instruction, she promoted prewriting by students brainstormi ng ideas before they began writing. MR OK, show me a friendly lady. Trev Saying hi to everyone KYLE Helping deaf kids MR There again in your effort to go to an extreme, youre losing your sense of direction. What could she be doing? She could be helping. She could be speaking. In this interaction, Kyle volunteered that helping deaf kids showed friendliness. She responded to Kyles description of a friendly lady by implying that his response was extreme and not focused. This was a likely reference to his description of
147 messy rooms suggested on the previous day and described above. Then she provided the class with possible examples of ways to show a friendly lady Another way to interpret the interacti on is that Kyle may have based his description of a friendly lady as someone who is helping deaf kids from perhaps a source such as television show, a movie, real lif e, or a book. She dismissed his response and evaluated it as incorrect rather than as king him to explain the connection between friendly lady and helping deaf kids. She then o ffered helping as a possible way of showing friendliness, an action Kyle had just suggested. Over the next several minutes, students continued to brainstorm ways to show a friendly lady After brainstorming, she gave students a pproximately five minutes to compose a show me sentence, and then every student read aloud their sentence. Kyle revised friendly lady to A kindful lady was giving out caned (canned) food to the poor. In this attempt to show a friendly lady Kyle replaced friendly with kindful and explained what she did to demonstrate this attr ibute. After Kyle read his sentence aloud, Mrs. Ring simply commented, She certainly is friendly. She ha d also commented briefly on other students descriptions as well. After Mrs. Ring guided the class through th e brainstorming of concrete ideas for cool car and friendly lady she gave the class the phrase, sad puppy, to describe. She underlined the word that the students were to describe by showing, not telling Kyle offered three responses duri ng the following interaction. TEACHING PHRASE: sad puppy MR Now show me a sad puppy KYLE Beady eyes
148 Trev Big eyes Cait Lonely MR What does lonely look like? MR See I am so glad you said that Thank you. Thats wonderful because thats another point to make. MR If you say lonely, then my next que stion to you is what does lonely look like. Show me lonely. We wouldnt say lonely, wed say what? MR We want to let the reader know the puppy is sad, and its lonely. MR Im not going to say LONELY Im going to say Ted Crying MR That doesnt show lonely. Amir Wailing Lor No other dog MR Then I can infer lonely from sitting all alone. KYLE Mournful MR What does mournful look like? KYLE Nothing to do MR See, what you did is, and thank you for doing that, but you gave me a synonym. You didnt show me. You just gave me a different word for sad. I want you to SHOW me the sad. I want to SEE the sad. Jord Frown MR We dont usually think of a dog as smiling or frowning, but can you look at your dog and see if its sad? Class (Heads nod in expressing familiarit y. Some students verbally express their agreement). MR Its jowls are hanging down. Or its tail is completely still.
149 Jord Not wagging MR The tail that is usually shaking back and forth is still. Ariel Ears are down MR THAT is SHOW me. Dont tell why. Dont give a synonym. Kyle and Trevor began by describing th e puppys eyes. Trevors offer of big eyes may have been prompted by Kyles s uggestion of beady eyes yet neither showed a sad puppy. Caits nondescrip t suggestion of lonely explained why the puppy was sad rather than concretely describing a sad puppy At this point, Mrs. Ring interrupted the flow of brainstorming by thanking Cait fo r her response and used it to rephrase the initial directive of show me a sad puppy to a pr obing question that asked, What does lonely look like? Through probing, Mrs. Ring was asking for conceptual clarification of lonely. Then she asked, We wouldnt say lonely, we d say what? to guide them through the process of making the abstract concept of lonely more visible by conc retely describing a lonely puppy. Then Mrs. Ring reminded the stud ents of their audien ce and the purpose of concrete description. Finally, she reiterated the difference between telling and showing by leading them through a cloze statement that contrasted telling with an anticipated example of showing lonely. In the next tw o talk turns, students offered crying and wailing to show lonely. Even though Mrs. Ring stated that crying did not show lonely, the next student suggested a verb that di d not show lonely either, but she did not comment. Perhaps she understood th at they were referring to a sad puppy the original teaching phrase. Lorel offered no other dog, then Mrs. Ring revoiced her statement to infer that the dog is sitting all alone to de scribe another way of illustrating that the dog was lonely. Kyle offered mournful, a s ynonym for sad, rather than showing lonely.
150 (Later, I questioned Kyle about the source for the word mournful, and he shared that it was a vocabulary word from his reading text.) By probing him to explain what mournful looked like, Mrs. Ring was show ing him how to think throug h the process of going from a one word adjective to a more concre te description. And although his physical description of mournful influenced by his interpretation could be questioned, Mrs. Ring did not address this but instead explained th at he did not show sad but gave a synonym for sad. Some students were strugglin g with the concept of showing a sad puppy and it would appear that Mrs. Ring capitalized on Jordans response, f rown, to connect students to their world as a possible source for ideas. She asked them if they knew when their dog was sad, and students responded that they were aware of their dogs emotions. Then Mrs. Ring supplied the description of a sad dog as one whose jowls are hanging down and its tail is completely still. Jord an and Ariel further desc ribed the tail as not wagging and the ears are down. Mrs. Ring began the interaction with an open-ended statement that required students to activate their schema in order to generate possible responses. Then by weaving a multiplicity of funneling discourse, such as probing, clarifying, and revoicing, Mrs. Ring intended to support students de veloping understanding of the writing strategy, show, dont tell Again, Mrs. Ring did not offer sugge stions that would show a sad puppy until students had been given the opportunity to build on the concept. Mrs. Ring gave students approximately five minutes to compose a description of a sad puppy. Kyle composed the following sentence. The puppy was sitting alone with beady eyes and dropy ears with out a friend to play with.
151 He reread the sentence and made a few additions. He added poor to describe the puppy and replaced alone with still as a stone to compose the following sentence. The poor puppy was sitting still as a stone with beady eyes and dropy (droopy) ears with out a friend to play with. Though Kyle did not offer a description dur ing the interaction that showed a sad puppy, Mrs. Ring used his response to show hi m how to move away from just another synonym by showing him how to think thr ough the process of going from a one word adjective to a physical description of a sad dog. Kyle possibly accessed multiple sources to compose the sentence. He retained his original verbal suggestion, beady eyes and employed a revoicing of Ariels de piction of ears are down to dropy ears He used the phrase, still as a stone that he had offered to show scared from the previous day. Kyle not only included physical aspects such as beady eyes, droopy ear s, and sitting as still as a stone to describe a sad puppy, but he also included the social, with out a friend to play with a description that no one had suggest ed during the brainstorming. During the interaction, Kyle had suggest ed mournful as showing sad and then described mournful as nothing to do when Mrs. Ri ng probed him to describe what mournful would look like. He did not in clude mournful in his writte n description of a sad puppy suggesting that within the c onfines of this lesson he understood that the concept, show, dont tell goes beyond a synonym to more de liberate physical description. Throughout this vignette, Mrs. Ring used mo st of Kyles contributions to further mediate his understanding. However, in many cases, Kyles contributions were gross approximations, especially during guided instruction and brainstorming. This was observed in the following statements by Mrs. Ring: See there again, you guys try to go
152 way to the other end, and There again in you r effort to go to an extreme, youre losing your sense of direction. In the first statement, she addressed the class, OK. Guys, as a possible attempt to deflect at tention away from Kyle, but in the second statement, she directed the statement toward Kyle. He r directness is indicated by volunteering suggestions that show friendliness after Kyle s description, helping deaf children. Since talking and brainstorming were employed as precursors to independent writing, one interpretation of her response was for them to stay focused and w ithin the topic during guided practice as well as independent writing (Interview, 11-08-04). Through brainstorming, Kyle was able to hear rich ideas and language from Mrs. Ring and his classmates and then employ some of those ideas in his own writing. Occasionally, he made revisions to sentences after his classm ates shared their writing. For example, he revised the sentences that showed a messy room. According to Mrs. Rings lesson plans, using show, dont tell was the objective of the lessons surrounding this vignette and for se veral more days. It was also reviewed throughout the remainder of the study. Wh en I conducted a content analysis of Bad Day I observed one part of the story where Ky le may have employed the strategy. In the following excerpt from the story, Kyle was not on ly late for football practice, but he had injured his knee when he tripped while rushing to his jeep. I ran to the field and my coach said that I was late. I answered back in a grown (groan). Coach said that he will get so me football tape on my knee. (Document, 10-26-04) Rather than state he was in pain because of his injured kne e, he simply responded to the coach with a groan. The coach understood wh at he was attempting to communicate and
153 offered to tape up Kyles injured knee. Mrs. Ri ng also selected this text but labeled it differently. She labeled answered back in a groan as a synonym for said I interpreted it as a show, dont tell phrase since he used the phrase to show his pain rath er than state how he felt. In the story, Toy Store composed a week after Bad Day, instead of stating that he was happy to see his mother when she rescued him from being locked up in a toy store, he showed that with the following sentence: I dashed out the door and huged (hugged) my mom. While I interpreted the entire sentence as a show dont tell phrase, she selected only dashed and labeled it appropriate ly as precise language. Identifying phrases that could be interpreted as show, dont tell is equally as challenging as identifying phrases used to add detail. (See Vignette 1). Once again, it is impossible to determine if the phrases selected as show, dont tell were a result of instruction or if he would have used the description without instruction. Vignette 4 Mrs. Ring displayed a simple watercolor she had painted of an old house with a fence in the foreground, the sun setting in th e background, and a dirt road winding off the painting. Later in the day, students would use watercolors to paint their own scenes and then write a piece inspired by their paintings She used her painting as a catalyst to cooperatively compose the beginning of a Halloween experience. MR When your parents were here, we wrote about a fence. And you are going to be able to use that or some of the ideas from that in this piece of writing. Some of you had talked about putting a gate in your picture. So later on, if you decide to add a fence and a gate, then it will fit right in. Now what does this house remind you of? Jai Like a witch about to leave
154 KYLE The house reminds me of like black clouds (teacher cuts him off) MR No, I guess Im not explaining myself very clearly. So let me go back and start again. When you look at this house what does it make you think? What type of house is it? Kyle Haunted house MR Maybe an old abandoned house. (Transcript, 10-29-04) At the beginning of the brainstorming fo r the shared writing, Mrs. Ring invited the class to share memories the watercolor pa inting may have prompted. The first student to volunteer suggested that a witch is about to leave. Then Kyle volunteered, The house reminds me of like black clouds, but Mrs. Ring interrupted his response and suggested that she did not e xplain herself very well. She then slightly rephrased the original question to, When you look at this house, what does it make you think? Then she immediately revised that question to a more limiting question, What type of house is it? Kyle described the hous e as a haunted house. Mrs. Ring suggested that the house may also be an old, abandoned house. In this interaction, Mrs. Rings voice tone hinted that she was not correcting Kyle but introducing another possibility. This interaction may also be interpre ted that even though Mrs. Ring took the blame for Kyles response, she was indire ctly communicating th at his response was unacceptable. Although students were invited to respond to an open-ended question, Mrs. Ring made the assumption that Kyle did not understand her question and was too quick to thwart Kyles thoughts. MR How long do you think its been since anybody has lived there? Lan Long time MR Ok, maybe you dont go Trick or Tr eating, maybe you do different things, but lets say you were walking home one night, or you were riding your
155 bike home and you got a flat tire and you needed help. As you walk, this is the only house for miles and miles. How do you feel about walking up to that house and rapping on the door? Cass Spooked out MR Of course, spooked out is a phrase we wouldnt use in our writing because its just a little t oo cute type thing. KYLE I feel like taking my bike and walking home. Amir Terrified MR Ok, terrified might be slightly strong emotion for this. But I would feel maybe frightened. Ray? RAY Afraid MR Frightened, afraid. Would you be nervous? Josh Scared silly Four of the five students who responde d to the question, How do you feel about walking up to that house and rapping on th e door? responded with some type of adjective that describes fear: spooked out, terrified, afraid, and scared silly. Though Mrs. Ring commented to these students, she did not respond to Kyles feelings, I feel like taking my bike and walking ho me but continued with the discussion. Kyles response though different from his peers a nd from what Mrs. Ring expected, extends beyond a one-word answer to describe how he feels to a demonstr ation of his fear. MR How does the house look? KYLE Has no windows (Mrs. Ring interrupts him) MR I just want words to describe it. I dont want you to tell them all about the house. I just want words to describe. Im not going to write a story about a house that might be a little KYLE Dirty
156 MR No, Honey. Youre st ill not following me. I dont know how to get you focused on the theme of the story. (Calls on someone else) Josh? Josh Creepy (I heard Kyle whisper, Oh, then he raised his hand to contribute see below. Then Mrs. Ring wrote some of the suggestions on the white board. She turned back to the class a nd asked for more description.) Ali Eerie Ari ? doors MR I dont want a physical description KYLE Scary Mrs. Ring continued eliciting descripti on from the students and in the above excerpt she asked them specifically how th e house looked. Kyle began to describe the house as having no windows, but Mrs. Ring agai n interrupted his response. She explained that she only wanted words to describe the house. To further expl ain her expectations, she began to offer a nonexample, Im not goi ng to write a story about a house that might be a little but was interrupted by Kyle. He attempted to finish her explanation by offering the house might be a little dirty. At this disconnect, Mrs. Ring used a term of endearment, Honey, that pre ceded her direct statement th at he did not understand the theme of the story. The term honey may have been used to mask her frustration that his responses were not meeting her expectati ons, and in addition, she was simultaneously dismissing his responses. Because of the disc onnect, his responses were inconsistent with his classmates and were detached from the flow of the story. Evaluating his contributions to the shared writing as incomp atible with the theme, she admitted that she did not know how to get him to focus on th e theme. At this point, she deferred the question to another student, Josh, who described the house as creepy. Joshs
157 description seemed to clarify Mrs. Rings expectations. Kyle whispered to himself, Oh, as if he understood her expecta tion, and immediately raised his hand to contribute again. In this interaction, Mrs. Ring did not init ially tell students that she only wanted adjectives to describe the hous e, but when Kyle began to gi ve a physical description of the house, has no windows, Mrs. Ring interru pted him with more definition for what she anticipated. His interruption with the wo rd dirty to descri be the house does not indicate that he was not foc used on the theme of the story but perhaps assisting Mrs. Ring in explaining what they were not goi ng to write a story a bout a house that might be a little dirty. MR OK, what are some sounds I might hear? What are some onomatopoeia words that I might hear? (Mrs. Ring remembers that she has a list of onomatopoeia words. Passes them out and tells students to put them in their writing folder.) MR Look over these two sheets for any sounds you might hear. (For the next three minutes, student s read over the words making the accompanying voice inflections as they read them.) MR OK, Ladies and Gentlemen, what are some words that you found? KYLE Thump MR What are some things that might go thump? KYLE Wood falling on the floor. MR Where would the wood be coming from? KYLE The roof MR OK, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is something I really want you to give some thought to because if we think about it, the focus of this story is walking home and you have to get help whether youre Trick-or-Treating or your bike had problems or whatev er. Are you going to spend a lot of time talking about a piece of wood falling from the roof?
158 Class Nooo MR So, these are some things we need to think about. How are you going to work this into your story? After looking over the list of onomat opoeia words, Kyle suggested thump. When Mrs. Ring probed him for things that might make that sound, Kyle responded that wood falling from the ceiling onto the floor might make a thump sound. She considered his response unfocused, and in an attempt to deflect attention away from Kyle, she began her response with OK ladies and gentlemen. She used his response to remind students about the topic of the story: walking home and you have to get help. She reiterated the importance of staying on topic by addressing the class with the question, Are you going to spend a lot of tim e talking about a piece of wood falling from the roof? Students indicated that they understood that a piece of wood falling from the ceiling does not move the story forward. Rath er than completely dismissing Kyles suggestion, she offered them a strategy that if they were going to use a description, they should have a plan for it in their story. This interaction may also be interprete d that while Mrs. Ring perceived Kyles response as extraneous to the plot developm ent and used this to remind students that details should move the story forward, she us ed this teaching moment at Kyles expense. More specifically, when sh e addressed the class with the question, Are you going to spend a lot of time talking about a piece of w ood falling from the roof? and their unified response, No. Though I cannot determine if Ky le actually had a plot developed in his mind and the wood falling from the roof was a de tail in the plot development, he did not propose that he would spend a lot of time ta lking about a piece of wood falling from the
159 roof as Mrs. Ring indicated in her exaggerati on. Similar to an earlier interaction that addressed the entire class rather than Kyle, Mrs. Ring included them collectively when she scolded Kyle in the generic. The discourse continued with students shar ing words from the list of words that would be appropriate for the story and the obj ect associated with the sound. After several minutes of dialogue, Mrs. Ring composed th e following sentence incorporating some ideas suggested by students. As the sun sets I started out for a night of trick-or-treating. I walked down the long, spooky road and round a MR What can we call it? KYLE Building MR No, I dont want to say building. Im trying to create a mood (says eerily) In this brief interaction between Ky le and Mrs. Ring, she had composed the beginning of the story and stopped to invite students to suggest a word for the house in the picture. Kyle quickly volunteered buildi ng, but Mrs. Ring reje cted his response by expressing in an eerie voice that building does not reflect the mood she was attempting to create. In this interaction, she used her voice to mediate Ky les understanding of the type of structure that might be associated with a long, spooky road Another interpretation is that she is not only positioning herself as the knower by using the I voice but also taking ownership of the writing, No, I dont want to say building. Im trying to create a mood. Again, she is dism issing Kyles contribution.
160 Summary of the Interactions between Mrs. Ring and Kyle and his Responses to the Interactions The interactions between Kyle and Mr s. Ring were embedded within the larger contexts of guided instruction and shared writing during the one -hour block of time scheduled for writing instructi on. These interactions typically served as mediation toward Kyles developing understanding of a partic ular writing strategy or skills. Though I observed instruction of eight writing concepts while resear ching in this classroom, the interactions in the vignettes se lected for analysis focused on three: adding detail, using a strategy described as show, dont tell and onomatopoeia In some cases, the interaction was a combination of several instructional techniques, a nd in other cases, a single technique was employed to mediate Kyles understanding of the focused concept. In Vignette 1, Mrs. Ring used several discourse techniques to mediate Kyles understanding of using comparisons to add deta il. Kyle sidestepped her request to make the connection for her since his comparison of a red dress to dark carpet was vague, but offered instead an imprecise comparison prev iously suggested by a classmate. He may have avoided her request because he thought he understood the concept and was willing to take a risk to demonstrate his knowledge, or perhaps he simply could not explain his thinking. Mrs. Ring responded with an exagge ration to make a point but neglected to assess his understanding. Afte r students volunteered comparisons to describe the red in the red dress, Mrs. Ring suggested severa l more common objects. It appeared that brainstorming was premature for some student s since they did not have an understanding of this strategy though they volunteered to par ticipate. While there was a difference in what was labeled a detail between Mrs. Ring and me, the analysis did indicate that he
161 included details in writing samples that followed the interactions described in this vignette. Vignette 2 described the interaction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring as he composed a story, The Magic Pencil an innovation of the story, The Widows Broom (Van Allsburg, 1992). When reviewing The Widows Broom for the upcoming composition, Kyle suggested that the broom went out of control rather than to explai n the chores that the broom did for the witch, a response that Mrs. Ring anticipated. Mrs. Ring responded that the broom did not really go out of control, suggesting that she disagreed with his statement rather than asking him to expl ain his response. Later in Kyles story, The Magic Pencil he retained the phrase went out of control and used it to describe the pencil as going out of control after it fini shed Kyles work for him. In the later application, he used it more suitably sugge sting his ownership of vocabulary that is meaningful to him. In the first brief conference initia ted by Kyle, Mrs. Ring overlooked the discrepancy between the setting of the story and the following sentence since Mrs. Ring was more focused on Ky le using the strategy show, dont tell to begin the story. In another conference, she used a combination of explicit directives, resources in the room, and questions for him to consider that were in tended to help him add details to the story and thereby making the meaning clear to the r eader. Mrs. Ring did not praise or affirm him at anytime during the conference and though she implied that his work was not quality, she empathized with him unders tanding that he tho ught the writing was completed.
162 He made a few revisions following Mrs. Rings suggestions and also independently made a few revisions at the word level, adding a few adjectives and changing one verb to a synonym. One senten ce and one phrase were deleted. While he followed Mrs. Rings advice to circle words th at he was not sure of the spelling, he was never observed attempting to use a source to confirm the spelling during this lesson or any other time throughout the study although st udents were expected to check for accuracy after completing a composition. Though Mrs. Ring consistently modeled rereading and revising thr oughout the entire study, Kyle revised when Mrs. Ring conferenced with him. In a few instances, he independently added or changed a word after his classmates read aloud their sentences. He used a phrase in his writing that Mrs. Ring had used during instruction to describe his shock at seei ng the magic pencil. He also used a phrase he had suggested earlier to de scribe the magic broom but was corrected by Mrs. Ring as not accurately describing the behavior. However, overall when given opportunities to revise his writing, Kyle acquiesced by reading over his writing but made little attempt to add the skills and strategies practiced during class. In Vignette 3, Mrs. Ring used most of Ky les contributions to further mediate his understanding of the strategy, show, dont tell Kyles contributions during guided instruction and brainstormi ng were sometimes beyond the scope of the topic. At one point, she addressed the class, you guys, as a possible attempt to de flect attention away from Kyle when his responses were evalua ted as being extreme, but when it happened again, she directed the statement toward Kyle. Her directedness is indicated by volunteering suggestions that show friendlin ess after Kyles desc ription, helping deaf children. Since talking and br ainstorming were employed as precursors to independent
163 writing, she explained to me that her intent was for them to stay focused and within the topic during guided practice as well as independent writing. Wh ile Kyle frequently made gross approximations during guided practice an d brainstorming, they were not evident in his writing. While he was able to compose show me sentences from simple phrases and sentences during guided instruction, my analys is of future compositions revealed two instances of show me sentences, yet Mrs. Ring did not label any sentences as show me In Vignette 4, Mrs. Ring used a watercol or illustration that she had painted to generate ideas for a Halloween experience a nd also to focus on using descriptive words and onomatopoeia in their writing. When Kyle suggested that the painting reminded him of black clouds, she interrupted his respons e and suggested she had not clarified her question, then rephrased it. The rephrasing he lped Kyle, and he suggested the structure was a haunted house. The discourse conti nued, and she asked, How do you feel about walking up to the door? Kyle said he w ould feel like taking hi s bike and walking home. Then when she asked how the house looked, he responded, Has no windows. Mrs. Ring curbed his response and gave nonexa mples to further explain her expectations, Im not going to write a story about a house that might be a little but Kyle interrupted her as if to comp lete her thought and suggested d irty. Then in her uptake, she used a term of endearment, Honey, to admit she did not know how to communicate to him the focus of the discourse. Then she deferred her question to Josh who suggested creepy. At that point, Kyle indicated he understood her expectation with a whispered, Oh, then raised his hand to contribute. La ter, Kyle suggested a sound he might hear was thump, which would describe wood fa lling from the roof to the floor. Though Kyles explanation was sensible, Mrs. Ring ga ve the class a strategy with reference to
164 Kyles suggestion. Though the strategy is legiti mate, the exaggeration she used to explain it may have been uncomfortable for Kyle Are you going to spend a lot of time talking about a piece of wood falling from the roof? Finally, when she began the shared writing, Kyle offered building (though he o ffered haunted house earlier) to describe the house in the painting. Then she used an eerie voice to further activate their schema. I did not record any incidences of Mr s. Ring praising Kyles writing or his contributions during the inter actions described in these vi gnettes. Further, she seldom affirmed him as a contributor in the l earning environment. Occasionally, she used exaggeration in response to Kyle s contribution in order to emphasize or clarify a point. One interaction may even be interpreted as somewhat harsh. At the end of the conference, she reminded Kyle that she was looking for quality. Though the intention of this comment may have been to reinforce the points of her conference, it could also be interpreted as implying that his writing was l acking. However, I did record responses that exposed her care. She initiate d two responses with Honey. On one occasion, she used it at the beginning of her response to soften the impending question she had regarding his use of an unconventional word, twenkling to describe sprinkling rain. Then in another interaction, after Kyle contri buted a string of decontextu alized responses throughout a shared writing, she began her response to him with, Honey, when she admitted she did not know how to get him to focus on the them e of the story. In another incident, she offered encouragement by sympathizing with him about his need to revise his story. Occasionally, she referenced the whole class rath er than Kyle in order to deflect attention from him when his response was beyond the parameter of the topic. During another
165 interaction when Kyle gave a synonym rather than a show me description, Mrs. Ring thanked him and used his contribution to briefly further explain the concept. Kyle appeared to understand the structur e of narrative writing. Excerpts from Kyles writing within guided practice illu strate that he attempted and usually gave evidence of including the skills or stra tegy within the confines of narrow writing situations. However, there is little evidence of transfer of these skills and strategies to the same degree in the larger context of independe nt writing that he did with guided practice. Although Kyle frequently made what sounde d like gross approximations to open-ended questions, he did not include them in his writing. Some vocabular y and phrases can be traced to the language of Mrs. Ring and al so to vocabulary from the basal reader. Due to the abstract definition of some of the skills and strategies taught during the study, they were difficult to reliably identify within Kyles writing. It is equally difficult to assess whether the writing was a result of in struction or if the writing was part of his existing expressive language and would have been employed without instruction. In addition, it cannot be determined if Kyle purpos efully selected to om it certain skills and strategies in the larger contexts of the stories. Howeve r, comparing the word count across the stories gives some indication that hi s writings were getting longer. Kyle independently made revisions to sentences during guided practice by adding an adjective to further describe a noun. During th e conference with Mrs. Ring about Magic Pencil they methodically read through his compositi on. This approach appears to have been effective since Kyle made revisions on a s econd draft after the conference Overall, when given opportunities to revise his writing, Kyle acquiesced by reading over his writing but made little attempt to add the skills and strategies practiced during class.
166 While Kyle accepted his position as student and Mrs. Rings position as teacher, he did not accept the positioning as nonwriter, a result of Mrs. Rings comments to him during conferences he initiated and comments to his responses to open-ended questions. He made some revisions after each conferen ce and returned to Mrs. Ring to show the revisions, a move to position himself from nonw riter. Mrs. Ring evaluated his responses as deficient rather than creative or meritori ous. Only once did she probe him to explain his response. Rather than explaining, he sidestepped the questi on, though the reason is unknown, and offered another attemp t at the right answer. Mrs. Ring may have been attempting to deflect attention from Kyle when she addressed the entire class in order to use his response for in struction to the whole class. However, in doing this, she made his response more noticeable by including the entire class in the instruction rather than just Kyle The increase in text length from Au gust to early November suggests that the length of his stories was getti ng longer. Kyles baseline writing sample in August was about finding a meteor. The sample cons isted of 107 words (Appendix G). A story written in the beginning of October, The Magic Pencil contained 159 words. Bad Day contained 270 words, nearly 50 more words than the previous composition and 65 more than a composition written a week later (Appe ndix H). The increase in text may have been influenced by the topic of his bad da y, which was football, a sport that he had expressed interest in on several occasions. The last story, Toy Store contained 205 words (Appendix I). Though a decrease from a story wr itten a week earlier, it contained almost 100 more words than the baseline compos ition. The writing samples assessed by the two graduate students and me using the 6-Trai ts Writing model had mean scores for the
167 beginning, middle and end of October of 2.8, 3.2, and 1.8, respectively, with a 5 being the highest score possible. The scores are sim ilar to the word count analysis in that Bad Day received a higher overall score than the other two stories possibly, because he wrote about something that appealed to him. All si x traits improved from the first composition to the second; however, the scores on all six traits for the third composition declined from the second composition though none of the scor es was as low as the first composition. Mrs. Ring e-mailed me several months afte r I had closed the study to let me know that Kyle scored a 3.5 out of a possible 6 on the state-mandated writing test. While 3.5 was considered passing, his score of 3.5 m eans that one scorer gave him a 3, and the other scorer gave him a 4. The Grade 4 narrativ e prompt (topic) direct ed students to write a story about going on a special ride. Ray According to Rays responses to the W SPS, he did not perceive himself as competent in writing as his peers nor did he perceive himself as making as much progress in writing as his peers. The only item that Ray strongly disagreed with on the WSPS was My writing is more interesti ng than my classmates writing suggesting that he perceived his writing as less interesti ng that his peers writing. The only item that Ray strongly agreed with was People in my family think I am a good writer He circled undecided for all the statements that implied that his teacher thought his writing was good. Mrs. Ring shared with me early in the study that Rays mother had wanted a parent-teacher conference because Ray was not making As in written expression as he had in third grade. Mrs. Ring volunteered th at the previous years writing instruction stressed grammar and mechanics rather than writing. His mom requested extra help for
168 Ray, so periodically, Mrs. Ring stayed afte r school to give him additional help. According to Mrs. Ring, though Rays parent s made sure he did his homework, he completed home assignments independently w ithout adult assistance (Field notes, 10-0804). Unlike Kyle, Ray seldom volunteered to ac tively participate regardless of the context of instruction: w hole group activities or in a cooperative learning grouping. During instruction, Ray usually did not look at Mrs. Ring or other students but looked down at his desk and fidgeted w ith something in or on his de sk. Frequently, Mrs. Ring would move close to Ray to gain his attenti on. However, an analysis of his responses during whole group instruction, whether his re sponses were volunteered or imposed by Mrs. Ring, indicated that his responses were reasonable and closed-ended questions were usually answered accurately. The number and the duration of interactions between Mrs. Ring and Ray were less than the number of interacti ons between Mrs. Ring and Kyle. He seemed rather quiet and though he seldom laughed aloud, he displayed a broad sheepish grin when amused. Mrs. Ring claimed that Ray was unmotivated, and that contributed to Rays struggle with writing. Ray's problem basically comes from lack of motivation and his being somewhat lazy. Ray is often reluctant to participant in writing instruction and must be reminded of the grading consequences that will apply if he does not complete the assigned task. He lacks concentration a nd when he does do his work, he rushes and then makes careless mistakes. (Informal Interview, 10-08-04) Rays perceived lack of inte rest and motivation may have influenced the interaction.
169 Students typically indicated their eagerness to respond to a statement or question posed by Mrs. Ring by raising their hands; however, Mrs. Ring did not limit responses to only those who volunteered to respond. Using a tone that was more conversational than interrogating, she frequently asked a question or solicited a comment from those who did not volunteer to respond. Thr oughout the study, I observed that Ray was one of the few students who seldom volunteered responses. Occasionally, Ray referred to a modeled or shared writing piece that was displayed by the overhead proj ector to support his independent writing. Frequently, Rays compositions were incomplete or misplaced. Mrs. Ring did not tell students when an assignment was due initially but made that d ecision based on her evaluation of students progress on the assignment. Typically, a writi ng assignment extended over a week with the purpose of including writing concepts or skills that had been the focus of instruction in the writing assignment and also to give students ample time for revision of the draft as they received feedback from Mr s. Ring and their peers. It appeared that having a week to complete an assignment may have contributed to Rays lack of motivation to complete it. When students we re given time to write independently, he usually took more time than necessary to begin and was often easily distracted. However, when students were given a practi ce writing test to prepare for the state mandated writing test, he was able to co mplete the composition within the 45 minute time restraint. On another occasion, he comp leted an assignment within that same time frame that he had neglected to complete ove r the course of a week. Having a deadline may have been beneficial to Ray. Though the students had writing folders, Ray seldom placed his work in the folder and consequent ly misplaced writing plans and compositions
170 which necessitated that he start over. Sometim es he completed assignments but neglected to turn them in. Ray seemed to perform better when he had a time limit rather than several days to complete an assignment. Rays handwriting was legible, and his spelling did not impede the readability of his composition. An analysis of Rays planning sheets indicates that his prewriting was detailed when he actually pl anned. The planning was usually written in phrases and frequently included ideas genera ted from the class during brainstorming, teacher modeling, or shared writing. Introducing the Vignettes The following five selected vignettes desc ribe the interaction between Mrs. Ring and Ray. The first vignette describes how Mr s. Ring incorporated a vague response to affirm Ray as a contributor to the learning community. In Vignette 2, Mrs. Ring used a variety of techniques to fac ilitate Rays understanding of re asons for indenting. Vignette 3 describes how Mrs. Mac prompted Ray thr ough questions to get him to ask himself how he could go about changing the structure of a sentence. Vignette 4 extends over four days and describes several inte ractions as Ray attempted to practice a writing technique, show, dont tell and then embed it with in the context of The Magic Pencil an innovation from a childrens book, The Witchs Broom. In Vignette 5, Mrs. Ring capitalizes on Rays overt interest in cont ributing during the brainstormi ng of ideas for a Halloween experience. Mrs. Ring used th e interactions to praise hi m for his contribution and to affirm him as a writer. Vignette 1 In the following transcript, Mrs. Ring is attempting to convey that writers often
171 use ideas from other people to compose thei r own stories. Consistent with Mrs. Rings teaching method, she seldom began the writi ng lesson by directly te lling the class the concept but used a more indirect appro ach usually through open-ended questions and then employing those responses as a catalys t to generate subsequent responses. MR One of the greatest tools write rs have is can anyone guess? KYLE Pencil MR Yeah, thats good. Wh ats another tool? Jor Uh, I dont know. Rav Our brains Eli Imagination Cas Thinking skills Jor Knowing how to spell ? Ideas MR Where do ideas come from? Cas Brain, mind RAY Details MR Where do we get ideas and details? Eli Other people, sometimes you get ideas from other books MR Say again Eli Other people, sometimes you get ideas from other books MR Elijah, when you read another book, you may want to write a story like that. You may want to use some of their ideas or techniques. We cant write it word for word. That is illegal plagiarism
172 Students suggest a number of tools writers use, but when a student suggests ideas, Mrs. Ring probes them about the origination of ideas. Though Ray did not volunteer to respond, Mrs. Ring called on him, and he responded that ideas come from details. In a few lessons pr ior to this lesson, adding details to a story was a strategy to assist the reader in better understanding what the writer attempting to say. Although it appeared that he had not gi ven much thought to his respons e but rather offered a guess, Mrs. Ring did not discount his response but added his response to the original question and asked, Where do we get ideas and detail s? Mrs. Ring used his response in the question that followed though it did not serve to qualify or add to the question but affirmed him as a class participant. Another interpretation of this interacti on with the class may be that using the word tools may have been confusing to st udents even though Kyle was the only student who suggested a literal tool for writing. Th e interaction resemble d a guessing game until Ray suggested details. Mrs. Ring used hi s response as a catalyst to pose another question that then resulted in th e response she was anticipating. Vignette 2 For several days, Mrs. Ring had been m odeling narrative writing by composing an innovation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Viorst, 1972). She had supported stude nts developing understandi ng of narrative writing by modeling her thought processes while constructi ng a graphic organizer to visually display events of her bad day. After she modeled the composing of the first event, students were directed to write the first event to their stor y. She collected the beginning of their stories and took them home to read. She had noticed that students were putti ng several events in
173 one paragraph and pointed that out to them the following day. At the beginning of the lesson, Mrs. Ring had instructed students to get a fiction book from their desk that they would use later in the lesson to look for exam ples of indenting. She read aloud excerpts from a familiar book, The Pirates Parrot (McFarland, 2000), to demonstrate purposes for indenting. This book is riddled with dial ogue and is a good model to illustrate the concept of indenting text when someone ne w begins to talk. As she read aloud, she pointed that out to the students. Then she encountered a paragra ph that was indented because there was a change in action. Rather th an directly stating the authors purpose for starting a new paragraph, she supported st udents understanding by asking deductive questions that prompted them to use their current knowledge to generate new knowledge. MR Now this isnt somebody talking, so why is it indented? Ray Its a new paragraph MR But why is it a new paragraph? Theres not a new person talking. Why do you think McFarland indented there? [Five seconds wait time then calls on Ray] Ray (No response after six seconds of wait time) MR What is the event in this paragr aph, Ray? What happened? [referring to previous paragraph] Ray Spitalton spit MR So thats the event. MR Whats the event in this one? Is it the same thing? Ray No MR That is what I want you (the cl ass) to see. (Transcript, 9-22-04) Rather than explicitly state why the author indented, Mrs. Ring engaged the students in the process of ascertaining the reason for indenting by questioning the class
174 and Ray in particular. Rays response hinted he understood that th e authors purpose for indenting was to create a new paragra ph. Mrs. Ring began probing him about his response and helped him eliminate a reason, an d then slightly rephrased the original question, But why is it a new paragraph? to Why do you think McFarland indented there? After five seconds of wait time, she attempted to back up to the last known point of understanding. Then to further clarify the question, she defined event as what happened since she did not use that te rm in the original question Rays response, Spitalton spit, demonstrated his understa nding of the event in the paragraph. She confirmed his response, So th ats the event. The next pa ragraph described a separate event. Mrs. Ring tried to assess his knowle dge of the event in the next paragraph by asking him, Is it the same thing? While Ray understood that the purpose for indenting was to start a new paragraph, he did not immediately offer a response when she probed him about the reason the author started a new paragraph. Using a variety of techniques, she attempted to mediate his understanding. Through this process, she gave him think time and clarification, and then used his last known point of understanding to help him recognize why the author started a new paragraph. The objective of this lesson was to intr oduce or, possibly for some, reintroduce students to two primary purposes for starting a new paragraph: cha nge in dialogue and beginning a new event. While the book she us ed was familiar to the class and a good model to demonstrate change in dialogue, st udents may have had difficulty hearing when a new event began, even though Mrs. Ri ng stated, New paragraph and then read the new paragraph, which was often just a fe w sentences such as Bear squawked.
175 Since students did not actually see the text, this limita tion may have contributed to Mrs. Rings need to mediate Rays understanding. Mrs. Ring explicitly explained the purpose for beginning a new paragraph wh ile she modeled writing in her Bad Day story but did not return to it to re iterate paragraphing. A content analysis of compositions wr itten throughout the duration of the study indicates that Ray had a satis factory understanding of the objective for indenting. Even Rays earliest writing samples show his unders tanding of indenting even before formal instruction by Mrs. Ring. Vignette 3 The following vignette is a continuation from the previous three days of writing with the objective to change the structur e of a sentence, a concept that seemed challenging for many students in the class. Th e day previous to the transcript below, students had been given a worksheet with six boxes. Each box contained a sentence beginning with She or There Students were directed to rewr ite the sentences so that the sentences did not begin with She or There In the excerpt below, Mrs. Ring thumbs through the worksheets and reads aloud student s revisions to the following sentence: There were books on the shelf. MR Someone said, Encyclopedias, dictionaries. She was describing books. Other people wrote about the colors of the books. Some books were stacked. Listen [reads aloud] Stacked upon the shelves were many, many different genre of books. [Continues to look through samples and then reads some aloud] Old worn out books were on the bookshelf covered in dus t. Maybe, worn out books covered in dust filled the shelf. So what kind of books are we going to use for our first sentence? Were going to look at this and ask ourselves, What kind of books? Students raise their hands to contribute. MR Ray, what kind of books? (Ray did not volunteer)
176 RAY Old books MR What are the shelves like? RAY Dusty, worn out MR [Begins writing] Old books [pauses] Do you want sat upon, filled, covered? RAY Sat upon Mrs. Ring finished writing the sentence: Old books sat upon the dusty, worn out shelves. (Transcript, 10-07-04) Though Ray did not volunteer to participate, Mrs. Ring called on him to revise the focus sentence: There were books on the shelf. She prompted him through each question that students were to ask themselves in order to effectively revise the original sentence. This prompting was not limited to Ray, since the three students following the interaction between Mrs. Ring and Ray were as ked questions in the same manner. Then Mrs. Ring wrote a new sentence on the overhead and again prompted students through the questions to assist the revision process. Perhaps Ray got his ideas for the descrip tion from the sample she read aloud to the class: Old worn out books were on the bookshelf covered in dus t. Old books may have been cued from the student sample old, worn out books and then dusty worn out shelves from book shelf covered in dust. A ca reful examination of Rays practice worksheet assigned prior to this interaction show s that he revised five of the six sentences but did not attempt the last sentence, There were books on the shelf. Later in the lesson, students were given the following sentence to revise on their individual white boards: The bird was in the tree. Ray revised the sentence to read: A
177 beautiful crow sat in the old tree. He made four revisions to the sentence. He replaced a common noun, bird with a specific bird, crow and replaced a being verb, was with an action verb, sat He also added description by including beautiful and old to describe the bird a nd tree, respectively. A content analysis of the base line wr iting, a story about Ray and his dog getting lost in the woods, and two com positions composed during the study, The Magic Pencil and Bad Day, indicate there was some variety w ith sentence beginnings within each composition. Rays baseline composed in ea rly August contained 18 sentences, though some were run-on sentences (Appendix J). Most sentences began with words to transition the reader from one action to the next. For example, five sentences began with then two sentences began with when and after Two sentences began with I The Magic Pencil written almost two months later, and Bad Day (See Appendix K), written two weeks after The Magic Pencil (Appendix L), each, coincidently, co ntained 23 sentences. Of those 23 sentences, 10 began with the pronoun I and two sentences began with then and when These last two stories were written in first person and may have been a factor for the frequent use of I at the beginning of sentences. Vignette 4 This vignette extends over four days. St udents were once again displaced to the library since their classroom needed additional repairs. During the beginning of the lesson, students worked in cooperativ e groups to revise the sentence, It was a bright, sunny, hot summer day to a show me sentence. After groups shared their revisions, Mrs. Ring transitioned the lesson to the magi c pencil story that each student was writing. The story was based on an actual book, The Widows Broom (Van Allsburg, 1992).
178 Students had created a plan and had written the beginning of the story during a previous lesson. Today they were assigned to cons ider revising any te lling text to a show me text and then work on the middle of the story. On the previous day, Mrs. Ring listed all the materials and supplies students would need to bring with them to the libra ry; however, Ray had left his writing notebook in the classroom. During independent writing time, he quickly composed two paragraphs. While the three students who shared a tabl e with him wrote dilig ently, he was turned sideways in his chair, looking at the magazines on the shelf ne xt to him. He had left his organizer in the classroom and seemed help less without it. He seemed unmotivated to come up with something different than what may have been on the organizer. He doesnt make any effort to revise, edit, add. Seated at his desk, he looks around room. After eight minutes of unproductive time, he took his draf t to Mrs. Ring (Field notes, 10-19-04). In the following interaction, Mrs. Ring silent reads the draft and makes a few comments to Ray. MR I tried to write with it. (Reading from draft) What kind of punctuation? Ray Period MR This kind of punctuation shows a feeling. Ray Emotion MR No, you would use an exclamation point. (Mrs. Ring continues to read) Seat is spelled s-e-a-t. There are some words I know you dont know how to spell. I would look at this part in here very hard to read. I like I fell out of my seat and felt like a snake bite. (Transcript, 10-19-04) During this brief conference, Mrs. Ri ng addressed a few editorial concerns, punctuation and a misspelled word. Af ter she corrected the spelling for seat she
179 acknowledged that there would be words that he would not know how to spell. This understanding was frequently and almost daily repeated by Mrs. Rings directive to the class to simply circle words that they were not sure of the spelling and then to continue with their writing. Mrs. Ring had difficulty reading one part of the composition and advised Ray to look at this part. She conc luded the short conference by praising several phrases and thus affirming hi m as a writer. The phrase, felt like a snake bite vividly described the pain inflicted by the penc il when it poked him. And the phrase, I fell out of my seat showed his surprise at the pencil writing down all th e problems for his science test. Ray erased the first paragraph when he re turned to his seat. Since I was seated near Ray, I casually asked him what he had wr itten, and he replied that he did not know. The erased paragraph may have been what Mr s. Ring stated in the interaction that was very hard to read. Rays draft to The Magic Pencil is displayed in Table 11. Table 11 Rays First Draft to The Magic Pencil When I got to school I meairned (m eandered) in the class room. When I got to my desk, I saw this pencil on the ground. It was blue and orage and it had gator heads on it. I tried (circled) to write with it, but it pokked me. It felt like a snake bite. So I put it in my disk but as soon as I knew it It was writing down all my problems I couldnt believe my eyes I almo st jumped out of my seat. And I wasnt worried about my big science test. The following day, without identifying the au thor, Mrs. Ring read aloud some of the beginning and middle of students paragra phs about the magic pencil and gave them
180 feedback. Most students were not including the focused writing technique, show, dont tell in their compositions specifically when the pencil was discovered to be magical. To demonstrate, she told them a story about a pe ncil that came to life and saved the day by writing her lesson plans for her. She included elements such as emotions, dialogue, and description. She ended the story by stating he r expectations for their stories and then assigned them to make necessary revisions. The next day, Mrs. Ring continued to guide students through th e practice of using show, dont tell in their stories. She wrote a sent ence on the overhead, and then the class brainstormed ways to demons trate the adjective rather th an writing an adjective to describe a noun. An example from the lesson was, I was really scared. The lesson continued in the same manner for the next 25 minutes with Mrs. Ring posting a sentence and then lively brainstorming by the cla ss. When Mrs. Ring posted the sentence, The room was a mess, she used Rays bedroom as a possible example. MR Lets say that we are going to us e Rays bedroom for an example. Ray may have laying around in it dirty socks, half-eaten pizza, Little Debbie cakes that hes trying to sneak undern eath the bed thats been there for three or four years, as well as books scattered. Maybe he has cars and trucks or a forgotten stuffed animal in a corner from when he was younger. The mess is going to be a ll over. (Transcript, 10-20-04) The class continued brainstorming descriptio ns of a messy kitchen and then a messy bathroom. When students were given the as signment to describe a messy room, Ray composed the following show me sentence. The bedroom had dirty socks on the fan, pizza half eaten, some clean clothes on the bed that had never been put away and feathers flooded the room from a pillow fight. After Ray read aloud his sentence, Mrs. Ri ng overtly praised him by simply saying,
181 Very good, Ray. Ray used two phrases from Mrs. Rings description of his room: dirty socks and pizza half eaten phrased slightly different from hal f-eaten pizza. He did not include the Little Debbie cake, books, car s, trucks, and stuffed animal in his description but rather added something more realistic some clean clothes on the bed that had not been put away and something fanciful feathers flooded the room from a pillow fight. After students shared their descrip tions of a messy room, without any brainstorming, Mrs. Ring assi gned them the following sentence to independently revise The lady was beautiful. She underlined the word beautiful to indicate what should be described. Ray revised the sentence. The young lady had shiny blue eyes, nice blond hair, And some dark red limpstick. With some high-heeled shoes on that make her looked 3 inches taller she looked like a spurstar. (Document, 10-20-04) Following the guided practice, she encourag ed students to include the strategy in their magic pencil story they had been co mposing over the last several days. A few minutes after giving the directive, Mrs. Ring circulated the room. Rays draft and pencil lay on his desk as he sat slumped in his seat. When she got to Rays desk, he initiated the brief interaction. RAY What am I supposed to do if I forgot my organizer? MR It was on the list of th ings to bring. You are welcome to get out another piece of paper. Next time you go on vacation make sure you pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear an d socks. (Transcript, 10-20-04) Ray did not make any additi ons to the draft he had re started two days earlier. Once again he exhibited the same behaviors from before: rolling his pencil between the
182 palm of his hands, slumping in his seat and looking around the room. When she approached his table, as if to justify his reason for not writing anything, Ray asked, What am I supposed to do if I forgot my or ganizer? Mrs. Ring di d not sympathize with him but quite the contrary. She put the re sponsibility for making that decision on Ray since the class had brainstormed a list of things they should take with them when they were displaced to the library, and then Mrs. Ring had written the lis t on the board. Mrs. Ring even suggested that he start over if n ecessary and then ended the short interaction with a reminder that was understood by the cla ss and used occasionally in the class when students had forgotten things. While Mrs. Ring encouraged Ray to be part of the learning community and affirmed him when he particip ated by praising his contributions, she also had expectations for him as a student. A week later, Mrs. Ring realized she did not have Rays paper. She gave him the 30 minutes re served for PAT, Preferred Activity Time (Jones, 2001), to finish or rewrite the stor y, which he did and turned in to Mrs. Ring. While Mrs. Ring held Ray accountable for completing the writing assignment, it was not until a week after students finished th e compositions that she realized she did not have his. Students were respons ible for placing completed work in a basket. Moving from one location to another to hold class may have been a factor in the oversight, but I noticed earlier in the study he did not subm it a writing assignment connected to Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears (Aardema, 1975), a selection in the students reader. Mrs. Ring continued to reinforce st udents developing understanding of the concept show, dont tell and using precise language in th eir writing the following day. In the past few days, she had provided them with a sentence; however, on this day, she gave students a fragment of a sentence because, according to Mrs. Ring, I dont want you to
183 feel tied into the sentence. She gave student s the following sentence fragments to rewrite in order to show, dont tell : friendly lady and sad puppy Ray expanded the phrase friendly lady to the following show me sentence. The lady was walking down the street with a big smile helping people out with there problems. After Ray composed the original sentence, he reread it and in serted the phrase with a big smile to further describe that she wa s friendly. Perhaps Ray borrowed the description, helping people out with there problems from Mrs. Ring when she had suggested helping as a way to demonstrate fr iendliness during the brainstorming of ideas for actions that demonstrate friendliness. Ray expanded the phrase sad puppy to the following show me sentence. The stray lonely puppy sat on the end of th e porch with no one around to play with. After Ray composed the original sentence, he reread it and inserted the word stray to further describe the puppy. He may have associ ated sad with the way he feels when he has no one to play with He described a sad puppy as alone or with no one around and used stray to attend to the social aspect of sad. I conducted a content anal ysis for the strategy show, dont tell in The Magic Pencil and The Bad Day Mrs. Ring also culled the stories for show, dont tell While Ray demonstrated the strategy show, dont tell at the sentence level, I noted little evidence in the larger compositions, and Mrs. Ring did not label any text as show, dont tell We both noted the same text to la bel in two places but labele d it differently. I labeled felt like I broke my ancle as show, dont tell since the phrase demonstr ated the pain of falling while doing jumping jacks. However, Mrs. Ri ng labeled it has a detail. While Mrs. Ring labeled Clouds looked like pencils as show, dont tell I labeled it as details. There was
184 one phrase that I selected and labeled as show, dont tell that Mrs. Ring di d not select at all. I labeled I was like of my coch (maybe gosh) I said under my breath as a show, dont tell since Ray was demonstrati ng his surprise that the pencil started to write for him. Vignette 5 Mrs. Ring displayed a simple watercolor she had painted of an old house with a fence in the foreground, the sun setting in th e background, and a dirt road winding off the painting. Later in the day, students would use watercolors to paint their own scenes and then write a piece inspired by their paintings She used her painting as a catalyst to cooperatively compose the beginning of a Halloween experience. The following excerpt from the lesson starts after several talk tu rns between Mrs. Ring and students about the house. MR How do you feel about walking up to that house and rapping on the door? Cas Spooked out MR Of course, spooked out is a phrase we wouldnt use in our writing because its just a little t oo cute type thing. KYLE I feel like taking my bike and walking home Amir Terrified MR Ok, terrified might be slightly strong emotion for this. But I would feel maybe frightened. Ray? Ray Afraid MR Frightened, afraid. [Pauses for five seconds.] Would you be nervous? [Without waiting for a response, Mrs. Ring turns to write on the white board the descriptive words suggested by students] In this brief excerpt, Mrs. Ring attempted to solicit from students words to
185 describe their feelings about rapping on the door of the house in the picture. Previous to Rays contribution, students offered spooked ou t and terrified. Mrs. Ring explained spooked out was too informal and that t errified was too str ong. Ray contributed afraid, a synonym of words previously offered by his peers and Mrs. Ring. Then she repeated her suggestion, frightened, fo llowed by Rays suggestion, afraid. Since there were no more suggestions, using a rhetor ical question as a tech nique to hint more suggestions, Mrs. Ring asked, Would you be nervous? Students nodded in agreement, and then Mrs. Ring began writing words on the wh ite board that they had brainstormed as a class. Though Mrs. Ring asked the openended question, How do you feel about walking up to that house and rapping on the door? her responses to how students may have felt were more evalua tive rather th an accepting. Mrs. Ring continued to gui de students through a descri ption of the house and then transitioned the brainstorming to words that describe sounds associated with the house. After several talk turn s, Mrs. Ring gave them a list of onomatopoeia words and directed them to scan the list for words that could be used in a story about the watercolor painting. Tre Eek! MR After you ring the doorbell, th e door might make that sound. Jas Hinges MR OK, maybe the hinges on th e door. What else might go eek? Cas A mouse MR Yes, there might be a mouse inside. Ray A bat MR Excellent, Ray! Maybe I heard the distant sound of Eek, eek, and it was a bat. What else might I hear from the bat?
186 Rav His wings MR What sound? Im not going to say H is wings Im going to use the word, right? I dont want to say, I heard a bat making a noise and I heard his wings and I rang a door bell and I open ed the door and it made a noise. I walked inside when I walked across the floor it made a noise. Im not going to say it made a noise, Im going to write the noise So something else. When two students suggested that hinges on the door and a mouse might make an Eek sound, Mrs. Ring acknowle dged their suggestion with Ok and Yes. But when Ray demonstrated his knowledge of the associ ation of bats with old houses and offered that the sound might come from a bat, Mrs. Ring praised his res ponse with Excellent, Ray! Then she employed his suggestion of a ba t to solicit other sounds linked to bats. In collaboration with Mrs. Ring, studen ts composed the following introduction. As the sun sets I started out for a night of trick-or-treating. I walked down the long spooky road and round an old dilapidated house on a hill. MR What can we call it [the house]? Kyle Building MR No, I dont want to say building. Im trying to create a mood [says it eerily] RAY Mansion MR But thats not really a mansion (ref erring to the watercolor). But could we say old, worn-down mansion. Do you like that? [Ray nods his head in agreement.] MR OK, Ill use that, Ray. Thank you. The house in the painting would not be described as a mansion as suggested by Kyles nonspecific descripti on that the house is a building and Mrs. Rings differing
187 opinion. Yet, Mrs. Ring affirmed Ray as a participant by accepting his suggestion, but altering it somewhat to old, worn-down mansi on to more accurately depict the structure in the watercolor painting. Then, in the next sentence, she affirmed him as writer by seeking his approval to change his original word. When Ray nodded in agreement to the change, she affirmed him once again by thanking him for his contribution to the writing. Though subtle, she positioned Kyle and Ra y as nonwriter and writer, respectively, in this interaction. Kyle suggest ed building to label the hou se (in the picture), but Mrs. Ring used the I voice to positions herself as the gatekeeper, I dont want to say building. However, when Ray offered mansi on she added description to depict the mansion as an old, worn-down mansion and used we to include him in the composing. In one instance, she is excluding one student but includ ing another with one short episode. Ray was more attentive and volunteered mo re during this shared writing than in any other writing event. Mrs. Ring seemed to capitalize on his interest and used the interactions to praise him for his contri bution and to affirm him as a writer. A content analysis of Bad Day a story composed shortly after introduction and guided instruction in using onoma topoeia, indicates that Ray di d not use any type of this figurative language in the story. Summary of the Interactions between M rs. Ring and Ray and his Response to the Interactions The interactions between Ray and Mrs. Ring were similar throughout the study. In Vignette 1, Mrs. Ring acknowledged Rays resp onse, though it was vague, and included it in the question that follow ed. Perhaps she responded in th is manner because she called
188 on him even though he did not vol unteer thus reiter ating her practice of using students responses to evaluate their understanding and her instruction. Since she did not define what she meant by writers tools, student s responses bordered on guesses rather than knowledge. Again in Vignette 2, Ray did not volunteer to respond. During this interaction, Mrs. Ring read aloud parts of a famili ar book to demonstrate two purposes for paragraphing. The method and source she used appeared to have been nonproductive for students understanding of the concept thus ne cessitating her need to give Ray think time, some clarification, and access his last known point of understanding to mediate his understanding. In Vignette 3, students were to revise th e structure of the sentence. Mrs. Ring prompted Ray through each question that stude nts were to ask themselves in order to effectively revise the original sentence. The de scriptions he offered were very similar to the descriptions written by his classmates that Mrs. Ring had just r ead aloud to the class. In a sentence written independently follo wing the brainstorming, he was able to satisfactorily demonstrate his understanding of the objective to change the structure of the sentence. An analysis of two stories written afterward shows some variety in sentence beginnings within the compositions but no obvious revising to the degree that was practiced during guided instruction. Vignette 4 describes several interactions between Mrs. Ring and Ray. First, he approached her to conference with him about the beginning of her story. Though this was not an ordinary practice, it may have been f acilitated by their reloca tion to the library. During the brief conference, she addressed a few editorial concerns and acknowledged
189 that there would be words that he would not know how to spell and to circle them if he was sure of the spelling and then confirm the spelling at a different time. She described one part as difficult to read, a nd he erased it when he return ed to his seat. She concluded the conference by praising his de scription of several phrases and thus affirming him as a writer. The following day after brainstorming ideas for a messy room, Mrs. Ring composed a few sentences using Rays bedr oom as the setting. Ray used in his own sentence and two phrases from the sentence s that Mrs. Ring composed to describe a messy room. Mrs. Ring affirmed him wh en she read aloud hi s description. Ray demonstrated his ability to complete shor t assignments that were expected to be completed within a few minutes. However, when Mrs. Ring gave students time to independently work on their magic pencil story, Ray did not make any effort to add to the story he had restarted two days earlier. As if to justify his reason for not writing anything, when she approached his table, he asked, What am I supposed to do if I forgot my organizer? Mrs. Ring advised him to start over if necessary and concluded with a phrase she was heard saying several times during th e study when students forgot something, Next time you go on vacation, make sure you pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear and socks. The following day after guided practice of describing a friendly lady using the strategy show, dont tell he independently demonstrated th e ability to elaborate a simple phrase to more vividly describe a sad puppy through show, dont tell While Ray demonstrated the strategy show, dont tell at the sentence level, there was little evidence of this technique in his longer compositions.
190 When Ray was interested in a writing event, he volunteered to contribute as demonstrated in Vignette 5. Almost every in teraction between Mrs. Ring and Ray served to praise and affirm him. I recorded ma ny instances of Mrs. Ring praising Ray or affirming him as a contributor when his responses were flaw ed or his contribution when his responses were acceptable. These actions may have been deliberately employed to recognize him in the community of learners si nce he seldom voluntee red to participate. Although Ray demonstrated his ability to finish short assignments that were expected to be completed within a few minut es, he struggled to complete assignments that extended over several days. This diffi culty may have been compounded by school halting on three occasions due to hurricanes, but even after the hurricanes were over, I still observed this pattern. A nother factor may have been that Mrs. Ring did not tell students when a composition was due but base d that decision on stude nts progress since some would complete their writing before othe rs. Furthermore, he was reluctant to begin a new draft if he misplaced or lost his work. While this behavior seemed to be a pattern for Ray, I did not observe any stra tegies assigned to assist him. Due to the abstract definition of some of the skills and strategies taught during the study, they were difficult to reliab ly identify within Rays writing. It is equally difficult to assess whether the writing was a result of inst ruction or if the wr iting was part of his existing expressive language and would have been employed without instruction. In addition, it cannot be determined if Ray select ed to omit certain skill s and strategies in the larger contexts of the stories. However, comparing the word count across the stories gives some indication that his writings are ge tting longer.
191 Rays baseline writing sample in August about finding his dog when it got lost on a family camping trip consisted of 1 07 words (Appendix J) An October draft, The Magic Pencil contained 238 words and was more than twice as long as a story written two months earlier (Appendix L) Anothe r story written two weeks later, Bad Day contained 323 words (Appendix K). The writing samples assessed by the two graduate students and me using the 6-Traits Writing model had mean scores of 2.5, 3, and 3.5 with a 5 being the highest indicating a steady impr ovement from August to the e nd of October. An analysis of each trait over the time period also indicate d an increase from one composition to the next. However, for one trait, word choice, he received a mean score of 3.7 for the middle sample and decreased to a 3 for the third samp le. He received the highest scores in ideas, organization, and voice. In an e-mail I received from Mrs. Ring several months afte r I had closed the study, she shared with me that Ray scored a 4 out of a possible 6 on the state-mandated writing test while 3.5 was considered passi ng. The Grade 4 narrative prompt (topic) directed students to write a st ory about going on a special ride. Cross Case Analysis Between Kyle and Ray The interactions between Kyle and Mr s. Ring differed from the interactions between Ray and Mrs. Ring. Mrs. Ring stated to her class at the beginning of the school year that she called on all students, not onl y those who volunteered to respond. She used this approach to evaluate students unders tanding and to augment her instruction when necessary (Interview, 10-06-04). Kyle particip ated more actively than Ray; therefore, there were more interactions between Mrs. Ring and Kyle than between Mrs. Ring and Ray. Not only were the number of interactions different, but the roles Mrs. Ring played in
192 the interactions were also different. Though Ray participated less, his responses during brainstorming were typically viewed within the parameter of the topic or theme. Mrs. Ring described Ray as unmotiv ated at times and used the moments when he did voluntarily contribute to pr omote his engagement in the learning community. Kyles responses, however, were often viewed as di sconnected from the flow of the classroom and, at times, gross approximations of an expected response. During these occasions, Mrs. Rings used the brief interactions to fu rther mediate Kyles understanding or to lead him toward her expected responses. There were several inter actions throughout the vignettes where Mrs. Ring app ears to be insensitive. For ex ample, when she interrupted Kyles contribution assuming he was not focu sed, or when she used exaggerations to make a point, and when she perceived his contri butions as deficient, she did not appear to be sensitive to Kyles fee lings. In one instance, though subtle, she excluded Kyle but included Ray during a short interaction. Howeve r, she also demonstrated care in her discourse when she used Honey possibl y to temper her frustration. She also occasionally deflected comments to Kyle by addressing the entire class though this could inadvertently be problematic for Kyle. While it may appear that Kyle acquies ced to Mrs. Rings directive on several occasions to revise, Ray more passively re sisted her directive and, on a few occasions, did not submit his work. The reason for th at lapse is not known though he commonly misplaced or simply did not complete a writing assignment. Both boys used resources in the room at times to support their writing. Evidence of intertextuality (Spivey & King, 1989) was noted in both their written and ve rbal discourse. Traces of responses from classmates were sometimes noted in Rays responses while Kyles responses were
193 original and sometimes fanciful. On one occasion, Kyle preserved and accurately used a phrase in his independent writing that he ha d inaccurately used during guided instruction and that had been dismissed by Mrs. Ring. Kyle and Ray both showed progress in wr iting fluency from th eir baseline writing sample to compositions written at the end of the study a few months later. Both students also showed progress in the fl ow of their stories. Mrs. Ring often reminded students of the flow and smooth transition of ideas in or der to communicate a message to the reader. Mrs. Ring frequently facilitated students learning of specifi c writing techniques, skills, and elements by having students prac tice them in small chunks and in isolation before, and sometimes while, applying them with in the context of a larger writing piece. Modeled and shared writing of even the sm allest writing contexts and many opportunities for interaction with other students provided students with scaffolds to assist their performance. Kyle and Ray were both able to perform these tasks in small chunks and with teacher assistance, but the specific skills and strategies were not evident to the same degree in their i ndependent writing. The following section describes the inter actions and responses in Mrs. Macs classroom. Colleen Colleens scores fell consistently within the low range on all five scales of the Writers Self Perception Scale (general and specific progress, observational comparison, social feedback, and physiol ogical state). She circled SD strongly disagree, on 34 of the 38 items. Though 15 items were related to gene ral and specific progress, she strongly agreed with only two items: I am getting better at writing and The words I use in my
194 writing are better than the ones I used before Though Mrs. Mac, Colleens teacher, was very encouraging to her, the scores from th e instrument indicate that Colleen was not confident in her writing abilities. Accordi ng to Mrs. Mac, Colleen was nervous about going to 5th grade and her ability to do the work, a nd to help her, she had power talks to minimize her fears (Interview, 11-19-04). Colleen was tested during the beginni ng of the school year for Exceptional Student Education but just missed the required score for placement in the program. Colleen was an only child and lived with her mother and her mothe rs boyfriend, both of whom were deaf. Though they communicated with each other through sign language, Colleen most frequently communicated with th em by speaking, and they in turn read her lips. Lip-reading was convenient for Coll een since, she volunteered, she was not competent at signing. She was sensitive to the challenges that her mother faced and often took a leadership role in her family. In th e following transcript, Colleen talks about her mothers educational background. COL stands for Colleen. COL My mom went to, all the time my mo m went to, like, she only stayed there one year and then would go to about eight different schools. Ruth When she was in elementary school? COL Yep, every year shed go to a new school. She hardly had friends since she was deaf, and thats a problem for me to help her and everything. I try to do my best with her, but Im not very good with sign language though I know lots of sign language. (Interview, 12-16-04) Her mother was concerned about Colleens academic performance at school and about the behavior problems she was having at home.
195 Mrs. Mac informs me that she had a c onference with Colleens mom. Since her mother is deaf, an interpreter from the county had to be secured several weeks in advance to interpret for Mrs. Mac. Coll eens mother was concerned that Colleen wasnt going to make it in fourth grade. Mrs. Mac assured her of the progress that she had made so far a nd that she would continue to work with her. She said, Lets just give her time. She has made so much progress. Colleens handwriting is near illegible and to help her, Mrs. Mac has put together a pack of handwriting practice sheets for Colleen to work on at home and another set for school. Her spelling is also poor. Her mo m mentioned fits of anger that Colleen has at home. Mrs. Mac was shocked because she doesnt see that behavior at all in school. Recently, Colleen informed Mrs. Mac that her mom spends a lot of time with her boyfriend and not much time with Colleen. (Field notes, 12-1-04) According to Colleen, she does not get much academic support from home. COL I have to practice on my own. My mom cant model for me because she doesnt understand writing very much. (Interview, 12-16-04) When I interviewed Mrs. Mac to be a possi ble study participant, she shared with me that some of her students who had speech problems were often challenged in their writing. When I began observing in he r class, within a matter of minutes, I knew who she had been referencing. Colleen had noticeable articulation problems; however, she did not qualify for speech. Usually she was aware of syntactical problems and would stop and reword what she was trying to communicate. MM OK, what do you want to say now, Colleen? COL Then we chewed it and blew it up
196 MM Once you chew it, what are you doing? How are you going to get the bubble together? You blow it up as giant as an elephant. [getting her started] I blew, go ahead. COL I blew up as fat as an elephants bub ble. Oh [realizes the sentences is not flowing] MM Think about exactly what you ar e going to say. I blew up a bubble COL I blew up a bubble as high and as fa t as an elephant. (Observation, 11-1904) Colleen frequently used charts and visu als displayed on the classroom walls to support her writing. Early in the study, I noti ced Colleen turning around in her seat to copy words from the posters. I asked her what she was doing when she was looking at the back of the room. She explained that she was using the charts to find another word for said She was quick to add that Mrs. Mac approv ed of this practice (Field notes,12-6-04). I noticed in her writing on that day that she had chosen announced to replace said Though she attempted to replace commonly used words with synonyms displayed in the room, she often did not disti nguish the subtle differences in the words and often used them out-of-context. Ideas that were brainstormed during cla ss occasionally appeared in Colleens writing, and phrases she heard during wr iting instruction were occasionally appropriated into her story. Colleen frequently quoted Mrs. Mac when she responded to a question. Though she was able to imitate Mrs. Macs words, she di d not yet have the sophistication in her writing to appropriate the targeted literary concept or writing skill. Colleen was an active participant duri ng the writing block. She frequently volunteered to read her writing al oud to the class during shari ng times. Her oral reading was very expressive and entertaining to th e class (Field notes, 11-05-04). She offered
197 suggestions during shared writing and actively participated during guided practice. In fact, she was one of the students who volunteered most frequently. Colleen wrote continuously and quickly during independent writing though she would occasionally look up just for a few s econds. Mrs. Mac reminded Colleen of the importance of legible handwriting when she c onferenced with her. During conferencing, Mrs. Mac recorded a brief note on students composition to remind them of the topic of the conference. Occasionally, when Colleen sh ared her writing with the class, she had difficulty deciphering her own text that had been written the previous day. As she read aloud, she would say the word that looked like the word in the text and then continue the phrase. If the phrase was not sensible, she w ould pause and eventually recall the original word, thus indicating that she was producti vely self-monitoring he r reading miscues. Colleen did very little physical prew riting (Appendix M). While Mrs. Rings students use a beginning, mi ddle, end model to organize narratives, Mrs. Mac encouraged students to answer who, what, whe n, where, and why in th eir planning and to respond to these questions at the beginning of their story. Colleen acquiesced to Mrs. Macs directive to plan and usually jotted down extremely sketchy ideas usually one word for each of the Ws. Introducing the Vignettes The following eight selected vignettes desc ribe the interaction between Mrs. Mac and Colleen during writing in struction. Vignette 1 occurs during guided instruction in which Mrs. Mac elaborated on a response by Co lleen for clarification and then expanded on another response in order to affirm and extend her contribution. Vignette 2 occurs during shared writing. Mrs. Mac elaborated on Colleens response that described the day,
198 but Colleen did not offer suggestions when Mrs. Mac asked her to finish the thought. Vignette 3 describes how Mrs. Mac promot ed future particip ation by encouraging Colleen as a contributor even when her re sponse was erroneous. Also, this vignette describes the result of the lack of inte rsubjectivity between Mrs. Mac and Colleen. Vignette 4 describes the freque nt interactions between Mr s. Mac and the class, and specifically Colleen, as the class engaged in composing a shared writing. During these interactions, Mrs. Mac used multiple instructional moves to mediate Colleens developing understanding of composing a na rrative writing. In Vignette 5, Mrs. Mac gave Colleen a directive regarding her gr ammar usage following a response by Colleen but does not explain the grammar rule. In an interaction that followed shortly thereafter, Colleen attempted to assimilate Mrs. Macs di rective in her response. Vignette 6 occurs over two days during sharing time. Mrs. Mac affirmed Colleen as a writer in front of her class by identifying language in her writing that deserved mentioning and Colleens approach to the prompt that differed from her classmates. In Vignette 7, Mrs. Mac provided feedback to Colleens story duri ng sharing time. Though Colleens suggestion for a synonym for another word is marginal in Vignette 8, Mrs. Mac again validated Colleen as a contributor. Vignette 1 The first interaction I observed between Mrs. Mac and Colleen was during guided instruction. The writing block began with a three-minute review of their assigned homework, a worksheet that focused on simile s. The directive on the worksheet was to match the listed similes with their mean ing. Following the review, Mrs. Mac gave students three writing samples to critique Using an overhead projector, Mrs. Mac
199 projected the writing samples onto a screen at the front of the class as the students examined the same document at their desks. Students raised their hands to volunteer to share writing skills or strategies that they not iced in the samples. The brief excerpt below picks up in the middle of the lesson. MM In a story, though, you can write a lot of detail. Dont limit yourself to five paragraphs. I see quotation marks. What does that mean? ALL Dialogue Col [Reads sentence from the sample.] Oh, I hope I dont break a nail An idiom. MM No, shes probably just one of these one of these girly girls. (Transcript, 11-2-04) During this brief interaction, Colleen f ound an example of dialogue used in the sample, Oh, I hope I dont break a nail, and, in addition, identified the quotation as an idiom. This was the first time that idiom was mentioned in the lesson though, according to Mrs. Macs lesson plans, idioms, along with similes, had been introduced almost two months earlier. I later discovered that Mrs. M ac integrated figurative language throughout the language arts curriculum. In this interaction, though Colleen dem onstrated her ability to recognize dialogue, she erroneously labeled the quota tion as an idiom. Mrs. Mac to ld Colleen directly that she had incorrectly labeled the quotation and el aborated on her response by suggesting that the author merely used the quote to describe the character as a girly girl and then gestured how a girly girl might look. The st udents seemed to relate to her gesturing and chuckled in response. Not only did Mrs. Mac expand on a response by Colleen for clarif ication, but she frequently elaborated on students responses in order to affirm and extend their
200 contribution. Later in the same lesson, Mrs. Mac introduced a strategy she called twoword descriptions employed by writers to make meaning more vivid for the reader. In the transcript below, students had be en given a worksheet that directed them to use their senses of smell, sight, a nd hearing to write two-word descriptions of scenes at a park, restaurant, a nd city. Mrs. Mac explained: MM I want everyone to close their eyes and imagine a park you have visited. I want you to think of things that you sm ell at that park. Think of things you see at the park. Then think about thi ngs that you hear while you are at the park. And while you are thinking, see if you can think of a two-word description to describe. I don t mean to separate words. Mig Fresh green grass MM Some people actually hyphenate it. I can imagine that in my head. You can definitely smell it after it rains. I ha ve allergies, so I have to stay away from it Din Delicious popcorn MM Ok, but that is an adjective and a noun. COL Crimson, red flowers MM There are some parks that have beau tiful flowers. If you can go up to it, you can even smell it. Can you think of something else you might smell at the park? COL Smelly trash Tom Smelly, GROSS trash (Transcript, 11-2-04) Colleen suggested crimson, red flowers during her first contribution. Then when Mrs. Mac asked for suggestions for some thing one might smell at the park, Colleen was the first to raise her hand. She offered s melly trash. This description included only one adjective rather than two adjectives to describe the trash, but Mrs. Mac did not
201 respond to Colleen. In the next interaction, Tom added gross to compose smelly, gross trash. I culled Colleens writing that was pr oduced over the study for any occurrence of two-word descriptions that had been the objective of this lesson and then reviewed throughout the study. Only one incident of a two-word description was found: great, exciting wilderness Colleen continued to use common ad jectives such as beautiful, big, little, bad, and nice for the next six weeks. There was no evidence in her writing of descriptive words that had been generated by th e class during brainstorming or reinforced in homework assignments. Vignette 2 The objective throughout the week was to include who, what, when, where, and why within the introductory paragraph. On th e previous day, students had independently composed their own introductory paragraph to the topic, Tell about a time when you found an object at the park. On this day, Mrs. Mac used the same topic and went methodically through the five Ws allowing students to share what they had jotted down beside each W. From the students co ntributions, Mrs. Mac chose which ideas to use in the introductory paragraph that the cl ass would compose together and wrote them in an organizer on the overhead projector. Once the organizer was completed, Mrs. Mac solicited ideas for the beginning sentence. MM Who can get us started? All of you ha ve done the introduction for this one already. Look at your ideas, and see if you can help us. Mig One day at Rosa Park MM Ok, you gave me all the five ws in on e sentence. Lets se e if we can have a catchy beginning?
202 Jor One day on October 10 in Rosa Park MM What kind of day was it? Can we add an adjective? COL Cool, crisp MM I like cool and crisp because in many pl aces in October it is cool and crisp. (Transcript, 11-10-04) After Mrs. Mac wrote, One cool, crisp day in October she asked Colleen to finish the sentence. She gave Colleen appr oximately eight seconds of wait time before she called on another student w ho completed the thought by adding, I was playing with my friend Though eager to add words to descri be the day, Colleen did not offer suggestions when Mrs. Mac asked her to finish the thought. The class had just brainstormed many ideas for the setting and plot and Colleen had just previously written the introductory paragraph. Mrs. Mac dem onstrated her understanding of Colleens difficulty generating an action that compleme nted the setting by deflecting the question to another student who had raised his hand to respond. Below (Table 12) is Colleens introductory paragraph to the topic, Tell about a time when you found an object at the park. Table 12 Colleens Introductory Paragraph When I saw a beautiful ring I was austunish (astonished) I yelped mom I found something She ran as fast as a bo lt of ligntning. We asked everyone in the park everyone said no. When Mrs. Mac had read the paragraph on the previous evening, she wrote three comments on Colleens paper: (1) What did you ask everyone at the park? (2) I like the
203 simile you used. (3) Where did this happen? Mr s. Mac had explained to me earlier during the initial interview that she collected stude nts writings, read over them in the evening and wrote comments on their papers, and then returned the papers the following day. She explained that she did this so that students would have feedback before they begin so they know what are some things they need to stay away from and some things that they need to add. (Citation?) Vignette 3 On the day prior to this vignette, Mr s. Mac had given a mini-lesson on using adverbs in their writing. Then students were given a worksheet on which they were to supply appropriate adverbs to the list of ve rb phrases. Students were given a few minutes to complete the first eight phrases, and then students shared with the class adverbs they used to complete the phrase. For homewo rk, students were assi gned the next eight phrases to complete on their own. Mrs. Mac be gan the writing lesson with a quick review of adverbs MM First of all, yesterday we started thinking about adverbs. Who can remind us what is an adverb? Yes, Colleen? COL Its an adjectiv e, and its a verb MM No, not an adjective. Remember an adjective descri bes a noun. Youre right in that it does describe so mething. (Transcript, 11-17-04) When Colleen responded incorrectly to a close-ended question, Mrs. Mac seldom reduced her response to simply inva lidating Colleens response but promoted future participation by encouraging her as a contributor. In the same lesson, Colleen continued to be an active partic ipant throughout the conversation. Mrs. Mac continued to review with students the purpose for using adverbs in their
204 writing and then instructed them to shar e their best phrase fr om their homework. MM Whats the reason for using a dverbs in your writing pieces? Who remembers what we discussed? Miguel? Mig To make the writing more interesting MM Why else? ? To paint a picture in your mind MM Yes, so we can get a vivid picture in our minds of what is actually going on. Yesterday, we practiced 1-8 togeth er. Then you had the bottom section for homework. Lets take a look at what you ha ve. Lets take a few minutes and share them before we do the next section together. Take a look at which one you like. Which one do you think is your best one? ? Gently hugging the baby ? Constantly biting her nails Jus Nervously taking a test COL Hardly staring at the chocolate cake. MM Very good. Hardly, I like that word. Hardly means barely or scarcely, and acco rding to the way Colleen stressed the word hardly when she offered the phrase, hardly staring at the cake, she probably did not mean barely, but more likely, she meant in tently. Mrs. Mac did not attempt to clarify the meaning or ask Colleen to define hardly. Students did the next five phrases together, listening to each others suggestions. Then they were assigned the last four phrases to complete independently while Mrs. Mac circul ated throughout the classroom. After seven minutes, students volunteered to share their phrases. In the following excerpt, Colleen used the word hardly again. Teaching phrase: digging _______________ in the backyard CHAD Digging quickly in the backyard
205 ? Digging uncontrollably in the backyard ? Digging furiously COL Digging hardly in the backyard MM [She looks a little puzzled.] OK. I can see what youre saying. Not too much digging was being done Since Mrs. Mac did not clar ify the meaning of hardly earlier in the lesson but praised Colleens word choice. Colleen us ed it again. However, during this brief interaction, Mrs. Mac revoiced how she thought Colleen was attempting to describe the manner in which someone was digging. From a childs perspective, chocolate cake is an enticement, so the meaning for hardly in the phrase, hardly staring at the chocolate cake, for Colleen would mean intensely. This meaning, though unconventional, would also apply to digging hardly or digging intensely Rather than confirming her assumption with Colleen that she meant not too much digging was being done, Mrs. Mac transitioned to the next teaching phase. After rehearsing using adverbs to enhan ce the readers interest in a composition for several days, Mrs. Mac wrote the word adverbs on the white board and directed students to add it to their checklist. This was an indication to student s that they were to attempt to incorporate them in their writi ng. While Colleen was not able to articulate an accurate definition of adverb s when she volunteered to define it during guided instruction, she was able to identify a dverbs in writing samples selected by Mrs. Mac as teaching models. Colleen used adverbs to describe action verbs only twice in two independent writing pieces. She used calmly announced in the following sentence, He camly announced you hve to go to a cave and fall in a hole full of water, in the story,
206 Being Invisible for a Da y (11-5-04), and gracefully swam in I gracefly siwn with my litte siter in the story, Saving Someones Life (12-7-04). Vignette 4 The following vignette describes the intera ction between Mrs. Mac and her class during a shared writing. On the previous day, they had composed the beginning of a story about an alien who had landed on Earth and need ed to get back to his home planet. Mrs. Mac encouraged students to suggest ideas but also asked for clarification when suggested ideas were confusing or vague. Before they began, Mrs. Mac reminded students of the importance of developing the plot by includi ng several attempts to solve the problem. She also reminded them to include the strategies they had been practici ng specifically two word descriptions and adverbs. The firs t attempt employed the alien jumping on a trampoline to launch himself into space, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Students cooperatively composed the tran sition to the next attempt. (Mrs. Mac writes on the overhead.) Soon after that we had another idea that I thought might work better. MM OK, what are some ideas? Eth Jet pack that will launch him into space. Jas Get a stretchy piece of string a nd (the rest is difficult to hear). MM What a wonderful idea. Do we ha ve another idea? Lets share them, then we can choose. Ter We can use a jet pack, or we can try to fix his flying saucer COL You can chew some bubble gum and blow and blow and blow until it blows up. (Tom said, Yeah, but the heat would pop it. Mrs. Mac didnt hear him.)
207 MM Thats kind of a creative way to l ook at it. So how would you get him inside the bubble? Miq (Speaks up for Col) No, I would blow up the bubble, and he would hold onto it. MM Oh, I misunderstood. Thats certainly a creative way to look at it. I kind of like that. Chad Hot wire his flying saucer MM So youre saying work with what he has. Nat Use a balloon MM So you kind of have the same idea as Colleen, but instead of using bubble gum, youd use a balloon. Tom They can sneak onto a rocket ship that is about ready to blast-off. MM But youd have to go to NASA or something to that effect. I kind of like the idea of the ball oon and the bubble. Colleen, since you came up with that, you tell me what to write next. Go ahead and tell me. COL I announced, Why dont we try to get some bubble gum that Ive been working on and blow you up to the sky? MM OK, lets see how we can incorporate who else has an idea that might work better? How about lets [begins writing without waiting for response] Since I love to chew gum (Mrs. Mac stops writing and turns to the class.) Lets say he has gum because he like s to chew (then she begins writing again) and always has plenty of it at home, I carefully and expediently unwrapped the (Mrs. Mac stops to solicit de tails about the gum from students). MM How much gum should we say? Jas 10 gumballs Kad 3 pounds MM Now remember, it needs to be an am ount that will fit into your mouth. I think I heard some say, 10.
208 Mrs. Mac resumed writing: ten gumballs and chewed them Christian blurts out, Like theres no tomorrow, and Mrs. Mac included the addition to the sentence to read Since I love to chew gum and always have plenty of it at home, I carefully and expediently unwrapped the ten gumballs and chewed them like there was no tomorrow (Transcript, 11-19-04) In this interaction, the class was brainstorm ing ways to get the alien back to his home planet. Though many students excitedly volunteered sugges tions to help solve the problem, Mrs. Mac made the decision to us e Colleens idea blow a large bubble that would cause the alien to float to his planet. Mrs. Mac gave Colleen ownership for this part of the story and solicited from her the text to describe this ev ent, Colleen, since you came up with that, you tell me what to write ne xt. Go ahead and tell me. Colleen thought for two seconds before she responded, Why do nt we try to get some bubble gum that Ive been working on and blow you up to the sky? Colleen solved the problem in one sentence rather than unfold the attempt in a similar fashion that Mrs. Mac had facilitated during shared and modeled writing. Realizi ng that the syntax of the sentence and immature language did not adequately co mmunicate what Colleen was thinking, Mrs. Mac solicited help from the cl ass, but as if an afterthought, she composed the sentence herself. MM OK, what do you want to say now, Colleen? COL Then we chewed it and blew it up. MM Once you chew it, what are you doing? How are you going to get the bubble together? COL You blow it all as giant as an elephant.
209 MM (Revoicing) I blew. Go ahead. COL I blew up as fat as an elephants bubble. Oh. (Recognizes the dissonance.) MM Think about exactly what you ar e going to say. I blew up a bubble COL I blew up a bubble as high and as fat as an elephant. MM As fat as (Writes on overhead) COL As fat as an elephant. (Colleen repeats the sentence assuming Mrs. Mac is going to use it) MM (Does not look up from overhead) Do you want it to be fat or big? Class Big I blew a bubble as large MM Instead of using big, lets us e large. As large as what? ? Sumo wrestler ? House ? TRex COL Worlds biggest animal ? Hot air balloon ? Blue whale MM OK, one more CHAD I dont know that you need to blow a bubble that bi g because hes not that big. MM Youre right, hes not very big. But you want it to be big so that it will float up. OK, what do you think? (Stude nts voice at once what they like, but Mrs. Mac decides on elephant.) Just before this interaction, Mr s. Mac began describing the method to return the
210 alien to his planet. However, when she aske d Colleen to continue developing the event, Colleen repeated but reduced what Mrs. Mac had just written to We chewed it up. In an attempt to get her to add more detail, Mrs. Mac probed her, Once you chew it, what are you doing? How are you going to get the bubble together? Realizi ng the first question may be vague and possibly not beneficial, she immediately rephrased it to a more concrete question. Though Colleens response, Y ou blow it all as giant as an elephant, does not sufficiently answer Mrs. Macs ques tion, her description of the size of the bubble does move the story forward. Mrs. M ac revoices You blow to I blew and indicated that she wanted Colleen to rephras e her sentence so that it was in the same perspective as the rest of the story. Though sh e followed Mrs. Macs lead to rephrase the sentence to begin with the first person perspe ctive, the words were grossly out of order, I blew up as fat as an elephants bubble. Recognizing the dissonance of the sentence, she sighed, Oh. Mrs. Mac offered a strategy to help her articulate her thoughts and then helped her untangle the sentence by giving her th e first four words of the sentence. This seemed to be enough support to help Colleen rephrase the words in a more meaningful syntax, I blew up a bubble as high and as fat as an elephant. Mrs. Mac began to write the sentence but omitted high and introduced big as an alternative to fat Without looking up from the overhead, she asked the class, Do you want it to be fat or big? Many of the students replied, big possibly because they assumed that is what she wanted since she offered the alternative. Though sh e initiated big as an alternative to fat as she began to write, she independently decide d to use large and, without an explanation, told the students, Instead of using big, lets use la rge. While Colleen initially suggested an elephant to illustrate the size of the bubble, Mrs. Mac prompted the class for more
211 possibilities. All suggestions were definite except for Colleens new suggestion, Worlds biggest animal, that was offered after a student suggested a T-Rex. To conclude the sentence, she asked students, What do you think? Many suggested their own ideas. Mrs. Mac again made the decision to use Co lleens initial sugges tion an elephant. The class continued to write the story by offering ideas that would cause the bubble to pop once it began floating. Colleen did not offer any ideas for this part of the story. The story read: Then Zubu attached his tiny thin hands on each side of the bubble. He began drifting into the air. It l ooked like he might make it all the way up, but, to my horror, a hawk was passing by and his sharp talons got caught with the bubble Mrs. Mac continued to solicit ideas from the class. MM What happens? COL The bubble got all over the alien and the bird MM But what happens to the bubble first? COL The bubble pops. MM There you go. COL And he got all sticky an d the bird did too and they fell into a tree and got stuck. (Mrs. Mac begins writing on the overhead) and the bubble popped COL (Repeats previous statement) And he got all sticky and the bird did too and they fell into a tree and got stuck. MM And the bubble popped (rereads). May we say into a million pieces? COL Yes MM And I had a thought, and they all ca me tumbling down. What does that remind you of?
212 Class Jack and Jill MM Yes, something that we learned in ki ndergarten or first grade. How can we end it? ? Once again he painfully landed MM Youre saying landed again? I think Colleen said he landed on a tree. Jas Zulu and the hawk both tumbled down into my neighbors pool. ? They both got caught in a tree limb. MM Anything else? [Waits for five seconds] OK. [Begins writing] Once again, this attempt was not a su ccess. They both came tumbling down and were both stuck MM I like your idea, Colleen, about getti ng stuck in a tree. How can we say that about the tree? Who can finish the last sentence? COL To my shock, the hawk and Zulu were stuck to the tree. MM We started a sentence, so we have to finish it. Now weve already showed feeling, to my horror, so we dont need to show feeling again. Go ahead, Colleen. COL They both got stuck in the tree and then I told my mom (Mrs. Mac interrupts) MM Wait, wait. We are going to end it here Mrs. Mac rereads paragraph and were both stuck COL In the tree and the hawk was yelling and screaming MM (Interrupts her again.) We can have th at in the next paragraph. We want to end this paragraph. What happens? (Mrs. Mac finished writing th e paragraph on the overhead) They both came tumbling down and were both stuck in an oak tree. MM And I included oak because I wanted to show what kind of tree it was. When Mrs. Mac asked Colleen to res pond to what happened when the hawks
213 talons got caught in the bubble rather than focusing on the immediate and obvious result, Colleen skipped over it and began to describe the alien and the bird getting engulfed in the popped bubble. Mrs. Mac interrupted her with a direct question, B ut what happens to the bubble first? in order for her to focus on th e result of the talons getting caught in the bubble. Colleen then backtracked and stated that the bubble popped. Mrs. Mac affirmed her with, There you go. While Mrs. Mac wa s writing, Colleen twice suggested, And he got all sticky and the bird did too and they fell into a tree and got stuck, assuming Mrs. Mac wanted to include this. Then Mrs. Mac probed the class for ideas to end the paragraph. Several students offered suggestions but once again, Mrs. Mac used Colleens idea that the alien and hawk fell and got stuc k in a tree. Colleen suggested, To my shock the hawk and Zulu were stuck to the tree. Rather than adding to the sentence, They both came tumbling down and were both stuck, Colleen had begun a new one. Previously during this shared writing, a student had s uggested to my shock, a phrase that was offered as an alternative to to my horror. Colleen possibly borrowed this phrase from her classmate. However, Mrs. Mac instructed that since they had demonstrated emotions earlier with the phrase, To my horror, th ey do not need to include feelings again. Colleen offered another sentence but jumped to another entirely new and unrelated event, I told my mom. Again, Mrs. Mac curbed Colleens suggestion a nd reminded her that they were ending the paragraph and then reread the paragraph to review the flow of the story. Colleen offered another suggestion, I n the tree and the hawk was yelling and screaming, but it did not conclude the para graph either. Once again, Mrs. Mac curbed her response and told her that could be used in the next paragra ph. Mrs. Mac asked the class, What happens? but again empowered herself to finish the sentence.
214 It looked like he might ma ke it all the way up, but all of a sudden a hawk was passing by and his sharp talons were caught with the bubble popped into a million pieces. Once again this attemp t was not a success. They both came tumbling down and were both stuck in an oak tree. Students were to independently write th e third attempt that would successfully return the alien to his planet. Below is Coll eens description (Table 13). I have left the original spelling intact, but misspelled word s are followed in parenthesis with words I think she was attempting to spell. Table 13 Third Attempt to Return th e Alien to His Planet Als (Also) the thid (third) atped (attempt) was to wire the ship, But frist (first) ge (get) tiny Zubu out of the tree. I pored (poured) hot wathe (water) on the gum and it worked. I annoced (announced) OK lets get the sihp (ship). (Document, 11-19-04) Colleen transitioned the third attemp t by directly stat ing the transition, Als the thid atped... (Also the third attempt) Colleen introduced the thir d attempt to get Zubu, the alien, back to his home planet by hotwi ring his space ship. Earlier in the lesson during brainstorming, Chad had suggested ho twiring the space ship as a possible suggestion for getting Zubu home. Colleen de monstrated sequencing of events by using but first to indicate Zubu had to get out of the tree before he wired the ship. Colleen employed her own suggestion to use hot wate r to melt the gum but neglected to add details about where she got the hot water or how she got the hot water in the tree. Similar to the omission of details in the shared wr iting in which Mrs. M ac coached her through those parts, she also omitted major details in this paragraph. Dialogue and monologue had been intr oduced two weeks earlier and were expected to be included somewhere within th e narrative. In the paragraph that she wrote
215 independently, she ended the paragraph with dialogue, I annoced OK lets get the ship. Vignette 5 Mrs. Mac reviewed with th e class the purpose of using idioms and the importance of starting a story with an interesting begi nning. The interaction be tween Mrs. Mac and Colleen extended over th ree talk turns. MM I do want to remind you to always ha ve a catchy beginning. That is very important. Why is that so important? Col It makes your writing more intere sting (has trouble trying to pronounce interesting) Makes the reader want to read it over and over like a big sandwich they want more and more. MM Very good. You remember what I said a few weeks ago and you are a very good listener. Like that sandwich you are HOOKED. You want to read more and more and more. What are some things that are important to add to your writing pieces? COL Who, what, when, where, and why and a catchy beginning. MM Ok, what do we mean by catchy beginning? COL It means that it is intere sting, and it is more better. MM Dont use more better together, OK? Now, boys and girls, remember we ta lked about the sandwich? We want a catchy beginning, so we can catch the readers attention. OK? (Transcript, 11-30-04) Colleen repeated the analogy that I ha d observed Mrs. Mac using earlier to compare an interesting beginning to a bi g sandwich. Mrs. Mac praised Colleen for remembering the analogy and then further explained the comparison. Then Mrs. Mac asked the class an open-ended question about the important things to include in their writing pieces. Mrs. Mac called on Colleen again. Possible reasons for this may be because Mrs. Mac was standing beside Colleens desk, and Colleen overtly demonstrated
216 her eagerness to respond by raising her hand high and waving it to draw attention to herself. Again Mrs. Mac called on Coll een to review what is meant by a catchy beginning Colleen responded that the purpose was to make the beginning more better. Without explaining to Colleen why more bette r was incorrect, she simply made an imperative statement not to use them toge ther. Mrs. Mac continued the review of elements to include in their wr iting to make it interesting. MM We started talking about what you n eed to include to make your writing pieces more interesting? What else? Ste Capitalization and punctuation marks MM Why is that important? Sum You wont know where a sentence starts, and youll have a run-on sentence. MM Right. It will be hard for the read er to understand what you wrote. What else? COL You want adjectives to make the story more gooder. MM And when we include more adjectives or two-word descriptions what does that do in the readers mind? Kad A mental picture MM What else do you need to include? (Transcript, 11-30-04) Colleen again volunteered to identify elements that make a story interesting. She explained that, You want adje ctives to make the story more gooder. Then Mrs. Mac used Colleens response to review the purpose of adjectives. Though a few minutes earlier Mrs. Mac directed Colleen not to us e more better together, she did not address more gooder during this later interaction. It would appear that Colleen was following Mrs. Macs directive, but because Mrs. Mac did not explain why more better was
217 incorrect, Colleen assimilated the info rmation incorrectly thus making the accommodation incorrect. The objective of the beginni ng of this lesson was to review the importance of introducing the story with a catchy beginning an d to use figurative language to make the story more interesting for the reader. A cont ent analysis of the be ginnings to Colleens stories does not indicate that she used any of the techniqu es Mrs. Mac introduced weeks earlier and reviewed throughout writing instruction. However, Colleen marked on the checklist for each story that she had include d a catchy beginning. Table 1 displays the beginning to seven writing pieces by Co lleen. The writings on November 6th and 7th were written before Mrs. Mac had a formal le sson on using catchy beginnings. Even after formal instruction and continued review, Co lleens compositions began in the same way, I was followed by the setting of the story. From what I observed, Mrs. Mac never mentioned to Colleen that she did not use any of the techniques taugh t earlier or reviewed throughout the remainder of the study. Even when Colleen read her stories during sharing times and stated that she had used a catchy beginning, Mrs. Mac did not question her.
218 Table 14 Story Beginnings Colleen Date Composition Beginning 11-6 Introductory paragraph to narrative When You Found an Object When I saw a butful ring I was austanis (astonished). 11-7 Introductory paragraph to narrative A Time When You Were Lost When I was going to the store with my loved Mom. 11-8 (REVISED) Introductory paragraph to narrative A Time When You Were Lost I was lost in the store. 11-5 Entire narrative Being Invisible for a Day If I was invisble for a day it would be great. 11-29 Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico My grestest adventure wa when I was swmming in the Gulf of Mexico 12-03 Entire narrative Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen I was coming from scool when I could not bleve myself. 12-6 12-08 Entire narrative Saving Someones Life I was at the buiful beach. Vignette 6 The following vignette is the interaction be tween Mrs. Mac, Colleen, and some of her classmates during Sharing, an activity similar to Authors Chair (Calkins, 1994). During Sharing, students read their writing pi eces from the front of the class. The situation did not include a physical chair bu t a positioning of oneself as the focus of attention of the peers and of the teacher. Ju st as students analyzed writing models for specific writing elements, students were encourag ed to also look for those things in each others writing. Students were us ually rewarded with specific praise from their audience who typically used the checklist as a guide to listen for elements of writing but did not limit their praise to the checklist. Someti mes Mrs. Mac asked students to state the
219 techniques they used, and sometimes the audi ence was asked to state what they heard. During Sharing, Mrs. Mac usually leaned agai nst her desk which was several feet away and slightly back from the one sharing, cro ssed her ankles, and til ted her head down and to the side as if in concentration. Because of Mrs. Macs physical position, she could not make eye contact with the presenter, but pe rhaps she tilted her h ead down in order to avoid eye contact with students in the audi ence. Occasionally, she would nod her head in agreement to something in a composition. Before students began, Mrs. Mac often reminded them of her expectations when a ddressing an audience such as not to cover their faces with their papers while re ading and to read clearly and loudly. Students had been assigned to write about a time when they were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and something rubbed ag ainst their leg. To prepare students for the state-mandated writing assessment that studen ts would encounter shortly after returning from winter break, students were given 15 mi nutes each day over the course of three days to compose their stories. Frequently, student s shared in front of the class the latest addition to their compositions during the 20 mi nutes after P.E. and just before lunch. On other occasions, students shared their writing at the beginning of the writing block. When they shared depended on whether students had homework to check, the length of the lesson, the amount of time spent practicing th e writing skill or strategy together, the amount of time for independent practice, a nd how many students were poised to share. After Colleen read her story, Mrs. Mac as ked the audience to state the techniques they heard. Jul She had lots of adjectives. MM And may I add something to that? As I was listening, I noticed some very interesting verbs as well. Yes?
220 Pet Some humor Ter She used dialogue. MM What else? This is another reason I like to share. Did you notice that everyones story is different? She took a totally different approach as far as not just being out there in th e gulf, but she ha s actually captured something. So shes taking a differe nt turn. At the end you are sounding like an expository do not repeat th e attempts or use in summary. I look forward to hearing the rest tomorrow. Looking at her checklist, Colleen stated th at she had checked off indent, catchy beginning, two-word description or adjectives, dialogue, senses and capital letters and punctuation marks. By checking off these items, she was indicating that she had included them in her writing. Mrs. Mac reiterated her purpose for students sharing their writing with the class so that students would realize that even though they all received the same prompt, everyone approached it differently. On the preceding day, she had expressed similar reasons for sharing. MM I wanted you to see how everyone has different ideas, and you can complete a story in totally different ways that actually work. And what I like is listening to techniques that I taught you to use wonderful verbs, two-word descriptions, and many of you continue to use figurative language. And I really appreciate th at. Well, thank you for sharing. (Transcript, 11-29-04) When I examined the text, she had erased the part that Mrs. Mac described as sounding like expository, a writ ing genre that students had practiced for several weeks before instruction in narrative writing, and had included the writing elements or techniques that she had marked on the checkli st. Table 15 displays Colleens beginning to Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico
221 Table 15 Beginning to Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico My grestest adventure wa when I was swmming in the Gulf of Mexico. I felt a simything AI smed help! I swim to the beach then I stad close to the beach. Now I was having fun., My mom came and said did you have fun? I said yes I did. Frist thing I did was eat just a little. I wated and weant back in the butful ocen. Before I went for a swim I took a buket to s ee what was dowe in the ocen., When I found it, I took the bucket a scoopit up but it jumped away I said rats! The following day, Colleen finished he r story and volunteered to read the remainder in front of the class (Table 16) Before Colleen began, Mrs. Mac reminded Colleen, Nice and loud, and dont cover your face. (Transcript, 12-02-04). Colleen stood up straight and read with expression. Mrs. Mac had shared with me earlier that she enjoyed listening to Colleen read her story because she was so expressive.
222 Table 16 Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico (Entire Story) My grestest adventure wa when I was swmming in the Gulf of Mexico. I felt a simything AI smed help! I swim to the beach then I stad close to the beach. Now I was having fun., My mom ca me and said did you have fun? I said yes I did. Frist thing I did was eat just a little. I wated and weant back in the butful ocen. Before I went for a swim I took a buket to see what was dowe in the ocen., When I found it, I took the bucket a scoop it up but it jumped away I said rats! After that I tried a fishing hook. I asked my mom if I could have $10.00. She yeled OK. The sign said fishing hooks $2.00 So I boat it. I kewn it was out thar and I would get it So I took the bait when I pulled it out the rop was took of. I gluped This is not an ??? [said real when she read to the class] fish. I saw a fish caller I tred it worked. I got it by the tail it was a fish alain. I took it home and now it was my pet. He was cute I fed him fish food he liked it. I clad him snky becau se he got away all the time. When she finished, Mrs. Mac gave her the following feedback. MM Now one thing I like is the humor th at you included, and I noticed that some of you laughed at some of th e things she included. I do like the humor and figurative language. What else did you guys hear? Kan Simile Sar Dialogue and monologue Chris Used some of her senses
223 MM I like many of your ideas, especially how you talked about bait. The only thing is add a little bit more about spending time in th e Gulf. I like how you described where you were. I think ove rall you did a good job using all those skills. (Transcript, 11-29-04) In this interaction, Mrs. Mac gave Colleen public feedback to her story which was an expected practice. She commented on th e humor sprinkled throughout the story. This comment supports students chuckling at differe nt points in the stor y as Colleen read aloud. After students offered what they noticed in her writing, Mrs. Mac stated that she liked many of her ideas, especially when the fish bit off the bait. Then she recommended that Colleen elaborate on her time in the Gulf; however, she did not mention to her to address the part of the prompt when some thing was supposed to rub against her leg. I can only speculate why Mrs. Mac did not address this omission. First, the story was written over three days, and when Colleen shared her story, she only read what she had written that day; therefore, rememberi ng what Colleen had shared from the previous reading, along with the other st udents, could be a challenge for Mrs. Mac. However, she used this method so that more students could read their stories during the time allotted for sharing (Transcript, 11-30-04) Another speculation is that she may have deliberately overlooked it and chose to focus on other as pects of her writing. And finally, she may have addressed this omission with Colleen at another time since Mrs. Mac conferenced with students at times out side of the writing block. Mrs. Mac concluded her fee dback with a general statem ent, I think, overall, you did a good job using all those skills (on the ch ecklist). Even with Colleen reading her story aloud and using expression and gestures, some of the story was difficult to follow since the story jumped from one event to another without sufficiently describing each chain of events.
224 Vignette 7 Students were given the following prompt: Write a story about saving someones life Over the next three da ys, students were given 15 minutes each day to compose the story. Although the writing would be split up, the purpose was to somewhat simulate the state-mandated timed writing that had a 45-minute time limit. Before students began writing, Mrs. Mac re minded students to use their checklist of writing skills and strategies. To further emphasize the importance of including elements from the list in thei r composition, she read over it with the students and solicited brief explanations for each element. Thes e elements were (a) indent, (b) catchy beginning, (c) use two-word descriptions or adjectives, (d) use di alogue or monologue, (e) use simile, metaphor, or idiom, (f) use who, what, when where, why, (g) use my senses, and (h) use capital lette rs and punctuation marks. Sh e also reminded students to plan but not to spend more than five minut es on the planning since the majority of the time should be reserved for writing. Students we re given 15 minutes to plan and to begin writing their story. They would have 30 minutes over the next two days to complete the story. Colleen composed the following beginning to the story, Saving Someones Life on the first day (Table 17). Th e original writing has been re tained to illustrate how Colleens poor spelling, omission of words, and placement of punctuation somewhat interfere with the readability of the te xt. (See Appendix N for the entire story.)
225 Table 17 Beginning to Saving Someones Life I was at the butiful beach as I playing in the wather. Peaple where yeping Who but I saw a litte gril downing. I raced over thar it was my siter Colleen a sea mosther was in the wath er and I was scared my sitner would drown agin. Students went to their physical educati on class, and when they returned 45 minutes later, they were given the opportunity to share the beginning of their stories with their classmates during Sharing. MM It is important that when you are ad dressing an audience, that you keep your paper down so that we can see your face. You also need to have contact with your audience (Transcripts, 12-6-04). Many of the students indicated by raised hands and making noises that they were eager to share their stories. After tw o students had shared and received feedback, Colleen read the beginning of her composition. She was very expressive and stressed the words beautiful and raced The oral rendition of her story was easier to follow than the written manuscript. The oral reading of her manuscript was close to standard English, and she used phrasing and expression throughout th e reading. In the original manuscript, punctuation was lacking, words were misspel led and, in a few places, omitted making the plot difficult to follow. MM: First of all, I like that you are introducing a proble m that is arising. Dont say drowning again because you didnt talk about that. You also said that people were making a sound you may want to include why they
226 were making that sound. I like that because you are showing feeling. In Mrs. Macs feedback to the beginni ng of Colleens story, she noticed that Colleen introduced the problem at the be ginning of the narrative, included a noise, (people asking, Who?), and showed the charact ers feeling of fear. Mrs. Mac offered two suggestions for Colleen that could impr ove her story. The first suggestion was an imperative statement. Dont say drowning agai n. She told Colleen exactly what to edit and why. Though Colleen used dialogue, Who? in her writing, she did not lead up to it or explain it, thus leaving the reader conf used. Mrs. Mac suggested that she further explain why the people were yelping, Who? Nine students, including Colleen, read th eir stories and received feedback from Mrs. Mac during one block of time. Using th e language Mrs. Mac used to describe the purpose of reading aloud to an audien ce, I categorized the feedback as Positive or Areas of Improvement Two students, Julie and Terrance, r ead their stories before Colleen, and six students followed after Colleen Sarah, Kad, Miguel, Erica, David, and Jasmine. Every student, except for Julie, the firs t person to share, received positive feedback from Mrs. Mac and since the fee dback was specific, I categorized all the positive feedback as explicit. For this particular sharing ev ent, no comments were vague; therefore, no comments were categorized as indirect Four of the nine students were given suggestions for areas of improvement. The suggestions were either indirect or explicit since none of the four students receiv ed both kinds of feedback. Colleen received explicit feedback and was the only student to receive two suggestions for improvement.
227 Colleen and Sarah were both praised for stating their pr oblem in the beginning of their stories though the other students stated th e problem at the start also. Colleen also received praise for showing the characters f eeling of fear. Colleen showed that she was fearful that the sea monster would drown her sist er. I have edited the or iginal text to read similarly to Colleens verbal performance of her story. I raced over there. It was my sister, Co lleen. A sea monster was in the water, and I was scared my sister would drown again. Throughout the study, Mrs. Mac (and later students as they began to understand the concept) highlighted and emphasized instances where the author conveyed a characters feelings or emotions. Teaching stra tegies to show a characters emotions or feelings was the objective of several lessons One strategy was to use specific verbs and adverbs to describe dialogue or adjectives a character may use to describe himself in a monologue (Transcripts, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4). Even during shared writing, Mrs. Mac reminded students to show a characters fee lings and solicited ideas for dialogue from them (Transcript, 11-19-04). Julie and Colleen were the only two st udents who received suggestions for improvement that were categorized as explicit. Julie was the first to share, and Mrs. Mac reminded her to address the prompt somewh ere within the beginning paragraph. Mrs. Mac offered two suggestions for Colleen that could improve her story. (See Table 18)
228 Table 18 Mrs. Macs Feedback to Students During Sharing Positive Areas to Improve Indirect Explicit Indirect Explicit Julie Always make sure you address the prompt sometime within the beginning paragraph Terrance I think what you did here was leave us in suspense. There is a lot more to come. You are going to tell us how you dealt with the situation. Colleen Introduced problem right away. Showed feelings [scared] Dont say drowning again because you havent talked about that. Why making noise? Sarah So you are telling us right away whom you have to save. What are the first two words? Do you remember? Kad You know what I like is that youre using figurative language already. Miguel You are using feeling already. Petrified that is one of the words that we learned when we were working in cooperative groups. You also said ? and I like that. You made me start imagining that in my head right away. Erica I like how you are leaving the last sentence with suspense. Did you use the word gulped? That is a good word to use to show me why she may have been choking. David You started with the word help that is a great beginning. It tells us write away. Instinctively where did we get that word? Vocabulary. Yes, I am so glad that you are using vocabulary words in your writing Jasmine I like that last sentence Hanging on for dear life. I heard lots of description boiling pit of blinding orange lava Vignette 8 In order to extend students vocabul ary, Mrs. Mac would pose a word, and students would then brainstorm synonyms for the target word. Love was the target word
229 in the following transcript. Ter Hold dear MM Ive used many of these (synonyms) in the classroom with you. We even did an activity with this one. Mat Over there [pointing to a cl ass generated chart of synonyms] Sus Venerate and idolize (words from the chart) Jas Adore MM Anything else? Col Amaze MM Amaze means you are in awe of someth ing. It doesnt necessarily mean you love it, but nice try. Mig Admire MM Admire you may like it, but you dont necessarily have to love it, anything else? (Transcr ipt, 12-15-04) In the above excerpt, students offered synonyms for love. After a momentary lull in the brainstorming, Mrs. Mac reminded st udents that they had created a chart of synonyms for love. With that prompt, Matt dire cted his classmates attention to the chart posted on a cupboard along the side of the r oom. Placed with that chart, across the cupboards, were other class-generated char ts of synonyms for commonly used words. Susan and Jasmine offered words from the lis t that had not been suggested. Once again, the brainstorming ceased. Mrs. Mac asked if there was anything else to determine whether to move on to another target wor d. Colleen responded with amaze. Mrs. Mac loosely defined the meaning of amaze as w hen you are in awe of something. In an attempt to further explain why amaze could not be a synonym for love, she suggested that
230 something may amaze an individual without the i ndividual actually loving it. Then as if to affirm her as a contributor, she ended the talk turn with nice try. The next student, Miguel, offered admire as a synonym for l ove. Similar to her attempt to clarify the difference between amaze and love, Mrs. Mac attempted to distinguish the difference between admire and love. However, she did not attempt to overtly affirm Miguel as a contributor. Summary of the Interactions Between Mrs. Mac and Colleen and her Responses to the Interactions The interactions presented in Vignette 1 de scribe Mrs. Mac elaborating in order to clarify a response by Colleen a nd then later to extend her co ntribution. These interactions served to affirm Colleen as a contributor to the activity and to mediate her understanding of idioms and, later, to affirm her cont ribution. The objective of the interactions encompassed within the writing lesson was for students to compose in teresting writing by using two-word descriptions; however, Colleen only used this technique in one of her compositions for the entire study. In Vignette 2, Colleen was eager to offer ad jectives to describe the type of day but was unresponsive when Mrs. Mac asked her to finish the sentence. After giving her eight seconds of wait time, Mrs. Mac deflected the response to another student. In this interaction, Mrs. Mac gave Colleen the opportuni ty to contribute further, but when she was unresponsive, Mrs. Mac demonstrated her understanding of Colleens difficulty, which generated an action that complemented the setting and redire cted the question to another student.
231 In Vignette 3, though Colleens response was erroneous, Mrs. Mac revoiced the part of Colleens response that was correct, thereby affirming her as a contributor. In another interaction, she praise d Colleen after she offered an unconventional meaning for hardly Since Mrs. Mac did not cl arify the meaning of hardly earlier in the lesson but praised Colleens word choice, Colleen used it again later in a nother phrase sentence. While Mrs. Mac overtly pondered Colleens word choice, she responded by validating her response rather than expl aining why the word was not the best choice for the context. OK. I can see what youre saying. No t too much digging was being done. Vignette 4 describes the interactions between Colleen and Mrs. Mac during a shared writing with the class about an a lien who wants to return home. Mrs. Mac positioned herself as the authority by independent ly selecting Colleens idea rather than seeking agreement from the class. In addition, she gave Co lleen ownership for that part of the story by asking her for the actual word s to write. Similar to Colleens written compositions, Colleen solved the problem in one sentence rather than developing the events in the plot. Realizing Colleens res ponse did not clearly articulate what she was attempting to communicate, Mrs. Mac turned to the class and herself to rephrase Colleens sentence. But then, without waiti ng for input from the class, she began composing and concurrently explaining her co mposing process. Within this discourse, she also offered Colleen a strategy to help her articul ate her thoughts. On a few occasions, although Mrs. Mac had given Coll een ownership of the story, she guided students toward more precise language fat to big to large. On a few occasions when Colleen overlooked details that we re important to the flow of the event, Mrs. Mac probed her for detailed information and affirmed her response. Twice toward the end of the
232 shared writing, Mrs. Mac curbed Colleens idea s since they did not fl ow with the current ideas. One idea was related to the event, but instead of bringing closure, it would have extended it. Then another idea was unrelated to the event, and Mrs. Mac suggested that it could be a consideration for another paragr aph. Little by little and by using multiple instructional techniques, Mrs. Mac facilitated Colleen and th e class in crafting a kernel sentence offered by Colleen in to a meaningful paragraph. Vignette 5 began with three talk turns between Mrs. Mac and Colleen in which Mrs. Mac praised her, asked her further questio ns, and then made an imperative statement to her, Dont use more better together, OK? However, because Mrs. Mac did not explain why the grammar was incorrect, Colleen attempted to assimilate the information in a later response, more good. Though the gr ammar was still incorrect, Mrs. Mac did not address it but used Colleens respons e as an uptake to the next question. In Vignette 6, Colleen shared the beginning to Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico Her classmates offered the skills and strategies that they noticed in her writing. Then Mrs. Mac reiterated her purpose for students shar ing their writing and highlighted Colleens different approach to the prom pt. A few days later in Vignett e 7, Mrs. Mac gave feedback to nine students after they shared what they had completed in the 15 minutes reserved for independent writing. Most students had only co mpleted the beginnings to their stories. Though all those who shared received praise, Colleen was one of the four students who received suggestions to improve their writi ng, and while some suggestions were indirect, the two suggestions to Colleen were direct.
233 In Vignette 8, Colleen suggested that amaze is a synonym for love. Though Mrs. Mac disagreed, in an effort to affirm Colleen as a contributor, she ende d the talk turn with nice try. Colleen demonstrated the basic story structure of narrative writing; however, she had some difficulty at first transitioning fr om an expository structure to a narrative structure. She even ended the last story before I ended the study with a summary, In summary this is what happened to me Colleen had lots of creative ideas in her writing which possibly influenced the attenti on her classmates gave her when she read aloud during Sharing. In her writing, she fr equently jumped from one idea to another without developing the idea, thus making her st ories difficult to follow. Her handwriting and poor spelling also contributed to the ch allenge. However, her oral rendition was different. She was able to more effectively connect the events in the story through her body language, expression, and pauses. While she had declarative knowledge factual knowledge, Colleens procedural knowledge knowledge applied to a task (Anderson, 1983) was still emerging. Colleen was able to id entify specific skills and strategies in writing samples and in her classmates wr iting during Sharing. Though the class had generated a list of more descriptive words to use in their writing, Colleen tended to use common adjectives such as beautiful, big, little, bad, and nice. When she did use the words from the list, she often did not distingu ish the subtle differences in the words and often used them out-of-context. For example, I would idolize to see the wilderness She could explain why a catchy beginning was important, but even after instruction and continued review, her beginnings tended to begin with the same pattern, I was , followed by the setting of the story.
234 Dialogue appeared more frequently in a ll four completed stor ies than any other skill and was generally used to move the story forward. While figurative language had been introduced prior to th e beginning of the study a nd reviewed through guided instruction, Colleen used only similes in her writing and only one simile in each composition. For example, she used I was as happy as a dog getting a chew toy in Being Invisible for a Day According to her responses during guided instruction, she did not have adequate background knowledge of id ioms which possibly contributed to the lack of placing them in her writing. Since she struggled to comprehend the meaning, she did not use them in her writing. Phrases that us ed the senses or emotions for description were embedded within every narrative. For example, in Colleens narrative about getting lost in a grocery story, she used both emotions and the sense of hearing in the following sentence: Sece she cant hear so I could not call her (Document, 11-8-04) Comparing the word count across the storie s she had written in early November to mid-December gives some indication that her stories were getting longer. The composition, Being Invisible for a Day, written in early November, had a word count of 254 words (Appendix O). The next composition, Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen, written almost a month later, ha d 359 words. (See Appendix P). Though the plots were very different, this was Colleen s third composition a bout an alien, and the familiarity may have contributed to the la rge increase in words. Mrs. Mac brought the frequency of having an alien ch aracter to Colleens attention and suggested that she write about something different in the future. The composition, Saving Someones Life written a week later had 265 words. (See Appendix N). The writing samples assessed by the two graduate students and me using the 6-Trai ts Writing model had mean scores for the
235 beginning of November, beginning of December, and a week later of 2.4, 2.4, and 2.2, respectively. Most of the scor es for separate traits dec lined over the six weeks. She received her highest score for voice, 3.3, in her middle composition, Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen which also had the largest wo rd count. The lowest scores were for sentence fluency and conventions. Even though her handwriting was difficult to read and possibly influenced the score, she also scored low in these areas on the last composition, which I had typewritten. The scores by individual raters for each trait were usually within one point of each other; however, in the composition Being Invisible for a Day the traits organization and word choice e ach received a 2, 3, and 4 by the three raters and a 2, 3, and 4 for organization and a 1, 2, and 3 for sentence fluency in Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen. When I returned to Mrs. Macs cl assroom for a pizza party to show my appreciation to the students for allowing me to observe in their classroom, Mrs. Mac informed me that Colleen had scored a 3 out of a possible 6 on the state-mandated writing test. She was given a prompt in which she wr ote about a special person in her life. Mrs. Mac expressed that she was pleased that Coll een had been given a prompt that required an expository format since she had some trouble with narrative. Chad Chad enrolled at Lakeview just a few w eeks before I began data collection at this site. According to Chads responses to the Writer Self Perception Scale (WSPS), he did not perceive himself as relaxed or comfortabl e when writing nor did he enjoy writing. Though his responses to several statements indi cated that he perceived that his writing was improving, he strongly disagreed that his writing was more interesting than his
236 classmates writing. He was undecided about hi s teachers and classm ates opinion of his writing as indicated by seve ral statements circled undecided but agreed that his family thought he was a good writer. Chad was a rese rved but willing participant in class activities during writi ng instruction though his active participation wa s less frequent than Colleens participation. His responses a nd opinions were usually reasonable. When Mrs. Mac conferenced with Chad, he volunteered that he has a difficult time getting started on a writing piece because he had several ideas and was indecisive regarding which one to write about. I also observed him seeming to deliberate for longer than most of the students did before he began writing. Mrs. Mac shared that Chads mother was worried about him passing the FCAT writing because he struggled to complete a practice timed-writing assignment. Furthermore, she explained that Chad had no concept of time and that he took a long time to complete tasks at home. Mrs. Mac suggested that his mom set a timer for tasks. Unlike Colleen, Chad had neat handwriting and meticulously formed each letter, which possibly contributed to his diffic ulty completing an independent writing assignment within the time constraints. Mo st words in his composition were spelled correctly. Similar to Colleen, Chad did very little prewriting. (See Appendix Q). Following Mrs. Macs directive to plan, even for just a few minut es, (Observation, 1129-04), he responded to the who, what, when, where, and why a writing plan used within the classroom. Chad shared with me that he usually listed who, what, when, where, and why on his planner a nd then wrote words straight fr om the prompt to answer. Introducing the Vignettes The following six vignettes describe the in teractions between Mr s. Mac and Chad
237 during writing instruction. Though some vignettes are brief, they function to describe Mrs. Mac as a writing teacher and Chad as a writer. Following the analysis of the interaction is a description of Chads respons e to the interaction as demonstrated in his writing. Depending on the purpose of the assigne d writing, the demonstrated writing is sometimes at the sentence level while other times it is at the paragra ph level or through a review of the entire composition. Vignette 1 occurs during guided instructi on in which Mrs. Mac questioned Chads response in order to mediate his understandi ng. Vignette 2 describes how Mrs. Mac used an erroneous response to affirm Chad as a contributor to th e learning community. Vignette 3 describes the interaction during a shared writing. In Vignette 4, Mrs. Mac gave feedback to Chad during Sharing. In Vi gnette 5, while Mrs. Macs feedback did not sufficiently mediate Chads understanding of a concept, the continued classroom discourse was beneficial. In Vignette 6, Mr s. Mac again affirmed Chad through an erroneous response. Vignette 1 The objective of the following excerpt fr om guided instruction was to include sensory words, specifically two-word descrip tions, to more vividly describe a place. In the following transcript, students brainstormed two-word descriptions of things they might hear in a park. CHAD Screaming kids MM How many adjectives do you have there, Chad? CHAD Screaming is an adjective. Kids is a noun. Sar Tweeting blue jays
238 MM Did you hear that? Could you hear the blue jays? Jas Annoying, screaming kids Mar Loud, screaming kids (transcript, 11-2-04) Though the class had just previously brai nstormed two-words descriptions for things they might smell at a park, Chad volunt eered one word, rather than two words, to describe kids in the park. Mrs. Mac m onitored his understanding of the task and understanding of adjectives by questioning him about the number of adjectives in the phrase. In the next talk turn, Chad responde d by explicitly identif ying the words related to the part of speech. Without further inte raction with Chad, Mrs. Mac called on other students to respond. Jasmine and Marcus added adjectives to Chads original phrase, screaming kids, to create two-word description of kids in the park. Chads completed homework and part icipation during guided instruction suggested that he could identify and generate adjectives within th e confines of these contexts. He also transferred this knowle dge to his independent writing. He included shiny, silver necklace and big, fancy restaurant in the composition When You Found an Object Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico a composition written two weeks later, had only a sprinkling of adjectives. These included warm, sunny day ; risky ; and dark outside However, there was no evidence of adjectives in Saving Someones Life a composition written a week after Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico Vignette 2 The following day, Mrs. Mac once again revi ewed strategies for using description in their writing. Later in the same lesson, students practiced using dialogue by writing captions to pictures. In the following transcri pt, the focus was on a clip art picture of a
239 chef sprinkling seasonings into a large bowl. Students brainstormed dialogue that would demonstrate that the chef was excited befo re they independently composed their own caption. MM First of all, what is his occupation or job? Rob Chef MM What makes you think he is a chef? Rob He has a cape and hat, salt and pepper. MM Yes, an apron. I think you said cap e. Now we know that he is a chef. What is something the chef might be saying if he is excited? Ter This is going to be some good soup. COL I love cooking! MM I love cooking. If this is something he is doing for a living, yes, he should enjoy it. So maybe hes excited about making a new dish or making something that is going to taste good. Sar Hey, dont do that. I worked a long time cooking that. (Some students said the dialogue showed anger and not excitement) MM Yes, that is a good one as well, but it may lend itself a li ttle more toward anger, but it certainly is a good idea as well. CHAD Yeah, I got a raise. MM [teacher chuckles] That was a good one but do you think it might apply to this picture? We want to make sure that it goes along with the picture. (Transcript, 11-03-04) Mrs. Mac affirmed Chad as a participan t by chuckling at his response and then added, Thats a good one, a comment sometimes following a clever joke. She coached him by questioning the suitability of the dialogue to the picture and then directly stated how to rectify the dial ogue. By questioning his respon se, she was reiterating that
240 dialogue must be appropriate for the charac ter and the situation. Monologue and dialogue began appearing in Chads writing the day it was introduced. A narrative composed just four days after the introduction of monologue and dialogue included se veral incidences of dialogue and contained complete conversational turns between two characters but without quotation marks, as illustrated in the following example. I asked her if she wanted to go to Chicago. She replied with a quick yes. I asked her if we could go to the top. She told me know because she was afraid of heights. (Document, 11-12-04) A narrative composed two weeks later had on ly one incident of monologue but with quotation marks: I whispered to myself I dont want to kick. The single incident may be explained by the storys lone character and the setting wh ich was in the middle of the ocean. Then, in a subsequent story, he in cluded dialogue among th e three characters: Chad, his dad, and a character identified as the bad guy. Though the dialogue is not punctuated correctly, Chad made an attempt to use dialogue to show emotions of the grieving but bad man. I asked the guy why hes arguing and he told me that his dad died. Then after a while he exclaimed my dads funeral is today, and then he added at least you have a dad. I told him, put the gun down. (Document, 12-8-04) Vignette 3 The following vignette describes the intera ction between Mrs. Mac and her class during a shared writing. On the previous day, they had composed the beginning of a story about an alien who had landed on Earth and who needed to return to his home planet. The following transcript picks up in the middle of the students brainstorming ways to interpret the language of the alien. Though Mrs. M ac commented after almost every student
241 offered an idea, she did not comment on the way Chad suggested they interpret what the alien was trying to communicate. MM Right now, lets go ahead and see how we can continue. Some of you asked me about dialogue. Certainly you can use that too. Lets go ahead. Who can help me? How can I begin th e next paragraph? Remember to indent to show that it is a new paragraph. Who can help me? Remember we want to use transition words whet her they are in the middle of the paragraph as well. OK, Tom can you help us? Tom All the sudden, he spoke in his a lien language that I didnt understand. MM So lets see. [Teacher writes Tom s sentence on the overhead and students copy.] MM [Teacher rereads] What would co me next? Give me some ideas. Mig You can say what he said. MM Give me the sentence you want me to add. You said you want me to use dialogue. (Referring to a request made by Miguel earlier in the lesson) Tom Its a foreign language though. MM I understand that. Tom Youd have to write it in a different kind of language. MM Absolutely (Tom persists and Mrs. Mac defers his idea to other students in the class) MM Lets get back to Miguel, and lets list en to the others and use the one that we feel is best. Mig You can use different kinds of letters. MM Give me an example. What would we write? Mig Who are you? MM But you said in his language. What w ould his language be? If the alien is speaking, what letters or what sounds would we use? If the alien is
242 speaking, and you said that you want to use alien language, then we have to think of something. COL Use squiggly lines and put quotation marks around them. MM Anybody else have any ideas? Syd We could say that he could push a red button, and he could speak our language. Pet You know how some languages they make like a t but with two lines crossing it. MM If you want to use alien language (stops and rephrases) How are you going to eventually understand the alien? You have to think about that if you are going to use a foreign language. How are you going to understand the alien? Kan K and then a line under it and an a with a line on top MM But what does that mean? Kan Hello MM But how would you know thats what he means? CHAD We can just guess what he said. Jas We found an alien tran slator in a cereal box MM [Teacher and students laugh aloud] Cu te, thats cute. Good imagination. Kan You can play like charades and figure it out MM If the alien knows how to pl ay charades. Oh, boy [laughs] It sounds like during this process we are having a hard time describing what to write, so maybe we can just guess what hes saying by looking at his body language. (Transcript, 11-18-04) In this excerpt, students suggested seve ral ideas for interpreting the language of the alien. In some cases, Mrs. Mac probed stude nts for further explanation. For example, when Kanesha (Kan) suggested an idea for written communication rather than interpreting the language, Mrs. Mac asked her what it mean t and how others would know
243 the meaning. Next, Mrs. Mac did not comment on Chads solution to simply guess what the alien said but continued to call on student s for further ideas. Jasmine suggested using an alien translator found in a cereal box, and Kanesha suggested that they play charades to interpret the language. Mrs. Mac realized that some students seemed to understand the complexity of trying to communicate with an alien while other students did not. Mrs. Mac decided to discontinue the brainstorm ing and independently chose the method for understanding the alien the method offered by Chad to simply guess what the alien was saying. Mrs. Mac wrote the following: All of a sudden he spoke in an alien language that I did not understand. I uttered She stopped writing to solicit from students the actual dialogue between the alien and ones self. MM First of all, when the alien spoke in a foreign language, what do you think youd say if an alien was speaking to you in a foreign language? What would you utter? What would you say? CHAD Same language he speaks MM Lets stay focused. Tom I come in peace. COL What are you doing w ith my precious toys? MM Remember the alien just spoke. We wa nt to stay focused on what the alien just said. What would you say once you heard that? Thats what I want to write now. Mig Greetings MM Ok, what else? Syd I cant understand your language.
244 Mig Huh? MM OK, I kind of like that. What happens next? In the excerpt above, Mrs. Mac was attemp ting to draw from students what one might say to the alien. Chads suggestion, S ame language he speaks, was vague and did not align with what Mrs. Mac asked. Then she curbed Chads re sponse by directing him to stay focused. Students suggested possi ble responses to the alien following Mrs. Macs directive to Chad though he did not vol unteer any responses at this point in the lesson. The class continued with the shared writing and composed the following paragraph. All of a sudden he spoke in an alien language that I did not understand. I uttered, Huh? Then the alien looked at me intently and responded, My flying saucer has crashed in your backyard. Can you help me get home? Mrs. Mac continued to solicit ideas for the next sentence from the students. MM So what would be next? COL I announced, I will help you get home if you can help me think. MM I think you are trying to say lets work together. Ryan Ill help you get home if you do my homework. CHAD Ill help you get home if you teach me how to speak your language. MM OK, what else? Jas Well, where is your home planet? MM Thats a good one, too Ter Oh, so now you can speak English MM What did you say, Jasmine? I think I kind of like that.
245 Jas Well, where is your home planet? [Students respond affirmatively] In this interaction during the shared writing, Mrs. Mac was attempting to jointly compose a response to the aliens request for as sistance to get home. Ryan offered help in exchange for the alien helping him comple te his homework, and Chad again brought up the notion of understanding the language. Mrs. Macs respons e, Ok, what else? was not directed specifically toward Chad but wa s intended to get the class to continue brainstorming. Then shortly after Jasmine s suggestion, Well, where is your home? Mrs. Mac responded, Thats a good one, too indicating that the former suggestions were also good ideas. The following day, the class continued the shared writing. In the following transcript, a bubble had been decided as a po ssible vehicle to tran sport the small alien back home. Below, students brains tormed the size of the bubble. MM A large as what? Ter Sumo wrestler Sar House Mig T rex Col Worlds biggest animal Kad Hot air balloon Jas Blue whale MM OK, one more. CHAD I dont know that you need to blow a bubble that bi g because hes not that big.
246 MM Youre right; hes not very big. But you want it to be big so that it will float up. OK, what do you think? (Stude nts voiced all at once what they liked, and the teacher decided on elephant ) Transcript, 11-19-04) All the comparisons from students rega rding the bubble size were large objects. Mrs. Mac was willing to allow students to suggest one more object at the end of the brainstorming moment; however, Chad used the allotted last suggesti on to disagree with the projected size of a large bubble rather th an offer a comparison He contended that since the alien was not that big, and had been describe d in the shared writing as a tiny slime-green alien, (Document, 11-18-04), the bubble did not need to be as large as his classmates suggested. Mrs. Mac attempted to a ffirm his participation and agreed that the alien was not very big and th en continued to explain that the bubble needed to be big so that it would float. Though Mrs. Mac had specified that st udents could offer one more suggestion, Chad used his talk turn to disagree with his classmates descri ption. This dissenting response can be seen as a sign that a clas sroom culture had been created in which students not only felt comfor table contributing but voicing disagreement as well. Chad contributed on four occasions duri ng this vignette. Twice, he contributed, and Mrs. Mac did not verbally respond to his contribution but conti nued to solicit ideas for the shared writing from other students. In one interaction, Mrs. Mac had asked the class, What would you utter? What would you say? Chad responded, Same language he speaks, therein describing how he would re spond to the alien rather than stating what his actual words to the alien would be. Then she curbed his response with, Lets stay focused. Whether Chad understood what she meant is not clear because her statement was vague and did not reiterate the focus at that point in the brainstorming. However,
247 Tom, the following contributor, understood that she wanted the actual words to say to the alien. In their last interaction in this vignette, instead of offering an object to compare the size of the bubble to, Chad evaluated the obj ects his classmates had suggested as too large since the alien was not that big. Mrs. Mac affirmed him as a contributor when she agreed with Chad about the size of the alie n and then explained the bubble needed to be large so that it would float. Vignette 4 Students had been assigned to write about a time when something rubbed up against them while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Students were given 15 minutes each day over the course of three days to co mpose this story. This vignette is after the second day of composing. Chad had written the introduction and the first event to his story on the day he volunteered to read aloud his story during Sharing. The following excerpt shows some responses by his peers a nd then an overall summary by Mrs. Mac. COL Catchy beginning Kad Humor Syd Simile kicking like crazy MM Did you use a simile? CHAD Yes, dark as a shadow Sha Dialogue (actually monologue) Pet Adverbs MM OK, what are your adverbs? CHAD Quickly, slowly MM The only thing I want to say, Chad, is that you mentioned kicking three or four times. You want to make sure you dont repeat th e same thing over
248 and over. It starts to sound alike. You know, sentence after sentence. So you want to make sure you use a syn onym or, maybe instead of kicking, you may want to use another body part li ke an elbow. But just be careful because I did notice that you used ki cking about four times. Good job. I like how you are using some of the skills that we are learning in the classroom adverbs and dark as a shadow. I think I heard some transition words as well (Transcript, 11-30-04) Students who volunteered to comment on Chads composition noted evidence in his writing of some of th e writing elements the cla ss had practiced during guided instruction over the past month and that they were expected to include in their stories. Colleen stated the beginning was catchy a term Mrs. Mac and the class often used to describe a beginning that ca ught the readers attention. Kadijah thought the story was humorous, and Sydney, confused by the word like offered what she considered a simile, swim like crazy. Mrs. Mac did not comment on what Sydney referred to as a simile but explicitly asked Chad if he in cluded a simile. He responded by stating what he considered a simile, dark as a shadow, thereby dem onstrating understanding of the concept. Peter offered that he heard several adverbs, and then Mrs. Mac asked Chad to identify them. Chad looked over his composition and noticed quickly and slowly I categorized Mrs. Macs comments in the same way that I did after she commented on Colleens story. The one area of improvement that I categorized as being explicit was Mrs. Macs suggestion that he use another word for kick because it was used several times in one paragraph. She offered one evaluative comment, Good job. Then she mentioned two writing elements she not iced transition words and figurative language. After students responded, Mrs. M ac commented on Chads composition. First, she noted that he overused the word kicking thereby making all the movement in the text sound alike. She suggested that he use synonyms for kick or to use an entirely different
249 body part such as an elbow. She concluded with a caution to be careful not to overuse words. Mrs. Mac offered, Good job, di rectly following the suggestions for improvement. The placement of, Good job, ma y indicate her attempt to encourage him should he have been discouraged by her comments. While, Good job, on the surface sounds like a positive comment, in realit y, it is a judgment (Kohn, 1999). By saying, Good job, Mrs. Mac was telling Chad how to f eel rather than letting him choose how to feel about the results of his writing. Howe ver, following the eval uation, she explicitly stated the writing elements she noticed in his composition, which is a more powerful way to reinforce a behavior. Tabl e 19 displays Chads story. Table 19 First two paragraphs from Swimming in the Gulf Of Mexico One warm, sunny day at the Gulf of Mexi co, I felt something brushing against my leg while swimming. It felt slimy and sticky. I lo oked in the water to see what it was, but it was dark outside so the wate r was as dark as a shadow. I started to kick so it would go away. But the more I kicked the closer it came. So I whispered to myself I dont want to kick. So then I started swimming quickly but then I realized that I was kicking. So then I couldnt swim, we ll maybe I can I just cant kick. I started to swim slowly. But the thing was stil l next to me. By morning time I was still swimming, and I could tell what was next to me because there was light out. I looked into the water and there was a jellyfish next to me And I didnt care if kicking made it come closer. I was just going to swim like crazy.
250 Vignette 5 To practice the writing technique, show, dont tell Mrs. Mac gave students a worksheet containing ten sentences that coul d be improved by using verbs or adjectives to give the reader a better mental picture of the context of the sentence. In the following transcript, she explains the purpose of el aborating by composing showing sentences. MM I conferenced with many of you this morning, and something I want all of you to work on is showing sentences a nd not telling sentences. These kind of sentences are going to build vivid pictures in the readers mind. The only way you are going to have that is by having showing sentences and not telling sentences. Why is it important to have showing sentences rather than telling sentences? Pet For description MM But why is description important? Mig It makes writing more interesting. Jas It gives the reader a me ntal picture in their head. MM And what you want to do, boys and girl s, is to make sure your reader is involved in your story. (T ranscript, 12-07-04) Mrs. Mac distributed a worksheet containi ng six telling sentences to the class. Collaboratively, the class revised the first th ree sentences to make the sentences more interesting through, show, dont tell Mrs. Mac gave students a pproximately five minutes to revise independently the final three sent ences. After students revised the sentences, they volunteered to share their revisions one sentence at a time before moving on to the next sentence. Chad volunteered to read hi s elaboration of the following focus sentence: My mother and I walked by the chapel and looked through the stained glass windows. Chad read aloud his elaboration. CHAD My mother and I walked by the chapel and admired the statue.
251 MM So the only thing is, you didnt incl ude anything about the glass window you changed it completely to a statue. We want to keep it to a glass window. (Transcript, 12-07-04) In this brief interaction, Mrs. Mac explained to Chad that show, dont tell is not accomplished by simply changing one noun, window to another noun, statue While students continued to share how they had re vised the sentence, Chad followed Mrs. Macs directive and revised the sentence to the following: My mother and I walked by the chapel and admired the wonderful stained glass windows. Mrs. Macs explanation did not seem sufficient. Chad simply added the adjective wonderful to describe the stain glass windows ra ther than describing what may have been depicted in the windows. After student s shared their sentences, without further prompting from Mrs. Mac, Chad once again revised the sentence to My mother and I walked by the chapel and admired the shiny, rose shaped stained glass windows. In this lesson, though Mrs. Mac coached Chad to keep it a glass window the coaching was not adequate as indicated by Chads addition of the vague adjective, wonderful However, as his classmates continued to share their revisions, Chad initiated changing the sentence once more from wonderful, stained glass windows to shiny, rose shaped stain glass windows indicating the design of the stain glass. Even while students spent about 5-10 minutes reviewing homework assignments or sharing answers to independent practice assignments, the session was fast-paced with the students being attentive and with Mrs. Mac frequently elaborating on their responses. Though Mrs. Macs comment to Chad during this vignette was not helpful, Chads attention to his classmates responses may ha ve clarified his inco mplete understanding.
252 Vignette 6 To expand students written vocabulary, they collaborated in gr oups to brainstorm synonyms for target words, and then a representative from each group shared the synonyms that they brainstormed with the cl ass. In the following brief excerpt, Chad suggested that faste r is a synonym for hurry CHAD Faster MM Lets see. (Deliberates) Hurry, faster. So what part of speech is that one? CHAD Im going faster. MM That would also be an adverb as well. Right? It te lls how were going. Again, its related, but I dont know that it would go along. (Transcript, 12-15-04) Just before Chad suggested faster as a synonym for hurry Colleen had suggested swiftly as a synonym for hurry. Similar to her response to Colleen, Mrs. Mac attempted to make Chads suggestion valid. She deliberat ed after his response, repeated what he said, and then questioned Chad about the part of speech. Chad did not answer her question but offered faster in a sentence maybe as an attempt to show how it is similar to hurry. In the offered sentence, faster is clearly an adverb and not a verb like hurry She closed the interaction with an affi rmative response suggesting that faster is related to hurry but not the same. Summary of the Interactions Between M rs. Mac and Chad and his Responses to the Interactions Chad was an attentive stud ent throughout writing instruction but compared to Colleen, he volunteered to par ticipate less frequently. The interactions between Mrs. Mac and Chad were usually brief.
253 In Vignette 1, Mrs. Mac mediated his unde rstanding of two-word descriptions through a simple probe to prompt him to rec onsider his response. Chad used two-word descriptions during guided practices and in his independent writing. She affirmed him as a contributor in Vi gnette 2. She chuckled at the dialogue he had composed for a picture, and then sh e added, Thats a good one, a comment sometimes following a clever joke. Then, she again used a simple prompt, Do you think it might apply to this picture? to stimulate him to reconsider the dialogue. Chad used monologue and dialogue during guided instruc tion and in independent writing; however, the frequency of use seemed to de pend on the setting of the story. In Vignette 3, Mrs. Mac did not verbally respond to Chads first contribution during brainstorming but continued to solicit ideas for the shared writing from other students. Then, in another inte raction, Mrs. Mac evaluated him as not focused based on his response that did not act ually align with her question, yet she did not reiterate the focus after her imperative st atement, Stay focused. In another interaction, Chad volunteered an evaluation of hi s classmates suggestions fo r the size of a bubble rather than offer a suggestion himself. Mrs. Mac affi rmed him as a contributor but projected an explanation for his classmates reasoning. In Vignette 4, Chad read aloud some of his story, Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, and received feedback from Mrs. M ac and his classmates. His peers noted several skills and strategies from the checkli st as well as humor in his story. Mrs. Mac mentioned two writing elements she noticed transition words and figurative language. She offered a subtle positive comment, Good job, suggested that one word was overused, and then propose d other possibilities.
254 In Vignette 5, Mrs. Macs co aching did not appear to su fficiently mediate Chads understanding of the strategy, show, dont tell ; but, as his classmates continued to share their sentences, he independently revise d his sentence to compose an adequate show me sentence. In Vignette 6, Chad offered faster as a synonym for hurry. While Mrs. Mac overtly considered the relationship, she coul d not validate his response but affirmed him as a contributor. Chad understood the structure of narrativ e writing and used the skills and strategies taught within the writing lessons in guided practices and in independent writing. However, Chads responses to the W SPS indicated that he did not perceive himself as a good writer, was not relaxed or comfortable when writing, nor did he enjoy writing. He felt strongly that hi s writing was not as interes ting as his classmates writing. Writing within a specified amount of time in preparation for the impending statemandated writing assessment was problematic for Chad. He expressed that to Mrs. Mac and volunteered that to me in an interview. In the final interview, he explained that he had a difficult time trying to generate ne w ideas for his story that no one else had suggested during prewriting ac tivities. Although Mr s. Mac initiated brainstorming in order to activate students schema and to h ear and employ others ideas into their own writing if they chose, Chad expressed that for him, this practice was stealing other peoples ideas. Comparing the word count across the st ories from early November to midDecember gives some indication that his st ories were getting longer. The composition, When You Found An Object was written over three days in early November and had 179
255 words (Appendix R). Chad was not able to comple te this story due to time constraints. In a months time, Chad was showing a steady in crease in production as illustrated in the composition, Swimming in the Gulf of Mexic o, was written at the end of November and contained 309 words (Appendix S). Saving Someones Life was written about a week later and contained 322 words (Appendix T). The writing samples assessed by the two graduate students and me using the 6-Trai ts Writing model had mean scores for the beginning of November, end of Novemb er, and a week later of 3.8, 4, and 3.7, respectively. The scores by indi vidual raters for each trait ranged between being the same and having a one point difference except fo r scores for the trait word choice in When You Found An Object In that case, the scores were 3, 4, and 5, and similarly, the scores for voice in Saving Someones Life were 5, 5, and 3. Most of the scores for separate traits declined over the six weeks. He received th e highest score (4.3) for voice on the last two compositions. Scores for all six traits improved when comparing the first and last composition; however, three traits had higher scores for the middle composition than the last composition ideas (4.3), sentence fluency (4), and conventions (4). When I returned to Mrs. Macs cl assroom for a pizza party to show my appreciation to the students for allowing me to observe in their classroom, Mrs. Mac informed me that Chad scored a 5 out of th e possible 6 on the statemandated writing test. He had been given a prompt in which he wrote a story about goi ng on a special ride. Cross Case Analysis Between Colleen and Chad Colleen and Chad were both new to La keview Elementary although Colleen had enrolled several months before Chad, and he had enrolled just a few days before I began observation in their classroom. Mrs. Mac sugge sted they were both struggling writers,
256 and their responses and low scores on the WSPS supported her evaluation. The interactions between Colleen and Mrs. Mac di ffered from the interactions between Chad and Mrs. Mac. Colleen participated much more actively than Chad; therefore, there were more interactions between Mr s. Mac and Colleen than betw een Mrs. Mac and Chad. Not only were the number of inter actions different, but the role s Mrs. Mac played in the interactions were also different. Most of th e interactions between Colleen and Mrs. Mac unfolded as ways to encourage Colleen as an emerging writer. She used Colleens idea for one of the major events in the shared wri ting about helping an alien return to his home planet. Mrs. Mac gave her more ownership of the writing than the rest of the class, though she promoted continued input from all students. On one occasion, Mrs. Mac praised Colleens contribution. Unbeknownst to Colleen, the praise was flawed, yet the praise may have incited Colleen to contribute a similar resp onse shortly thereafter. Responses typically served to affirm Chad as a contributor when responses were invalid, and his contributions when responses were valid. An imperative statement to Chad, Stay focused, may have alerted Chad to a disconnect; however, Mrs. Mac did not reiterate the focus to Chad. Evidence of inte rtextual connections was observed throughout Colleens written and verbal discourse; however Chad offered that he did not like using other peoples ideas. Chad showed progress in writing fluency from his baseline writing sample to compositions written at the end of the study a few months later. Though Colleen demonstrated progress in her writing developm ent, the number of words in the first and third document stayed consistent. There was a large increase in words in the second
257 writing assignment, which was probably due to a repetition of char acters from previous stories and traces of events composed by the class during a shared writing. Cross Case Analysis Among All Students Some writing behaviors typical of str uggling writers were observed in these students as well as behaviors characteristic of more capab le writers. For example, though I observed Kyle rereading his writing as he composed, a characteristic of a more capable writer (Faigley, Cherry, Jolliffee, & Skinner, 1985), he appeared reluctant to make revisions to make the meaning clearer to the reader. Though Colleen had creative ideas, the ideas were often disjointed or not deve loped. In addition, text production skills such as handwriting, spelling, and m echanics interfered with the readability of her stories. Writing within a specified time frame and w ithin narrowly defined genres to prepare students for a state-mandated assessment may contribute to children perceiving themselves as already or as becoming st ruggling writers, as in the case of Chad. However, Ray was more productive working within a set time frame. An analysis of classroom discourse at the micro level examined the interaction between teacher and student within the c ontext of whole group instruction and was further nested within the discourse of mediated activities such as explicit instruction and modeled writing. The interactions were only a small trickle in the flow of classroom language and literacy events. Because writing begins as a social and cognitive process, the thinking is transparent a nd thus makes it difficult to determine hidden factors that may also contribute to the writing process before the physical act of writing begins. A critical stance was employed in suitable interactions to unpack the social and power
258 relations, identities, and know ledge that were constructed through spoken text (Rogers, 2003). While both teachers often affirmed st udents participation when their contributions were accurate, they also often affirmed students as participants in the learning event even when contributions were vague or inaccurate. Often, the teachers probed vague or incorrect responses for clarif ication or elaborated on these responses to mediate understanding. Though praise was used sparingly, Mrs. Ring utilized it on a few occasions with one student in particular, Ra y, who seldom volunteered to participate. The praise appeared to recognize his participa tion and on one occasion to welcome him back to the learning community after he had rem oved himself, though not physically, when he was pouting. Mrs. Mac praised Colleen more frequently than any other student. On one occasion, Mrs. Mac used praise somewhat ha phazardly which may have contributed to Colleen using a word unconventionally again sh ortly following the initial phrase. While Mrs. Mac promoted a democratic classroom culture, her position changed intermittently from deciding together to being an aut hority who independently made decisions without consulting the composers of the shared writing. Kyle participated frequently, but his contributions were often vague or outside the parameters of the topic; therefore, Mrs. Ring typically followed Kyles response w ith language to mediate his understanding. Though Mrs. Rings typical approach was to facilitate meaning construction, on one occasion, she admitted her inability to communicate to him the theme of the writing event. In a few incidences, the teachers did not respond to students contributions whether to praise, a ffirm, or clarify.
259 Students writings were analyzed for traces of the skills and strategies addressed surrounding the interactions. In an interaction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring in which Kyle initiated a conference, he followed through with the explicit revisions Mrs. Ring suggested. On another occasion, Kyle appropri ately preserved and used a phrase in his writing that Mrs. Ring ha d countered as being vague when he used it to describe an event in a childrens book. While students worked on a writing piece for about a week so that they could develop the plot, include the focu sed skill or strategy, and revise and edit, Ray occasionally misplaced his assignments or neglected to complete them. However, when students were given a practice wr iting test to prepare for th e state mandated writing test, he was able to satisfactorily complete the composition within the 45-minute time restraint. Traces from classroom discourse a nd writing resources such as class-generated lists were identified in writing samples from Kyle and Ray, students in Mrs. Rings room, and from Colleen, in Mrs. M acs room. While Mrs. Mac encouraged students to use any resource in the room and synonyms, figur ative language, and id eas suggested during brainstorming, Chad did not feel comforta ble using ideas suggested by his peers. Although Kyle and Ray demonstrated speci fic skills or strategies during guided instruction, they did not transf er them to the same degree in their independent writing. The skills and strategies introduced in Mrs. Macs classroom were more concrete. She provided students with a checkli st to further support transfer ence of skills and strategies from guided instruction into their independe nt writing. Chad understood the structure of narrative writing and used the sk ills and strategies taught within the writing lessons in guided practices and in indepe ndent writing. Colleen demonstrat ed the basic structure of narrative writing and was able to identify specifi c skills and strategies in writing samples
260 and in her classmates writing during Shar ing, though she did not demonstrate many of the skills in her own writi ng. Both teachers focused on so me of the same skills and strategies but with a teaching style that was unique to each of them. A word count of all the stories composed by each student thr oughout the study showed an increase in the number of words from one composition to the following composition. The only exception was Colleen. Her word count increased over 100 words from the first composition to the next. However, the large increase may be due to the fact that she used similar characters from previous stories, an alien and a hawk, a nd events from a shared writing composed as a class. There was then a decrease of about 100 words from the second to third composition. Deconstructing Brainstorming Brainstorming was employed in both clas srooms, and to unpack how it may have influenced the interactions between st udent and teacher, I deconstructed how brainstorming was conducted within both classrooms. Mrs. Ring often used brainstorming throughout the writing block as a catalyst to introduce a new skill or strategy or to front-load a writ ing task. For example, during the flow of discourse about using details, she explained that adding sp ecific details for comparison was a possible strategy. She added that details should be pr ecise. Without givi ng examples, she asked the class, How red is the dress? Early in this brainstorming event, five of the eight examples offered by students were fruits or other objects that had a uniform color of red associated with it. While some students unde rstood the concept w ithout examples, other students responses indicated that they did not understand the concept. According to Osborne (1953), the problem should be cl early stated by the facilitator before
261 brainstorming for idea generation. Mrs. Ring instructed, If I don t have a point of reference [Mrs. Ring stopped and restated her directive]. You want to make sure that most, 100% of the people would understand. The breach in understanding of the task required Mrs. Ring to probe for clarification and even to evaluate some responses as incorrect, thus possibly hinde ring the quantity and freewh eeling of ideas another principle of brainstorming (Osborne, 1953). Neither of the suggestions by Kyle fell within the parameters of comparing red with a known object. After Ky les first response, Mrs. Ring asked him to make the connection for her, but he offered another response instead. Again, his response was evaluated as incorrect, and though she possibly used an exaggeration to mediate his understanding, she did not evaluate his understanding. It was not until two talk-turns later that she exp licitly explained the concept and then gave examples of commonly known red objects. Afte r most students offered suggestions, and some more than once, Mrs. Ring explained, It s not as easy as you think. Pick things that you know everyone would understand. How about a fire truck? What about a blazing fire? These types of things. How about a red light? Things that 99% of the people will understand. If you say red like a pen, my pen might be maroon, it might be pink, it might be all kinds of things that arent necessarily red. While students were not required to contri bute, most of them did offer a response thus suggesting either they thought their answers were vali d, or they were comfortable with the possibility of sugge sting an invalid response. As with any time a student volunteers to respond, the construct may beco me problematic when a student does not anticipate invalidation of a response by the teacher.
262 Mrs. Ring used brainstorming as a prewri ting activity for a sh ared writing about a Halloween experience. A watercolor drawi ng was used to stimulate idea generation by the students. Mrs. Ring explained to the stude nts that they would ha ve an opportunity to paint a picture later in the day and then be gan with an open-ended question, Now what does this house remind you of? She asked an open-ended question. She also had objectives for the brainstorming, but she did not set the purpose fo r the activity for the students. It was not until after Kyle introduced a show me description, that she explained that she only wanted descriptive words. She continued with questions such as How do you feel about walking up to that house a nd rapping on the door? and What are some sounds that I might hear? The open-ended solicitation follows the principles of brainstorming (Osborne, 1953); however, duri ng the brainstorming episode, Mrs. Ring overtly evaluated students responses, a constr uct inconsistent with Osbornes guidelines for brainstorming. Brainstorming in Mrs. Rings classroom had the following characteristics. First, Mrs. Ring used brainstorming not only to f acilitate idea generation for a writing task but also as a method of instruction. Students responded, and she gave them feedback. By evaluating students responses, she was m onitoring their understanding (Interview, 1008-04). Students also learned from each othe r and used ideas from their classmates in their own writing. Second, students were not usually given specific expectations or instruction before they began; therefore, students began with incomplete knowledge, and consequently, the brainstorming was riddled with responses from Mrs. Ring that asked students for clarification. Furt hermore, the brainstorming took on the characteristics of a guessing game in which they were to conjectu re what Mrs. Ring was thinking rather than
263 being intentionally mindful contributions. Mr s. Ring typically ended the brainstorming event by more explicitly stati ng the objective or setting th e purpose. Though not always productive for students, this practice aligns with her goal to get her students to think (Interview, 10-08-04). Third, though she introdu ced a brainstorming event with an openended question, she had narrowly constraine d expectations for their responses, and responses that were marginal or differe nt were not accepted or even probed for clarification in some cases, specifically fo r Kyle. Fourth, Mrs. Ring typically allowed everyone to voice their ideas, a nd as a result, the amount of time spent brainstorming was not proportional to the assigned task (e.g., two sentences to show, not tell that a room is messy). In addition, the brainstorming may not have been necessary for all students, and for them in particular, this practice de layed their writing until the end of the brainstorming event. Brainstorming in Mrs. Macs classroo m occurred much less frequently than brainstorming in Mrs. Rings classroom, and th at decrease in frequency aligns with Mrs. Macs discourse style and instructional appr oach. Brainstorming usually happened during a shared writing or to generate ideas fo r a writing prompt. The shared writing about helping an alien return to his home planet extended across three days. Students generated ideas for an episode each day while Mrs. M ac facilitated the brai nstorming and did the physical writing. One episode began with Who can help me? How can we start our next paragraph with a transition without saying, O ur second attempt. We want to vary it a little bit. So who can help me without sayi ng our second attempt? Feel free to use the transition chart or use some that you are fam iliar with (Transcript, 11-19-04). After eight suggestions, Mrs. Mac decided which sugges tion to use and asked Colleen, since it was
264 her idea, to tell Mrs. Mac what to specifically write. Next, students were asked to suggest the size of the balloon, and after seven res ponses, Mrs. Mac indicat ed the closing of suggestions with the statement, One more. Four students suggested description for the aliens hands before Mrs. Mac began to wr ite. The brainstorming continued in this manner with Mrs. Mac writing a few word s, stopping to ask for suggestion for description, the next phrase, or to complete a thought. Usua lly, all ideas were voiced if only a few students volunteered. Though there wa s not a consistent number of ideas that she allowed before she determined what to write; she would indi cate closure to the brainstorming for that particul ar text by directly saying what she was going to write or by simply writing it. Though students were encour aged to help compose the story, Mrs. Mac independently made the decision about what to actually write. When one boy suggested, An army guy thought it [the large bubble] wa s a bomb and shot it. Mrs. Mac replied, Ill be honest with you. Im trying to stay away from guns or weapons being used because I try not to use violence. OK? While Mrs. Mac positioned herself as the gatekeeper for what would be allowed in the st ory, her sentiment is consistent with topics other teachers prohibit in students writing (Schneider, 2001). Mrs. Mac kept the momentum of the shared writing moving forw ard by allowing a fraction of the class to offer suggestions before sh e decided what to write. Chapter Summary This study examined the interactions between exemplary writing teachers and struggling writers. The classroom cultur e created a space for students to work collaboratively and to share ideas. The wr iting instruction of both teachers was characterized by many practices that typify good writing instruc tion such as developing a
265 literate classroom environment, monitoring stude nts progress as writ ers as well as their strengths and needs, and adjusting their teach ing style and learning pace as needed. The teachers facilitated the writ ing process through explicit instruction, modeled writing, shared writing, cooperative le arning activities, feedback a nd visual fieldt rips. Students selected for the study were suggested by their teachers based on their writing samples and then finalized by their scores on the WSPS. Vignette were created for each student to describe the context of the in teractions between the teacher and student. An analysis of each interaction was presented for each vigne tte. The chapter ended with a cross-case analysis of the two student participants within each classroom and then a cross-case analysis of all four students.
266 CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to de scribe and explain the interaction between exemplary teachers and fourth grader struggling writers. Seve ral researchers in the field of literacy promote examining the classroom practices of exemplary teachers to determine characteristics of their successful teaching since teachers are more efficacious than curricular materials, peda gogical approaches, or programs (Allington & Johnston, 2002; Bond & Dykstra, 1997; Da rling-Hammond, 1999; Duffy & Hoffman, 1999; Pressley et al., 1996; Pr essley et al., 2001). Exemplary teachers have been shown to have a substantial effect on the achievement of strugg ling students. The difference between having a good teacher for three year s in a row versus another teacher can represent as much as 50 percentile points in student achievement on a 100-point scale (Babu & Mendro, 2003; Mendro et al., 1998). This is an influence greater than race, poverty level, or parent's education (Carey, 2004). The questions that guided my study we re: (1) What is the nature of the interaction between exemplary teachers of wr iting and struggling writers? (2) What are the responses of struggling wr iters to the interaction? Th e next section presents a synthesis of the results and anal ysis compared to extant litera ture that emerged in the data collection process. Several areas of similar ity across the participants emerged from the data. They included mediated action thr ough teacher response, written response to mediated action, social positioning, and best practices?
267 The initial step toward selecting partic ipants for the study began with compiling a list of characteristics of exemplary writing t eachers based on the research of exemplary teaching and effective writing instruction. While the teachers selected for the study demonstrated characteristics of exemplar y writing instruction during preliminary observations or professed the practices dur ing the initia l interview, as the study progressed some of the practices were not mani fested as frequently or in the manner that the review of research describes or that I had anticipated. While these classes were not ideal when scrutinized through the lens of a qualitative study, many characteristics that describe exemplary teacher were present; ther efore, I continued th e study within the two original classrooms. Exemplary Teaching Revisited Passionate about writing was the first char acteristic on the list that describes an exemplary writing teacher. Mrs. Ring c ontinued throughout the study to showcase students written work on the walls inside the classroom and on the bulletin board outside the classroom. This was an indication to me on my first visit the importance that Mrs. Ring placed on writing While Mrs. Mac did not physically showcase students work, students showcased their writing during Auth ors Chair. Because Mrs. Mac was in a year round school she had to strip the room every 12 weeks for the incoming teacher and students. This may have contributed to the limited displays of student work. Exemplary writing teachers are committed t o, care about and advocate for actions that improve students lives. With respect to Kyle, I observed Mrs. Ring caring about his physical needs by putting money in his lunch account when his parents were unable to purchase his lunch but did not want to admit their financial situation by applying for aide.
268 Mrs. Ring tutored Ray after school on several occasions to scaffold his understanding of the skills and strategies addr essed during regular classroom instruction. An analysis of the verbal interaction between Kyle and Mrs. Ring does not suggest the same care in her discourse. Mrs. Mac was respectful of a ll students and praised and affirmed them throughout the duration of the study. Implementing highly effective instructi onal repertoires and knowing how and when to combine instructional methods is another trait of exemplary teaching. Both teachers used a variety of instructional me thods within the writing block and common practices included mini-lessons, guided writ ing, and modeling. In addition, Mrs. Ring promoted the social aspect of writing th rough cooperative learning structures and prewriting through visual field trips. Authors Chair was only observed in Mrs. Macs classroom. These different methods facilitate d students writing and added variety to instruction. While Mrs. Ring depl oyed a variety of best prac tices, the discourse engulfing some of the methods may have interfered w ith the effectiveness of the practice. (This finding is further described in the chapter.) In the initial interview, both teachers claimed that assessment was one component that guided instruction. Mrs. Ring depende d on an informal assessment, classroom observation, and completed writing assignments, a more formal measure, to assess students understanding. However, on at least two occasions Ray had not submitted writing assignments that were supposed to have been written over th e course of a week. His negligence only became apparent to Mrs. Ring when she read each students writing to assess their progress. Mrs. Mac read stude nts writing at the end of the school day to determine their understanding of the skill or st rategy presented during writing instruction
269 and wrote a brief comment isolating one sp ecific writing element for the student to consider for his or her next writing piece. Mrs. Mac further assessed students writing during Authors Chair by providing positive feedback, and, depending on her quick and informal assessment of the piece, she identi fied one element for them to revise or consider for the next writing piece. Neith er teacher conferenced with students on a regular basis, a component of writing workshop. Because their writing instruction followed a gradual release model, conferenci ng was seldom and, in addition, relegated to times during the day other than the writing bl ock. Both teachers modeled writing for their students and served as scribes in shared writing exclusivel y for instructional purposes. Neither teacher demonstrated that they were writers who enjoyed the activity by writing while their students wrote. Both teac hers considered the st ate writing assessment when planning writing instruction. Topics fo r writing were prompt-driven within the confines of two narrowly defined writing descri ptions of narrative and expository genres. Students in Mrs. Rings classroom frequently responded with a variety of writing genre to a piece of literature they had read in their anthology. So that Mrs. Macs students would be familiar with the format of the state writing assessment, she frequently had them respond to prompts, though she was opposed to this format. However, she selected prompts that former students had found enjoya ble. In addition, she gave them several prompts from which to choose. Finally, both teachers taught grammar and mechanics within the context of model and shared writing. Using quotation marks were practiced first within the context of a comic strip. Students in Mrs. Rings class drew the entire comic strip and wrote the dialogue while Mrs. Mac gave her students a preprinted comic strip with the task of
270 writing the dialogue. In addition to teachi ng grammar and mechanics while modeling, Mrs. Mac included a 5-10 minute focus less on on grammar and mechanics to review students homework in which they practiced the skill from the preceding day and to introduce them to a new skill. Mediated Action Through Teacher Response Sociocultural theory provides a lens for understanding the role of dialogue for student learning and, specifically for this study, the interacti on between struggling writers and their teachers who had been identified as exemplary writing teachers during writing instruction. Higher mental processes, such as vol untary attention, voluntary memory, and thinking develop on the foundation of lower mental processes such as involuntary attention and total recall by mediated activit ies. The mediators are signs. For example, language, numbers, or symbols with a defin ite meaning that have evolved with the history of a culture are all mediators. T eacher mediation is more than modeling or demonstrating how to do something. The mo re knowledgeable other, the teacher, provides support for students learning within the students zones of proximal development. Vygotsky described an individu al in the ZPD when he is engaged in a highly difficult task in which his or her perfor mance must be mediated by an adult or in collaboration with a capable peer. However, he did not provide guidance in designing instruction for mediation through the ZP D (Landsmann, 1991). Within the zone of proximal development are varying degrees of support.
271 Praise Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Macs responses to students during the context of writing instruction served multiple purposes. By limiting their praise to whole group commendations, except for a few isolated cases, they were creating a learning community in which no one students participation was esteemed over another. While praise is considered one indicator of instructional conversation (Da lton, 1997) and may serve to assist students performance (Gallimore & Tharp, 1990) as they advance through their zone of proximal development (Vygots ky, 1978), excessive praise can decrease motivation or autonomy; therefore, pr aise should be lim ited to significant accomplishments (Brophy, 1986). Mrs. Ring offere d overt praise to students on rare occasions. During one occurrence, Mrs. Ring re served verbal praise for Rays response during brainstorming as a conduit for welcomi ng Ray back as part of the group after a period of pouting. Mrs. Ring generally extende d praise to the whole class at the end of the writing block on occasions when she obser ved that students had demonstrated effort toward including specific skills and strate gies in their writing, as in her praise, Ok, Ladies and Gentlemen, Im starting to see a LOT better coaching going on so, thank you very much...those are some good things I heard. Sometimes, when Mrs. Ring read aloud students writing, she would praise stude nts writing without identifying the writer as when she said, OK, this is good. The only thing I caution this writer about is Mrs. Mac offered praise more frequently for all students in her classroom than Mrs. Ring did in her classroom. Praise was sprinkled throughout he r interactions with Colleen, Youre a good listener. I could tell th at you were listening very attentively and you could tell me the actual words she used. Very good. By frequently praising
272 Colleen, Mrs. Mac was attending to the encouragement she knew was important for Colleen. She explained to me, I dont know if you noticed, but Colleen needs lots of encouragement. She has made lots of progress, and I just keep letti ng her know that I am proud of her success (Fieldnotes, 11-04-04). Collinson (1994) asserts that exemplary teachers ways of knowing may provide a weal th of insight into merging their knowledge of students and knowing how to merge prof essional knowledge a nd personal knowledge to help students learn. The only praise Chad received in the select ed interactions was after he shared his story, Good job. I like how you are using some of the skills that we are learning in the classroom adverbs and d ark as a shadow. I think I heard some transition words as well. Mrs. Mac used praise as a method to encourage Colleen as a writer. On one occasion in particular, she praised Colleens word choice when she supplied an adverb to describe a verb phrase. Colleen offere d an unconventional meaning for hardly in hardly staring at the cake. Mrs. Mac praised her, Very good. Hardly, I like that word. Then a few moments later, Colleen used it again, dig ging hardly in the backyard. Since Mrs. Mac did not clarify th e meaning of hardly earlier in the lesson, but praised Colleens word choice, Colleen used hardly in another sentence. The second time Colleen used a nonstandard meaning of hardly Mrs. Mac paused, pondered the meaning for a few moments, and then said, OK. I can see what youre saying. Not too much digging was being done. In this interac tion, though both uses of hardly were incorrect, it would appear that Mrs. Mac made the decision to forego explaining the conventional meaning for hardly in lieu of validating her response by suggesting that she understood what she meant.
273 During Sharing, students were not only pr aised by Mrs. Mac for including writing elements she noticed in their writing, but their classmates also offered positive comments as well. Praise was used to commend st udents knowledge of writing and was given sparingly to all students, except in Colleens case. Affirmation Both teachers occasionally affirmed stude nts in two ways. First, affirmation served to recognize students contributions by the teachers responding with some type of feedback, such as elaboration, to indicate approval. Another way the teachers affirmed students was by recognizing them as contribut ors in the learning community even while students responses were flawed or vague. This response appeared to be crafted to promote future participation. For example, in Mrs. Rings class, Ray had offered mansion to describe a dilapidated struct ure in a watercolor painting, but Mrs. Ring countered that the st ructure was not really a mansion. Then she was quick to add, We can say, old, worn-down mansion. Do you like that? When he nodded agreement, she said, OK, Ill use that, Ray. Thank you. While Kyle participated frequently, he r eceived less direct affirmation. Mrs. Ring appeared to have caught he rself explaining to Kyle why a response did not align with the objective of the lesson. See, what you di d is, and thank you fo r doing that, but you gave me a synonym. You didnt show me. You just gave me a different word for sad. I want you to SHOW me the sad. I want to S EE the sad. When she realized this, she backtracked and thanked him for his response, an d, rather than transitioning to the next person, she explained to Kyle how to think through the process of going from a one-word adjective to a more concrete description.
274 Mrs. Mac attempted to affirm her stude nts as contributors even when their answers were faulty. For both students, she attempted to salvage erroneous responses by looking for some bit of legitimacy in them. She would sometimes repeat their answer, ponder it for a moment, and if she determined their responses were inadequate, she would reply with nice try or a similar phrase. When responses were vague or faulty but entertaining, Mrs. Mac was comfortable laughin g with her students. For example, Thats a good one, referring to the humorous dial ogue Chad gave a chef in a cartoon. Brainstorming Brainstorming a topic or idea as a class, students, rather than only the teacher, served as a more knowledgeable other. This action not only promoted the generation of ideas, but created a situation whereby students enlisted help from their classmates, thus transcending their imme diate knowledge. Brainstorming was employed in both classrooms as a form of mediated action. Mrs. Ring often used brainstorming throughout the writing block as a catalyst to introduce a new skill or strategy or to fr ont-load a writing task. While Mrs. Ring introduced a brainstorming event with an ope n-ended question, responses were evaluated, a construct inconsistent with Osbornes (1953) guidelines for brainstorming. Mrs. Ring allowed all voices to be heard thus extending the duration of that particular segment of the writing block. While research indicates th e importance of talk be fore writing (Dyson & Freedman, 2003; Routman, 2000; Peterson, 2003), the amount of talk was not proportional to the writing task. According to Osborne (1953), the problem should be clearly stated by the facilitator before brainstorming for idea generation. Specific expectations or instru ctions were not usually given pr ior to the brainstorming event;
275 therefore, students began with incomplete knowledge, and re sponses sometimes appeared as guesses other than intentiona l and thoughtful contributions. Brainstorming in Mrs. Macs classroom occurred much less frequently than the brainstorming in Mrs. Rings classroom. Br ainstorming usually occurred during a shared writing or to generate ideas for a writi ng prompt. Consistent with the fast-paced environment of Mrs. Macs classroom, she a llowed only a fraction of the class to offer suggestions toward the composing of a sh ared writing. Though there was not a fixed number of ideas she permitted before she closed a session of the brainstorming event, she allowed it to continue until a variety of ideas were generated. Students were given multiple opportunities throughout each lesson to contribute to the brainstorming event. She clearly stated the objective of the brainstorming and students voiced their contributions. Though students were encouraged to help compose the story, Mrs. Mac positioned herself as the gatekeeper for whos e idea to include, how to include it, and what would be allowed in the story. Written Response to Mediated Action One tenet of sociocultural theory is that consciousness is cr eated through socially mediated activity: The internalization of so cially rooted and hi storically developed activities is the distinguishing feature of human psychology (Vygotsky, 1978, 57). The following findings are associated with stude nts written response to the interaction. Teaching in Small Chunks Though common writing events looked differently for each class based on the teachers style, the writing events were employed to support students developing understanding of writing and to prepare them for upcoming independent writing tasks.
276 Both teachers taught in small chunks, or small pieces, of instruction students could digest, and provided many opportunities du ring direct instruction, m odeled/shared writing, and guided writing to practice a writing skill, concept, or element before writing independently. Teachers were gradually releas ing the responsibility of the task to the students. In the gradual release model of Pearson and Gallagher (1983), based on Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development, learners move through a gradient of difficulty and begin the process of learni ng by observing and then assisting in the modeling of a process. Next, le arners practice usi ng the strategy with support, and then finally with time and practice, they begin to use the process independently and in other contexts. Aspects of the gradual release model were applied in both classrooms as students repeatedly progressed through the writing even ts. During modeled writing, Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Mac did all the composing and demonstr ated writing as they thought aloud during writing. During shared writing, they invited the students to participate. Students helped plan the text and told Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Mac what and how to write. During guided writing, the teacher supported the children by suggesting strategies and helping them use those strategies. Finally, all th e strategies and skills that they had learned would be demonstrated in their independent writi ng. Routman (2005) describes this method for writing instruction as The Optimal Learning Model. The gradual release model was demonstr ated in another way in these two classrooms. During the beginning instruction of narrative writing, both teachers modeled the process of brainstorming an idea, construc ting some type of organizer for her ideas, and then writing the paragraph. (This sequen ce was repeated for other paragraphs over
277 several days until a story was written.) Af ter composing the paragraph, both teachers would leave the model on the overhead or copi ed in their writing folder for the students to use as a source for their own paragraph. St udents were encouraged to use the teachers models as much as they needed in order to compose their own paragraph. Not only were the teachers gradually releasing responsibil ity to the writers through the writing events described above but also by providing them with models that they could use as little or as much as necessary. As mentioned above, bot h teachers provided students with support and practice before they were expected to write independently; therefore, when students were assigned a writing prompt, in most cases, they were prepared to write independently. Explicit Instruction Explicit instruction has been observed as a common instructional practice among exemplary language arts teachers. In a comparative study, Pressley et al. (1998) determined teaching practices that disti nguish outstanding primary-level teachers of literacy from typical teachers of literacy. E xplicit teaching of skills was one of the nine characteristics that distingui shed the successful classroom s in the study. In a study of exemplary first grade literacy instruction, explicit skill development was taught within the context of authentic liter ature (Morrow et al., 1999). In another study, 30 fourth grade teachers were nominated using a snowball pr ocedure for their exemplary language arts instruction. Their teaching was typified by craf ting direct and explic it demonstrations of the cognitive strategies used by good readers (Allington et al., 2002). Explicit instruction may be the most eff ective instruction for students who are at risk for reading and writing difficulties, in cluding students with learning disabilities,
278 those who are economically and socially disa dvantaged, and those w ho are culturally and linguistically diverse (Delpit, 1986; Reyes, 1991). Struggling readers are typically less aware of the language system and of the im portance of strategic reading activities; therefore, they are less able than more co mpetent readers to infer strategies from generalized, less explicit skill instructi on (Canney & Winnograd, 1979). Delpit (1988) reported that without explicit instruction, minority students feel they are being denied access to information needed for success in mainstream society. Students who struggle with writing require more extensive, structur ed, and explicit instruction in the skills and strategies critical to literacy embedded in an environment that promotes students as active collaborators in their own learning and wh ere dialogue, sharing, and scaffolding are critical components (Englert et al., 1991; Graham & Harris, 1993). Explicit teaching of the recursive process of writing is one of th e three interventions that produced strong effects on the quality of stude nts writing in Gersten and Ba kers (2001) meta-analysis. Explicit instruction includes explic it cues, modeling, guided practice, and application to independent tasks. When teachers are explicit, students demonstrate significantly greater amounts of metacognitive awareness of lesson content (Pearson & Dole, 1987) and score better on nontraditional, standardized, and maintenance measures of reading achievement than students who do not receive explicit instruction (Duffy et al., 1987). Because students instru ctional understandings, like their comprehension of text, represent, to varying degr ees, their inferences about teachers intended messages, explicitness influences what st udents learn. The more explicit an instructional cue, the more likely students are to infer a teachers intended curricular goals unambiguously. That is, explicitness increases the likelihood th at students inferences about instructional
279 information will match teachers intentions (Dole et al., 1991, p. 252). In a study of the effects of explicit instruction on the growth of genre specific writing abilities of children in grades two and three, Purcell-Gates, Duke, and Martineau (2007), described explicit instruction as naming, modeling, describing, a nd explaining the function of the genre. While explicit teaching of literacy skills has been common among exemplary teachers and effective in student ach ievement, in this study, w ith the exception of science procedural text writing, explic it teaching of linguisti c features specific to information and procedural science text did not enhance second graders composition of these texts, In contrast to explicit in struction, constructiv ist ideology asserts that knowledge cannot be transmitted directly from the teach er to the student, instead the student constructs knowledge through active e ngagement in learning activities by accommodating newly acquired understanding with existing understanding. The role of the teacher is to facilitate the learning by providing opportunities to acquire the new understanding and challenge previously acq uired understanding (Bruner, 1973; Piaget, 1965). Both Mrs. Ring and Mrs. Mac included many aspects of exp licit instruction in their writing lessons, yet the degree of explic it instruction and when it occurred in the lesson differed between the two teachers. Mrs. Ring used a variety of supports throughout the writing block to scaffold students wr iting development. Though the supports were included on a regular basis, the organization of the lessons varied on a daily basis. Specific writing strategies were indirectly introduced. Generall y, Mrs. Ring introduced the strategy through an engaging modeling of the strategy followed by student interaction. Though the strategy was introduced at the beginn ing of the lesson, Mrs. Ring
280 did not label or clearly define it until th e end of the lesson. During shared or guided writing, Mrs. Ring was frequently vague with he r expectations for student responses, thus promoting conjecture from some students rath er than mindful responses. Some students understood the strategy through this indirect approach, but fo r some, this method was not beneficial. While Mrs. Ring expected st udents to include th e strategy in their composition, no measures were in place to hold students accountab le. Practices that promote students engagement and construc tion of knowledge were deployed in Mrs. Rings classroom, but compositions written by Kyle and Ray seldom included the focus strategies. Mrs. Macs writing lessons were usually shorter and more compacted than Mrs. Rings lessons. She clearly stated the st rategy, provided examples, and then provided practice employing the strategy through guided instruction and then as an independent task. A checklist of elements Mrs. Mac expect ed students to use in their current writing piece held them accountable for attempti ng the strategy in their writing. While conferencing was not observed during the study, notes from conferences held outside the writing block had been recorded at the bottom of the composition and kept inside students portfolios. These notes were a type of condensed explicit instruction and served as a reminder for the next composition. Mrs. Mac further exposed students to specific writings skills or strategies within the c ontext of exemplary writing samples. During shared writing she limited contributions from students in order to maintain the level of instructional momentum. In addition, she asked for clarification of responses from students that were confusing or revoiced what she thought a student was trying to suggest.
281 Transfer of Learning Early research on the transfer of lear ning was guided by theories that emphasized the similarity between conditions of lear ning and conditions of transfer. Thorndike (1913), for example, hypothesized that the degr ee of transfer betw een initial and later learning depends upon the match between the fa cts and skills across the two events. The theory posited that transfer fr om one school task and a highly similar task (near transfer), and from school subjects to nonschool settings (far transfer), c ould be facilitated by teaching knowledge and skills in school subjects that have elements identical to activities encountered in the transfer context (Klausmeier, 1985). While the focus of early studies was on drill and practice, modern theories of learning and transfer retain the emphasis on practice, but they sp ecify the kinds of practice that are important and take lear ner characteristics, for example existing knowledge and strategies, into account (Singley & Anderson, 1989). The following are key characteristics of learni ng and transfer that have important implications for education: (a) Initial learning is necessary for transfer, (b) Overly contextualized knowledge can reduce transfer, (c) Transfer is best viewed as an active, dynamic process rather than a passive end-product, and (d) All new learning involve s transfer based on previous learning. After mediating their in struction through the gradual release process described above, Kyle and Ray were generally able to demonstrate the skill or strategy at the sentence level. While students worked on specific writing concepts in a reduced environment, they concurrently worked on la rger writing assignments in which they were encouraged to include these concepts. Almo st daily, Mrs. Ring read excerpts from
282 students work without identifying the author Assessment of their writing was based on broader elements included in the state-manda ted writing assessment such as organization, focus, support, and conventions. Mrs. Ring introduced and reviewed these elements, though ambiguous constructs, throughout the study through modeling these constructs while composing, weaving them throughout the writing block, and by having students identify these constructs in writing sample s. Though Mrs. Ring repeatedly reminded the class to use the concepts that would enhan ce their writing, these c oncepts were seldom present in Ray and Kyles larger, independent writing assignments. For this study, it was not possible to determine if the concepts that were present in their independent writing were traces from classroom instruction and inte raction or if the concepts were part of their existing expressive langua ge and would have been empl oyed without instruction. Mrs. Ring provided many activities for semi otic mediation, the transformation of natural, lower forms of mental behavior to hi gher, cultural forms of behavior through the use of signs (Dixon, 1996, p. 195), such as cl ass generated charts, organizers, shared writing, and interactions and afforded them opportunity to compose in their zone of proximal development rather than assuming th at all students were in the same zone. Bruner (1989) identifies two important conditions that must be present for learning: (a) the learner must be willing to try, and (b) the teacher must provide a scaffold. While sociocultural theory asserts that socially mediated activities have a major role in cognitive development, Perret-Clermont, Perret, and Be ll (1991) describe two additional factors: (a) students must have the cognitive skills neces sary to engage in the activity, and (b) the distance between the situation definition or a participants persona l understanding of an
283 activity of the teacher and learner must not be too wide. These factor s are consistent with Singley and Andersons (1989) charac teristics of learning transfer. Kyle was much more attentive and partic ipatory than Ray, but according to Mrs. Ring, he struggled more in language arts th an Ray. Kyle attempted and completed all writing tasks, both large and small. Though Ray attempted all writing during guided instruction, writing tasks that extended over se veral days were frequently incomplete or misplaced. Another factor that may have infl uenced the use of these concepts in their writing is the vagueness of the concepts fo r struggling writers. While conventions, format, and organization are concrete, c oncepts such as adding details and show, dont tell are more intangible. Mrs. Mac provided students w ith a checklist of eight sk ills and strategies during the beginning of the study even before all skills and strategies had been introduced. Similar to Mrs. Rings approach, Mrs. Mac en couraged and expected students to attempt the skills and strategies in their larger independent writing assignments. The content analysis of Chads writing indicated that he employed the skills in troduced and rehearsed during writing lessons. Because the writing ski lls and strategies taught in Mrs. Macs classroom were more concrete, they were easie r to identify for analysis. A comparison of the strategies and skills that Chad employe d in his writing with the checklists suggested that Chad included all the skil ls and strategies in his wr iting though the beginnings still began with some type of description of the day. Colleen checked that she had included a ll the skills and strategies from the checklist in her writing. While she had d eclarative knowledge, her procedural knowledge was still emerging. Colleen had lots of cr eative ideas in her writing, which possibly
284 influenced the attention her classmates gave her when she read aloud during Sharing. In her writing, she frequently jumped from one idea to another without developing the idea, thus making the story difficult to follo w. Her handwriting and poor spelling also contributed to the challenge. On a few occasions, she attempted to replace commonly used words with synonyms displayed in the ro om but often did not distinguish the subtle differences in the words and thus used them incorrectly. She could explain why a catchy beginning was important, but even after formal instruction and continued review, her beginnings tended to begin with the same pattern, I was , followed by the setting of the story. Dialogue appeared more fr equently in all four completed stories than any other skill and was generally used to move the story forward. While figurative language had been introduced prior to the beginning of the study and reviewed through guided instruction, Colleen used only similes in her writing and only one simile in each composition. Employing skills and strategies into th eir writing included a multiplicity of complex processes that are both hidden a nd transparent and invol ve understanding the skill or strategy and knowing when to include it in the writing. However, it was difficult and probably impossible to determine if the sp ecific skills and strategies deployed in students writing were attributed to interactio ns and instruction with in the scope of the study. Students brought with them knowledge out side the scope of the classroom and knowledge from other content areas that may have contributed to students appropriation of the skills and strategies. Also, what may have appeared as a lack of deployment may have been a deliberate decision by a student not to include a particular skill or strategy in their writing.
285 Some Practices May Be Counter productive for Some Students Shared writing and the associated brai nstorming were two mediated activities used in both classrooms to promote writi ng development through social interaction. According to Hatano (1993) excessive modeli ng and guided instruction with parents, teachers, and peers accepting the responsibil ity for students learning may lead to a passive view of learning by the student. Though a scaffold in gradually releasing responsibility to the learner, a concern posed by modeling an d brainstorming in this study is that they may lead to counter prod uctivity for some, more specifically, Chad. Before students began writing, both teachers promoted possible ideas by prompting brainstorming. During the brains torming session, students would springboard from others ideas, reconceptualize, or modify their classmates original ideas to offer new thoughts, or even argue why an idea was not plausible. Consistent with Routmans (2005) research, students seemed to benefit fr om prewriting activities because they wrote steadily once they began writing. After Mrs. Mac facilitated prewriting activities, she assigned students to write one event toward the plot development each day, usually over the three days, until the problem in the stor y was solved. Though Chad wrote steadily, he had expressed to me earlier in the study that he sometimes thought about the next event outside of the classroom since it took him a wh ile to decide on an event. I was surprised by this announcement since Mrs. Mac had instituted prewriting activities before independent writing to faci litate students comfort and confidence when writing independently, and consequently, students in her class seemed to write constantly as if the words flowed from their pencils. Chad explained brainstorming ideas did not benefit him since he felt that if he used his classm ates suggestions he w ould be stealing other
286 peoples ideas. Though brainstorming ideas in a whole group setti ng was instituted to assist idea development of students, this practice may have been counterproductive for Chad. According to his belief system, usi ng ideas generated by his classmates was cheating and conflicted with practic es encouraged by both teachers. Social Positioning Most students in Mrs. Macs class were eag er to share the latest addition to their stories with their peers at the front of the class. However, when Colleen was ready to share, she appeared more enthusiastic than most of her peers. Wh en she read aloud her story, she read with much expression and conf idence. While her stories were creative and entertaining, the language was simple and the plot undeveloped. She usually skipped from one event to the other without much detail or descri ption. However, sharing was more than reading her story to her classmat es; it bordered on performance. Since she was so expressive, she was able to communicate mo re effectively when reading her story than through her writing. Traditionally, social identity referred to the social group to which an individual belonged, such as ethnic, gender, and economic. Within a classroom, a students identity might also include membership in a math group or reading club. In addition, a student might have a social identity as top reader, best mathematician, or new student. Instead of fixed, predetermined, and stable social identities are viewed as being construction through the interact ions people have with each other and as a consequence of the evolving social structures of social institutions (Bloome, Ca rter, Christian, Otto, & Shuart-Faris, 2005, p. 101). Social identity is also described as social position. When reading aloud her story, Colleen was on a level playing field with her classmates. Just
287 like all students when they read aloud their stories, she received positive feedback from her classmates and her teacher. Her story rece ived recognition in the same manner as the talented writers. While Mrs. Mac had create d a classroom culture in which respect was prominent, students appeared genuinely amused by parts of the story that were intentionally humorous. Colleen (along with Chad) was new to the school, whereby the majority of the students had been together since kindergarten. Coll eens position evolved over the few weeks that I was in the classroom. She became more confident when she shared as indicated by her increased expression, eye contac t, and volume. Walkerdine (1990) argued that people are not unitary subjects uniquely positioned, but are produced as a nexus of subj ectivities, in relations of power which are constantly shifting, rendering them at one moment powerful and at another powerless (p.3.). Although Kyle accepted Mrs. Rings position as teacher and his position as student, he did not accept being positioned as a nonwriter. After Kyle received feedback on the beginning of The Magic Pencil he returned to Mrs. Ring on two other occasions to contest the social position of incompetent wr iter that she had constructed for him in the words, Show me a raining mo rning and later Were looking for quality. He also did not respond to a direct question Mrs. Ring as ked him for clarifica tion but offered an alternative response instead. On another da y, he attempted to complete Mrs. Rings articulation of a point although he was rebuffe d and further positioned as a nonwriter. In the fourth vignette in particular, the intera ctions surrounding the wa tercolor painting of an old house, Kyle continued to offer res ponses to open-ended questions although Mrs. Ring overtly demonstrated refusal of five of his responses and did not respond openly to two responses. I did not record any incidences of Mrs. Ring praising Kyles writing or his
288 contributions during the inter actions described in these vi gnettes. Further, she seldom affirmed him as a contributor in the learning environmen t, which could have been instrumental in substantiating him as a writer. Although powerful discourse practices can drive the construction of social identity and position students in particular ways, students are more than weaklings who are either manipulated by or crushed by power ful social forces. It is limiting to assume that social identities and subject positions are generall y only adopted or resisted. Resistance is not just struggl e against the oppression of a static power (and therefore potentially revolutionary because it is strugg le against the monolith); relations of power and resistance are continually re produced, in continual strugg le and constantly shifting (Walkerdine, 1990, p. 4). While during some of the interactions Kyle appeared to have little power, he engaged in both resi stance and transformative behavior. Best Practices? While both teachers employed good writing pedagogy, sometimes the teachers discourse surrounding the practice may have in terfered with students understanding the writing skill or strategy. Prewri ting activities and talk surr ounding writing are important (Dauite, 1990; Dyson & Freedman, 2003) and a grad ient in releasing responsibility to the student (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983). They were obs erved to be beneficial to the students in the study. Traces of their peers ideas a nd vocabulary shared during prewriting events were noted in the participants writing or oral contributions Students in both classes not only benefited from the talk and verbal ex change surrounding writing but also appeared to enjoy them as well. Yet the sharing wa s almost excessive when Mrs. Ring allowed every student to participate during brains torming. Allowing everyone to respond slowed
289 the momentum of the lesson though not necessar ily interfering with student engagement. In a few instances described in the study, stude nts had saturated the topic, and thereby, suggestions were irrele vant or disparate. Mrs. Ring had shared during the initial in terview the importance of her students thinking. Sometimes Mrs. Ring was not always clear when she posed an open-ended question, and consequently, the brainstormi ng resembled a guessing game rather than a prewriting activity. Occasionally, Mrs. Ring an ticipated narrowly constrained responses to the open-ended questions and interrupted Kyles contribution when she assumed his responses were not aligned or compatible with her thinking. Though Kyle frequently volunteered, his answers were frequen tly gross approximations and seldom unconditionally accepted by Mrs. Ring. Re sponses that Kyle offered during brainstorming or responding to open-ended questions are consistent with various researchers in the field of writing who theori ze that topics boys choos e to write about and the content of their writing is often diffe rent from girls (Graves, 1973; Hallden, 1997; Newkirk 2000). Kyles compositions did not ha ve the same creativity and playfulness observed during brainstorm ing or guided writing. In a few incidences, while Mrs. Mac may have been attempting to affirm Colleen by words of affirmation or by simply ignori ng an obvious grammatical miscue to keep the pace of the lesson or to deflect atten tion from Colleen, she may have negatively reinforced these errors. Mrs. Rings approach to teaching writi ng was more indirect than Mrs. Macs approach. Students in Mrs. Rings class participated in ma ny activities surrounding writing, but some of th e concepts such as show, dont t ell and red flags may have been
290 too vague for struggling writers. Students we re expected to use the focus concept or technique in their writ ing, but they had no way of indicat ing where they had used it in their composition. Mrs. Rings feedback usua lly consisted of reading a portion of a students writing and giving direct feedback while keeping the name anonymous. Some researchers claim that struggling writers may need more direct in struction than other students within the classroom (Delpit, 1986; Reyes, 1992). Mrs. Mac presented writing skills or stra tegies, guided them through practice as a class, independently assigned a short homework assignment to reinforce the concept, and then encouraged students to use the concept in their writing. In addition, students were given a checklist for each composition, somewhat like the scales in the study by Hillocks (1984) that had an effect size of .36 on student s writing. They also shared their stories in Authors Chair where they received positive comments from their teacher and peers as well as brief suggestions by Mrs. Mac. The f eedback to Colleen was usually direct a variable in Hillocks (1984) study with a .43 effect size on students writing when the feedback was positive. Return of a Difference While responses from many students were in the middle, comparing Kyles responses with his classmates could be desc ribed as marginal. Mrs. Ring described them as extreme or going to the other end. Psychoanalytic critics have rethought the traditional opposition of knowledge and igno rance, by seeing ignorance as an active form of resist ance to knowledge and by identif ying the individual students resistance to knowledge as being analogous to the repression of the unconscious. In a seminal essay on psychoanalysis and pedagogy, Felman (1987) has argued that the
291 single most important contributi on to education is the impossib ility of teaching (p. 18). She refers to teaching as the transmission of knowledge from an authoritative knowing, or in the case of psychoanalysi s, the analyst, to an ignoran t student, or analysand, who desires to know. Ignorance is not a passive state of absence a simple lack of information; it is an active dynamic of nega tion, an active refusal of information or the refusal to acknowledge ones own implication in the information (p. 25). The points at which the students ignorance manifests itse lf, and the student de sires to ignore the knowledge proffered by the teacher, is precisel y the point at which any real learning has to take place (Felman, 1987). Brainstorming, a teaching practice used to generate ideas was a common practice in Mrs. Rings but to a lesser degree in Mrs. Macs classroom. While a guideline for brainstorming is def erment of judgment (Osborne, 1957) for another day, Mrs. Ring frequently commented on students responses in order to lead them to a response she expected or as a method to teach a concept. Mrs. Ring only probed Kyle one time to explain his thinking dur ing one of the interactions described in the three of the four vignettes and during mo re than one interaction in some of the vignettes, she did not accept Kyles response as valid. His responses were not what she expected, and therefore, they were evaluate d as being invalid, used to further mediate Kyles understanding, or to lead him to wh at she had expected. By evaluating Kyles responses as Other, she was positioning herself and students responses like hers as the only ones worth considering. Communication ac ross differences demands a return of a difference in opening up multiple perspectives. In an effort to produce a product, Mrs. Ring overlooked the process a nd the opportunity to query Kyle about his responses.
292 Daddy Knows Best (Scolding in the Generic) "Paternalism" comes from the Latin pater meaning to act like a father, or to treat another person like a child. (Suber, 1999). Pa ternalism pervades the classroom in the ways government-mandated writing assessments potentially influence teachers decisions regarding instruction and in the ways teacher s interact with childre n. Paternalism makes the product of oppression, powerle ssness, invisible. It is rendered invisible because within the naturalized discour se, it is rendered unnatural, abnormal, pathological, or a state to be corrected becau se it threatens the psychic health of the social body (Walkerdine, 1990, pp. 24-25). Inasmuch as pate rnalism involves denial of difference for some students whose responses are not antici pated by the teacher a nd the power it enacts on the teacher who rejects thei r response, the relationship may also be problematic for students who are part of the family, or st udents in the classroom. Paternalism may or may not be a tactic of power, not in the obvious father knows best manner but because it makes everyone else responsible for fathers disfavor (Heald, 1997). During two writing lessons, Mrs. Ring addr essed the class collectively as a type of scolding in the generic (J. King, personal communication, Oct. 23, 2006) as an uptake to Kyles response. While she may have been attempting to address Kyle indirectly by includi ng the entire class, this maneuver may have had unexpected results for Kyle and the class. Rather than deflecting attention from Kyle, he became the focus of attention and thereby introduci ng or reinforcing Kyle as a struggling writer by his peers. Furthermore, by addressing all students, they had become recipients of Mrs. Rings disfavor and, therefore, must share the burden of Kyles response by responding in a manner that would satisfy her probing.
293 Implications for Classroom Instruction This study examined the writing instructi on in only two classrooms and, more specifically, between the two teachers and four struggling writers within those classrooms. Therefore, it is not the intent to generalize the findings of this study to other classrooms. However, this study does exte nd existing research in some areas and has implications for classroom instruction. First, some of the skills and strategies th at were the objectives of the writing block in Mrs. Rings classroom may appear rather complex for struggling writers. Determining if some of the skills and st rategies that were demonstrat ed in Kyle and Rays writing were a result of writing instruc tion or if the skills and stra tegies were a part of their writing repertoire and would have been includ ed regardless is a di fficult undertaking. For example, dialogue appeared in Kyles writing before formal instruction in using other words for said. Though these students did not in clude the skills and strategies to the degree that they did at the se ntence level with guid ed practice, I cant help but wonder if the frequent writing, hearing pa rts of drafts composed by their peers and read by Mrs. Ring, and composing both small and large piece s of writing on a daily basis contributed to an increased number of words from baselin e stories to stories composed almost two months later. Another implication relates to writing fluency. Teachers of primary age children should consider teaching children fluent lette r formation so that their handwriting is legible. Once students have developed poor handwriting, overcoming this practice would take careful guided practice through adult supe rvision, discipline, and effort over a long period of time by the writer (L evin, 2002). This implication doe s not ignore the fact that
294 some people have graphomotor dysfunctions an d may need to resort to using a keyboard for written output. Instructional practices should be base d on students needs. Though this may sound like common sense, teachers need to be em powered to make decisions that are best suited for the population of th e class. Though some practices are supported by research, the practice may be more appropriate for the participants who were a part of the study. Similarly, teachers need to be reminded th at students may struggle with writing for a number of reasons, and these reasons may a ssume many different forms. According to Levin (2002) Writing is one of the most comp lex activities in which a child is asked to engage. In part, this is because the act of writing involves the rapid and precise mobilization and synchronization of multiple brain functions, strategies, academic skills, and thought processes (p.208). Therefore, writ ing difficulties need to be handled with great sensitivity and care. A checklist of writing elements may be a usef ul scaffold for students. As a visual cue, it may serve as a reminder to include specif ic writing skills or literary elements in their writing. The skill may be reinforced wh en the writer physically checks off that it has been included within the composition. As student s begin to appropriate these concepts or techniques in their writing, a new checklist can be introduced with new writing skills and strategies. Addressing revision possibilities to the whole class may not be as advantageous to a struggling writer as interac ting with him in a conference. Writing conferences with the student that alert him to a ny revision needs, while providing the opportunity to ask
295 questions for clarification and encourage th e use of authentic examples when possible may be more beneficial to struggling writers. Writing events such as modeled, share d, and independent writing along with guided practice, cooperative learning, and visu al field trips should be considered for inclusion in a comprehensive writing block. Th e writing events listed above facilitate writing instruction, and most were reported by the students to be helpful to some degree. Feedback, another writing event, though it looked differently in the two classrooms, informally evaluated students wr iting. Whether feedback is transparent in the case of a practice lik e Authors Chair (Calkins, 1994) in which the author is situated in front of the class to recei ve feedback from her peers a nd teacher, or whether feedback is opaque wherein the teacher reads portions of a writing piece and thus keeps the author anonymous, they both have been described as beneficial by the participants. Though these writing events are important compone nts of a balanced approach to teaching writing, the discourse between the teacher and students is crucia l. Praise and affirmation should be considerations toward motivating developing writers. Struggling writers may benefit from explicit instruction before prewriting activities such as brainstorming so that their thinking can be more focused rather than being random guesses. Students may grasp a concept more easily if examples are initia lly provided by the teacher rather than the teacher using students contributions to explain a writing skill or strategy. Implications for Future Research This study examined two classes at one grade level. With the increasing advocacy of differentiated instruction within whole group instruction, much more can be gained by examining other teachers and classrooms. A study of exemplary writing
296 teachers and struggling writers at other grad e levels and in other genres would help inform the growing body of writing instruction re search. More research is also necessary in other classrooms, schools, and district s around the country. Examination of writing instruction by exemplary teachers in privat e and parochial schools whose schools are not bound by the same mandates as public education may also se rve to inform research. Much more can be gained by examining ne w teachers and classrooms with different contexts for writing instruction. A final implication for future research may be a close examination of the effects that state-mandated writing assessments have on struggling writers that extend beyond the behaviors typically characteristic of struggling writers. Though there has been research in this area from classroom t eachers (Graves, 2004; Shelton & Fu, 2004), policy makers (Hillocks, 2002), and literacy research ers (Brindley & Schneider, 2002; Hillocks, 2002), continued research is needed to assist classroom teachers in integrating research best practices in writing instruction within the confines of preparing students for high stakes testing. Conclusion This study adds to the literature on exemplary writing teachers and struggling writers within thei r classroom by examining the na ture of the interaction during writing instruction a nd the subsequent responses of struggling writers. Previous studies have determined characteri stics of exemplary teachers and struggling writers, but few case studies have been conducted that specifically examine the relationship between them. T hough these teachers were respon sible for teaching their
297 students how to respond to state-mandated writ ing assessments, test preparation was in the context of sound writing instruction. The present study suggests that exemplary writing teachers facilitate the writing process through explicit instruction, mode led writing, shared writing, cooperative learning activities, feedback, and visual fiel dtrips. A gradual release model was employed in both classrooms to progressively move students from observation to independent writing. While brainstorming was used in bot h classrooms to share ideas, to springboard from others ideas, or to reconceptualize th eir classmates original ideas to offer new thoughts, this practice was not embraced by one of the participants. According to his belief system, using ideas generated by his cl assmates was cheating and conflicted with practices encouraged by both teachers. Several responses were employed by both te achers as they mediated students understanding. While both teachers often affi rmed students participation when their contributions were accurate, they also often affirmed students as participants in the learning event even when contributions we re vague or inaccurate. This type of affirmation appeared to be crafted to promote future pa rticipation. Praise was used sparingly. Both teachers interactions occasio nally contained elements of conversational talk thereby positioning them momentarily from the teacher role to a less authoritative role. One student in Mrs. Macs class used Sharing, a time when students read aloud their writing from the front of the class and received positive feedback from their peers and teacher, as an opportunity to position he rself as an entertaining writer. In both classrooms, risk-taking by the students a nd using power with st udents to create caring
298 relations that extend beyond politeness and sympathy to involve ideas such as action, effort, achievement, community, and accountab ility were central to creating a caring classroom culture. Struggling writers within these classrooms had similar writing behaviors, yet some behaviors were unique to the indivi dual writer. Students writing production increased over the duration of the study. The four stude nts in the two classrooms demonstrated the focused writing skills with in the narrow context of guided instruction. However, there was little evidence of the wri ting skills and strategies that had been the focus of Mrs. Rings instruction in Kyles and Rays independent writing. Though the focus writing skills and strategies were not a ll the same in both classes, there was more evidence of Mrs. Macs students including them in their writing. Most of the writing elements and skills that were the focus of instruction in Mrs. Macs classroom were concrete, such as specific transition words, as opposed to some abstract writing elements, such as red flags in Mrs. Rings class. Also, a check list with a list of writing elements may have contributed to students using these elements in their writing.
299 References Anderson, J. (1983). The architecture of cognition Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA Allington, R.L., & Johnson, P.H. (2002). Lessons from exemplary fourth-grade classrooms. New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Allington, R.L., Johnson, P.H., & Day, J.P. ( 2002). Exemplary fourth-grade teachers. Language Arts 79 462-466. Alvermann, D.E., OBrien, D.G., & Dillon, D.R. (1990). What teachers do when they say they're having discussions of content area reading assignments: a qualitative. Reading Research Quarterly, 25, 296-322. Anderson, A.B., Teale, W.B., & Estrada, E. (1980). Low income childrens preschool literacy experiences: Some naturalistic observations. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 2 (3), 59-65. Atwell, N. (1987). In the middle: Writing, reading, and learning with adolescents Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle: Writing, reading, and learning with adolescents (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Babu, S. and Mendro, R. (2003). Teacher accountability: HLM-based teacher effectiveness indices in the investigation of teacher effects on student achievement in a state assessment program. Paper prepared for the 2003 American Educational Research Association meeting, Chicago, Ill.
300 Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a uni fying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84 (2), 191-215. Barrs, M. (2000). Gendered literacy? Language Arts 77 287-293. Belenky, M., Clinchy, B., Goldberg er, N., & Tarule, J. (1986). Womens ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1987). An attainable versio n of high literacy: Approaches to teaching higher-order skills in reading and writing. Curriculum Inquiry 17 (1), 9-30. Berliner, D.C. (1994). Expertise: The wonder of exemplary performance. In J. N. Mangieri & C. C. Block (Eds.), Teaching thinking for teachers and students: Diverse perspectives (pp. 163-186). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace. Berliner, D.C., Stein, P., Sabers, D., Clar ridge, P.B., Cushing, K., & Pinnegar, S. (1988). Implications of research on pe dagogical expertise and experience for mathematics teaching. In D. A. Grouws, & T. J. Cooney (Eds.), Perspectives on research on effective mathematics teaching. Reston, VI: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Berliner, D.C., & Tikunoff, W.J. (1976). The California beginning teacher evaluation study: Overview of the ethnographic study. Journal of Teacher Education 27 (1), 24-30. Black, P., & D. Wiliam, (1998). A ssessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education March 1998, pp. 7-74. Block, C.C., & Mangieri, J.N. (1996). Reason to read: Thinking strategies for life through literature Boston: Pearson. Block, C.C., Oakar, M., & Hurt, N. (2002). The expertise of literacy teachers: A continuum from preschool to grade 5. Reading Research Quarterly 37 178-197. Bloome, D. (1985). Reading as a social process. Language Arts 62 (2), 134-142.
301 Bloome, D., Carter, S., Christian, b., Otto., S., & Shuart-Faris, N. (2005). Discourse analysis and the study of classroom language and literacy events Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bogdan, R. & Biklen, S.K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education Group. Bond, G.L., & Dykstra, R. (1997). The coopera tive research program in first-grade reading instruction [Origi nal work published 1967]. Reading Research Quarterly 32, 348-427. Borko, H. (1992). Learning to teach hard ma thematics: Do novice teachers and their instructors give up too easily? Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 23 194-222. Bottomley, D.M., Henk, W.A., & Melnk, S.A. (1997). Assessing childrens views about themselves as writers usi ng the Writer Self-Perception Scale. The Reading Teacher, 41 286-296. Bright, R. (1995). Writing instruction in the intermediate grades: What is said, what is done, what is understood Newark, DE: Internati onal Reading Association. Brindley, R. & Schneider, J. (2002). Writing inst ruction or destruction: Lessons to be learned from fourth-grade teacher s perspectives on teaching writing. Journal of Teacher Education. 53 328-341. Brophy, J. & Good, T. (1986). Teacher behavior and student achievement. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd ed.). New York: Macmillan, 328-75. Brown, J.S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of
302 learning. Educational Researcher 18 32-42. Brunel University. (2005). Researching Soci ety and Culture. Retrieved August 2, 2006, from http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~hsstcfs/glossary.htm. Bruner, J. (1973). The relevance of education. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Bruner, J.S. (1975). The ont ogenesis of speech acts. Journal of Child Language 2 1-19. Bruner, J.S. (1978). Games, social exch ange and the acquisition of language. Journal of Child Language, 5 391-401. Burrows, A. (1977). Composition: Prospect and retrospect. In H. Robinson (Ed.), Reading and writing instruction in th e United States: Historical trends Newark, DE: IRA. Calfee, R., Dunlap, K., & Wat, A. (1994). Auth entic discussion of texts in middle grade schooling: An analytic-narrative approach. Journal of Reading, 37 546-556. Calkins, L. (1994). The Art of Teaching Writing (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Cantrell, S.C. (1999). Effective teaching and literacy learning: A look inside primary classrooms. Reading Teacher 52 (4), 370-379. Carey, K. (2004). The real value of teachers: Using new information about teacher effectiveness to close the achievement gap. The Education Trust 8 1-44. Retrieved March 29, 2005, from http://sif.edreform.net/d ownload/151/Spring04.pdf Carter, K., Cushing, K., Sabers, D., Stein, P ., & Berliner, D.C. (1988). Expert-novice differences in perceiving and processing visual information. Journal of Teacher Education 39(3), 25-31. Carter, K., Sabers, D., Cushing, K., Pinnegar, P., & Berliner, D.C. (1987). Processing and using information about students: A study of expert, novice and postulant teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education 3 147-157. Cazden, C.B. (2001). Classroom Discourse: The Language of Teaching and Learning (2nd
303 ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Chi, M. T.H., Glaser, R., & Farr, M. (1988). The nature of expertise Hillsdale, NJ: ErIbaum. Christenson, S.L., Thurlow, M.L., Ysseldyke J.E., & McVicar, J. (1989). Critical instructional factors for st udents with mild handicaps: An integrative review. Remedial and Special Education, 10 (5), 21-31. Clark, C.M. & Peterson, P.L. (1975). Class size and college teaching: Does it really make any difference ? St. Joseph, JI: College of St Benedict. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED125381) Clark, C.M. & Peterson, P.L. (1986). Teachers thought process. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd ed.). New York: Macmillan, 25596. Cohen, E.G. (1994). Designing group work strategies for the heterogeneous classroom. New York: Teachers College Press. Collins, J.L. (1998). Strategies for struggling writers. New York: Guilford. Collins, K.M. & Collins, J.L. (1996). St rategic instruction for struggling writers. English Journal 86 (6), 54-59. Collinson, V. (1994). Teachers as learners: Exemplary te achers perceptions of personal and professional renewal San Francisco: Austin & Winfield. Collinson, V., & Killeavy, M. (1999). Exemplary teacher: Practicing an ethic of care in England, Ireland, and the United States. Journal for a Just and Caring Education 5 349-367. Connell, R.W. (1994). Poverty and education. Harvard Educational Review 64 125-
304 149. Cooper, P. & McIntyre, D. (1996). Effective teaching and learning Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press. Cramer, E., & Castle, M. (1994). Fostering the love of reading: The affective domain in reading education Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Creswell, J. (1994). Research design: Qualitative and quantitative approaches Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cushing, K.S., Sabers, D., & Berliner, D.C. (1989, January). Expert-novice research studies: Implications for teacher empo werment. In J.A. Kerrins (Ed.), Empowering the teaching learning proce ss, proceedings of the sixth annual conference on issues and tre nds in educational leadership Colorado Springs, CO. Daiute, C. (1990). The role of play in writing. Research in the Teaching of English, 24 447. Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). Educating teachers: The academys greatest failure or its most important future? Academe 85 (1), 26-33. Dalton, S. (1997). Five standards for effective pedagogy Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Dive rsity, and Excellence. Davies (2002). Feed back...feed forward: Using asse ssment to boost literacy learning. Primary Leadership. Retrieved March 22, 2005, from http://www.connect2learning.com/pdf/a rticles/FeedBackFeedForward.pdf Delpit, L.D. (1986). Skills and other dile mmas of a progressive black educator. Harvard Educational Review, 56, 379-385. Denzin, N.K. (1989). Interpretive Biography Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
305 Dixon-Krauss, L. (1996). Vygotsky in the classroom White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers. Dole, J.A., Duffy, G.G., Roehler, L.R., & Pearson, P.D. (1991). Moving from the old to the new: Research on r eading comprehens ion instruction Review of Educational Research, 61 239-264. Donovan, C.A., & Smolkin, L.B. (2002) Childre ns genre knowledge: An examination of K-5 students performance on multiple tasks providing differing levels of scaffolding. Reading Research Quarterly, 37 428-465. Donovan, M.S., Bransford, J.D., & Pellegrino, J.W. (1999). How people learning: Bridging research and practice Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Doyle, W.E. (1976). Classroom organizati on and management. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed.), (pp. 392-431). New York: Macmillan. Doyle, W.E. (1985). Effective teaching and the concept of master teacher. Elementary School Journal 86 (1), 27-34. Dreyfus, H.L., & Dreyfus, S.E. (1986). Mind over machine New York: Free Press. Duffy, G.G. & Hoffman, J.V. (1999). In pursuit of an illusion: The flawed search for a perfect method. The Reading Teacher 53 10-16. Duffy, G.G., Roehler, L.R., Sivan, E., Rackli ffe, G., Book, C., Meloth, M., Vavrus, L., Wesselman, R., Putnam, J., & Bassiri, D. (197). Effects of explaining the reasoning associated with using reading strategies. Reading Research Quarterly, 22 (3), 347-365. Dwyer, F.M. (1988). Examining the symbiotic relationship between verbal and visual
306 literacy in terms of facili tating student achievement. Reading Psychology, 9 365380. Dyson, A.H. (1999). Transforming transfer: Unru ly children, contrary texts, and the persistence of the pedagogi cal order. In A. Iran-Nejah & P.D. Pearson (Eds.), Review of research in education (Vol. 24, pp. 141-171). Washington, DC: AERA. Dyson, A.H., & Freedman. S.W. (2003). Writi ng. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, J.R. Squire, & J.M. Jensen (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (2nd ed.; pp. 967-992). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Englert, C.S. (1990). Unraveling the mysteries of writing through strategy instruction. In T. E. Scruggs & Y.L. Wong (Eds.), Intervention research in learning disabilities (pp. 180-223). New York: Springer Verlag. Englert, C.S., & Mariage, T.V. (1996). A soci ocultural perspective: Teaching ways-ofthinking and ways-of-learning in a literacy community. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 11 157-167. Englert, C.S., Raphael, T.E. (1989). Devel oping successful writers through cognitive strategy instruction. In J. E. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching (pp. 105-151). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Englert, C.S., Raphael, T.E., Anderson, L. M., Anthony, H.M., & Stevens, D.D.(1991). Making strategies and self-talk visible: Wr iting instruction in re gular and special education classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 28 337-372. Englert, C.S., Raphael, T., Fear, K., & A nderson, L. (1988). Students metacognitive knowledge about how to write informational texts. Learning Disability Quarterly 11 18-46.
307 Ericsson, K.A., & Smith, J. (1991). Toward a general theory of expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Faigley, L., Cherry, R., Jolliff ee, D., & Skinner, A. (1985). Assessing writers knowledge and processes of composing Norwood, NJ: Ablex Pub. Corp. Felman, S. (1987). Psychoananlysis and education: Teaching terminable and interminable. In S. Felman (Ed.), Jacques Lacan and the adventure of insight (pp. 1743). Fleming, S. (1995) Whose stories are validated? Language Arts, 72, 590-596. Florida Department of Education. (2003). 2002 FCAT Writing Scores Retrieved October 10, 2003, from http://www.firn.edu/doe/sas/fcat/fwinfopg.htm. Florio-Ruane, S. (1991). Conversation and na rrative in collaborative research: An ethnography of the written literacy forum. In C. Witherell & N. Noddings (Eds.), Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education (pp. 234-256). New York: Teachers College Press. FL schools FL elementary, middle, and high school informati on. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2004, from http://www.greatsc hools.net/cgi-bin/f l/achievement/2641 Fountas, I.C., & Pinnell, G.S. (1996). Guided reading: Good first teaching for all children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Freedman, S.W. (1993). Linking large-scale tes ting and classroom portfolio assessments of student writing. Educational Assessment, 1 27-52. Gable, R. K., & Wolf, M. (1993). Instrument development in the affective domain (2nd ed.). Boston: Kluwer-Nijhoff. Gallimore, R. & Tharp, R. (1990). Teaching mind in society: Teaching, schooling, and
308 literate discourse. In L. Moll (Ed.), Vygotsky and education: Instructional implications and applications of sociohistorical psychology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences New York: Basic Books. Gee, J.P. (1989). Literacy, discour se, and linguistics: Introduction. Journal of Education 171 5-60. Gee, J.P. (1999). An introduction to discourse analysis theory and method New York: Routledge. Gee, R. (2003). Discourse analysis: What makes it critical? In R. Rogers (Ed.), An introduction to critical disc ourse analysis in education Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Gersten, R., & Baker, S. (2001). Teaching expr essive writing to st udents with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis. The Elementary School Journal, 101 251-272. Glaser, B.G. & Strauss, A.L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company. Glaser, R. (1987). Thoughts on expertise. In C. Schooler & W. Schaie (Eds.), Cognitive functioning and social struct ure over the life course Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Glaser, R. (1990). Expertise. In M. W. Eysenk, A. N. Ellis, E. Hunt, & P. Johnson-Laird (Eds.), The Blackwell dictionar y of cognitive psychology Oxford, England: Blackwell Reference. Glasswell, K. (2001). Matthew effects in writing: The patte rning of difference in classrooms K-8. Reading Research Quarterly 36, 348-349.
309 Glasswell, K., Parr, J.M., & McNaughton, S. (2003) Four ways to work against yourself when conferencing with struggling writers. Language Arts 80, 291-298. Glesne, C., & Peshkin, A. (1992). Meeting qua litative inquiry. In C. Glesne & A. Peshkin (Eds.), Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (1-12). White Plains, NY: Longman. Good, (1983). Recent classroom research: Impli cations for teacher education. In D. C. Smith (Ed.), Essential knowledge fo r beginning educators Washington, D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, (55-64). Gormley, K.A., Hammer, J., & McDermott, P. (1993). Gender and ability differences in childrens writing Paper presented at the annu al meeting of the American Educational Research Asso ciation, Atlanta, GA. (ERI C Document Reproduction Service No. ED 384 599). Graham, S. (1990). The role of production f actors in learning disabled students compositions. Journal of Educational Psychology 82 781-791. Graham, S. (1997). Executive control in the re vising of students with learning and writing difficulties. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 223-234. Graham, S. & Harris, K.R. (1993). Self-re gulated strategy development: Helping students with learning probl ems develop as writers. Elementary School Journal 94 169-181. Graham, S. & Harris, K.R. (1994). Implicati ons of constructivism for teaching writing to students with special needs. The Journal of Special Education, 28 (3), 275-289. Graham, S. & Harris, K.R. (1997). It can be taught but it does not develop na turally: Myths and realities in writing instruction. School Psychology Review 26 414
310 424. Graham, S. & Harris, K.R. (1999). Assessmen t and intervention in overcoming writing difficulties: An illustration from the self -regulated strategy development model. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 30 255-264. Graham, S., & Harris, KR. (2002). The road less traveled: Prev ention and intervention in written language. In K. Butler & E. Silliman (Eds.), Speaking, reading, and writing in children with l anguage learning disabilities (pp. 119-217). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Graham, S., Harris, K.R., MacArthur, C., & Schwartz, S. (1991). Writing and writing instruction for students with learning di sabilities: Review of a research program. Learning Disability Quarterly 14 89-114. Graves, D.H. (1973). Sex differe nces in childrens writing. Elementary English 50 1101-1106. Graves, D.H. (1976). Lets get rid of the welfare mess in the teaching of writing. Language Arts 53 645-651. Graves, D.H. (1983). Writing: Teachers and children at work Portmouth, NH: Heinemann. Graves, D.H. (1994). A fresh look at writing Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Greene, M. (1986). Philosophy and te aching. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan. Green, J.L., & Bloome, D. (1997). Ethnography and ethnographers of and in education: A situated perspective. In S.B. Heath, J. Flood, & D. Lapp (Eds.), Handbook for research in the communicative and visual arts (pp. 181-202). New York:
311 Macmillan. Grossman, P. (1987). A passion for language: The case st udy of Colleen, a beginning English teacher. (Knowledge growth in a profession Technical Report). Stanford, Stanford University. Grossman, P. (1991). Mapping the terrain. In H. Waxman & H. Walberg (Eds.), Effective teaching: Current research Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Corporation. Gutierrez, K., Baquedano-Lopez, P ., & Alvarez, H. (March,1998). Building a culture of collaboration through hybrid language practices Paper presented at meetings of the American Educational Resear ch Association, San Diego, CA. Hallden, G. (1997). Competence and conn ection: gender and generation in boys narratives. Gender and Education 9 307-316. Hallden, G. (1999). To be, or not to be: Absurd and humor istic descriptions as a strategy to avoid idyllic life stories boys wr ite about family life. Gender and Education 11 469-479. Harris, K.R., & Graham, S. (1996a). Making the writing process work: Strategies for composition and self-regulation. Cambridge, MA: Brookline. Harris, K.R., & Graham, S. (1996b). Memo to constructivist: Skills count, too. Educational Leadership, 53 26-29. Harris, K.R., & Schmidt, T., & Graham, S. ( 1998). Every child can write: Strategies for composition and self-regulation in the writing process. In K. Harris, S. Graham, & D. Deshler (Eds.), Teaching every child every day: Learning in diverse schools and classrooms (pp. 131-167). Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. Harvey, S., & Goudis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Te aching comprehension to enhance understanding. New York: Steinhouse Publishers.
312 Hashweh, M. (1987). Effects of subject matter knowledge in teaching biology and physics. Teaching and Teacher Education 3 109-120. Hatano, G. (1993). Time to merge Vygotskia n and constructivist conceptions of knowledge acquisition. In E. Forman, N. Minick, and C. A. Stone (Eds.), Context for learning: sociocultural dynamics in childrens development. (pp. 153-166). Heald, S. (1997). Events without witness: Living/teaching difference within the paternalist university. Curriculum Studies, 5 (1), 39-48. New York: Oxford University Press. Henk, W.A., Melnick, S.A. (1992). The initia l development of a scale to measure perception of self as reader. In C.K. Kinzer & D.J. Lei (Eds.) Literacy research, theory, and practice: Views from many pe rspectives. Forty-first yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 11-117). Chicago: National Reading Conference. Henk, W.A., Melnick, S.A. (1995). The Read er Self-Perception Scale (RSPS): A new tool for measuring how children feel about themselves as readers. The Reading Teacher 48 470-482. Hillocks, G. (1984). What works in teach ing composition: A meta-analysis of experimental treatment studies. American Journal of Education, 93 (1), 133-170. Hillocks, G. (1986). Research on writing composition. Urbana, Illinois: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. Hillocks, G. (2002). The testing trap: How state writi ng assessments control learning New York: Teachers College Press. Hillocks, G., & Smith, M. W. (2003). Grammar and usage. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, J.R. Squire, & J.M. Jensen (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching language arts.
313 (591-603. Mahwah, NJ, and London: Lawrence Erlbaum. Housner, L.D., & Griffey, D.C. (1985). Teacher cognition: Differences in planning and interactive decision making between experi enced and inexperienced teachers. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 56 44-53. Hunt, S. (1995). Choice in the writing class: How do students decide what to write and how to write it? Quarterly of the National Writing Project and the Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy 17 (2), 7-11, 33. Jones, F. (2000). Tools for teaching. Fredric H. Jones & Associates. Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Resources for Teachers Inc. Karegianes, W., Pascarella, D., & Pslaum, S. (1980). The effects of the writing process of peer editing on low achieving tenth grade students. Journal of Educational Research 73 203-207. Kazanjian, H. & Lucas, G. (Producers), & Spielberg, S. (Director). (1981). The Adventures of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. [Motion Picture]. United States: Dreamworks. King, J. (1998). Uncommon caring: Learning from mean who teach young children New York: Teachers College Press. Klausmeier, H. J. (1985). Educational Psychology New York: Harper & Row. Kohn, A. (1999). Punished by rewards New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Kounin, J. (1970). Discipline and group management in classrooms New York: Holt, Rinehart. Krabbe, M.A., & TuIIgren, R. (1989, March). A comparison of exper ienced and novice teachers' routines and procedures during set and discussion instru ctional activity
314 segments. Paper presented at meetings of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Kuhn, D., Shaw, V., & Felton, M. (1997). Effect s of dyadic interaction on argumentative reasoning. Cognition and Instruction, 15 287-315. Landsmann, L.T. (1991). The conceptualizat ion of writing in the confluence of interactive models of developmen t. In L. T. Landsmann (Ed.), Culture, schooling, and psychological development: Human development. (pp. 87111). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing. Langer, J.A. (2002). Effective literacy in struction: Building successful reading and writing programs. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teaching of English. Latham, A.S., Gitomer, D., & Ziomek, R., (1999). What the tests tell us about new teachers. Educational leadership 56 (8), 23-26. LeCompte, M., & Preissle, J. (1993). Ethnography and qualitative design in educational research (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA : Academic Press. LeCompte, M., & Schensul, J. (1999). Analyzing and interpreting ethnographic data Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Leedy, P.D. (1997). Practical research: planning and design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Lensmire, T.J. (1994). When children write: Critical re -visions of the writing workshop New York: Teachers College Press. Lesley, M. (2003). A pedagogy of control: Worksheets and the special needs child. Language Arts 80 444-452. Levine, M. (2002). Educational care Cambridge: Educator s Publishing Service.
315 Lincoln, Y., & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. MacArthur, C., Schwartz, S., & Graham, S. (1991). A model for writing instruction: Integrating word processing and strategy instruction into a process approach to writing. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 6, 230-236. Many, J. (2002). An exhibition and analysis of verbal tapestries : Understanding how scaffolding is woven into the fabr ic of instructional conversations. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(4), 376-407. Mather, N. (1992). Whole language reading instruction for students with learning disabilities: Caught in the cross fire. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 7 87-95. McCarthey, S.J. (1994). Authors, text, and talk: The internal ization of dialogue from social interaction during writing. Reading Research Quarterly, 29 201-229. McCutchen, D. (1988). Functional automaticity in childrens writing: A problem of metacognitive control. Written Communication 5 306-324. McGill-Franzen, A., & Allington, R. L. (1991). The gridlock of low reading achievement: Perspectives on practice and policy. Remedial and Special Education 12(3), 20-30. McKenna, M.C., & Kear, D.J. (1990). Measurin g attitude toward r eading: A new tool for teachers. The Reading Teacher 43 626-39. Medley, D.M. (1977). Teacher competence and teacher ef fectiveness: A review of process-product research Washington, D. C: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
316 Mendro, R., Jordan, H., Gomez, E., Ande rson, M., and Bembry, K. (1998, April). An application of multiple linear regression in determining longitudinal teacher effectiveness. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego Merriam, S.B. (1988). The case study research in education San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Merriam, S.B. & Associates. (2002). Qualitative research in practice: Examples for discussion and analysis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Meyer, D.K. (1993). What is scaffolded instru ction? Definitions, dist inguishing features, and misnomers. In D.J. Leu & C.K. Kinzer (Eds.) Examining central issues in literacy research, theory, and practice. Forty-second yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 41-53). Chicago: Nati onal Reading Conference. Miles, M.B., Huberman, A.M. ( 1994).Qualitative data analysis. (2nd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Moll, L. (1990). Vygotsky and education: Instructional implications and a pplications of sociohistorical psychology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Morrow, L., Tracey, D., Wood., & Pressley, M. (1999). Characteristics of exemplary first-grade literacy instruction. The Reading Teacher 52 462-477. Murray, D. (1979). The listening eye: Reflections on the writing conference College English, 41, 13-18. Murray, D.M. (1984). Write to learn New York: CBS College Publishing. National Center for Educational Statistics ( 2003). The release of th e national assessment of educational progress (NAEP) The nati ons' report card: Writing 2002. Retrieved October 1, 2003, from
317 http://nces.ed.gov/commissioner/remarks2003/7_10_2003.asp. National Council of Teachers of English ( 2004). NCET beliefs about the teaching of writing. Retrieved, March 3, 2005 from http://www.ncte.org/prog/w riting/research/118876.htm. Newkirk, T. (1995). The writing conference as performance. Research in the Teaching of English, 29, 193-220. Newkirk, T. (2000). Misreading masculinity: Sp eculations on the great gender gap in writing Language Arts, 77 294-300. Nickel, J. (2001). When writing conferences don t work: Students retreat from teacher agenda. Language Arts, 79 136-147. Noddings, N. (1995) Teaching themes of care. Phi Delta Kappan 87, 675-679. Noddings, N. (2007). Philosophy of education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. (1991). Instructio nal discourse, student engagement, and literature achievement. Research in the Teaching of English, 25 261-290. Patai, R. Scribes. (2003). Grolier. Retrieved Oct. 10, 2003, from http://0-periodicals.grolier.com.novacat.nova.edu/cgibin/ebsco_bp_ea.py?docid=0349140&p roduct=ea&NoRec=1&StartRecNo=8 Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications. Pearson, P.D., & Gallagher, M.C. (1983). The instruction of reading comprehension. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8 317-344. Peterson, P.L., & Comeaux, M.A. (1987). Teache rs' schemata for classroom events: The mental scaffolding of teachers' thinking during classroom instruction. Teaching
318 and Teacher Education, 3 319-331. Peterson, S. (2002). Gender meanings in grad e eight students talk about classroom writing. Gender and Education, 14 351-366. Peterson, S. (Ed.). (2003). Untangling some knots in K-8 writing instruction Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Pearson, P.D., & Dole, J.A. (1987). Explicit comprehension instruct ion: A review of research and a new concep tualization of instruction. Elementary School Journal, 88 151165. Piaget, J. (1965). The moral judgment of the child. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Pinheiro, V. (1992). An operational model for motor skill diagnosis. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11 288-302. Pressley, M., Allington, R.L., Wharton-McD onald, R., Block, C.C., & Morrow, L.M. (2001). Learning to read: Lessons from exemplary first-grade classrooms. Solving problems in the teaching of literacy New York: The Guilford Press. Pressley, M., & Rankin, J. ( 1994). More about whole langu age methods of reading instruction for students at ri sk for early reading failure. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 9 (3),157-168. Pressley, M., Rankin, J., Yokoi L. (1996). A survey of instructional practices of outstanding primary-level literacy teachers. Elementary School Journal 96 363384. Pressley, M., Wharton-McDonald, R., Allingt on, R., Block, C., & Morrow, L. (1998). The nature of effective first -grade literacy instruction Albany, NY National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (ERIC Document
319 Reproduction Service No. ED 427338) Pressley, M, Yokoi, L., Ranki n, J., Wharton-McDonald, R., & Mistretta, J. (1997). A survey of the instructional pr actices of grade 5 teachers nominated as effective in promoting literacy. Scientific Studies of Reading 1 145-160. Purcell-Gates, V., Duke, N.L., & Martineau, J.A. (2007). Learning to read and write genre-specific text: Roles of authenti c experience and explicit teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 42 (1), 8-45. Reyes, M. (1992). Challenging venerable a ssumptions: Literacy instruction for linguistically different students. Harvard Educational Review, 62, 427-446. Rogers, R. (2003). An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Rosenblatt, L. (1978). The reader, the text, the poem Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Rosenshine, B. (1987). Explicit teaching and teacher training. Journal of Teacher Education, 38(3), 34-36. Routman, R. (2000). Conversations: Strategies for te aching, learning, and evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Routman, R. (2005). Writing essentials Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Sabers, D., Cushing, K., & Berliner, D.C. ( 1991). Differences among teachers in a task characterized by simultaneity, multidimensionality and immediacy. American Educational Research Journal 28 63-88. Sadoski, M., Willson, V., & Norton, N. (1997) The relative contributions of researchbased composition activities to writing im provements in the lower and middle
320 grades. Research in the Teaching of English 31 (1), 120-150. Schneider, J.J. (2001). No blood, guns, or ga ys allowed!: The silencing of the elementary writers. Language Arts, 78 415-425. Schools Data. (2003). Retrieved Novemb er 20, 2004, from http://www.schoolsdata.com/schools/html. Shulman, L. (1986) Those who understa nd: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher 15 (2), 4-14. Shulman, L (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57 (1), 1-22. Singley, M.K., & Anderson, J.R. (1989). Transfer of Cognitive Skill Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Slavin, R.E. (1992). When and why does coope rative learning increase achievement? Theoretical and empirical perspectives. In R. Hertz-Lazarowitz & N. Miller (Eds.), Interaction in cooperati ve groups: The theoretical anatomy of group learning (pp. 145-173). New York: Cambridge University Press. Solley, B. (2000). Writing: past, present, and future. In B. Solley (Ed.), Writers workshop: Reflections of elem entary and middle school teachers Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Sperling, M (1990). I want to talk to each of you: Collaboration and the teacher-student writing conference. Research in the Teaching of English 24 279-321. Sperling, M. (1991). Dialogues of deliberation: Conversation in the teacher-student writing conference. Written Communication, 8 131-162. Sperling, M., & Freedman, S.W. (1987). A good girl writes like a good girl: Written
321 response and clues to the teaching/learning process. Written Communication 3 343-363. Spivey, N.N., & King. J.R. (1989). Readers as writers: Composing from sources. Reading Research Quarterly, 24 (1), 7-26. Stake, R.E. (1994). Case studies. In N.K. Denzin, & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 236-246). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Stake, R.E. (1995). The art of case study research Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications. Steinberg, R.(1985). Introduction on derived facts strategies in addition and subtraction. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 16 337-355. Stone, A. 1993. What is missing in the metaphor of scaffolding. In E. Forman, N. Minick, & C. Stone (Eds.), Contexts for learning: Sociocultu ral dynamics in childrens development (167-183). New York: Oxford University Press. Strauss, A.L. (1993). Qualitative analysis for social scientists. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics for qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Styslinger, (1999). Mars and Venus in my cl assroom: Men go to their caves and women talk during peer revision. English Journal 88 (3), 50-57. Suber, P. (1999). Paternalism. In C. B. Gray (Ed.), Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia (pp. 632-635). New York: Garland Publishers. Sulzby, E. & Teale, W. (1991). Emergent li teracy. R. Barr, P.B. Mosenthal, P.D.
322 Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. 3, pp. 727-757). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Taylor, B.M., Pearson, P.D., Clark, K., & Wa lpole, S. (2000). Effective schools and accomplished teachers: Lessons about primary-grade reading instruction in low-income Schools. Elementary School Journal 101 121-165. Tharp, R. & Gallimore, R. (1988). Rousing minds to life: Teaching, learning, and schooling in social context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thorndike, E.L. (1913). Educational Psychology. New York: Columbia University Press. Tobin, K. & Fraser. B., (1991). Learning from exemplary teachers. In H. Waxman & H. Walberg (Eds.), Effective teaching: Current research. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Corporation: Tompkins, G.E. (2002). Struggling r eaders are struggling writers, too. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 18 175-193. Tronto, J. (1994). Moral boundaries: A political argument for an ethic of care New York: Routledge. Tronto, J. (1998). An ethic of care. Generations, 22 (3), 15-20. Turner, J., & Paris, S.G. (1995). How literacy tasks influence childrens motivation for literacy. The Reading Teacher 48, 662-73. U.S. Census Bureau (2005). Retrieved August 08, 2006 from http://censtats.census.go v/data/FL/05012105.pdf#page=2 Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The developm ent of higher psychological processes [Original work published 1934]. (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner,
323 & E. Souberman, Eds. & Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Walberg, H.J. (1991). Productive teaching a nd instruction: Asse ssing the knowledge base. In H. Waxman & H. Walberg (Eds.), Effective Teaching: Current Research. Berkeley, CA: McCutchan Publishing Corporation. Walberg, H.J., & Waxman, H. (1983). The relation of teaching and learning Contemporary Education Review 2, 103-120. Walkerdine, V. (1990). Schoolgirl fictions. London: Verso. Weaver, C. (1996). Teaching gramma r in the context of writing. English Journal, 85 (7), 15-23. Wells, G. (1993). Re-evaluating the IRF seque nce: A proposal for the articulation of theories of activity and discourse for the an alysis of teaching and learning in the classroom. Linguistics and Education, 5, 1-37. Wertsch, J.V. (1984). The zone of proximal deve lopment: Some conceptual issues. In B. Rogoff and J.V. Wertsch (Eds.), Childrens learning in th e zone of proximal development (pp. 7-18). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Wertsch, J.V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wertsch, J.V. (1991). A sociocultural approach to socially shared cognition. In L.B. Resnick, J.M. Levine, & S.D, Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition (pp. 85-100). Washington, DC. Ameri can Psychological Association. Wiencek, J., & OFlahavan, J.F. (1991). From teacher-led to per discussion about literature: Suggestions for making the shift. Language Arts, 71 288-298. Wilcox, B. (1997). Two roles of a teach er during a writ ing conference. The Reading Teacher, 50 508-511.
324 Wood, D., Bruner, J.S., & Ross, G. (1976). Th e role of tutoring in problem-solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17 89-100. Wray, D., Medwell, J., Fox, R., & Poulson, L. (2000). The teaching practices of effective teachers of literacy. Educational Review 52 75-85. Yin, R.K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Yowell, C.M., & Smylie, M.A. (1999). Self -regulation in democratic communities. Elementary School Journal 99, 469-490. Zimmerman, A. (1989). A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology 81 329-339.
325 Bibliography Aardema, V. (1975). Why mosquitoes buzz in people s ears: A West African tale New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc. Blume, J. (1972). Tales of a fourth grade nothing. New York: Dutton. Blume, J. (1980). Superfudge New York: Dutton. Blume, J. (2002). Double Fudge New York: Dutton. McFarland, L.R. (2000). The pirate parrot. New York: Tricycle Press. Van Allsburg, C. (1992). The widows broom New York: Hough Mifflin Company.
327 Appendix A: Characteristics of Exemplary Teachers Listed below are statements about exempl ary teaching. Please read each statement carefully. Then circle the letters that s how how much you agree or disagree with the statement. Use the following scale: SA = Strong Agree A = Agree D = Disagree SD = Strongly Disagree N = Not Observed Example: I think Barbie is a super model. SA A D SD N This teacher is passionate about the subject(s) s/he teaches. SA A D SD N Develops a literate classroo m environment where students written work is displayed and the room is filled with writing and reading material This teacher is committed to, cares about, and advocates for actions that improve hi s/her students lives. SA A D SD N Respects students writing and offers a safe environment for students to take risks This teacher develops highly eff ective instructional repertoires and knows how and when to combine instructional SA A D SD N methods Adjusts teaching style and learning pace as needed Conducts minilessons that ar e responsive to current needs of students Provides guided assistance with writing assignments Models writing This teacher assesses childr en and relates progress to previous experiences SA A D SD N Conferences with students about their current writing efforts and helps them establish goals to guide their writing Monitors students progress as writers as well as their strengths and needs This teacher provides students with strategies to support independent learning SA A D SD N Shared writing, guided writing, modeled writing,
328 Appendix A: (Continued) independent writing, graphic or ganizers, text structure This teacher writes with his/her students. SA A D SD N This teacher allows students to select their own writing topics or modify teacher assignments SA A D SD N This teacher teachers grammar and mechanics within the context of oral read ing and writing. SA A D SD N Please list any awards, recogni tions, or anedcotal commen ts about the teacher that assisted you in recommending him/her for the study. Please list your association w ith the teacher that assisted you in recommending him/her for the study. (e.g. peer teacher)
329 Appendix B: The Writer Self-Perception Scale Listed below are statements about writing. Please read each st atement carefully. Then circle the letters th at show how much you agree or disagree with the statement. Use the following scale: SA = Strong Agree A = Agree U = Undecided D = Disagree SD = Strongly Disagree Example: I think Batman is the gr eatest super hero.SA A U D SD If you are really positive that Batman is th e greatest, circle SA (Strongly Agree). If you think that Batman is good bu t maybe not great, circle A (Agree). If you cant decide whether or not Batman is the greatest, ci rcle U (Undecided). If you think that Batman is not all that great, circle D (Disagree). If you are really positive that Batman is not the greatest, circle SC (Strongly Disagree). 1. I write better than other kids in my class. SA A U D SD 2. I like how writing makes me feel inside. SA A U D SD 3. Writing is easier for me than it used to be. SA A U D SD 4. When I write, my organization is better than the other kids in my class. SA A U D SD 5. People in my family think I am a good writer. SA A U D SD 6. I am getting better at writing. SA A U D SD 7. When I write, I feel calm. SA A U D SD 8. My writing is more interesting than my classmates writing. SA A U D SD 9. My teacher thinks my writing is fine. SA A U D SD 10. Other kids think I am a good writer. SA A U D SD
330Appendix B: (Continued) 11. My sentences and paragraphs fit together as well as my classmat es sentences and paragraphs. SA A U D SD 12. I need less help to write well than I used to. SA A U D SD 13. People in my family think I write pretty well. SA A U D SD 14. I write better now than I could before. SA A U D SD 15. I think I am a good writer. SA A U D SD 16. I put my sentences in a better order than the other kids. SA A U D SD 17. My writing has improved. SA A U D SD 18. My writing is better than before. SA A U D SD 19. Its easier to write well now than it used to be. SA A U D SD 20. The organization of my writing has really improved. SA A U D SD 21. The sentences I use in my writing stick to the topic more than the ones the other kids use. SA A U D SD 22. The words I use in my writing are better than the ones I used before. SA A U D SD 23. I write more often than other kids. SA A U D SD 24. I am relaxed when I write. SA A U D SD 25. My descriptions are more interesting than before. SA A U D SD 26. The words I use in my writing are better than the ones other kids use. SA A U D SD 27. I feel comfortable when I write. SA A U D SD 28. My teacher thinks I am a good writer. SA A U D SD
331 Appendix B: (Continued) 29. My sentences stick to the topic better now. SA A U D SD 30. My writing seems to be more clear than my classmates writing. SA A U D SD 31. When I write, the sentences and paragraphs fit together bette r than they used to. SA A U D SD 32. Writing makes me feel good. SA A U D SD 33. I can tell that my te acher thinks my writing is fine. SA A U D SD 34. The order of my se ntences make sense now. SA A U D SD 35. I enjoy writing. SA A U D SD 36. My writing is more clear than it used to be. SA A U D SD 37. My classmates would say I write well. SA A U D SD 38. I choose the words I use in my writing more carefully now. SA A U D SD
332 Appendix C: The Writer Self-P erception Scale Scoring Sheet Student name ___________________________________________________________ Scoring key: 5=Strongly Agree (SA) 4=Agree (A) 3=Undecided (U) 2=Disagree (D) 1=Strongly Disagree (SD) Scales General Specific Obse rvational Social Physiological Progress (GPR) Progress (SP) Comparis on (OC) Feedback (SF) States (PS) 3. _____ 22. _____ 1. _____ 5. _____ 2. _____ 6. _____ 25. _____ 4. _____ 9. _____ 7. _____ 12. ____ 29. _____ 8. _____ 10. _____ 24. _____ 14. ____ 31. _____ 11._____ 13. _____ 27. _____ 17. ____ 34. _____ 16._____ 28. _____ 32. _____ 18. ____ 36. _____ 21. _____ 33. _____ 35. _____ 19. ____ 38. _____ 23. _____ 37. _____ 20. ____ 26. _____ 30. _____ Raw Scores Raw score ___ of 40 ___ of 35 ___ of 45 ___ of 35 ___ of 30 Score Interpretation GPR SPR OC SF PS High 39+ 34+ 37+ 32+ 28+ Average 35 29 30 27 22 Low 30 24 23 22 16
333 Appendix D: Teacher Interview Guide 1. How long have you been teaching? 2. How is it that you came to be an elementary teacher? 3. How is it that you came to be a fourth grade teacher? 4. How would you describe yourself as a teacher? 5. Tell me about the students in your class. 6. What are the goals for your students? 7. How would you describe your approach to teaching writings? 8. Describe ways in which you teach writing? 9. How do you know when you are successful? 10. What have been some of your greatest successes? 11. What challenges do you face in teaching writing? 12. What writing skills do you expect incoming 4th graders to have mastered? 13. How did you learn to teach writing? 14. In what ways, if any, have statewide acad emic testing affected your approach to teaching writing? 15. What are some ways that you help children when you notice they are having difficulty with writing? 16. Are there any strategies that you have noticed are more effective for good writers/struggling writers? 17. Is there some way that you have organized your instruction for writing class that you have noticed is particularly beneficial?
334 Appendix E: Transcription System Used in the Study Description Key Text or reading the text of the writingBold Nonverbal behaviors [ ] Description or explanation ( ) Loud talking ALL CAPS Representation of sounds Phonetic representation Teacher is speaking MR MM Student is speaking First three letters of name Unintelligible utterance X Change in speakers Double space
335 Appendix F: Sample Checklist of Writing Elements Used in Mrs. Macs Classroom
336 Appendix G: Kyles August Baseline Everyone probuly found some thing in ther e life. Im going to tell you a story what I found. One night me and my friend Bobby was play ing in my backyard. When we herd a loud noise. W saw a flying object h eading for us. It was a metor. Me and my friend was scared when it h it the ground. Bobby and I was excited to see a real metor. Me and Bobby picked it up with a shovle. It brocke. I took one half and Bobby toke the other.
337 Appendix H: Kyles The Bad Day
338 Appendix H: (Continued)
339 Appendix H: (Continued)
340 Appendix I: Kyles The Toy Store (Original spelling is left intact.) On a saturday morning I have never be lieved what happened. My mom woke me up at 6:00 pm. She said to brush my teeth a nd put on clean clothes. When I got done we went out the door. My mom was dressed. I hopped into the jeep and my mom got into the jeep to start it. I told my mom were are we going. She said its a suprise. It was a long ride before the sign said five mins to Tampa. Then my mom finely told me that we are gong to Hobby Town U.S.A. We looked at cool stuff. I ran off to see something eles. I played with it intill I heard the doors lock. I saw my mom leave and a minite la ter she was gone. I played with my favorite toys. When I saw a sn ack bar I at dinner there. I was sad. A few hours later my mom came back with the own Tom. She was worried about me. I picked up all the toys and putted them back. Tom opened the door. I dashed out the door and huged my mom. My mom said I was grounded. I yelled MoM!!! after she said Im just jokeing.
341 Appendix J: Rays August Baseline
342 Appendix K: Rays The Bad Day One Friday day I had a really bad day. I think it is the worst day I ever had. Hear is my story about my realy bad day. It all started when I got late everyone got up late, no one set the alarm. I was tardy. I had to feed my ownself and I had to get on my bike and ride to school. I was so late the corsewalk person wasnt even there. When I got in the classroom they have already finished a writing story. Thats how I knew it was going to be a bad day. At P.E. I fell down when when was doing jumping jacks it felt like I broke my ancle. It hert so bad I trided to teel cauc h but they said you dont have a slip. So we lined up for laps cauch said go a nd I didnt hear her say it so I got a bad start. I was just about to pass the first place person but he stuc k his foot out and triped me. I thought that was mean and he was laughing the whole time. Then I went to go get water and when I put my head down the water went rite into my face. I knew it was going to be a bad day, there was like a crouse on me. When we came back form P.E. I had to read 3 storys and they wre the longest story. I never got to comp. I was like how am I going to get comp done. Then out of the blue she said we are grading comp in a few minutes. I was like how am I going to get this story down and do comp. Finaly the bell rang and I was so happy to get out of there my mom was seting there waiting for me. She said how was your day and I said just fine.
343 Appendix L: Rays The Magic Pencil (Original spelling is left intact.) One strange morning I looked out the window and the clouds looked like pencils. And then one feel out of the sky. it looked like it landed at school. Then I got ready. I put on my favirate cl othes that I ware rarl y. I got in the car and we went to the school and the sky still l ooked the same it had pencils as clouds and a red sky. When I got there I sat in the line for about 20 min. I knew something was wrong. When I got in the class there was this pencil on my desk and it had Gators on it go Gators yeah. I asked everyone if that wa s there pencil and they said no. Thre was a test coming today and I didnt study. Then something amazing happened . The pencil started to write for me. I wa s like o my coch I said under my breath. I thought I was dreaming. I was so shocked. I mean I was realy shocked. It got all the answers rite. I knew I was goi ng to make a 100 on my test. After luach we were having the test and I knew I didnt have to worrie about anything. But the pencil got made at me. I gues he tried to poke me. David needed a pencil I gave it to him, but when I wa s leaving the pencil was on my desk.
344 Appendix M: Colleens Prewriting for Invisible for a Day
345 Appendix N: Colleens Saving Someones Life (Original spelling is left intact.) I was at the butiful beacfh as I playing in the water. Peaple where yeped Who but I saw a litte gril downing. I raced over thar it was my siter Colleen A sea mosther was in the water and I was scared my sitner would drown. After that I thought what I could do to help my si ster. I gave her flotey and a flash loight. I think that she would have pefet partsun. Wh en she got to the wate r it came back. When she sowed her flashlight is was not sared. Later when she got out of the wather. I kne w we got something out of our hands. The nest thing I tried was to give her 100 ponds of safom. To help her, I gave her a litte boat too. So this time I whet with her. I brined a fishing hook with a sraphook that was pefect to see what it is. I gracefly siwn with my litte siter. In addition when I felt a tug. I relled it in it was a mughaps. He was as big a gray houd bus and his eys where as dark as a shadow. I exlmed Ohno. Then it talcked and announced plase do not go in the whather for an hour or I will eat you. So me and Colleen wating for an hour and he was gon for good. At last me and my sister where OK!!! Now wa n we go to the bach. We be cous. If you run into a sea moulter. You c ould try some of these things.
346 Appendix O: Colleens Being Invisible for a Day
347 Appendix O: (Continued)
348 Appendix P: Colleens Cannot Believe What You See in Your Kitchen
349 Appendix P: (Continued)
350 Appendix Q: Chads Prewriting for When You Found An Object
351 Appendix R: Chads When You Found An Object
352 Appendix S: Chads Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico
353 Appendix S: (Continued)
354 Appendix T: Chads Saving Someones Life After school I am a car rider. One day my dad almost ran out of gas, so we went to the gas station. When all of a sudden a man who was driving to the pump tried to get there quicker, and when he didnt he out and started arguing. Since my dad thought he was already pumping gas he told him that it will take a few more minutes. But the guy di dnt accept that. He just kept arguing, maybe it sounds like it took a long time but it was only twenty second s before he stoped. My dad told him it wasnt that big of a deal. The man just stood there stairing at my and announced Im fourty miles away from my house. Thats when I jumped in and tried to knock some sense into him. I was trying to talk him out of it. But about 2 minutes later he told me that talking him out of it wasnt going to work. When he took out a gun he started to get seri os. I asked the guy why hes arguing and he told me that his dad died. Then after a wh ile he exclaimed my dads funeral is today, and then he added at least you have a dad. I told him, put the gun down. When everyone heard me say that they gasped and ran away like they saw a ghos t or a pettratiing dog. After a while he got tired of me and my dad but mostly me so he started shooting at me. So I ran like crazy. But it made things worse. Then, I got another brilliant idea. I was going to kick the gun out of his hand. SO I ran I ran as fast as the violecetey of a speeding bullet. And then when the time was ri ght I kicked the gun out of his hand but my brillia-nts failed me.
355 Appendix U: Concept Introducti on in Mrs. Rings Classroom Date Introduced Concept 8 -9 Elements of narrative 9-22 Indenting 10-04 Red flags/transition 10-05 Adding detail 10-06 Sentence Variety 10-11 Variety in Words synonyms for big, pretty, good, bad happy, sad 10-12 Precise language Ve rbs that show emotion 10-18 10-24 Show, Dont Tell 10-25 10-28 Dialogue synonyms for said 10-29 Onomatopoeia
356 Appendix V: Concept Introducti on in Mrs. Macs Classroom Date Concept Resource 11-2 Idioms Intro 2-word descriptions Narrative writing samples Worksheet 11-3 2-word descriptions Monologue/dialogue Narrative writing samples worksheet 11-4 Monologue/dialogue Narrative writing samples Worksheet Teacher model 11-8 Catchy beginnings Authors Chair Writing sample Independent writing 1110 Graphic Organizer 5-Ws Checklist for self-monitoring Tell about a time when you found an object at the park. Shared writing 1117 Adverbs introductory paragraph Worksheet Sentences using 5ws folder with 3 topics for narrative checklist Introductory paragraph shared writing (Alien) 1118 Adverbs Plot Homework Shared writing 1st event 1119 Adverbs plot Homework Shared writing 2nd attempt Students write 3rd attempt independently 1129 Idioms New prompt swimming in Gulf Worksheet Students write for 15 minutes Authors Chair 1130 Idioms Worksheet Students write for 15 minutes Authors Chair 12-1 Similes Worksheet Finish swimming in Gulf story 12-2 Similes Humor Worksheet Authors Chair Sample 12-6 Looking for elements in writing sample New prompt saving someones life Students highlight elements Students write for 15 minutes Authors Chair 12-7 Looking for elements in writing sample Showing, Not Telling Students highlight elements Worksheet Students write for 15 minutes 12-8 Showing, Not Telling Homework Finish saving someones life story 1213 New prompt Getting rid of extra food Students write for 15 minutes NO CHECKLIST
3571214 Great beginnings Action, Question, Picture Worksheet Students write for 15 minutes Authors Chair 1215 Great beginnings Action, Question, Picture List of transition words List of feeling words List of synonyms for saw Synonyms for hurry like pretty Homework Cooperative Learning Finish getting rid of extra food story
About the Author Ruth Sylvester received a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Tennessee Temple University in 1981 and a M.A. in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida in 1991. She has be en an educator for over 20 years in which she has been an elementary classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, and an assistant principal for curriculum and instruction. She en tered the Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida in 2000. Wh ile in the Ph.D. program, Ms. Sylvester taught several literacy courses, presented at regional and natio nal literacy conferences assisted with the Suncoast Young Authors Celebratio n, and contributed to two books.