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An Autoethnographic Account: A Description of Nine Young Chi ldren's Literacy Learning Experiences in a Summer Camp by Melinda G. Adams 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: Susan Homan, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Janet Richards, Ph.D. William Young, Ed.D. Suzanne Quinn, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 10, 2009 Keywords: kidwatching, reading, observation, constant com parison, empowerment Copyright 2009, Melinda G. Adams
Dedication Dr. Homan once told me, You are fortunate to have Dr. Richards on your committee because she is a true student advocate. I ag ree wholeheartedly. Dr. Richards has been by my side, taking my side, throughout the disser tation process. I am indebted to her. She is one of the most intelligent people I know. S he provides advice that is so poignant, so on point; I know I am in the presence of a genius. I would not be graduating this semester if it werent for her. She is a wonderf ul professor, and I thank her for her hard work in getting me through this dissertation. Did you ever meet someones family and think to yourself No wonder she is such a good person! Everyone in her family is wonderful! Thats how I feel about Dr. Homan. After meeting her sister, mom, and dad, I can se e where she gets her welcoming, kind, and gentle nature. She is the kind of person every student needs to get through school. God gave her the gift not only of teaching but of counseling and soothing people when they most need it. I respect her work and the pers on she is. I thank her from the bottom of my heart and I wish her a wonderful retirem ent in the spring! My husband, Eric, was there for me when I decided to star t my Ph.D., when I had to study for the GRE, and through eight years of tears, joy, papers, homework assignments, and stress. I counted on him for taking tim e out of work to watch the kids on numerous occasions while I took care of school matters I hope he knows I could not have made it through this Ph.D. program without him. He i s a special man.
Acknowledgements Dr. Quinn agreed to stay up until 10:00 P.M. for my final defe nse. She is in a different time zone and we interacted through skype. I w ill forever be grateful to her for this. Her kindness and expertise in early childhood were t antamount to my successful defense. Dr. Young came through for me many times and had such a unique pe rspective in the final defense. I couldnt have asked for a more passi onate individual. Dr. Shapiro was the outside chairperson for my final defense. He made me think through some implications I had not thought of before. He is a brilliant and compassionate man.
i Table of Contents List of Tables...................................... ................................................... ..........................v Abstract............................................ ................................................... ...........................vi Chapter One -Introduction........................... ................................................... ...............1 Rationale and Context for Study........................ ................................................... 1 Background of the Researcher........................... ................................................... 5 My Notes........................................... ................................................... .............11 Statement of the Problem........................... ................................................... .....13 Purpose of the Study.................................. ................................................... .....15 Definition of the Terms............................ ................................................... .......18 Significance of the Study.............................. ................................................... ..20 Questions Guiding the Study............................. .................................................21 Limitations......................................... ................................................... .............28 Site............................................... ................................................... ..................29 Summary............................................ ................................................... ............29 Chapter Two Literature Review....................... ................................................... ........31 Rationale and Context............................... ................................................... ......31 Goal of the Literature Review........................ ................................................... .35 Problems in Education Represented in the Literature...... ....................................35 Multicultural Instruction............................ ................................................... .....36 Discussing Multiculturalism........................... ........................................36 Living Lives Outside the Classroom....................... ................................44 Living Lives Inside the Classroom...................... ....................................45 Empowering.......................................... .................................................48 Literacy Instruction................................ ................................................... .........50 Using Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)...... .......................50 Using Functional Literacy........................... ...........................................54 Using Prior Knowledge................................. .........................................56 Motivating.......................................... ................................................... .57 Summer Learning...................................... ................................................... ......58 Providing Support........................................ ...........................................58 Using Summer Learning to Improve Achievement............... ..................61 Making Summer Learning More Effective................... ...........................65 Conclusion......................................... ................................................... .............68 Chapter Three -Design.............................. ................................................... ...............70 Purpose of the Study.................................. ................................................... .....70
ii Pilot Study Findings.................................... ................................................... ....72 Qualitative Inquiry.................................. ................................................... ........73 Ethnography............................................ ................................................... ........75 Autoethnography........................................ ................................................... ....77 Self Study.......................................... ................................................... .............78 Participants....................................... ................................................... ..............80 Researchers Lens................................... ................................................80 Language.............................................. ..................................................81 Gender.............................................. ................................................... ...81 Social Class....................................... ................................................... ..82 Race / Ethnicity.................................... ..................................................82 Teacher............................................ ................................................... ...83 Student-Researcher................................... ..............................................83 Mother.............................................. ................................................... ...83 Jay................................................ ................................................... .......84 Purposeful Sampling.................................. ............................................84 Data Collection.................................... ................................................... ...........86 Fieldwork / Participant Observation................... .....................................86 Documents........................................... ..................................................88 Organization......................................... ..................................................89 Research Questions................................... ................................................... ......90 Analysis........................................... ................................................... ...............92 Constant Comparison................................. ............................................92 Atlas.ti........................................... ................................................... ......93 Findings.............................................. ................................................... 94 Quality............................................. ................................................... ...94 Subjectivity.......................................... ..................................................94 Credibility......................................... ................................................... ..95 Alternatives to Validation........................... ............................................96 Conclusion......................................... ................................................... .............97 Chapter Four A Portrait of the Community Center and Li teracy Camp........................98 Chapter Five -Data Analysis and Findings................ .................................................104 Introduction......................................... ................................................... .........104 Data............................................... ................................................... ...............107 Narrative Introduction............................... ................................................... ....114 Narrative Analysis.................................. ................................................... ......118 Code One Assimilate................................ .........................................118 Code Two Connections................................. .....................................122 Code Three Constructing Knowledge...................... ..........................129 Code Four Empowerment.............................. ....................................132 Code Five Inquiring.................................. .........................................136 Code Six Invention / Miscue.......................... ....................................136 Code Seven -Literacy History........................ .....................................140
iii Code Eight Meaningful................................. .....................................144 Code Nine Interruptions............................. ........................................150 Code Ten -Personal Language......................... ...................................150 Code Eleven Respond................................. .......................................152 Code Twelve -Social Worlds........................ ......................................152 Code Thirteen Support................................. ......................................157 Child by Child Data Analysis............................ ...............................................162 Jeremy............................................. ................................................... ..162 Melissa............................................ ................................................... ..163 Laura............................................... ................................................... ..163 Sally.............................................. ................................................... ....163 Diamonde............................................ .................................................164 Cynthia............................................. ................................................... .164 Tabitha.............................................. ................................................... 165 Caleb.............................................. ................................................... ...165 Calvin.............................................. ................................................... ..166 Summary............................................ ................................................... ..........167 Chapter Six Conclusions............................... ................................................... .........169 Introduction......................................... ................................................... .........169 Assertions of the Study.............................. ................................................... ...176 Happenings............................................. .............................................176 Cooperation.......................................... ................................................178 Reaction........................................... ................................................... .179 Framework.......................................... .................................................180 Implications of the Study............................. ................................................... .181 Directions for Future Research....................... ..................................................184 Postscript.......................................... ................................................... ............188 Quality............................................. ................................................... .............191 Summary............................................ ................................................... ..........196 References for Childrens Literature................... ................................................... ......197 List of References................................. ................................................... ....................198 Appendices........................................... ................................................... ....................214 Appendix A. Summary of Multicultural Articles (2005 to 2008).... ..................215 Appendix B. Summary of Literacy Instruction Articles (2004 to 2008)............217 Appendix C. Summary of Summer Learning Articles (2004 to 2008). ..............219 Appendix D. Kidwatching Observation Sheets................ .................................220 Appendix E. Summer Literacy Camp Observation Form..... ..........................228 Appendix F. Syllabus.................................. ................................................... ..229 Appendix G. Pilot Study................................. .................................................244 Appendix H. Early Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experienc e........................268 Appendix I. Child-Like Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experie nce.................269
iv Appendix J. Action-Reaction Diagram on the Literacy Cam p Experience........270 Appendix K. Cycle Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experienc e........................271 Appendix L. Diagram Metaphor: Empowerment............... ..............................272 About the Author..................................... ................................................... ........End Page
v List of Tables Table 1. Methodology Chart ..85 Table 2. Data Analysis Categories for Summer Literacy C amp ..108 Table 3. Triangulation of the Summer Literacy Camp Data. ............ ..197
vi An Autoethnographic Account: A Description of Nine Young Chi ldren's Literacy Learning Experiences in a Summer Camp Melinda Green Adams ABSTRACT My research assistant and I employed participant observa tion to study graduate tutors and children in a literacy camp setting. Research questions w ere: What types of literacy instruction do nine children receive from graduate education ma jor tutors in a community of interest summer literacy camp? How do nine children respond to literacy instruction they receive from graduate education tutors in a summer li teracy camp? We collected data once a week for six weeks. We observed and took note s to determine what instruction graduate tutors offered and how children responded. I used autoethnographic methods to reflect on my former teaching practices. Elli s and Bochner (2000) say that to be an autoethnographer you must be introspective about your feelings, observant about the world, self-questioning, and vulnerable. Data consisted of observation notes, writing samples, and my introspection regarding teaching practices. I found, through constant comparison analysis, that graduate tutors provided supportive, meaningful instruction to children and as a result the children felt empowered. Base d on these findings, I suggest that teachers remain mindful of the benefits of suppor tive student-centered pedagogy. Future endeavors may include bringing these instructional techni ques into the classroom.
1 Chapter One -Introduction Rationale and Context for Study [I dont sweat very much as a general rule. However, on this particular day my armpits and my shirt were soaked. It was the day of my pr oposal defense. I was concerned about my proposal and concerned about passing out. I have been known to pass out in frightening situations. I did not pass out and m y committee signed my title page, which indicated that I passed this portion of my diss ertation process.] Here is what my first five slides looked like: Slide one
2 The purpose of this study is to describe teaching and learning e vents that occur between ten young children and their tutors in a communit y of interest summer literacy camp. [The idea for the study came about from my experienc es as a former primary teacher who, in retrospect, did not think enough about my l iteracy teaching. This really had an impact on my childrens literacy learning.] The number ten concerned me. I hoped I could find ten young children whose parents would sign the consents. My next slide was as f ollows: Slide two I think these features are very important to my research The features make my research unique.
3 Slide three I hope to discover how children engage in literacy events by using observations, writing samples, and introspection. The graduate tutors an d children will communicate back and forth using the dialogue journals. I have assumpti ons. I base these assumptions on the pilot study I did last summer and the extant lite rature.
4 Slide four I believe I could impact schools through this study. I may be able through this study to help schools determine best practices in literacy instruction.
5 Slide five The graduate tutors work together and learn together in w hat is called a community of interest. The tutors disband when the c amp is over. There were many other slides I showed in my proposal def ense. I will not present these as slides, but as the remainder of chapters one, t wo, and three. Background of the Researcher [I graduated from Florida Southern College in 1992 with a B.S. in elementary/early childhood education. I was a fairly goo d student; I was a tenth of a point away from graduating cum laude. I had taken the usual four yea rs to complete my degree,
6 having taken my first education class in my freshman year. I was determined to be a teacher. One of my favorite classes was classroom management The instructor had taught for many years and was confident and self-assured. I was sure that what she said was gold and that I would have the withitness that she said wa s so important to have as a teacher. She taught assertive discipline and I wanted to use assertive discipline, as well. I am a rule driven person who follows rules. I am on time to appointments. When I am not on time, I am literally pulling my hair out. T he other day I had to pick up my son, who is three, from school at 2:10 P.M. In order t o get to the school, I leave at 1:45. I get there about fifteen minutes early so I go and wait o n a bench in front of the school. I had been waiting since 8:00 A.M. for a repairman to come an d fix the washing machine. The repair center had told me they would arrive between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. I called the repair center at 11:45, 12:15, and 1:00 to c heck on the status of the repairman. The operator told me she would keep calling t he repairman, but she wouldnt give me the repairmans phone number so that I co uld call him myself. At 1:15, the repairman showed up. He could not find a problem, so I told him to tell me what the amount was that I owed him. His van was directly in bac k of my van, so I could not move. It was 1:50 and I started panicking. He told me the a mount. I wrote the check, and then he told me there was tax. I ran into the house, screamed, and ran back out with the new check. I told him to leave the receipt on the door. H e backed up with me right behind him. This is to say, I follow what I believe is right to a tee. This story portrays my exact nature.
7 Back to the past. I got my first job in Ocala, Florid a teaching first grade in 1992. I was nervous! I was living with my grandma and grandfath er at the time. My grandma took a picture of my first day of school and I look at it with fondness, but it still makes my heart skip a beat to visualize the extreme amount of t repidation I had. I used assertive discipline in a very strict sense and found success. When my principal asked me to apply for something called, Rookie Teacher of the Year. I co mplied. Six weeks later, I interviewed with the school board f or this award. Eight weeks later several members of the board came to observe my c lass. I was pleased to note that not one child talked out of turn the whole time the bo ard members were there. This was not unusual for my class. Ten weeks later, on Abraham Lincolns birthday, the school board came into my classroom with balloons and a plaque. I had won the Rookie Teacher of the Year award. I got to be in a TV commerc ial and, no lie, people would stop me in stores to ask if I was the woman who won th e award. Several weeks later there was a banquet when the Tea cher of the Year award was given. I got to make a speech. I was most proud that my parents came back from a ski trip to watch me accept my award and that my grandma, grandfather and boyfriend were there, too. I feel sure that most of the reason I received the award was the way my children complied with me in the classroom. To become a better teacher, and perhaps someday an adm inistrator, I got my masters at Florida State University in educational leader ship in 1996. I will admit that another reason I got my masters was that I was in a bad boyfriend relationship in Ocala and I needed an out. Going to Tallahassee was a good way of getting out. I regret the masters that I got because I dont think Ill ever try to be in an administrative position.
8 I would have done better to get a masters degree in early childhood education so that I could have learned how to better teach children earlier. I substituted during my time at FSU and also taught one year of kindergarten. After I fin ished my masters degree I got married, moved to Tampa, and started teaching first grade in P lant City after that. When I entered the PhD program in 2001, I was married, tea ching first grade, and wanting to be a mother very badly. I still remember t he first class I took, Trends and Issues in Education. I felt undereducated that first night and I thought that I might not be ready to be a Ph.D. student. It was a general educat ion class so there were many students who were high school teachers, USF instructor s, and even several nurse educators. As we introduced ourselves, I learned many of t he students were already graduate assistants. I didnt know what a graduate assistant was. I visualized a student who interviewed for the position and only got the positio n because he or she was great at researching. I felt inept. I got a migraine and had to throw up when I got to my home in Valrico. Its humorous to think forward to when I finally did get the graduate assistant job in the fall of 2007, and the spring of 2008. I think I got it by e-mailing one of the professors and simply telling her I was interested. On the second night of my first PhD class I made it m y goal to find out who else in the class was an elementary teacher. I found two st udents. I think they could feel my nervousness because they asked me to sit with them from there on. I remain friends with them today. During one of the classes they asked me what I would like to research some day. It felt nonthreatening because we were in such a sm all group setting. I told them I thought I would research assertive discipline. I think the only reason why this came out of my mouth was because I knew that if nothing else, I was good at assertive discipline. I
9 could tell by their response that this was not going to be a viable topic to research. They were nice enough, but I could tell they were not impressed As I began to take more classes, I became aware of dif ferent ways of viewing literacy. I was excited to learn how research can drive classroom instruction. It seemed so elementary, but yet I hadnt really thought about it bef ore this time. I took a Survey of Writing class and became convinced that children need to ta lk while writing. I discovered that some researchers, like Vygotsky, look at conversation to observe what is being learned. I also met Dr. Holland. She was kind and enc ouraging. We were mutual friends with someone I know at church and that always helps with introverts like me. I asked her to be my major professor and she has encouraged me all along my educational journey. My instructional practices in the classroom were being c hallenged. I was finding out some things I did in the classroom were not the mos t effective ways to teach first graders. However, while teaching first grade, I did many positi ve things such as teaching community service and helping others. I spent many hours eat ing lunch with small groups of children in my classroom as incentives for behavior. I team-taught with an outstanding teacher who had trained under scholar Gaye Su Pinelle. And yet, I had so much to learn. As mentioned previously, I allowed no student to talk during writing time. If I heard so much as a whisper, I would have the child change his or her colored card. This was my behavior system. If the child followed all of the rules his green card showed. If a rule was broken the chil d would move the green card to the back so that the yellow card showed. This was a war ning. The system went on to include consequences from a warning to going to the principal s office.
10 I relied heavily on scripts from a basal reader during readi ng instruction. I remember so vividly one day when I was feeling really blue about my infertility. It was a field trip day, as well. I didnt like field trip days in par ticular because it was really loud on the bus and my day was not routine. A co-worker cam e in to tell me the buses were at the school. What she found was me, teaching from a scri pt, in a very monotone fashion. I was very embarrassed. I used worksheets on a daily basis. Sometimes I would use them for centers, sometimes for daily work. Looking back, I realize I could h ave been much more creative with my instruction. Once a year the first grade children took the Stanford Achi evement Test (SAT). The first grade team would pass around previous years materi als a few weeks before the SAT so the children could practice. Even though I felt luke warm about standardized testing, I practiced with my children so they wouldnt fe el nervous about the format. I did not voice my opinions with the other teachers. When my first grade children were finished with a unit in their reading basal books, I would administer a test. The test was from th e reading book and was multiple choice or true and false. Many times the children would get the answer wrong because they were confused about the place in which I was reading Finally, I had as few teacher conferences as I could be cause parents made me nervous. I had the mandatory two a year and those were on conference nights when I could squeeze in one every ten minutes. Once I had completed all of my coursework at USF, it was time to take the comprehensive exam. I passed and then began work on my diss ertation. I had a very
11 tough time getting started. I was passionate about servicelearning, so I decided to present the ideas for the dissertation to my committee. The meeting went very poorly and I cried at the end because I was nowhere near to being ready to begin. Dr. Reynolds, one of the professors on my committee, suggested that I come and obs erve her summer literacy camp and do a pilot study. The pilot study was an incredible experience. I learn ed so much, from doing an IRB (Institutional Review Board) to understanding how to code data. I went back to the committee and presented my findings from the pilot study alo ng with ideas for a new dissertation concept. The meeting went much better and I began the monumental task of writing a dissertation.] My Notes 10/16/08 [Thank you, Lord! The meeting went exceptionally well. I am so happy and relieved, excited and relaxed! I get my massage at noon, t oo! Everyone had good suggestions and the suggestions are really going to be helpfu l!] 10/20/08 [I have so many ideas swimming in my head! Im overwhe lmed but excited! Im free! *As a side note, my three year-old son, who we adopted a t birth, had just started school. He had been with me at home for two months and we had s ome good times. However, I
12 was to the point where I was recognizing that being a sta y-at-home mom was not for me. That fact could have been part of my feeling free.] 10/21/08 [I just read Todds (a former Ph.D. student) chapter one. I made an outline of the main points in each section. I am feeling inadequate as I read his dissertation. He uses really big words and sounds so academic! Will I be able to pull this thing off?] 10/22/08 [I dont know-I just have this drive like I cant remembe r ever having before. Its great! I know God is helping me out with this!] 10/23/08 [I went over the tape from my concept meeting with my c ommittee. I cant stand the way my voice sounds. I dont sound very smart. I have got to get over that! I circled the suggestions the professors made. That will help me foc us on what I need to accomplish. The professors mentioned three graduate studen ts to whom I should speak. That will be easy because I have two out of three e-mai l addresses. Im glad I was friendly and went out of my way to be outgoing to sever al people in the program. That was hard for me.]
13 Statement of the Problem 10/26/08 [I need to start thinking about some problems I had in my classroom teaching first grade, six years ago. What did I do to the detriment of my children? One problem was that I drilled for standardized tests. Just the other da y I received a paper home from our first grade daughter, Catherine (whom we adopted at birth) She made an S on a reading test she had. I looked at the title of the test and it said FCAT Format Weekly Assessment. She got ten out of thirteen correct. I dont know why she missed the first one because the directions stated, Listen while your teacher reads the directions. It was a fill in the bubble with options A, B, C. The second question she missed was a story about a frog She had to look at one side of the stapled paper to determine what sentence had n o mistakes, and then transfer her answer to the fill in the bubble on the other side of the stapled paper. The third one was much the same with Catherine having to fill in the b ubble for proper nouns that needed capital letters. This brought up painful memories for me, having taught first grade During the Stanford Achievement Test, I had first graders in tears b ecause of all the directions. It broke my heart that the children couldnt emotionally stan d the rigors of standardized testing. I physically cringed when that paper came home, b ringing back those painful memories of giving standardized tests to first graders. S o I would say I have discovered a problem.]
14 Owocki and Goodman (2002) say that standardized testing does not serve instructional purposes. They further explain that these te sts do not reveal what children can do in everyday school and home settings. Additionall y, many students cultural experiences differ from those experiences depicted on s tandardized tests. [In my concept paper meeting, one of the professors suggest ed I read material from Clay on observation survey.] Clay (1993) agrees that standardized testing may be a problem if used in isolation. She states that in the f irst two years of schooling, observation records are more useful than standardized t ests because they provide the teacher with a closer look at what the child really c an do. Observations inform the teaching process. [Another problem when I taught was that I followed a re ading curriculum from a basal reader that had scripts for teachers to read while teaching reading.] Dyson (2001) states that this kind of linear teaching has no place in a c lassroom. Children expand possibilities by adapting, blending, and differentiating cultur al resources (p. 36) and textual exploits (p. 35). [The third problem I have encountered is boring, esoteric r esearch.] One professor suggested I read material from Carolyn Ellis because my i dea was to write an autoethnographic piece for my dissertation. I checked out a book entitled, Composing Ethnography In the book, Ellis says that the public wants to know why what researchers do matters (Ellis and Bochner, 1996). She criticizes social science and says too often researchers are boring, esoteric, and parochial. I hope my dissertation is not boring, esoteric or paroc hial. I hope my piece can show readers that research can be done through emotions, storytelling events, journal
15 entries, and observations. Richardson and Adams-St. Pi erre (2005) say that writing as an inquiry is a viable way to learn about the topic you are st udying and the self. I agree. The reflections I have made this far have me thinking about w ho I am and who I want to be. Purpose of the Study 10/29/08 Now that I have identified the problems, I need to restate the purpose for studying literacy moments with young children. My purpose is to des cribe literacy teaching and learning events that occur between ten children and their tu tors in a community of practice summer literacy camp. Why is this worth pursuing ? [I have always been a poor test taker. I did well in sch ool but always got very nervous about taking tests. Thats why I am so enamored w ith the kidwatching process.] Kidwatching lets the teacher see the childrens day-to-day l earning instead of the end result of one broad, general test. I appreciate the soci ocultural approach, as well, because I am a firm believer in the idea that development can only be understood by looking at the process of change and not as an end product (Miller, 2002). [When I took the GRE in 1994 I did just well enough to get into FSU graduate school to work towards my masters in educational leadership. However, six years later when I applied to the USF Ph.D. program the score was not only stale (five years is th e cut-off) but also not high enough to get in the program. I decided to dig my heels in and study hard. My husband, who is an excellent test taker and math-intelligent, helped me eno rmously. We set aside every Thursday night to study the math portion of the test. I s till remember huddling up around
16 our computer every week. The computer was right beside our bed in our bedroom. The desk was just about the same width as the computer, so i t really wasnt a lot of room for one six foot six man and one five foot two woman to study t ogether. Sometimes he would give me something to work on while he lay on the bed and r ead. I took the GRE again and did really well on the math sec tion and average on the reading section. However, my score pleased the College of Education graduate program committee so I got in the program. I am not sure what t he score said about me and how well I would do in the Ph.D. program. I felt like my hu sband spent hours and hours teaching to the test. This time could have been spent mor e productively.] I think students and researchers want respect and that is what kidwatching and autoethnography will provide. When Ellis writes autoethnogra phies, she thinks about the public and what the public wants to know about the research. To whom does it matter (Ellis and Bochner, 1996)? I see this as the significance o f the study, to convey that children need good literacy moments. Children need respect. T eachers need interesting research to know about how children learn. Researchers need to know further paths to follow up on. 10/30/08 [I think it is in my future to go back into a public school classroom and redeem myself. That is what ultimately drives my research. I need to make good on a promise I made to myself in college to be an outstanding teacher. T hrough this research I hope to accomplish this goal and I also hope to provide other resear chers with the information I
17 learn so that they can understand the relevance of a f ormer teacher making good on past deficiencies. Researchers need to know what is actually happening in classrooms.] I choose the community center from my pilot study as a site for this research because I have confidence that what the graduate students learn from Dr. Reynolds is research-driven and is proven to be good practice in lit eracy learning. Graduate students committed to excellent teaching will tutor the children at the community center. That says a lot to me. It is hard work getting a masters degree and on ly committed individuals will complete the program. 10/31/08 I take a sociocultural perspective on development assumi ng there is merit in understanding human behavior through interaction (Miller, 2002) I also believe a culture defines what a child needs to know and skills that a child n eeds to acquire. Vygotsky believed the smallest meaningful unit of study was the c hild-in-activity-in-culturalcontext. He determined that intelligence is what you can learn with help. Miller criticizes some studies and says that to be a truly Vygotskian study, o ne must do five things. 1. Look at both the adult and child behavior and how each adju sts. 2. Assess what a child can do alone and with an adults help. 3. Look at the gradual s hift in responsibility from adult to child. 4. Assess how the adult structures the lea rning process. 5. Examine how the culture and its history shape the nature of the paren t-child interaction. These five essentials will guide me in my observations.
18 Definition of the Terms 11/1/08 [Scene: A hotel room in a luxury hotel in Orlando, Flor ida. The room is divided into two parts: One north part contains two double beds, a TV, a bedside table and an alarm clock. The south part of the room holds two couch es, one desk and chair, a TV, a sink, a small refrigerator, and a coffee table. Clothes and suitcases are strewn out and there are four bags of Halloween candy from the previous night. I walk into the south part of the room with my son, Ja mes. My sister, Elaine is in the south part of the room with a bowl of cereal and a glass of water. Her husband, Chris, is in the shower and my daughter, Catherine, niece Darl ene and nephew Harrell are in the north part of the room watching TV and eating bowls of ce real. The TV in the north part of the room has the Disney channel on. The TV in the south part of the room has CNN on and Barack Obama is the featured story. Election Day is three days away. Melinda: (Holding James hand) Good morning! (Releasing Jam es hand. James goes into the bed part of the room with the other kids.) Elaine: Good morning! How did James sleep? Melinda: (Rolling eyes) Oh, he was up at 5:00. How did this c rew sleep? (Sitting down on the adjacent couch). Elaine: (Taking another bite of cereal) Well, the girl s had to be reminded several times to go to bed. I think they finally fell asleep around 10:00. Melinda: Im sorry. Catherine should have slept in wit h me. Elaine: (Taking another bite). Well, that was our next option. We threatened that. Hey, how is the dissertation? Melinda: Its actually going really well so far. Elaine: Whats your subject? Melinda: Kidwatching. Elaine: (Nods her head) Now tell me what that is again
19 Melinda: Its a way of documenting literacy by closely observing what children can do and how children construct and express knowledge (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). Elaine: Isnt that what all teachers do? Melinda: (Laughing) I guess they should. But its more than just watching. Its documenting what you see and how the students construct wha t they learn, and then using the information to plan instruction. You don t just use a prescribed curriculum because each class, each group of st udents you could have from year to year is different. (Catherine c omes in and interrupts. She tells me she is still hungry. I tell h er she can have more cereal if she wants.) Elaine: But what about the FCAT? How does that play in? I guess Harrell will have to take that next year. Melinda: Kidwatching is sort of an alternative to standa rdized testing. Kind of the opposite is how I see it. (I tell James to hand the t oy duck back to Darlene). While standardized testing in Florida is crite rion-referenced and measures how well a child knows a general body of knowl edge, kidwatching is child-specific and gets to what that particular child knows. Elaine: (Shakes head). MMMM. So which children will you b e watching? Melinda: It will be the literacy camp children, just l ike I did last summer. I will be watching the children in all kinds of literacy moments. Last summer I saw plays, lots of books, songs, journals, so many things. The children were very motivated to learn. I tried to find out, through observations and conversations if children were motivated (Kim & Lorsbac h, 2005). Elaine: (Gets up from couch, dumps bowl and spoon into ga rbage can, sits back down) What age are the children? Melinda: Ill be observing young children, probably ages fi ve through nine if it was like last summer. Elaine: Oh, youll have to let me know what you find out. It might help my two. Melinda: Sure. Im hoping to see if the instruction in th e camp is functional. Elaine: What do you mean? Melinda: Well, functional literacy just means that th e literacy is natural. It is mostly used for informational or communicative purposes. Functiona l literacy incorporates childrens outside lives into the classroom (Labb o, 2006). A child would naturally want to share a story, or plan his birth day party, or take leadership roles in the classroom. A teacher brings o ut these naturally occurring events and utilizes them for learning. I always think of computers. There are so many things a computer can teach a child that he wants to know and it will also help him in the future. Elaine: (Putting shoes on) Did you find a lot of function al literacies happening in the summer camp last summer? Melinda: Yes, I did. The one thing I didnt see a lot of was instruction that was culturally sensitive. Elaine: You mean like appreciating diversity?
20 Melinda: Yes. I think it also means that we see how dif ferent perspectives impact the world. I saw one group with a theme all last summer that incorporated multiculturalism with nearly every activity. That was cool! Elaine: Did you know that Timberlane (Harrell and Darlen es school) was named a Blue Ribbon School? Melinda: Thats great! (All four kids rush in, arguing a bout who took whose ducks. James is crying) Elaine: OK, I think we need to head to Disney. Melinda: (Laughing) Lets go, guys!] This scene was chaotic and serious at the same time. But, then again, so is a young childrens classroom. I take this scenario as an e xample of what a young childrens classroom looks like all day. Additionally, i t is similar to the literacy camp in my pilot study. There was chaos at times but true lear ning took place constantly, at every turn. Significance of the Study 11/02/08 I think I refer to Carolyn Ellis a lot, but her work has touched me. Through reading her book Ethnographic I (2004), I feel she is one of my personal friends. That is the kind of reading material I enjoy so why not write li ke that, as well? When taking most of my Ph.D. courses, it was difficult to read th e material assigned in class. Ellis was a joy to read. My husband looked at me in a funny way when I told him I enjoyed reading the book. When Ellis writes she focuses on how her w riting can help people live better lives (Ellis and Bochner, 1996). That idea makes me think of significance. What is the significance of what I want to write? [The first thin g that jumps into my head is that if children are positive about education and feel valued, they will feel respected and be
21 smarter. Wait, this doesnt sound as academic as some of the dissertations I have read so far. Is that OK? This autoethnography is fulfilling to wri te, but it leaves me with questions as to how the professors are going to go along wi th this format. I hope I can be strong in my convictions.] Questions Guiding the Study 11/03/08 [I have noticed that each day I work on another piece of the dissertation. This goes along, I guess, with my personality. I am very linear. My husband commented the other day that I developed my own packing list for trips. I explained it was easier for me to think about what I wanted to bring before I actually had to pack. Then, following stepby-step while I actually packed was easy because I knew eve rything I wanted would be right there. I even kept a file on the computer for nex t time. I feel more comfortable and less anxious if I have everything I need. It seems like the last couple of trips I have had to run to a local pharmacy or store to get something I forgot to pack.] I will use different questions this summer than I did la st summer in the pilot study. These questions are: 1. What types of literacy instruction do ten children receive from their graduate education major tutors in a community of in terest summer literacy camp? 2. How do ten children respond to the literacy instruction the y receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp ?
22 [James, my son, was in a performance tonight. His prek class danced to Wheels on the Bus by Jack Hartman (Keyframe, 2008). It is a rap v ersion and the kids were very enthusiastic about that! James is in a pre-k class at an elementary school to help him with some speech delays. I wondered why James kept coming home sa ying Suey! Suey! Thats what the farmers on the bus say in the song. Fo r a group of boys who for the most part have difficulty with speech, I was struck by the te achers exemplary choice of using that song. I guess the teacher agrees with me in the va lue in reaching kids through literacy which is considered different from the wideheld belief that literacy is just reading and writing.] 11/06/08 [When I took Qualitative Methods I with Dr. Reynolds sh e talked about a science student named Sierra. Sierra just finished her dissertati on and wrote in the autoethnographic style. I am not usually good with names, b ut this time I remembered. I found out from library staff how to find dissertations. I read parts of Sierras dissertation (2006) and it helped me understand how to write in this style. ] 11/07/08 [This was the day of my repair appointment with the washe r repairperson. On the positive side of things, I got to read Ethnographic I (Ellis, 2004), uninterrupted, for five hours. I called my sister and explained that I would use an autoethnographic approach for my dissertation. I explained that this method is sort o f a storytelling method for
23 researching. It is interpretive and narrative in nature. I asked her permission to let me use parts of our conversation in Orlando. She agreed.] 11/09/08 [I met with Suzanna (a library consultant) today about researching tips. I stayed for about an hour. Boy, is my head spinning. I dont think s he understood why I wanted to tape record what she was telling me. I needed to tape he r directions because once I get back to my own computer by myself I get lost. It takes me so much more time than most to try to navigate my way around the computer. Im glad I w ent to this meeting. I feel more relaxed now.] 11/14/08 [Im reflecting on the counseling session I had the other day. I decided to go to a therapist to try to make it emotionally through this disser tation process. I have heard a lot of people get divorced through this period in their lives and I dont want to be one of those people. The therapist was sympathetic to my writ ing a dissertation because she had to write one, too. She suggested a vitamin for me to take and a lso suggested exercise. I do need to get back to the gym.] 11/17/08 [Dr. Reynolds suggested I ask Rosie (one of my fellow Ph. D. students) for her dissertation. I e-mailed Rosie and asked her for her cha pter one. I dont think she is done with the entire dissertation and I didnt want to caus e her too much trouble. She tried to
24 send me her chapter one and I couldnt open the attachment She tried another time and I still couldnt open the attachment. She tried it in pdf version and that time it went through. I try to imagine myself at that stage in my disse rtation, days away from final defense. I get excited but nervous. I read Rosies first chapter and I am feeling very down. I dont have enough information in chapter one so far. Of course, it doesn t seem like Rosie is doing an autoethnography from the looks of her chapter one. But, s till, I need to delve deeper. Rosie has statistics and numbers to validate her study. Will mine be valid without numbers? I need to go back and take another look at my problem section. I also need to remember to have a dual-entry journal when I read an a rticle. I forgot with the last article I read. An e-mail popped up just now. It was like m anna from heaven. The Qualitative Report on how to do an autoethnography. . .] 11/19/08 (8:15 A.M.) [I have a sinking feeling that I went in the wrong directi on a couple of days ago. I started really fixating on standardized testing. I copied n umerous articles (from peer reviewed journals, no less) on standardized testing. It i s quite a heated debate but not really what the literacy camp will prove is good or bad! I need to redirect my thinking. I am hoping to see effective literacy instruction: motivati onal, functional, and multicultural. What were my personal problems with these three when I taught in the classroom? MotivationalI followed curriculum guidelines and spent a lot of time looking at the curriculum and making plans to teach this set curricu lum. Sure I had guided reading
25 groups but most of the centers for the children who were nt reading with me were not tailored to my students. This could have happened with more observation by me. This is something I could research further-observation in the cla ssroom. Functional-this is a term that stands on its own. It would be a simple search, using the terms, functional and instruction and young childre n. I did some good things in my classroom with functional literacy. There was a school-wide mailing system at the school where I taught first grade. Children could send mail to anyone in the school. My students wrote constantly to me, classmates, and other st udents in the school. My class had a lot of mail going in and out. Additionally, my stude nts had pen pals from a local nursing home. Looking back at Owocki and Goodmans (2002) list of o ral functions, which lists functional ways to teach literacy, I would say again that I did a pretty good job with this. MulticulturalI tried to represent other countries and e thnicities in the literature I read and through the various holidays. However, when Goodm an (1996) speaks of a multicultural framework, I find that my teaching fell very short of what it should have been. She indicates to have a multicultural framework there must be mutual respect, recognition of similarities, debates about multiple pers pectives, acceptance of differences, and involvement in the exploration of the strengths tha t people all over the world have. Im getting closer to the right path; I feel it! Its amazing how excited I get when Im back on the right path. Standardized testing is interest ing for some but not for me. I was supposed to do some dissertation work last night and couldn t bring myself to do it. Im feeling exuberant and happy to be back researching topics I love! Its good to be me!]
26 11/19/08 (8:55 A.M.) [I keep Ethnographic I (Ellis, 2004) in my car and read it whe never I get the chance. I read one part about a guest speaker she had in on e of her classes (in a fictional setting). The speaker, Laurel Richardson (1992), read a poem she had written. In the poem an unwed mother talks about being from the south an d how this defines who you are. Immediately I thought of me and who I am and what de fines me. I am from the south, but I dont think that defines me nearly as much a s being a Christian. I find every day, all day, I am a Christian. Let me describe one such scenario.] 11/19/08 (9:00 A.M.) Great American Teach-In-Mabry Element ary [Rats! I started to write it in a script format and st opped myself. I cant write in the students responses without an Internal Review Board (IRB). Ill just describe it. I was a speaker at my daughters school. I was there for three reasons. One was that I wanted my daughter to be represented. The second reason wa s that I wanted the kids to know the importance of community service. The third reaso n was that my brother-inlaws mom is sick with cancer in the hospital and I t hought that kids artwork might cheer her up. I found myself referring to my church a lot becaus e that is where I do most of my community service. My church is always doing for others. That is one of my favorite things about my church, the fact that we help others and t hat there are so many opportunities to do that. I also have extreme sensitivit y to students responses. I know there are teachers who are very sensitive to others and are not Christians, but I find that it is a natural response to my Christian values.
27 When it was time for me to go, my daughters teacher said something very thoughtful. She said she was thankful I came and also t hat she was glad I had the discussion part because she learned so much about me, my daughter, and our family. That struck a positive chord with me because of this method of autoethnography. It seems thats one of the main reasons for autoethnography-to sha re a part of your life with others. And look at the positive response it got! I think I h ave been so quiet around my daughters teacher that she hasnt gotten the opportunity to get to know me. Thats the beauty of settings in which I am comfortable. I can be myself and tell about myself. Like the writing outlet. . .] 11/19/08 (9:45 A.M.) [I wonder if other teachers struggle with the same str uggles I had as a first grade teacher. I wonder if the teachers want to teach well but they dont have the research to show what good teaching should look like.] 11/20/08 [I took ballet for nine years as a child. So when I read D ysons (2003) description of a New Yorker cover about ballerinas, I was very int erested to know how she would relate the cover back to education. Dyson explained that the cover shows a neat row of ballerinas coming out onto the stage. However, the backgro und shows clothes that have been strewn around and the children who havent gone onto s tage yet. These children are slouching, playing down the aisles, and falling down the stair s. She indicates that the juxtaposition of the two groups of children, the order an d the liveliness shows the
28 meaning of the cartoon. After reading this, I thought of my linear way of doing things. Of course I went by the curriculum guidelines when I taught first grade. It was a part of my personality and what I felt comfortable doing. Of co urse I would write my dissertation in a linear way, its what I do. And fina lly, ballet was a wonderful sport for me as a child. But wasnt attempting to write a dissertat ion in the autoethnographic method a good choice for me? It is going to change my li fe and I hope it will impact others lives, as well.] Limitations 11/23/08 5:44 P.M. [My husband, daughter, son, and I have just been to a frie nds birthday party. The party was at a small lake-side park north of Tampa. It is a twenty minute drive home. My husband and I sit in the front while my daughter and son sit in the back seat of our white mini van. The kids are eating sticky candy canes and pretzels that my husband has placed in a paper cup. My son hands the pretzels one by one to my husband. Eric: (glances at his pretzel) Wow! Thats sticky. Melinda: Does it taste like a candy coated pretzel? Eric: No, none of the flavor of a candy cane. Just st icky. What do you have to work on tomorrow at USF? Melinda: My limitations section. Eric: (Takes another pretzel from my son) What is t hat? Melinda: Well, in social science, its just the part n ear the end that tells how this research may have limits to it. Eric: Oh. What kinds of limits will your research h ave? Melinda: Well, it will be a specific location, the n orthern part of a larger city southeastern city, and it will be with specific childre n at the literacy camp. Its hard to generalize to other locations and children. Eric: Yeah, what else?
29 Melinda: Well, the summer literacy camp is only six w eeks for two hours each time. I guess that might be a limiting time period. Eric: Yeah. Melinda: (Daughter starts asking a question. I cut her of f and tell her that Dad and I are almost done with our conversation. Can she hold on one minute? She grudgingly says, Yes). And I guess another limitation might be the extreme subjectivity of the researcher. I dont know if that would be a limitation or not, though, because I will tell the reade r that it is an autoethnography. Eric: I hope your office isnt so cold this time. Melinda: Me too! O.K., Catherine, what did you want to say?] Im so glad to have the support and recommendations of m y committee. After one of my professors read this part, she made a poignant comment. She said that she took the sticky pretzel part as an analogy to the educa tional process. She thinks this is sticky business-this teaching literacy to young children. I t hought that was brilliant! It is sticky business, I agree! There are so many opinions out there about what makes a good education. Im glad I am doing this research to find out m ore. Site The community center where this research will take p lace is a center located in the middle of an inner-city area. Surrounding communities are socially and economically vulnerable. The center provides activities, programs, an d services. The center is a stateof-the-art complex that helps to increase economic development and affordable housing in the area (University Area Community Development Corp oration, 2005). Summary The purpose of this study is to describe literacy teaching and learning events that occur between ten young children and their tutors in a co mmunity of interest summer
30 literacy camp. When I taught in the classroom, I had ne gative issues with linear thinking. I frequently followed curriculum guides and standardized te st material without wavering to fit the needs of the specific children in my classroo m. The end result will be research that has implications for schools. The research questions I will use to guide my study are th e following: 1. What types of literacy instruction do ten children recei ve from their graduate education major tutors in a community of interes t summer literacy camp? 2. How do ten children respond to the literacy instruction the y receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp ?
31 Chapter Two Literature Review Rationale and Context My rationale for this literature review is to examine w hat I consider to be exemplary practices to determine how it affects children s literacy learning. I will look at effective practices by viewing a variety of topics. Firs t I will look at multicultural literacy. I do this because in the literacy camp last summer Dr. Reynolds tried to encourage the graduate students to teach multicultural sens itivity but few graduate students did this. Second, I will look at literacy instructi on since the focus of my research is literacy. Third I will look at summer learning because th e camp takes place in the summer. 02/12/09 [Catherine: What if I fall down? Melinda: Get back up. Catherine: What if I cry? Melinda: Ill come and help you. It was a defining moment in my life as a mom. It was at a fundraiser for Catherines elementary school at a local skating rink. Only weeks after her seventh birthday, Catherine was learning how to skate on her own. The five earlier skating sessions in her life had been fun, but strained. Cather ine could skate fine but clung to my hand like it was a lifeline. Then, when she would fall she would forget that I had wheels
32 strapped to my feet, too, and would get angry with me for not s topping on a dime to help her. Sometimes I accidentally rolled over her fingers. Perhaps this is the time for a confession. I never re ally learned how to stop while skating. Well, I can stop, somewhat, but I have to do a l ittle turn in order to stop. I felt irritated with Catherine; I was doing the best I could. But, I have to admit skate wheels feel awful when they roll over your fingers. I came up w ith a solution Catherine should skate alone. The next day at school, Catherines assi stant principal called her the famous skater because of Catherines ability to fall down gracef ully and get right back up. Catherines skating experience makes me think of myself and this dissertation process. This chapter makes me nervous. I have done litera ture reviews before, but this is the big one. I went to an inservice given by Dr. Hayne s (2006) regarding literature reviews. I kept all of the information from his PowerPoi nt presentations. This information has helped me sort through what a good literature review lo oks like. Wish me luck!] 02/15/09 [I had my first experience in the emergency room today. My husband, son, daughter, and I went to church at 9:30 a.m. My husband and I dropped the kids off at their Sunday school classes and went to the contemporar y worship service. Ten minutes into the service, our sons Sunday school teacher found us and told us that James had fallen and was bleeding. My first inclination was to play it down; I was considering not going to see about the situation. Bumps and bruises are standard fare in our family. His Sunday school teacher insisted I come. When I first saw my son, I wanted to cry. He was badly cut above his right eye. But, for the sake of the sunday school teachers, I tried to
33 play it cool. The male-half of the husband and wife tea ching team was sweating profusely; Im sure he felt so sorry and scared for our s on. We immediately found a doctor who was teaching a fourth grade sunday school class in the same building. It only took a quick inspection before he determined that James neede d stitches. So, off we went to the emergency room. I wont go into the gory details of the hospital visit, but I did want to note two literacy events in the emergency room. I keep library books in the car for James because, after I pick him up from school, he has to wait i n the car with me for a long period of time when we pick up his sister from school. We t ook those books into the hospital -one fire truck book and one book about many di fferent types of trucks. While we were waiting to be seen by the nurse, I started readi ng the books. I could tell another boy in the waiting room was interested in the books. So I turned the book so that the other boy could listen to the books. I felt so teacherish! It felt good! At the end of the visit a nurse invited my son to go to th e treasure box, a rectangular, plastic bin with goodies in it. There were plastic farm animals, monster trucks, legos, dragon-looking things, and books. James was so close to selecting the monster truck when, lo and behold. he chose the fire tr uck book! I was so proud! We read it twice before even leaving the hospital, and anot her ten times within the first twenty-four hours after leaving the hospital!] 02/16/09 [My son, James, is really on my mind this week! I canc elled a dentist appointment for James today. His pediatric dentist would n ot allow three year-olds to
34 come in for afternoon appointments. Mornings only. My son is in a special program for children who need help with speech. My research has reve aled that many children who have speech delays also have difficulties with readi ng. This freaks me out! I want James in school as many hours as possible, to equip him with the t ools he needs. I found another dentist who will let him come in the afternoon. The dentist, no afternoon appointment issue has me looking through my mommy lens while researching literacy. I am using Refwor ks to store citations for my dissertation. I created a file folder named, James. Recently I downloaded an article called, Developing Oral Language in Primary Classrooms (Kirkland & Patterson, 2005). I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and use th e article for my literature review and my son. The article provided helpful hints which I probabl y already knew but needed to be reminded of -having a print rich environment, pr oviding picture clues and schedules, listening centers, and shared reading.] 02/20/09 [Today I find myself researching on behalf of my son more than my dissertation. Conference night was last night. The classroom teacher and speech teacher were very positive and supportive, but Im reading more and more about how children delayed in speech and language are also delayed in learning to read. I am on the warpath with James education. I have dedicated one cabinet in our house to educational games so that they are easily accessible to my husband and me. I ha ve declared 6:30-8:30 P.M. as family time. My husband doesnt read and I dont busy myself with household tasks. We just interact as a family.]
35 Goal of the Literature Review Enough about me. The goal for this literature review is to inform practice, provide comprehensive understanding about early childhood classroom prac tices, and look for solutions to effective classroom teaching. I hope to analy ze, evaluate, and synthesize the current literature pertaining to literacy for young children. Specifically, I intend to research three areas. The first is multicultural inst ruction (see Appendix A); the second is literacy instruction (see Appendix B), and the third is s ummer learning (see Appendix C). Problems in Education Represented in the Literature The problems in schools today are significant. There ar e problems regarding culture and the disparities our schools face. Children have to learn the cultural expectations of school, often when these expectations are not in line with the communicative practices of childrens lives (Dyson, 2008; Ch rist & Wang, 2008). Children and teachers come to school with prejudice and bia s but many teachers neglect to stimulate meaningful conversations about both (Lee, Ra msey, & Sweeney, 2008). There are also problems regarding literacy instruction and the struggles children have in negotiating their way through school. Children co me to school with different skill levels (Downey, Hipple, & Broh, 2004). When children are la beled struggling readers, educators frequently forget that this label may be a cult ural construction (Triplett, 2007). If it is a cultural construction too many children are be ing labeled and may not be getting appropriate instruction. We still have a lack of consensu s on how to teach effectively (Graue, 2008; Stipek, 2004). Teachers face numerous decisions on how to provide
36 instruction for students who are at risk for failure (Hel f, et al., 2008). Government accountability mandates leave little time for play (Wohl wend, 2008). And finally there are problems with the way our school c alendar breaks for the summer. Most children in the U.S. still experience a l ong break from school during the summer (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007). Some children b ackslide during the break and return to school unable to read as well as they did in the past school year. And when the accountability systems ignore the summer losses, they stack the deck against highpoverty schools (McGill-Franzen & Allington, 2006). 03/6/09 [Wow! Researching one topic takes a lot of time. In my case, it was like researching three topics! The thought about how many topi cs I involved in my research is daunting. I e-mailed one of my committee members wi th a rough outline of the topics, and she e-mailed back that the outline looked good and to g o forward with it. So I did! It has already involved a lot of hard work, but I am sure tha t the work is not over yet. I read the articles regarding multicultural education first. I began with this topic because it was the one area that was underrepresented in last summers literacy camp instruction.] Multicultural Instruction Discussing Multiculturalism. The U.S. Census Bureau, in 2002, estimated that by the year 2050, people of color will make up nearly 50 % if our nations population. I found this amazing! But why, when I think of multicultural ism, do I think only of race? Johnson, Musial, Gollnick, and Dupuis (2005) created a visual th at looks to be an oval-
37 shaped puzzle. The puzzle represents cultural identity (p. 47). The puzzle includes gender, exceptionality, ethnicity, age, geography, class, la nguage, and religion. It goes to reason, then, that if all of these components are pie ces to the puzzle representing ones cultural identity, then all of these components need to be introduced and discussed in multicultural education to ensure culturally sensitive i nstruction. Through my research, I have found a continuous theme in m ulticultural education. That theme is the use of multicultural literature in t he classroom. Sutherland warns that, although multicultural literature helps a student see hims elf in the curriculum, the student will only see himself if the characters in the literat ure are like the student (Sutherland, 2005). Sutherland (2005) conducted a study of high school African Ameri can adolescent girls who discussed a book entitled, The Bluest Eye (Morrison, 1994). She wanted to determine how the study of literature shapes African Amer ican girls identity construction as they studied literature. She found two th emes that connected the participants life stories. One was that African Ameri can women regarded a Eurocentric view of beauty as a boundary in their lives. The second was that African American women regarded others assumptions about who they were as a nother boundary. My rationale for looking at this particular study was that yo ung girls are a part of the focus of my research and this dissertation, and they eventually become young women. I know that young African American girls must experience feelings si milar to those described in the Sutherland study from an early age. Sutherland claims that based upon the findings of the study, literacy and identity are interconnected. She foun d that when students had
38 opportunities to talk about literature in a small group sett ing, they shared salient social positions and related life experiences (p. 397). Triplett (2007) also finds value in discussing literature in small group settings. She researched first, second, and third graders in readin g intervention pull-out programs to determine how student struggles are socially constructed w ithin literacy contexts. The children in the study were labeled struggling readers. T he cultural difference that defined the children was socioeconomic status. The children did not come from middle class families. Triplett found students who were labele d as struggling in some social contexts, such as a regular, whole class grouping, were no t labeled as struggling by a pull-out teacher in a small group setting. Triplett notice d another difference in the pullout children and the children who stayed in the classroom all day -the pull-out children never wore the school spirit shirts while the other chi ldren wore the shirts the day after they went on sale [It makes me feel a bit guilty because I am one of those parents who buys the school spirit shirt quickly. It also makes me want to raise funds at both of my childrens schools so that nobody ever has to go withou t a school spirit shirt if they want one. When I taught first grade, I taught my students that Chris topher Columbus was a hero, never mentioning the mistakes he made along the way I have come to see the error of my ways. I still believe Christopher Columbus made significant achievements. However, there is another side to the story. If I tau ght public school again, I would change the way I taught my students about Christopher Colu mbus.] Henning, SnowGerono, Reeds, and Warner (2006) studied how a group of fourth gr aders negotiated lessons about Christopher Columbus. I found it intriguing that these students were
39 literature detectives. In this activity students scoured literature about Christopher Columbus in order to compare who speaks in the book, what is shown, what is described, and what the authors perspective was. The students used th ree different books. The students made comparisons to their current world situation s and demonstrated a high level of thinking. I only wish the Henning et al. study had been on a larger scale and published in a journal that was peer reviewed so that result s might have been more reliable. Literature circles, literature detectives, and other ins tructional practices are beneficial because they stir up discussions. Sutherlan d (2005) agreed with Tatum (2003) when they found out that discussions encourage us to furth er our efforts for conversations about race, gender, social class, and intersectionality In her research, Sutherland relayed a comment from one of the female participants, i.e. that her mom had told her it was a white mans world and to act like youre worth something or y ou wont be. This reminded me an opinion piece by Jeane Copenhaver-Johnson (2006), where she discussed the silent messages which classroom teachers s end, i.e. that white is normative because we dont discuss it. According to Jeane Copenhaver-J ohnson, families of color talk about race because it is a necessary discussion, but Caucasian families dont take the time. [This brings up thoughts of when my daughter Catherine was c oughing really hard in the middle of the night. I knew she was awake; I was too. I went in to read to her because it was the only thing I could think of to do. She has reactive airway disease. We had already used her nebulizer the hour before, which m ade it impossible to use it again for another three hours. Catherine had checked out three books at the public library, all
40 with characters who were African American. The books had a strong family message; reading them made both Catherine and I more relaxed. I de cided to lie down beside her when I was done reading. She kicked a leg over me, and wi thin fifteen minutes we were both fast asleep. While the discussion did not occur th at night, it will take place in the future.] Triplett (2007) found that merely talking about books, i.e. b ook talk, was enough to get children engaged and interested in discussion. [B]oo k discussion can be a pedagogical pathway to identity-even for young readers (2006, p. 122). Triplett notes that book discussion is a necessary comprehension strategy Several other ways to spark discussion in an educational environment emerge in the literature. One is the use of art, and another is the use of games. Lee, Ramsey, and Sweeney (2008) conducted a small scale study on the effects of conversations with kindergarteners. There were thirteen children in the cla ss. One child was Asian, one was biracial, and eleven children were White. The authors foun d that after the teachers engaged the children in conversations and activities relate d to diversity, the children expressed more ideas about race and social class. While t he validity of the study could be called into question based upon the sample size and un-trian gulated data, the premise and concept were worthwhile. The teachers used cards with col ored photographs of racially diverse children on the cards. In the featured classroom the teacher asked the children to make their own drawings using skin-tone markers and skin to ne paints. The children thought very hard about which tones to use in their drawin gs. Teachers used the diversity cards to play the game Concentration with the students. This sparked discussion, because
41 at first, the children did not see the differences in the children depicted on the cards. After discussion, however, the children became more aware of the differences. [This brings me to a reflection, one of which I am not very proud. The first class I taught at the University of South Florida was a bridge cla ss for high school graduates entering college. I was informed the majority of the s tudents would be African American. I told my husband that I expected to have trouble with reme mbering the names of the students because of their ethnicity. I am ashamed to say that because most of my students would be darker in color than me I thought they would look si milar to one another and not as unique as my Caucasian students. My husband acted con fused. Upon reflection, I determined my comment was racist. As it turned out, I was able to keep up with the names of my students in this bridge class as well as I could keep up with the names of students in the predominately Caucasian, childrens literat ure class which I taught in later semesters.] Storytelling is another way to prompt classroom discussio ns. Even though the next study involved college-age students, I believe the use of storytelling can be effective with young children, as well. Perrys (2008) research includes the lost boys of Sudan, a group of boys who are refugees and were relocated to Michi gan when they were young boys. Perry interviewed and observed three participants. The boys talked about the cultural importance of storytelling in their lives. Perr y believes that storytelling is a powerful form of sense-making. In fact, for this group of boys, storytelling was linked to political purposes; one of the lost boys told his story a t the United Nations about the atrocities in Sudan. Perry writes that all refugees, yo ung and old, could benefit from storytelling. Storytelling is one avenue for language and l iteracy learning; it may be a
42 motivation for engagement in print literacy practices. For the lost boys of Sudan, storytelling provided motivations to use literacy, both for w ritten and oral purposes. Several of the boys whom Perry interviewed had written short, autobiographical accounts. The lost boys of Sudan had prior experience w ith poetry and drama. In the refugee camps a program was set up to help children write poem s and short stories to depict their lives. The boys felt valued when they could t alk about their culture. One of the relocated lost boys of Sudan relayed this story to Perry. Some of these have been published. Similarly, Taylor, Bernhard, Garg, and Cummins (2008) parti cipants felt valued. The study focused on published works by families with dual langua ges. The entire class was involved, but the authors presented only two of the ki ndergarten portraits. Family members interacted in making books with each other. The pr int in the books was in each childs dual languages. The children shared the books with t he class. Since the books were about their own lives, the children were able to find personally and culturally relevant parts of their identity, which enabled meaningful discussion within the family. The children formed new relationships. One students grandm other found she could finally help in her granddaughters education through writin g the book. All of the findings were seen through the parents eyes, however. I would have learned more if the research results were portrayed through both the parents and the childrens eyes and if interviews and observations with the children had been r ecorded and cited. The study was also missing any meaningful discussion of how the data wa s analyzed. In contrast, Christ and Wang (2008) included dialogue and meani ngful discussion of data from many student observations in their study of f irst graders who hailed from
43 low socioeconomic backgrounds. The children took part in studen t-led discussions about facts they could find in literature. The students were gro uped in a configuration which included various levels of expertise in literacy. The authors found in these kinds of student-led groups, students became enculturated into the schoo l literacy culture. This was demonstrated when the authors coded their data. They de veloped codes based upon what cultural knowledge was apparent, what underlying habitus was apparent, what context did this knowledge come from, what type of impact did this cultural knowledge have, and what use of cultural knowledge was aided/hindered i n some way? The authors found there was a need for this enculturation and that t eachers may need to aid in this process by co-constructing classroom procedures with children Being able to use procedural practices, e.g. how to get a pencil if yours bre aks, is an important part of a childs education. Effective use of procedural practices inf luences a childs ability to participate in literacy activities in the classroom. O n the other hand, teachers need to learn to understand and respect different practices from c ultural contexts. I took exception with one of the authors statements, when he wrote that the researchers did not alter the classroom activities by observing. I disagree. A nyone who is in the classroom, physically or through the use of video camera, affects the classroom activities. Sutherland (2005), who was physically in the classroom she studi ed, found persons must engage in these difficult cultural dialogues if we want to get multicultural education right. This work must continue to ensure the interconnectedness of culture and literacy. The process is not about finding easy answ ers, only a deeper understanding of difficult issues. Sutherland highlighted complexity an d tried not to homogenize her participants experiences.
44 Living Lives Outside the Classroom. The reason I chose the heading for this section is because I found so much in the research that points to the benefit in considering how childrens lives outside the classroom impact school l earning. The difference between experiences outside the classroom and those va lued in school presents difficulties (Compton-Lilly, 2007). In fact, this issue is discussed significantly in the current literature on multiculturalism in the classroom. Lazar (2007) conducted research on preservice teachers and their mindsets about teaching in urban communities. She found that (a) if literacy courses in colleges provide o pportunities to discuss issues of White privilege, race, and racism, and (b) if preservice te achers have direct experience with children in urban settings, there is a greater chan ce that preservice teachers will opt to teach in urban schools. Further, Lazar maintains that the courses must validate the literacies children bring to school from outside lives. I thought of three things I would change about the study. First, Lazar was the instructor for the class, which might have affected her study. However, her students were told their grades would not be altered. Second, the data sets lack diversity. I would have liked to h ave seen interviews for person-to-person accounts. And finally, after the researc h, preservice teachers still did not discuss out-of-school literacies and how these might a ffect the childrens literacy practices. One way that preservice teachers may be able to become aware of out-of-school literacies is through listening to childrens storytelling. S torytelling is an outlet for the children to reveal social goals and cultural practices (H eath, 1983; Hymes, 1996; Ochs & Capps, 2001). In Perrys (2008) study, the lost boys of Sudan use d storytelling to reflect their status as orphans, as well as their stat us as people working hard to maintain
45 their status in their new community. Zhang (2007) describes the crossing of literacies from home, community, and school as border crossing. Schools should consider that sometimes children have mu ltiple homes. For instance, in Taylor et al.s (2008) study, one of the childre n had previously lived in Houston and India, and currently resided in Canada. She h ad relatives all over the world. Taylor, et al. maintains that schools are not aware of the importance of childrens multiple homes and identities. Also, schools may be una ware of childrens family resources and influences. Family members can help in chil drens education if their status is valued; a primary example is the case in Taylor et al.s (2008) study where the child and her grandmother wrote a book together. In uniting in the process of writing a book, family members can be requalified resources and educators. This changes the way power exists, no longer existing only in the hands of the teach ers, but transferring to the family. Living Lives Inside the Classroom Yes, it is helpful to consider childrens outside lives, but we also need to consider ways that lea d to better learning inside the classroom as well. When children connect their literac y lives with personal interests, literacy skills become more attainable (Triplett, 2004). Consider the study regarding book talk (Triplett, 2007). When the pull-out teacher talked wit h the children about books, she discovered things about the children she would not heave le arned otherwise -one wanted to be an animal doctor, another had a wonderful sen se of humor, and a third was very interested in art. The teacher was able to take t his knowledge and find books that were more appropriate for each of the childrens interes ts. Davis (2007) studied gender relationships in reading discourses in a primarily Caucasian, working-class town in England. She went to t hree schools of varying
46 socioeconomic levels one hard-pressed, one of moderate means, and one relatively privileged. Davis studied how seven and eight year-old childr en discuss reading enjoyment, contrasting the boys and girls. Her findings we re opposite those in some literature; in both the hard-pressed school and the moder ate means school, the discourse was gender divisive, where boys had negative views of rea ding. In the privileged school, boys were more positive about reading. Davis begins the study with a comprehensive literature review. In this section she describes Calkins (1994) view that teachers need to help children bring outside lives into the classroom. This may be difficult because some children want to talk about what some may deem inappropriate for the classroom, such as violence, sexuality, and racism (Schneider, 2001). In all th ree of the schools in Davis study, there was very limited deviant dialogue in the disc ourse (Davis, 2007). The boys and girls had developed ideologies that boys were worse r eaders; they assumed that this was just common sense. Davis study contained rich, detai led accounts of observations, but it was difficult to pin down the research question. When children are away from school, they construct dis course and knowledge that they bring into the classroom (Davis, 2007). Radical s olutions are required at the policy level to accommodate community discourse in order t o bring classroom pedagogy in line with community discourse and to create respect f or discourse constructed outside of school. Storytelling may be one way to accomplish t his. Ochs and Capps (2001) propose that the most important function of storytell ing is to construct identities and to navigate worlds. This may be one way to tap into boys int erests. Kendrick and McKay (2004) state that to improve boys engagement with literac y, teachers will have to provide
47 more room for boys to move. This room includes the ways in which boys are present in the classroom, as well as the way boys operate wi th texts. (See also Newkirk, 2000). Triplett (2007) directs attention to school as an institut ional force. She shows this in her work with pull-out groups and regular classroom practices The children in her study are different learners, in different physical spa ces. Gomez, Johnson, and Gisladottir (2007) also demonstrated this institutional force in their study of ten primary teachers, and two reading specialists from one particular school. The teachers and specialists initially met with two faculty members from a universit y to discuss children whom teachers had identified as being struggling writers and reade rs. The teachers and specialists then went back into their school and closel y observed their children. They brought samples and observational notes to the next meeti ng. The university faculty members also went into the classrooms. The authors fo und that the figured world of the school came primarily from the principal, who held sta ndardized tests in high regard as determinative of which students were struggling and which student s were not. The authors had a hunch that a cultural model of literacy was emerging while they researched the school. They want school personnel to encourage cul tural models of learning because it facilitates discovery of the dimensions of student s as learners. The authors maintain that there was a problem with the cultural model of this particular school because children who fail to show expected progress were automatica lly labeled as special learners. The study was not well grounded in evaluating th e literature relevant to the problem [Also, the study made me think of the tough issue of being a researcher and micro-analyzing participants classroom instruction. I would not have wanted to be a participant and have to read the conclusions to this study.]
48 Empowering. Race labels, or identity markers, may not describe indi viduals as well as the label suggests (Sutherland, 2005). However, if we dont consider the role that race and gender play in the lives of people, we act as th ough race and gender have no bearing on curriculum or classroom pedagogy. Lazars (2007) st udy on preservice teachers in urban settings is a good example of this. S he determined that these teachers needed opportunities to study and reflect on diversity an d social justice. Lazar added that preparing these teachers would require many intensive and pers onally satisfying experiences in urban communities. [This makes me think of a class of preservice interns who m I taught in the fall of 2008. One of the schools I asked to accommodate these prese rvice interns was an urban, predominately African American elementary school. One of the preservice teachers I assigned to this school was Caucasian. She was paired wit h a seasoned teacher who had a reading pull-out program. I didnt find this out until the pr eservice intern came to me with a problem. She said the seasoned teacher spent half of h er day doing office work and told my preservice intern to go to the library and do homework dur ing this time. I talked to the assistant principal and she said she would reassign the stude nt. That assignment failed, as well. I eventually had to reassign the preservice inter n to my other school, which was a suburban, predominately Caucasian, middle-class elementary school. I wish I had done a better job with all of these preservice interns with d ifficult discussions about multicultural issues. This would have been a good place to start. I only think about this example because of Lazars point that the experience should be personally satisfying. I dont think it was personally satisfying for that particular preservic e teacher.]
49 Delgado-Gaitan (1993) uses the term disenfranchised groups. She appreciates ethnographic studies because they enhance our understanding o f peoples real conditions in their communities. Delgado-Gaitan says these groups des erve a voice and they deserve to change their historical circumstances. She wants to s ee more Ethnography of Empowerment (p. 16) so that researchers can have an insi ders view for instigating change in the underrepresented groups of the world. Taylor, et al. (2008) also wants to see this empowerment. These authors determined that the k indergartners dual language books shifted the power from a teacher-led curriculum to a family-led curriculum. Family members were able to demonstrate all they could do and all that they are Sutherlands (2005) study of adolescent girls gave participants opportunities t o represent themselves and opportunities to assert their power. Perrys (2008) participa nts (Sudanese refugees) became empowered when they had creative, authentic lear ning opportunities. Their stories helped them to gain their own voices after expe riencing significant trauma. The lost boys of Sudan continued to work for peace and social justice. Triplett (2007) found that pull-out programs were both disempowering and empowering Disempowering because students in pull-out programs remained in their own social class group, never circulating into the predominately middle class group. Empow ering because the students were getting help in reading.
50 Literacy Instruction Using Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP). I now enter the next section of the literature review. Teachers can help chil dren read by utilizing developmentally appropriate practices. My review will now focus on literacy instruction for young children. In 1997, the National Association for t he Education of Young Children (NAEYC) published the second edition of a book out lining a position statement on DAP and research regarding how children learn (Bredekamp & Copple). In addition, the NAEYC suggested practices that were most supportive and respectful of childrens development. I wish NAEYC would publish an updated, third edit ion; when it does, I want to have a copy for my regular reference. Most of the authors in the literature I studied refer to this NAEYC text for guidance in their rese arch. One section of the NAEYC text provided specific descriptions and examples of appro priate and inappropriate practices for three age groups; I reviewed the s ix to eight year-old section to find out how I rated as a first grade teacher. So-so. Graue (2008) defined DAP (childcentered instruction) and standards (educational ends) to dem onstrate that what is missing is teaching, i.e. the interactions between teach ers and children. Graue is not opposed to either DAP or standards, but wants readers to c onsider how teachers play an important role in the early childhood classroom. I dis agree with this statement. I think many studies focus on the teachers role in early child hood classrooms. While I read the section of the NAEYC text regarding DAP, I thought main ly about how I, as a teacher, interacted in the classroom. Of course I thought about t he first grade children I taught, as well, but I did not exclude myself or think of myself as missing, as Graue suggested. Stipek (2004) conducted a study to find out the differences in t eaching styles, e.g.
51 didactic or constructivist, while looking at school chara cteristics, such as classroom characteristics and teacher characteristics. Stipek i ncluded kindergarten and first grade classes. She maintained that constructivist teaching looks more like DAP. She found that the proportion of children below grade level was the str ongest predictor of constructivist teaching. In other words, the more children working below gra de level, the fewer constructivist teaching methods. When the proportion of l ow-income and AfricanAmerican children was eliminated, the proportion of childr en who were below grade level did not predict the amount of didactic teaching. I d ont think Stipeks study is entirely valid because of the small sampling of minori ty teachers in the study. For instance, Stipek developed one possibility as to why teacher s in classes with large numbers of African-American children used didactic teaching methods -these teachers rated African-American boys as more aggressive. This, i n her opinion, could lead to teachers imposing stricter control in the classroom. If there had been more AfricanAmerican teachers, perhaps this aggressive rating would be a ltered which in turn could alter Stipeks opinion. Kuhn, Schwanenflugel, Morris, Woo, Meisenger, Bradley, a nd Stahl (2006) were also interested in researching instructional strategies. They compared two reading instruction techniques to a control group. The children were a ll in second grade. The first technique, the fluency-oriented reading instruction (FORI) is a program that scaffolds repeated reading of one grade-level text each week. The second technique, the wide reading approach, used scaffolding and the reading of three different grade level texts each week. The authors found that the benefits were simi lar but superior to control approaches where practices included round-robin reading, whole group instruction, board
52 work, textbooks, and worksheets. Additionally, there were small amounts of partner reading and teacher read-alouds. [When I think of coding during research I think of a study I read that involved two parents teaching their son how to write. I know it sounds contrived for me to think of this. The reason I think of this is because at one time I tho ught about doing research on how my daughter learned how to write. I abandoned this idea be cause it was too difficult to be her mom, her teacher, and a researcher simultaneously I found this out through our daily homework. It is difficult enough to try to help her with homework because of the parent/child dynamics.] Neumann and Neumann (2009) taught their son how to read using t he multisensory approach to learning letters. They recorded t heir son Harrys writing from the time he was 2 years old until he was 6. They foun d that the scaffolding approach coupled with environmental print and a multisensory approach supported early literacy skills. [This study was enlightening to me because of my bur ning desire to make sure my son can read at an appropriate stage in life. Any researc h that helps me understand how I can better help him is interesting to me. I found many de velopmentally appropriate practices in this study.] For example, at every turn on e parent was scaffolding activities to provide just enough, but not too much, guided participation to sca ffold the childs movement. Rodgers (2004) looked at scaffolding from a teachers perspe ctive, but still on a one-to-one basis, as in the Neumann and Neumann (2009) study. Rodgers chose two exemplary teachers to teach Reading Recovery lessons a nd keep running records (a method of checking off correctly read words and noting reader s miscues) on four
53 students. Rodgers found a teacher must decide what miscues to attend to and what level of help to provide. She stated it might not be about the teacher making the right move but about the teacher making a move observing the childs response, and then making another move to accommodate a better fit. [This study empowered me as a former teacher; it was refreshing to hear an author validate th e teachers tough job. The other day my daughters first-grade teacher, who recently learned that I used to teach first grade, commented that she thought I had probably done a lot bette r at staying organized than she does. I averted my response and said, It is so much to keep up with! I used to go home exhausted! And its true. Every moment a teacher must make quick decisions. Each decision could really impact a childs success in sc hool.] These decisions are getting more exhausting, but more benef icial with the emerging notion of multimodal literacy. Siegel (2006) defi nes multimodal literacy as literacy that uses a wide array of modes and media. I s aid exhausting because now, even more than before when I taught first grade, there are so many ways to teach. Technology is not my forte but if I go back to teaching, it will have to be. In Dyso ns (2008) study regarding first graders interpretations of offici al writing practices, she found that certain aspects of school literacy are impo rtant -a practice view of literacy, a dynamic view of the basics, and a multimodal vision of textual production. Tied to this study is an opinion piece by Wohlwend (2008) about the benefits of play. Wohlwend contended that, with the government accountability mandates for standardized testing, play is being driven out of instruction. Both Dyson and Wohlwend believe multimodal play provides a space for children to play with meaning and to achieve school goals. Teachers w ho teach multimodally look
54 at numerous modes of literacy, including drawings, play, gam es, discussions, imaginations, drumming, voice, movement, drama, and sign -making (Siegel, 2006). Dyson (2008) found a tension when children in her study tried to write in multimodal forms but were held back because of constraints in the classroom. She says multimodal teaching is a requirement for a re-visioning of the class room, where some rules are changed and children are freer to use different forms of writing. Dyson encourages drawing, which she says frequently shows spatial relation ships better than writing. I see multimodal practices as being not only developmentally a ppropriate, but also a way to naturally lead children to functional forms of literacy. Using Functional Literacy. Exemplary teachers use functional literacy in the classroom because children need to use reading and writing for real purposes (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). One of the functional writing forms Dyson (2008) highlighted was a list of birthday invitees. The list resembled play more than writing. The child thought this literacy exercise was actually associated with recess time and more a function of play, than for school writing time. Other highlights were lo ve notes, maps, playing teacher, pickets, poetry, and family presents, all of which were completed at recess time. Thus, the children wrote personal plans to socially play. The t eacher in the study could have done better if she had focused on additional resources, suc h as making personal plans, to consider future instruction in her class writing time. La bbo (2006) wants teachers to consider technology and the functional role of computers in the classroom. Just like Dyson, Labbo considers childrens outside worlds a major pa rt of what goes on in the classroom. She states children who want to go outside, but cant because of the weather, can learn about the weather from computers. Communicati on and information can be
55 woven into the curriculum. Of course children would be di sappointed if they couldnt go outside to play but teachers can incorporate events such as this to communicate to children why they cant go outside, perhaps because there i s lightning. Teachers will inform young children about what they are doing and why th ey are doing it. Labbo concluded the best teachers she knows are leaders who a lso observe young children. This finely fits in with DAP (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997) and kidwatc hing (Goodman, 1996). Nolen (2007) conducted a study about effectively following youn g children to enhance writing abilities. She studied motivations to read an d write by following first, second, and third graders through the subsequent years in schoo l. Nolen conducted interviews with the children and the teachers and observe d in their classroom. She found motivation was socially constructed and the properties of autonomy, creative control, and interest can be determined by the classroom community and h ow children identify with the classroom community. The two experimental groups used di fferent ways of teaching writing. One group used teacher-controlled instruction that held little relevance for the students. Motivation was low for these children. The chil dren in the other group viewed writing as something one does to improve ones ability to c ommunicate or entertain. This is an excellent example of a functional literacy. Motivation was high in the latter group, because the teacher provided supportive and interesting instruc tion. Related to motivation is the concept of self-efficacy. Kim and Lorsbach (2005) found that high efficacy children put forth effort, pers istence, and perseverance. They conducted a study that looked at how kindergarten and first gr aders judge their competence in writing. High self-efficacy children defined writing as a way to communicate what they are thinking. I see this as a dire ct correlation to functional
56 literacy. Low self-efficacy children defined writing as kno wing the alphabet. I now see how children could struggle with functional literacy if t his was how the children see writing. Kim and Lorsbach (2005) used observation and interviews with both the children and the teachers to determine how writing self-efficacy beliefs can be described by young children. The authors found that observations and convers ations in fact do help teachers identify low and high self-efficacy in young children. Te achers would do well to try and look at reasons why the children have low or high self-e fficacy. The authors found that for the most part teachers exhibit accuracy when determ ining childrens perceived selfefficacy level. By knowing characteristics of students with high self-efficacy, teachers can employ several strategies in the classroom. Using Prior Knowledge. What makes a child want to put forth effort, persist and persevere? Dyson (2008) notes if a teacher wants to create a school literacy culture where children learn, the teacher must situate officia l school practices within the communicative practices of childrens lives. For instance children use different graphological symbols to link to familiar concepts. One e xample is a writing sample where a child wrote GI JOE in all capital letters. T he child had seen it written like this on a toy. In this way, Dyson suggests children should be th e impetus for stretching a curriculum. Their communicative, symbolic, and cultural materials should be extended to organize official school practices. Responsiveness to all classroom community members is important. Although Dysons (2008) studies focus mainly on writing and Kuhn et.als (2006) on reading, Dyson and Kuhn, et.al would not have peaceful discussions about the
57 best ways to teach children. Kuhn et.als study did not mention situating official school practices within communicative practices of childrens lives In fact, in this study, only word reading efficiency, oral reading of connected text, and reading comprehension were noted as being elements of a childs reading ability. I thi nk instead of using a control group and utilizing such antiquated notions as round-robin read ing, the control group might have used an approach that followed childrens unoffic ial worlds. That would be an interesting study. The study did find that the extended time children spent with connected text did help in reading development, measured by w ord reading efficiency and reading comprehension. In contrast, Dyson saw teache rs aiding children by recontextualizing their experiential, linguistic, and text ual resources into new activities; Kuhn, et.al primarily looked to the teachers role in pr oviding feedback and modeling. Motivating. Teachers using Kuhn et.als approach or Dysons approach mi ght use motivation research to find out if children are motivate d more by one approach or another. In Nolens (2007) research on motivation, she f ound that social context played an important role in how motivated children were in read ing and writing. Teachers in School One who showed positive growth in reading enjoyment and a steady growth in writing enjoyment normalized individual differences and gave instructions to the children on how to coach others. Nolen concluded that this made the children feel that fluency was attainable by all, resulting in children at school feeli ng more motivated to read. In School Two, children showed a decline in reading and writing enjoyment because the teacher emphasized the need to finish work before recess, which may have privileged fluency and contributed to the negative views of slow readers. In bo th schools, there was positive growth in reading interest. This is another case in w hich social factors may have played a
58 part in the study results. The childrens interviews demo nstrated part of what sustained childrens interest in both schools was that, by third gr ade, popular books by the same author in the same series were provided to hold childrens interests. Nolen states that reading and writing are rich areas for motivation resear ch because of the social nature of literacy and because there are so many reasons for enga ging in both. Drawing and talking are also meaning-making strategies for young children (Dyson, 1982, 1989; Hubbard, 1989; Matthews, 1999). Dyson (2008) suggested that educators need to r ethink the basics of literacy because children use writing to engage in a r elationship-filled life. She criticized contemporary curricular policy for failing to include a conception of writing as social practice. Summer Learning Providing Support. In this last section I will review the literature regar ding summer learning. One contemporary curricular policy is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Helf, Cooke, and Flowers (2009) base their study on the NCLB and ways to maintain student proficiency within NCLB. They maintain that in order to accommodate children who do not meet the requirements to read proficien tly on grade level, educators must delve into possibilities such as small group instructio n to practice skills and receive increased feedback from the teacher. Their study looked at one-on-one tutoring and compared it to one-on-three tutoring using the Early Readi ng Tutor intervention. Participants were trained classroom teachers, paraprofe ssionals, tutors, and fifty-four first graders. DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Lite racy Skills) tests showed that the small, one-on-three group configuration worked just as well as the one-on-one group,
59 with comparable progress and gains in reading. The authors thi nk the one-on-three configuration should be the preferred method because it uses resources, such as time and staff, more efficiently. However, the DIBELS test m ainly focuses on areas such as word reading and phonics skills. This brings me back to Stipeks (2004) study on constructivist ver sus didactic teaching methods. Stipek went to great lengths revealing lit eracy experts who advocate constructivist teaching and conversely literacy experts w ho find that didactic teaching methods have improved basic skills for low-income childre n (Wiesberg, 1994; Adams & Engelman, 1996) and children with learning disabilities (Adams & Carnine, 2003; Lovett, Barron, & Benson, 2003). The didactic methods may, however have some motivational draw-backs. I wanted to critique Helf, Cooke and Flowers (2008) study but I think most of my arguments come from my constructivist bent on teac hing. For instance, there was (a) teacher directed instruction with skills and scriptreading, (b) a timer, and (c) remediation with all students, not just the ones who nee ded remediation. These are contrary to my constructivist bent because I believe tha t script-reading is not the most effective teacher practice, a timer makes children nervo us, and remediation should be used when specific children need remediation. Brown, Morris, and Fields (2005) also conducted a study on tut oring. They looked at only one-on-one tutoring with teachers, paraprof essionals, and tutors working with second through fifth graders using the Next Steps readi ng intervention. Supervisors were also part of the study and helped with implementatio n. Pretests and posttests were given to the children to measure results. Results showed (1) children who were tutored fared better than children in the comparison groups on ea ch of the posttests; (2) the
60 children tutored by the paraprofessionals outperformed the children in the comparison group; and (3) the children tutored by the certified teacher s did not fare significantly better than children tutored by paraprofessionals. The a uthors found that one of the most important elements in the study was the role of the supe rvisors in leading the teams of tutors. The most important role of the supervisor was in the pacing of the tutors lessons. [I am so glad I wrote the section on multicultural educat ion first. It gave me a new perspective to write the rest of this dissertation.] As I read this study by Brown, et al., I discovered the authors chose stories from basal readers published from 1975 to 1986 for primer levels through late second grade. Their reasoning wa s that these readers contained many high frequency words. I dont like the practice of choosing older texts because older books may contain White bias, a form of racism (A nderson, 2006). I hope Brown, et al. (2005) kept this in mind when choosing older texts. The study gave specific titles of books used for the children who were reading in late secon d grade levels, but not for earlier levels. Rodgers (2004) suggested that scaffolding is important in tutor ing experiences. She noted that tutors should provide opportunities for errors and that tutors should vary the support they give children, including telling, demonstratin g, directing, and questioning. Her study is in direct opposition to Brown, et al.s (2005) study in that she opined that paraprofessionals cannot be as successful at t utoring as trained teachers. Rodgers maintained that scaffolding involves making decisions on a moment-by-moment basis about the kind of help to provide and requires speciali zed knowledge which paraprofessionals probably have. When research supports co ntradictory opinions, the outcome can be confusing. Go with one-on-one tutoring; n o, go with one-on-three
61 tutoring. Go with certified teachers, no, go with parapr ofessionals. It seems the research has conflicting conclusions. Stipek (2004) has an interesti ng opinion that it is important to address teachers beliefs about the purpose of educatio n if we intend to influence the teaching strategies they use. In her study, nearly half of the variance in using didactic approaches was explained by the teachers goals, the ethnic ity of the children, and the perceptions of the parents ability for involvement in t heir childrens education. I think Graue (2008) would agree. She sees DAP as a metaphor for chil d-centered and standardsbased education as a metaphor for educational ends. Inste ad of these foci, Graue wants to see more qualitative research focusing on the interactio ns that occur between teachers and students, something she sees lacking in most of the current literacy studies. Using Summer Learning to Improve Achievement. Many researchers who conduct current literacy studies regarding summer learning use quanti tative methods. Lauer, Akiba, Wilkerson, Apthorp, Snow, and Martin-Glen (2006) is o ne such example. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of out-of-school time (OST) programs. There were thirty-five studies, including math and reading achievement. The OST programs included programs for summer school, after school, Saturdays, a nd holidays. The authors found that OST programs have positive effects on reaching achie vement. Downey, von Hipple, and Broh (2004) studied kindergarten and fi rst grade scores on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 1998 to 1999 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002) in order to find out if schools act as equalizers to reduce disparities in academic achievement. Thi s was another study without any qualitative data. The authors found that learning rates we re less variable during the school year than during the summer months. During the sch ool months, learning rates
62 demonstrated decreased inequality, but during the summer mont hs, learning rates demonstrated increased inequality in regards to the achieveme nt gap. There is one important exception to this, however. T he gaps in cognitive skills between African American and Caucasian children grew fast er when school was in session. The authors maintain that family and neighborh oods are responsible for the inequality in cognitive skills when school is out of sessi on. But even disadvantages in neighborhoods were found to be greater than disadvantages at poorer schools, so, by comparison, schools gave these children a greater boost. Alexander, Entwisle, and Olson (2007) agreed with this ass ertion. In this study the researchers looked for summer achievement loss and achievement gaps. The study included fall and spring testing for the beginning of first gra de through the end of elementary school. The results showed that childrens l ives outside school over the preschool and elementary years account for the majorit y of the achievement gap, separating low and high SES (socio-economic status) childr en at the beginning of high school. The authors found that disadvantaged children slip b ack, relative to better-off children, when school is out for the summer. The disa dvantaged children gained a few points in achievement tests some summers and lost a few points in other summers. This has been named the summer slide (p. 19). The Alexander et al. (2007) study was engaging because of the longevity. However, anytime a study shows that children are suffering because they are slipping back, I want the study t o be discontinued in favor of another study that is more helpful to children. For inst ance, the authors stated that during their study there was no mandatory summer school so the ir data was not clouded. I didnt appreciate that statement because it seems like a ll the authors care about is the
63 results and not the children. I thought it was horrible. However, I did appreciate the fall and spring testing. McGill-Franzen and Allington (2006) chastised some studies for only testing from spring to spring. They say that testing in this way produce s lower estimates of schoolrelated gains. This ignores the summer reading losses o n achievement of disadvantaged children. In their opinion piece, McGill-Franzen and Alli ngton called this and other practices contamination in educational accountability s ystems. They stated when politicians looked at school effectiveness and forgot to count in summer reading loss, they mistakenly criticized targeted schools for not bei ng adequate. It is no wonder that high-poverty schools have difficulty retaining teachers a nd principals. Borman, Benson, and Overmans (2005) research also include d fall and spring testing. The authors found factors associated with summe r learning gains. They discovered that voluntary summer schools developed to n egate the summer slide can have positive effects on summer learning. The study began in th e spring of 1999 and ended in the fall of 2002. In 1999, the children had just finished kinderga rten or first grade. The summer program was called Teach Baltimore. The rese archers employed numerous measures, including reading achievement scores, student and family background data, summer school participation information, and parental re sources. Two hundred and forty college students were the teachers in the summer schoo l. Even though the authors wrote that the college students were trained for three weeks, i t was difficult to determine what three weeks of training really meant -three weeks, fo r an hour a day; three weeks, all day long; or three weeks, meeting every other day
64 Stone, Engel, Nagaoka, and Roderick (2005) identified the criti cal role certified educators take in summer learning. This study included qualitative data, as well as quantitative. At last! The authors wanted to go beyond ac hievement scores to examine classroom processes in a program called Summer Bridge. The participating children were in grades three, six, and eight, but only the sixth and eighth graders were interviewed. The authors wanted to find out how summer prog rams operate when there is a high-stakes testing context. The summer program gave t he children another opportunity to pass the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills so that they c ould proceed to the next grade in the fall. The Summer Bridge program provided a climate in which certified teachers provided a supportive academic press and personalism. These two attri butes, press and personalism, were coined by Sebring, Bryk, Roderick, Camburn Thum, and Smith (1996) and are viewed as critical components of well-functio ning schools. Over half of the students interviewed characterized their experiences as more positive in the Summer Bridge program than in the school year. I had a lot to think about with Stone, et al.s (2005) study because of the interviews. The youth in the study gave some telling answ ers to some of the interview questions. One portion of the study especially resonated w ith me. The authors wanted to determine who in the study had any major problems or extenua ting circumstances which might interfere with learning. Of the 25 youth who conside red the program a positive experience, only two were identified with such interferen ce difficulties. [This discussion of interference difficulties led me to reflect on my own major problem through writing this dissertation. I had some pain in my left breast one night, in the middle of the night. I was scared so I went to my g ynecologist. She sent me for a
65 mammogram. The mammogram led to an ultrasound. The ultras ound is now leading to a needle biopsy in the near future. I am scared, but not fre aked out. Yet! I am mortally afraid of needles. I asked the RN if my husband could co me in with me and she said No. I hope the staff will give me something to calm my nerves because I will almost certainly faint. As it turned out I did not faint and the results were good. I dont have anything harmful in my breast after all. How did this difficulty affect my writing? I was mor e distracted, though still I knew there is a deadline to finish this chapter. Children go through a lot more than I am going through, without the maturity or resources to combat the stress. I feel for these kids.] Making Summer Learning More Effective. This reflection brings me back to the notion of personalism and its place in the classroom. Stone, et al. (2005) found personalism and academic press were more present during the summer learning program than during the regular school year. Sebring et al. (1996) s tated that personalism included teachers listening to children, caring for children, noticing i f children are absent, and taking an individual interest. The authors said that, while personalism is important, by itself it does not foster academic development. The co mbination of personalism and academic press will lead to higher levels of engagement. Stone, et al. (2005) had a similar finding. The authors found that individualized instruction le d to larger student gains, which may have been because of the personalism and academ ic press the youth reported. The authors indicated that the teachers tailored the i nstruction to the youths learning capacities and needs in the summer program. This could hav e been due, in part, to the
66 small class size. During the summer program, the class size was only 16, instead of 30 during the regular school year. Lauer, et al. (2006) found the same trend in their analysi s of out of school programs. They found one of the highest effect of class sizes was in the positive relationship to student achievement in reading with one-o n-one tutoring. The authors only saw tutoring in the after school programs, however. N one of the studies they analyzed had summer programs with tutoring as an option. That will change with my current study, if the summer literacy camp is similar to last summe r. The teacher to child ratio was small so children got a significant amount of individualize d attention. The summer literacy camp will involve children from kinde rgarten through eighth grade. Im glad we start with kindergarten because Alexan der, et al. (2007) said the kindergarten year and the first grade year are critical times for children for the retention of basic skills. In their study, they found the larges t gain differences in summer school learning from disadvantaged children to better off children oc curred in the first two summers after schooling began. Entwisle and Alexander (1992) agreed. They maintained childrens achievement should be studied early in their acade mic years because young children are most sensitive to home and school influences Additionally, cognitive growth rates are higher when children are in their first few grades. Perhaps the higher level of cognitive growth rate is why I loved to teach first grade [However, I wish I had known the research on providing a ccess to books during the summer months. I would have tried to find a way to provi de this access. In fact, at one time I had an idea to start fundraising to build a publ ic library in Wimauma. Wimauma is a small, rural town in central Florida. Mo st of the people who live there
67 work in the fields as migrant workers. I have volunteer ed at a mission project there on several occasions. I havent followed through on the l ibrary idea yet.] Alexander, et al. (2007) suggested educational policy should i ncrease access to books in the summer months. This is based upon their study which indicated checking out books predicted summer gains in achievement. Likewise, M cGill-Franzen and Allington (2006) call for easy access to interesting and appr opriate books to level the playing field. They cite Neuman and Celano (2001) who found i n high poverty, urban neighborhoods, there is little access to print. Kim and White (2008) said just providing reading material is no t enough. They conducted a study with third, fourth, and fifth graders in four conditions. In the first condition, children took home eight books of their choos ing and read them, without any scaffolding or tutoring. In the second condition, childre n took home eight books and were coached on oral reading of the text with scaffolding hel p from teachers and parents. In the third condition, children took home eight books and were coa ched on oral reading and comprehension. The fourth condition was the control co ndition. The authors found that on a standardized posttest the children in the two scaffo lding conditions scored higher than the control and books only groups. [It was report card day yesterday. My son is in pre-K, so he didnt get a formal report card this nine weeks, only an Individualized Educatio n Plan (IEP) update. This outlined his progress in speech and his developmental progress as far as pre-reading skills, pre-writing skills, and self-help skills go. The re was also an insert. The insert was titled, Frequently Asked Questions. The questions all re lated to the Extended School Year (ESY), which is our countys version of summer school. I paused to look at some
68 of the frequently asked questions and couldnt help but think of this dissertation. I am looking forward to James getting extra help this summer, t o avoid a fall into the summer slide. ] As Lauer, et al.s (2006) Meta analysis suggested, OST pro grams can have positive effects on the achievement of at-risk students. Conclusion I think it is exciting to read all of future studies these aut hors have determined are useful for this body of knowledge! These three focimulticultural instruction, literacy instruction, and summer learning, helped me understand the curr ent literature for young childrens learning. I now recognize the need for further st udies, as well. Davis (2007) was eager to examine classrooms in disadvantaged communit ies to better understand the circumstances in which community discourses influence cla ssroom practices. Perry (2008) wanted to explore how storytelling may be utilized eff ectively in schools to increase academic achievement. Borman, et al. (2005) though t to advance theory and practical knowledge, educators need to develop a better underst anding of the family characteristics that explain differences in summer school attendance. Graue (2008) wanted to use qualitative research to depict the experience of meaning, context, and power in the experiences of young children. And finally, N olen (2007) wanted to find out at what age ego concerns increase and affect students w illingness to write. [I look to these accomplished authors to think about my ow n future endeavors. Right now the only future endeavor I have is this dissert ation. However, I am sure that what I find out from this study will help spur my interest in many future studies regarding
69 young childrens literacy. How different my first grade c lassroom would look if I taught first grade today!]
70 Chapter Three -Design Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to describe teaching and learning e vents that occur between nine young children and their tutors in a communit y of interest summer literacy camp. The idea for the study came about from my experie nces as a former primary teacher who, because I did not have all of this knowle dge I now have, had an impact on my childrens literacy learning. This inquiry focuses on literacy learning in a summer ca mp setting. The study is unusual because it combines a literacy camp setting and autoe thnography. In the literacy camp last summer when I did a pilot study, the child to gradua te tutor ratio was almost equal and so children had an opportunity for one-on-one tuto ring. Unfortunately, in a regular school year this opportunity does not occur. I will be observing the children to find out ways children lea rn. Dr. Reynolds uses a community of interest model as a framework for the c amp. 1. What types of literacy instruction do nine children receiv e from their graduate education major tutors in a community of practice summer literacy camp? 2. How do nine children respond to the literacy instruction the y receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp?
71 One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend i t, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what see ms good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal t o spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to kee p to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything y ou do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes. Annie Dillard (1989) [This quote spoke to me. So many times in my previous writin g I have disregarded ideas because they did not fit with the r equirements of the intended assignment. Now, I feel freer to experiment with new writing experiences. Reflexivity is one such experiment.] Reflexivity, then, is ubiquitous. It permeates every aspe ct of the research process, challenging us to be more fully conscious of th e ideology, culture, and politics of those we study and those we select as our audience (Her tz, 1997, p. viii). Ubiquitous: existing or being everywhere at the same time ; constantly encountered (Merriam-Webster, 2009). I had to look up the de finition of this word because I didnt know what it meant. Instead of putting t he word reflexivity in a heading and defining it underneath, I decided to put it in the b eginning of my design section as an introduction. Why, you might ask? It is be cause of the previous quote from Hertz (1997, p. viii). What she said resonated with me.
72 From the beginning of this inquiry, I have been reflexive. I have not just reported facts but I have actively constructed my interpretations of my experiences and then I have questioned how my interpretations have come about (Clifford & Marcus, 1986, Rabinow, 1986; Van Maanen, 1988). I intend to continue doing this for the remainder of my qualitative inquiry. Pilot Study Findings When I conducted research in the pilot study last summe r I found the literacy camp was a fertile place for learning (Appendix.G). [That is why I am excited to again find out what literacy learning will take place this summe r!] The environment was caring and the children felt safe to take risks. The children worke d with challenging material, were relaxed, and had fun. The literacy instruction was a ppropriate and functional. Graduate students said they wished they had included more oppo rtunities for multicultural instruction so I hope to look at that featur e of the camp more closely. Kidwatching was an important part of my pilot study. I wi ll again use this process because it fits in beautifully with observing young childre n in a camp setting. Ultimately, I found observational research can illuminate remarkable abilities and teachers care and concern for children. In the pilot study I found children showed multiple examp les of knowledge about language. In the dialogue journal one child wrote about going f ishing over the weekend: I dont know what Im going to do this week. I just rebme meber I going fishing. from. Mr. Seleres.
73 There were many examples of settings in the camp that promoted literacy use. One setting was outside the center where the children too k pictures during a wonder walk. There were several examples of settings wher e children needed additional support with literacy. One child said a connection meant respect ing a book. And there were many settings where children showed success with literacy. One child explained the tutor didnt need to help him be a good writer because he was alrea dy a good writer. From the pilot study I found literacy comes in many for ms. I discovered children can show literacy knowledge in more ways than just r eading and writing. The wonder walk proved that! I also learned children can be motivated by small group settings and the summer literacy camp setting is a fertile place f or literacy instruction. The findings will inform my dissertation by giving me a background for t he camp and by providing me with opportunities for further observations. Qualitative Inquiry I will use qualitative inquiry methods for my research. In searching to define the scope and purpose of this qualitative inquiry, I sought the gui dance of those who have traveled before me. I found myself following the voices of Schwandt (1997), Denzin and Lincoln (2005), and Patton (2002). Schwandt (1997, p. xiv) defines qualitative inquiry as a set of practices with different ways of speaking. He says the ways of speaking in qualitative inquiry are something like a constellation of contested practice. It is not a survey-able order. There are multiple sources. Denzin and Lincoln (2005) get more specific when they describe qualitative research as a situated activity. Qualitative inquiry loc ates the observer in the world. The
74 practices are interpretive and material and transform t he world. Field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and self-memos ca n be included in qualitative studies. Patton (2002, p. 5) explains the fruit of qualitative inqu iry is the themes, patterns, understandings, and insights that emerge from f ieldwork and subsequent analysis. When researchers use qualitative methods, fi ndings are full of depth, detail, understanding, and a very personal level of experience. Qualitative researchers examine the constraints of the everyday social world (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005, p. 12). In this way, researchers may come up against these constraints when they direct attention to particular cases. Researchers may be compelled to take political action as the feelings of participants are revealed (Patton, 2002). I choose qualitative research methods because that is the most appropriate way to answer my research questions. [When I think of quantitativ e methods, my hands start to sweat. I have flashbacks to my anxious preparations for t he mathematic portion of the GRE, followed quickly by painful memories of my post-gradua te statistics courses. While I ended up getting As in both statistics courses, the mental anguish associated with it all was intense. Where did all of that knowledge go? Most of that knowledge has evaporated because I havent reviewed and brushed up on the s kills in many months. To be frank, I am not passionate about quantitative resear ch. I have a passion for situating myself and others in the world. I am an emerging qualitati ve researcher and ethnographer!]
75 Ethnography Ethnographic inquiry takes as its central and guiding assumpt ion that any human group of people interacting together for a period of time w ill evolve a culture (Patton, 2002, p. 81). In the application of applied ethnography, the unde rstanding is that the culture is of the utmost importance, especially if chan ge efforts will be implemented. This cultural perspective makes the ethnographic method distin ct. Ethnographers use participant observation as a method fo r research. The researcher maintains the role of participant observer by immersion into the culture under study (Patton, 2002). Schwandt (1997, p. 44) calls this a firstha nd field study. He says ethnography puts together process, product, fieldwork, and writ ten text. He notes culture is not tangible or visible. It is constructed by the act of ethnographic writing. Schwandt maintains writing culture is a critical concern for et hnographers. According to Schwandt (1997), fieldwork and ethnography may be considered synonyms. This is because ethnographers spend so much time i n the field generating descriptive data, developing rapport with the participants, using multiple data sources, and making field notes. It will be challenging for me to develop rapport with the participants. I have a tendency to gravitate toward people w hom I know and who I know like me. If I find myself getting nervous about this during fie ldwork, I will need to remind myself of something Hammersly and Atkinson (1983, p. 107) wrote -[T]he expressive power of language provides the most important res ource for accounts. A crucial feature of language is its capacity to present desc riptions, explanations, and evaluations of almost infinite variety about any aspect o f the world, including itself.
76 How can I prepare myself to be an ethnographer? I will look beyond what I think I know about the children and the graduate students at the l iteracy camp. I will think about culture, such as, how the group organizes itself. Cul ture surrounds us, in every aspect of life, but sometimes we are too harried to obse rve our surroundings. [When I am considering the importance of culture, it reminds me of the group of men I see on a local road every time I drive to my doctors office. This ro ad is a well-travelled, two-lane road. Six men are sitting at a round table in metal chairs an d playing a card game. The men look comfortable with each other and smile broadly as I pass. I imagine this card game has been taking place in this very spot for many years. I become curious to observe or even participate in their group, with the hopes of experie ncing what looks to be a great camaraderie. When I drive past this long-standing card game a nd think about the group of men, I think like an ethnographer.] I will feel tension when I write about what I have s een in the field. Goodall talks about this tension. The tensions that guide the ethnogra phic writers hand lie between the felt improbability of what you have lived and the kno wn impossibility of expressing it, which is to say between desire and its unresolvable, often ineffable, end (2000, p. 7). But Goodall offers hope for the resolution of this tension He notes ethnography is not a magic gift. It takes a lot of reading, disciplined im agination, hard work in the field, and solid research skills. The researcher crafts all of these into compelling stories, narratives, or accounts. [Reading? Check. Hard work? Check. Ive got those down pat. I find myself having more and more imagination. I like how Goodall put it when he said, disciplined imagination (2000, p. 10). That explains me. I never thought of myself as having much
77 of an imagination. Upon reflection, Goodall has adeptly described my imagination -a disciplined imagination. My use of autoethnography has a lso stretched the previous boundaries of my imagination.] Autoethnography Ellis and Bochner (2000) define autoethnography as an autobiographica l genre. It connects the personal to the cultural. Autoethnographers gaze through an ethnographical lens and then inward through their own lens. They find distinctions between the personal and cultural (p. 739). The autoethnogra pher is revealed through action, feeling, thought, and language. The primary data source in autoethnographies is ones own experiences and introspections (Patton, 2002). These creative narratives are addressed to academic and public audiences (Goodall, 2000), and the challenge is to find and own ones voice (Patton, 2002). The text that is created in an autoethnogra phy is a world in a state of flux and movement -between story and context, writer and reader, crisis and dnouement. It creates charged moments of clarity, connection, and chan ge (Jones, 2005, p. 764). Autoethnography is not easy. Ellis and Bochner (2000) identif ied some of the hurdles and challenges in using the autoethnographic voice. T hey say not many people can do autoethnography well. You have to be introspective about your feelings, observant about the world, self-questioning, and vulnerable. [Autoethnography. After first stumbling upon the concept of t he autoethnographic inquiry, I knew I had found my voice and my style. Some ac cuse autoethnographers as being narcissistic. Could this be true? Am I a narcissist ? When I talk of myself, my pen
78 flies across the paper. I get excited others might benef it from my musings. Maybe I am a narcissist. I first formally used the autoethnographic vo ice in my pilot study. The funny thing is I did not even know I was using this autoethnographic method until Dr. Reynolds helped me come up with an appropriate title. The writing of the pilot study was fulfilling for me, especially because Dr. Reynolds liked the pilot study so well that she wanted to publish it in the journal The Journal of Reading Education. Dr. Reynolds is the senior editor. She did publish it and it was exciting to see my w ork in print! Writing an autoethnography is fulfilling. I feel smart, smart in a wa y Ive never felt before. Previously, Ive always felt other professionals are sm arter than I. Not to pick on an obvious target, but lawyers are a good example. My family is full of lawyers -the good kind, not at all haughty or know-it-all, but smart. Now after finding my autoethnographic voice, doors have opened in my mind. I have discovered a st ronger ability to conduct research and understand others research. The text, Eth nographic I solidified this confidence. Carolyn Ellis book (2004) was the most fasci nating research I have ever read. I want to write like her! In fact, some day I wi ll write an autoethnography about my infertility experience. I will study myself and how I went through the emotional rollercoaster from anguish to joy, from grief to eupho ria -all in one given day, and sometimes in less than an hour.] Self Study Self study points to a simple truth, that to study a pi ece is simultaneously to study a self: a study of self-in-relation to other (Bul lough & Pinnegar, 2001, p. 14). This form of writing has become more commonplace in resea rch. As Lageman and Shulman
79 (1999) write, the keeping of journals in written or video f ormats, the writing of autobiographies, and the presentation of research in other narrative forms is now more and more commonplace. (p. xvi) Ross Mooney, who wrote a seminal piece entitled The Researcher Himself in 1957, wrote research is a personal venture. Research is wo rth doing because it has direct contribution to ones own self-realization. He hopes a ll beginning writers know the personal joys he has had from writing and finding out about himself. Mooney goes on to say a writer will find a richer fulfi llment in his or her life from moving into a self-creative position. A writer will find also a richer fulfillment in others. Bullough and Pinnegar (2001, p. 15) explain there is much to b e gained from private experience. They say biography and history must be joined together in social science and in self-study research. When they are joi ned and when the issues in the self have a relationship to the context of time, self study tr ansforms into research. Bullough and Pinnegar state there has to be a balance between priv ate experience and public issues with public theory and private trial. This is a challenge for researchers who choose selfstudy. To effectively join biography and history, the author must s trike a delicate balance (Bullough and Pinnegar, 2001). If research is too biogr aphic, tipping too far to the self, the research is simply a confessional. If the research is too historic, tipping too far the other way, the researcher has produced traditiona l research. [I have tried to keep the balance, but this methods secti on has made it difficult. It has been my inclination to keep putting in definitions and d irect quotations. I have found
80 it challenging to include my insights. No offense to metho dology, but the subject matter has made it difficult to be creative in my writing. I was watching a small television today that was connec ted to my elliptical machine at the gym. Sweat dripped down my face as I watche d The Today Show. The screen was filled with a teaser for an upcoming story abo ut an inspiring man. The video was accompanied by the words, Everyone has a story. I thought, Exactly! That is what this qualitative research and ethnography stuff is al l about! I think if all researchers added something of their life, their biographies and their histories, research would be more meaningful to their audience and, possibly, mo re meaningful to them, as well.] I leave this section with one more parting thought from Richardson and AdamsSt. Pierre (2005, p. 962). They say, Nurturing our own voices releases the censorious hold of science writing on our consciousness as well as the arrogance it fosters in our psyche; writing is validated as a method of knowing. I feel empowered by this statement. My research is not occurring in a vacuum. I a m part of the dynamic environment. Im glad I will be a participant in the study, as well as inviting others to be participants. Participants Researchers Lens [During my initial dissertation meeting, one of my prof essors asked me what my role would be in the research. I repli ed I would be an observer. She quickly remarked she thought I would change the setting, just by being there, so I would be more of a participant-observer. I can see her point I will filter everything I own
81 through my own lenses. Additionally, I will have another Ph.D. candidate, Jay, help me with observations, recording notes, and looking through wr iting journals, personal dictionaries, and camp notes written by the graduate tutor s.] Patton (2002, p. 265) describes a participant-observer as one who employs multiple and overlapping data collection strategies: being fully engaged in experiencing the setting (participation) while at the same time obser ving and talking with other participants about whatever is happening. Denzin and Lincol n (2005, p. 21) state Poststructuralists and postmodernists have contributed to t he understanding there is no clear window into the inner life of an individual. Any gaz e is always filled through the lenses of language, gender, social class, race, and ethnic ity. My research will be filtered through Melindas lenses. Language. I begin my explanation of Melindas lenses with the first lens Denzin and Lincoln list. [I am monolingual. I only speak Eng lish. The three years of Latin in high school do not count, unfortunately. While La tin might help me with the etymology of certain words, it is a dead language, as far as communication is concerned. I feel angry with myself that I selected Latin. If I had taken Spanish and continued my Spanish studies into college, it could have helped me teach c hildren in Tampa who only speak Spanish.] Gender. [ I am a female which will affect my research, as we ll. Even though I probably shouldnt, I look at female and male students di fferently. When I was teaching first grade, I used to groan when I looked at my roster a nd saw a majority of boys in my class. That didnt necessarily mean my class was goin g to have a lot of behavior
82 problems, but in my mind, if the majority of the class w as boys, it was going to be a more difficult year.] Social Class. [I grew up in a middle-class family in Tallahassee. My dad is an attorney and my mom, who has her degree in nursing, has been a stay-at-home mother for most of my life. Even though my dad started out his care er with very little money and a lot of college debt, he achieved success and, today, owns hi s own practice with thirty partners and associates. I always had a good meal on the table at dinner time, wore modest but trendy clothes, and had my own car when I tur ned sixteen. With the assistance of my parents financial support, I attended a small college in Polk County and held jobs only during the summer vacations when I didnt have school. My socioeconomic class stands in stark contrast to many o f the children participating in the literacy camp.] Race / Ethnicity [I am a white, Anglo Saxon protestant. For that, I adm it, I feel guilt. I know I have had advantages not available to others, as a result of my race, socioeconomic status, and religion. I cringe when other s talk badly about people of other races. Racist jokes make me feel very uncomfortable. I talk to my daughter often about racism and how it affects people. And then I look around a t most of the settings she is in. Her school, her church, her playdates. They are mostl y centered on other children similar to her in color, socioeconomic status, and religion. C atherine came home at Christmas time telling me a friend of hers, who is Jewish, doesnt believe in Jesus. I told her different people believe in different things and that is a ll OK. I hope she will grow up believing this, too.]
83 Teacher. [I am also a teacher. I look at education differently f rom people who have never taught. My sister once called and asked me wh at I would do in a certain situation. She was on a committee at school which was trying to decide what to do with the money the school had received for being an A schoo l. My sister needed advice because the teachers wanted a larger part of the money to go toward teacher compensation than the parents wanted. I thought it was co nsiderate of my sister to call and ask a teachers perspective on that matter. I wish that would happen more in educational decisions, i.e. committee members asking inform ed educators their thoughts in educational matters.] Researcher [Currently I am immersed in research. I know that lens will affect how I observe the children in the literacy camp. Everyt hing I see will have my mind going back to what I have researched and what I have lear ned in my coursework. ] Mother. [My role as a mother has changed how I approach educatio n. When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I was not a mom. I ha d a mom growing up so I understood vicariously about a mothers role.. And I taught y oung children so I got the sense of what moms might do in regards to having a first grader. However, being in these two roles did not prepare me totally to become a mom. I wo uld tell the parents of some first grade children how wonderfully behaved their children were and the parents sometimes would say something like, Are you sure you are ta lking about our child? I see what they mean now. The home life is so much more than just a finite time period where the schedule is dictated by bells and lunches, spec ials and assemblies. It can be tough being a parent. I wonder if being a mom will influence how I select the children I
84 observe? I want to take this into account when the t ime comes to select the participants. Now I am more attuned to the social situation of being a mom.] Jay [As I mentioned before, I will have an additional part icipant observer. He is a friend of mine from the Ph.D. classes I have taken at USF. He was actually one of those who I mentioned earlier from my very first class at U SF. He is at the same place I am in the program-a Ph.D. candidate. We have taken several cla sses together, written papers together, and presented assignments together. He is experi enced in teaching kindergarten. He has published a paper on play in the classroom. He an d I have a good rapport and I am so glad he chose to help me with this research. After I analyze the research I will ask him to be my second reader. We can determine if what I a m coming up with is indeed what he observed in the classroom and we will try to c ome to a consensus. I will talk to Jay every week following the literacy camp sessions and w e will e-mail frequently to one another. I will analyze the data myself, however.] Purposeful Sampling. Patton (2002) describes purposeful sampling as cases for study. These could be people, organizations, communities, cu ltures, events, or critical incidences. The cases are studied because they are info rmation rich (p. 40). The cases are illuminative and offer useful manifestations (p. 40) of the interest. The cases provide insight about the phenomenon, not generalization f rom a sampling to a population. [During the initial meeting about my dissertation topic, several professors were interested in the number of students who I observed in m y pilot study. During the pilot study, I tried to focus on ten children. I ended up observing fif teen children, because several of the children did not consistently attend eve ry session. I was encouraged to
85 choose a similar number for this research and I wanted to focus on ten children instead. I like this idea because I might have the same problem as b efore in the pilot study, with children coming for some sessions and then not showing up a gain. If some children come for one or two sessions, skip a few sessions and come ba ck I will probably leave those children out of my data set. This is because I wont be sure of what happened to the children outside of the camp for those missed sessions. Readers will note I ended up with nine children in the study. This was because I had trouble f inding ten children who were the right age and who came consistently for most of th e camp sessions.] I found out there are many types of purposeful sampling. Th e type that most fits my research is called theory or concept sampling. This i s a purposeful sampling strategy (Creswell, 2002). Individuals or sites are sampled because they can help the researcher. A researcher can generate or discover a theory or conce pts. I will select the participants by choosing the two gro ups of graduate students who will teach the youngest children at the literacy camp. D r. Reynolds separates the graduate students the first night of class before the literacy camp begins. There are four classes with only the graduate students so the graduate students can pr epare for the camp. After the four classes held on campus, the literacy camp begins I will talk to the graduate students about the study and entice their help. I will ge t a consent signed by each graduate student I will observe. The children arrive at the center not knowing in which gro up they will work. Dr. Reynolds separates the children upon their arrival by age. I will select the children from the two youngest groups. I will meet the parents, explain the study, and get a signed consent from the parents so I can include their child in my study.
86 Data Collection Fieldwork / Participant Observation. As shown in Table 1, I will be a participantobserver in the literacy camp. Flick (2006, p. 220) said that as a participant observer, a researcher will dive headlong into the field. You will observe from a members perspective but also influence what you observe owing to your participation. I will employ the following collection strategies ana lysis of documents, observation, and introspection.
87 Table 1 Methodology Chart Method Purpose Recording Method Observations of children Document what children know and can do. Document ways of constructing and expressing knowledge Check sheets, anecdotal records, field notes Observations of graduate students Document how graduate students use instruction to teach literacy Check sheets, anecdotal records, field notes Introspection Explore how I am being transformed in the process Journal Writing samples Explore how children use writing to learn 6 weeks of journal entries and personal dictionaries by 9 different children; 6 weeks of camp notes by graduate tutors, 1 case report for each of the 9 tutors based on the progress of 9 children
88 Documents [When I hear the word documents, I think of official paper work, like marriage or birth certificates. ] In the sense of this study, the documents involved will b e far less formal. As shown in Table 1, I will analyze dialogue journal messages young children and graduate students write to one another, and I wi ll analyze case reports tutors compose. The dialogue journals are journals in which graduate students write letters to the children and then the children respond to the graduate stude nts. This best practice is done for each of the six sessions. There will be six weeks of journal entries by nine children. Each dialogue journal will look different because each tutor will modify the journal entries so each child can receive instruction on his or her appropriate level. Dr. Reynolds assigns case reports because she thinks all teachers have to write case reports and read case reports, they should practice writing them. The reports portray information about one child and how they do in reading an d writing weekly. The reports contain examples of student work and a synthesis of th e information. The tutors have to come to conclusions, such as recommendations for liter acy instruction. The tutors have to turn in one case report about one child during the last ses sion of the literacy camp. Dr. Reynolds also learns about the children and the on-going l earning of the tutors. Scott (1990) generally defines documents as any written text. He says documents may be regarded as physically embodied texts, where the containment of the text is the primary purpose of the physical medium (p. 13). Modern documen ts can be classified according to the authorship and access that is used to obtain the material. In my research, I will be using personal documents (from the children) an d the documents will be restricted. This just means the documents will be avail able to me because I will secure permission from IRB (the Institutional Review Board) t o examine and analyze them.
89 Hodder (2000) explains documents provide mute material evidence (p.706) for an adequate study of social interaction. He maintains doc uments can provide patterned evidence can be reviewed to compare with all of the infor mation gathered. Hodder supports document usage because he says it endures, it can continually be reobserved, reanalyzed, and reinterpreted (p. 712). Hodder makes one poi nt that struck home with an introvert like me. He says material culture (or the c ulture that comes out of material evidence) is often a source in which muted voices can be expressed. What a treasure trove for an introverted researcher. Organization. This summer Jay and I will have a folder for each group. In the folder I will make copies of each Owocki and Goodman ob servation sheet (see Appendix D) so there is cumulative information for each child. We will put checkmarks or written notations when we see a child accomplish particular li teracy tasks. We will take the folders every session so we can build upon the informati on we have. This change in the way we use the observation sheets stems from a problem I encountered last summer. I had to juggle information in bits from each session. My ne w way of handling the Owocki and Goodman observation sheets is that I will keep th e sheets on each child and write on the sheets, rather than keeping a laminated copy of the s heets and referring to it for each child. This provides an opportunity to keep each childs informatio n neatly together. In the group folders I will also keep an observation sheet I have developed called the Summer Literacy Camp Observational Form (Appendi x H). The first section will contain information such as the childs name, the date anyone who is present during the observation and the physical setting where the observat ion takes place. The second section will contain the research questions, just so w e can refer to them often. The third
90 section will contain the biggest section to write obs ervational field notes. The fourth section will include my feelings, personal meanings, and pe rsonal significance that pertain to observations at the literacy camp (Patton, 2002). I will keep the syllabus Dr. Reynolds gives to the g raduate students (Appendix I). Additionally, Dr. Reynolds prints up Camp Notes each we ek that prepare the graduate students to teach in the literacy camp. These notes ar e used at the beginning of the literacy camp in the time period before the children arr ive. The notes provide useful tips and also Dr. Reynolds reflections about how the summe r literacy camp is going. I will keep all copies of the Camp Notes in the folder. I will keep the Institutional Review Board (IRB) documen ts handy just in case anything comes up that needs verification. I also need to keep some blank notebook paper in the folder to write down any notes we need to take a bout the observations. Research Questions 1. What types of literacy instruction do nine children receiv e from their graduate education major tutors in a community of practice summer literacy camp? 2. How do nine children respond to the literacy instruction the y receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp ? For both questions we will observe children in each of t he six sessions to find out what the children come to the camp knowing about literacy We will use the Kidwatching observation forms (Owocki & Goodman, 2002) to make written notations
91 on childrens literacy knowledge in various contexts. Th e forms I used last summer for my pilot study were: Spelling Knowledge, Informal Observatio n of Book Knowledge, Book-Handling and Print Concepts, Talk Concepts, Oral Language Functions, and Interactional Competencies. I will use these forms a gain for this study, adding one more. The addition will be the form that helps me to observ e Written Language Functions. This form lists numerous examples of functional literacies. I will add this because it provides a variety of activities that are considered functional. On occasion last summer I was so immersed in what I was observing I lost sight of importa nt data. If I had some functional literacies in front of me I could remember what some ex amples are. I intend to use dialogue journals, prediction logs, persona l dictionaries, and the camp notes the graduate tutors write each week for writin g samples when I delve into both questions. I will explore how children use writing t o learn. I will do this by determining what knowledge children have about writing and wha t they are learning about writing in the summer camp. These writing exercis es are requirements for the class Dr. Reynolds teaches to the graduate students. One of the se writing exercises is the dialogue journal. Last summer during my pilot study I did not use the writin g exercises; I merely wrote down what I saw the children write during the sessi on. This was tedious because I had to write fast to catch everything! This way I will h ave it written down so I can look at the material later For both research questions we will observe to find out what the children learn in each of the six sessions. We will take observational notes with the Summer Literacy
92 Camp Observation Form I created. Additionally I will use Dr. Richards syllabus to gain insight into the manifestations of the syllabus requireme nts. Finally, I will use the writing samples again for this question to determine what the graduate students have taught in that particular sessi on. Analysis Constant Comparison. Analysis is my favorite part of the research process. It is the part where themes emerge and insights abound. I hope the data I find this summ er is as exciting to put together and break apart as the pilot study was last summe r. I will do a descriptive study using constant comparison to compare incident to incident ( Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Corbin and Strauss maintain a qualitative study is incom plete unless a researcher locates the experience within the larger conditional c ontext. Additionally, the researcher should describe the process of action, interaction and emotions that arise as well as the problems that occur to inhibit action or interaction. The researcher takes the data apart, conceptualizes it, and develops the concepts further. One a nalytic tool Corbin and Strauss recommend is the journal. They recommend researchers us e it to keep a record of thoughts, actions, and feelings that arise. [I started wi th a journal and then turned to my computer for journal entries. I need to go back to using a journal because when I hand write I come up with more poignant thoughts.] I will look at data and write memos or generate diagrams that pertain to the data (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Memos are written records of ana lysis. Researchers use memos to connect complex thoughts, ideas, directions, descripti ons, themes, and concepts from
93 the data. Diagrams are visual depictions of the relations hips between concepts. I am a visual person so the use of diagrams is enticing to me. T he goal of both diagrams and memos is to make sense of the data by internalizing or f eeling it. I will break down the data, further reflect on the data in memos, and conceptualize what I think the data indicate (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). I will bring structure and process into the analysis. I will look at patterns of action/ interaction/emotion. Once this has been done, I will be able to paint conceptual pictures that add to the understanding of the experience (p. 262). I will integrate by sifting and sort ing through memos to fit the categories together. To do this, I will reread memos, c reate a story line, and create some diagrams. I will compare incident to incident. For examp le, last year in the pilot study I found several actions that denoted success with literacy I grouped these together under one concept, Settings that Promoted Success. This wa s one of my codes. In this way I brought out different aspects of the same phenomenon (C orbin & Strauss, 2008). Constant comparison helped me grasp the meaning of events examine my own assumptions (what constituted success), examine findings, and discover variation (2008). Atlas.ti. I will utilize Atlas.ti (2009) software to analyze the da ta. I looked on the website for Atlas.ti to get a better understanding of wh at it provides and whether or not it will suit my analysis. Of course, the software company is trying to sell me its product, but, objectively, it looks to be a great program. Dr. McCa rthy, one of my committee professors, uses it and likes it very much. From an inse rvice given by Dr. McCarthy (2008) I found out it can manage qualitative data, allow me to code text and audio recordings, and allow me to graphically represent relations hips in my data.
94 Atlas.ti states it provides the tools to manage, extra ct, compare, explore, and reassemble meaningful segments of data (2009). The company provided an acronym to describe its product: VISE. V is for visualization, I i s for integration, S is for serendipity, and E is for exploration. I was struck by the E in the acronym; the author of the website used humor to confess he or she used E mo stly because it fit the acronym [In that moment, I thought about qualitative research an d the more personal bent it has.] Findings. Based upon the pilot study I conducted last year I will look for the following behaviors and practices: Motivation, self eff icacy, changes in childrens attitude regarding literacy, aha moments, changes in chi ldrens behavior, multicultural instruction, functional literacy, developmentally appropr iate practices. However, I do not know exactly what I will see. I will use the observati ons and dialogue journals for further insights. Quality. I will use constant comparison (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) to help ensure the quality of the research. In addition, I will have another competent judge, Sarah, help me verify my categories make sense and my data have been arranged appropriately in the category system (Guba, 1978). Merriam (2002) finds issues rega rding rigor and trustworthiness are best understood once the researcher is involved in the study. Immersion in the process is the way of dealing with the se issues. Subjectivity. Even though Merriam (2002) thinks a researcher can best under stand issues during data collection, I need to take a firm stand n ow in this chapter on how I will address subjectivity to enhance the quality of my study. Kr ieger (1991) believes we should acknowledge honestly our studies are reflections of our own inner lives. Ellis
95 (2004) agrees. She gives advice to one of her fictional gra duate students on autoethnography by commenting on the notion of subjectivity a nd the struggles autoethnographers have. Ellis says the best thing to do is to confront the issue head-on in your writing. Bring up the issue before anybody has a chanc e to bring it up before you. Just say you are intentionally contaminating the data ( p. 89). [So, here goes. Contamination! I am intentionally c ontaminating my data -putting in my beliefs. There is much to be gained from con tamination. This study will intentionally be a reflection of what goes on in my head.] Credibility. Goodall (2000) compares writing based on personal relationships to writing derived from speechmaking. He says, [w]here writi ng derived from speechmaking gains its authority from the principles and prac tices of argumentation and debate, writing based on interpersonal relationships gains authenticity from the quality of personal experiences, the richness and depth of individual voices, and a balance between engagements with others and self-reflexive consideration s of those engagements. (p. 14). I like how Goodall gives credence to both forms. [Argum entation and debate were never my strong suit. I am relieved for another expres sive outlet.] Huberman and Miles (1998) say for research to be credible it must include second readers, feedback to informants, peer review, and a dequate time in the field. I will have a second reader because I will ask Jay to read my w ork. My informants -the graduate students -will offer feedback about the researc h. I will also recruit an outside reader, Sarah, to read and review observational notes and look at my preliminary and final categories (Janesick, 2004).
96 Alternatives to Validation. I am stuck! Now I know and understand why my committee members told me this dissertation writing can be hard. I cant decide how I want to show this study is valid. Triangulation will be best because I can make the study valid by using three forms of data collectiondocuments, i ntrospection, and observational notes. Triangulation is less a strategy for validating resul ts and procedures than an alternative to validation, which increases scope, depth, and consistency in methodological proceedings (Flick, 2006, p. 390). In fieldwork, Patton descri bes several ways triangulation can be carried out (2002). He says a resear cher can collect different types of data: interviews, observations, documents, artifacts, re cordings, and photographs. I intend to use observations, documents, and personal reflections. This way, I can hopefully find that different data capture different things (Patton, 2002). This will help me attempt to understand the reasons for these differences. I have in ternalized Richardsons (2000) criteria of quality in regards to ethnographies and will st rive to attain these: 1. Substantive contribution. Does this piece contribute to our understanding of social life? Does the writer demonstrate a deeply grounded (if e mbedded) social scientific perspective? How has the perspective informed the construction of the text? 2. Aesthetic merit. Does this piece succeed aesthetically ? Does the use of creative analytic practices open up the text, invite interpretive r esponses? Is the text artistically shaped, satisfying, complex and not boring?
97 3. Reflexivity. How has the authors subjectivity been both a producer and a product of this text? Is there adequate self-awareness and self -exposure for the reader to make judgments about the point of view? 4. Impact. Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectua lly? Does it generate new questions? Move me to write? Move me to try new resear ch practices? Move me to action? 5. Expression of a reality. Does this text embody a fles hed out, embodied sense of lived experience? Does it seem a true -a credible a ccount of a cultural, social, individual, or communal sense of the real? Conclusion [To say I learned a lot from writing this methods sect ion would be a gross understatement. Writing this section is going to prepare m e to go into the field and begin my journey as a novice ethnographer and autoethnographer. Th e process was stimulating and enlightening. On a recent trip to Tallahassee to see fa mily, my mom said, People keep asking me how your dissertation is going. I keep saying, She is having a great time! People dont believe me. They have never hear d of that! Also, I went to two parties this weekend and talked to ma ny attorneys. Usually, I stay quiet and dont talk very much. At the parties I fel t interesting and smart. I spoke to new people who I had not met before. I felt a transfo rmation! I am an ethnographer. Theres no stopping me now!]
98 Chapter Four A Portrait of the Community Center and Li teracy Camp [My committee members brought to my attention some rea ders may not know how the camp runs and wouldnt be able to picture the liter acy camp and its setting. That would be a terrible oversight on my part. Time to paint a mental picture. Here, I will give you a frame of reference for the camp, kind of like a s tory of what was taking place with some environmental context.] To get to the community center from where I live I have to take a left off of a major, four-lane road. At this intersection I can see two gas stations, a pawn shop, a seafood store, and a McDonalds. The avenue on which th e community center sits is a two-lane road. During the last year I have been going to the community center, there has been lots of road construction -cones, construction t rucks, detours. The city is changing what was a straight avenue into a curved avenue. There is a health center immediately on my right. I t is a newly built facility, very clean with pristine landscaping. Next I see an elementa ry school sign. The school sits far back from the road, but I can see it if I crane my nec k. Many of the children from the literacy camp go to this school. Next, on the left, I s ee single family homes that appear to be thirty to forty years old. Many are well-kept, smalle r houses with chain link fences. On the right are single-story apartment complexes. As I approach the facility I see a huge sign designating the campus. The sign says the community c enter is owned by the county, but operated by the community center development corporatio n. Lush landscaping surrounds me as I enter the one-hundred yard long community center driveway. The
99 medians are filled with foliage. To the left are a lar ge playground and a small parks and recreation building. I drive directly into a large parking lot that holds abo ut two hundred cars. I park my car, get out, and walk towards the sidewalk. As I move towards the facility, I see a huge entrance structure with four red brick columns, gree n, metal, criss-cross patterns near the top, and a pyramid shape at the very top. I go under the structure and head for the covered walkway, where the red brick walls are int erspersed with colored tiles. The south wall of the building, which I can see from the c overed walkway, is also covered in red brick and colored tile. Two blue doors mark the entrance There is a button for people who need assistance; next to the button is a sign that tells people to only use the button if it is really needed. [I thought the structure outside was beautiful and spectac ular! But when I get inside and see the rotunda gallery, I am even more in awe o f this community center!] The ceilings are very high and right in the center is a thr ee story-tall, round sky window which lets in lots of natural light. The sky window is decorated with strings and oversized confetti hanging down. The walls are painted with c olorful confetti pictures to match. On the inside of the sky window, there are three pieces of contemporary artwork in primary colors. Two plaques on the wall designate a lis ting of names -Friends of the Center and Patrons of the Center. Similar to the brick walls outside the community center, the tile floor is interspersed with colored ti le. Along the east wall is an art display case that features the childrens work. When I look directly to the right, I see the offices of the community center staff. Turning around counter clock-wise, I can see the gymnasium, t he break room, the
100 security office, the multi-purpose community room, and the corridor leading to the classrooms, day school, art studio, music studio, and com puter labs. At the very end of that corridor is a playground. The multi-purpose community r oom is a versatile space which can be split into three sections using a collapsibl e wall. The multi-purpose room is usually set up with two of the sections open and the other closed. From now on, I will refer to this room as the 2/3 multi-purpose community room. Beyond the multi-purpose community room, there is a lighted patio/deck. Beyond the gymnasium there is a health and fitness center, stage, dance and martial arts studi o, locker rooms, loading dock, and make-up room. [On the day I went to the center I got really lucky. I checked by the office when I arrived to say who I was. The receptionist said it would b e OK for me to look around and take notes. So I began. As I took notes a man approached me. He said, Can I help you? I explained who I was and what I was doing, and I assured hi m I had checked in at the front office. He introduced himself as the manager of th e community center. I introduced myself as well. He asked if I would like a map of the fa cility. My eyes lit up, and I said yes. He gave me a map, and instead of my making a copy, he said I could keep the one he showed me. I was elated! The map has been invaluable. Som e days things really go my way!] At the beginning of the day, the parents park their cars i n the spaces provided in the parking lot. The parents and children walk into the faci lity. They go into the 2/3 multi-purpose community room. Each parent finds his/her chi lds name in a large notebook and signs the child into the center. The televis ion is on so the children have
101 something to keep them occupied. On two occasions, I saw one child take a blanket, put it on the floor, and go back to sleep. The parents are allowed to drop off the children as earl y as 6:00 A.M. at the beginning of the summer. However, as few children came t his early, the staff informed the parents that they could not drop the children off unt il 7:00 A.M. The staff laid out breakfast for the children when they arrived. On the mor nings I was at the center this early I saw selections like cereal and breakfast bars. At the end of the day, the process is similar. The parents park, come in to the community room, sign out their child or children, and return to their cars. Pick up time was genera lly from about 4:30-6:00 P.M., but this varies as I discovered from my multiple advent ures to the community center in an effort to obtain signed parental consents. I wish I could tell you definitively what rooms the liter acy camp tutors utilized. However, the rooms varied from time to time. One week a ll groups were in the 2/3 multipurpose community room. Another week no groups were allowed in the 2/3 multipurpose community room because the staff was hosting a re ception of some sort. But for the most part, all of the multipurpose community rooms we re utilized, two of the classrooms, the patio/deck, and the art studio. The older group stayed inside for most of the camp but occa sionally went outside on the patio/deck. For five of the six sessions this group was in the 2/3 multi-purpose community room. They stayed against the east wall. The c hildren either sat on the floor on colored sheets of construction paper, or in chairs pu lled up to a table about one foot away from their floor space.
102 Prior to 10:00 A.M. the children were in the gymnasium p laying ball. At 10:00 A.M., the children came in the door in a line led by the st aff. The first session was different than the rest. Dr. Reynolds had to put each child into a group. No small feat! She asked the staff to put the children in one line from y oungest to oldest. Then she and her graduate assistant asked the children what grade they wo uld be in the fall. According to their answers, Dr. Reynolds placed the children in a group with similar aged children. The first grade group was large and the second grade group was small so some of the first graders got to be in the second grade group. By the second session the children knew the faces of t heir tutors. The children walked right up to the group, sat down, and looked to the t utors for instruction. The older group started with the camp notes (Appendix F) the tutors w rote to the children. Then the tutors started teaching. At 12:00 P.M. the tutors wrapped up ins truction, gave out the work they wanted the children to take home, and led the c hildren to the staff for pick-up. The younger group stayed inside the building the entire time. For five of the sessions they were in the 2/3 multi-purpose community room, close to the east wall, but further north than the older group. For the last sessio n they were in one of the classrooms. The children and tutors sat in two areas. The tutors push ed two tables perpendicular to one another so the tables made an L shape. Then they s pread blankets on the floor inside the crook of the L. The children went back and for th from the blanket to the tables about three times each session. The younger group started off singing a good morning song. Then they talked about the camp notes. Dialogue journals were next. It was helpful to me, and probably the children and tutors, to see the schedule listed so everyone knew what was coming next.
103 At 12:00 P.M. the tutors handed out papers and led the childre n to the staff for pick-up. At this time all of the tutors in all of the groups packed up their belongings and headed to the 1/3 multi-purpose community room to reconvene with Dr Reynolds. It was during this time that tutors shared strategies they were teac hing in the literacy camp with other tutors. This time was part of the graduate class the tutor s were taking to get masters level credit. [It was enlightening for me to explain to the reader where the center is, what it looks like, and what the literacy camp procedures were. Fo r instance, I didnt know the facility had a dance and martial arts studio. Additionall y, I had forgotten some of the procedures until I went back and looked at my observational notes. Im glad I got the opportunity to write this chapter.]
104 Chapter Five -Data Analysis and Findings Introduction The first part of making sense of the literacy camp ex perience is a narrative of what happened before the camp met. Many of these pre-camp experiences involved the graduate tutors who prepared to teach the children. The second part of making sense of the literacy camp is an account of the camp sessions, in chronological order. [Dr. Holland directe d me to one of my previous professors manuscript which was comprehensive on details a bout coding (Schneider, 2003). Dr. Holland appreciated how this particular professor w rote about how she analyzed data about childrens writing moments. The manusc ript is called, Contexts, genres, and imagination: An examination of the idiosyncr atic writing performances of three elementary children within multiple contexts of w riting instruction. I was glad Dr. Holland mentioned the manuscript. I found it helpful and I appreciated the graphic. After reading her manuscript, I developed a graphical representation of my own coding, as shown in Table 2.]
105 Table 2 Data Analysis Categories for Summer Literacy Camp Theme 1 Happenings 1.1 Assimilate Behaviors or samples that indicated that children changed the ways they thought about literacy. 1.2 Connect Behaviors or samples in which children related t ext to other texts, themselves, or the world around them. 1.3 Construct Knowledge Behaviors or samples that determined how children built their knowledge about literacy. 1.4 Inquire Behaviors or samples in which children asked questi ons to understand. 1.5 Invent Behaviors or samples that signified that childre n made mistakes with intent. 1.6 Interrupt Behaviors in which children had misbehavior or caused a pause in instruction. 1.7 Respond Samples that demonstrated that children answered questions. Theme 2 Cooperation 2.1 Meaningful Instruction Behaviors or samples that illustrated that instruction was relevant and related to the child. 2.2 Support Behaviors or samples in which children or tutors we re helped. Theme 3Reaction 3.1 Empowerment Behaviors that provided evidence that childr en felt good about themselves and had power over the situation. Theme 4 -Framework 4.1 Literacy History Behaviors or samples that illustrated what the children knew about literacy. 4.2 Personal Language Behaviors or samples that signified how children communicated. 4.3 Social Worlds Behaviors or samples that indicated childrens outside worlds.
106 I collected data using observational field notes, writing samples, and introspection. I transcribed the data. To appraise the da ta, I identified thirteen categories (see Table 2) to show what occurred in the literacy camp I then wrote memos about the data to help me understand about how the literacy moments affected the children, tutors, and me. I grouped the categories into themes by drawing di agrams. I went through several diagrams before I created a diagram that represe nted my data well. The themes in this last diagram (Appendix L) are: (1) happenings, (2) cooper ation, (3) reaction, (4) framework. Happenings (see Table 2) refer to the actions that took place in the literacy camp. Cooperation (see Table 2) means the tutors provided instruction and the c hildren were feeling supported by the instruction. Reaction (see Table 2) refers to how the children reacted to the literacy camp instruction. And final ly, framework (see Table 2) represents everything the children brought to camp-their lit eracy histories, personal habits, and social lives. [I wanted to go back to the concept of intentional con tamination (Ellis, 2004) I discussed in chapter three. Since I am writing an autoe thnography, I am intentionally contaminating my data. Readers will take what I say in different ways. Whether the reader agrees with what I say or disagrees is not the po int. The point is that I get the reader to engage in what I am writing and put herself into the situation.]
107 Data 05/13/09 [Tonight was the first night of the combined reading and writing classes for graduate students who will serve as tutors in the literacy camp. I prepared a script of things to say about the research I will be conducting during t he summer literacy camp. I already selected the kindergarten and first grade groups bec ause the youngest children will be in these groups. Dr. Reynolds let the tutors put t hemselves into groups from youngest to oldest. I saw her do this last summer so I knew it would be easy to spot the tutors of the youngest children. When Dr. Reynolds introduced me to the class I wanted to b e ready and say everything I needed to say. Im not usually comfortable wit h speaking to adults, so I needed a prepared script. This is what I said, verbatim, to the two groups of graduate students -the kindergarten group and the first grade group:] Tutors of young children, Ill be talking to you because, fo r my dissertation, Ill be observing young children during the summ er literacy camp. The title of my study is, A Description of Young Childrens Literacy Learning Experiences in a Summer Camp. In a ddition to interviews, I will also review dialogue journals. My coll eague, Jay, will be observing, as well. I wont be looking at many groups, just ki ndergarten and first grade. I just wanted you to have a heads up. (By heads-up I meant I wanted to let the tutors know, give them some for ewarning).
108 [I felt nervous when I had to explain to the whole cl ass about my research. I always feel this way when I speak in front of adults. Dr Reynolds wanted to introduce me to the whole class so everyone would understand why I was at the literacy camp. Everyone seemed receptive to the observation. Im happy I wrote down what I would say ahead of time. Something unusual happened. I went to get a stapler for Sarah (Dr. Reynolds assistant) and saw floods of water gushing down the baseme nt stairs leading to our room. It had started to rain heavily and water was seeping in the automatic doors at the top of the staircase. I told Sarah to come and see. We took off our shoes and waded through the water to close the two automatic doors. It was no use. The rain stream was too strong. The doors remained open. We went back to the classroom to t ell Dr. Reynolds. She advised us to find the universitys emergency phone and call f or help. We made the call and the campus police informed us, People were looking into it. That was no help to us, however. Water came through the doors and spread the ent ire width of our quite large room. We werent going to let a little water stop us! Dr Reynolds kept right on teaching until we smelled smoke; then, she released the class. But how was I going to get to my car with this downpour. I did not have an umbrella. Sarah gave me a plastic bag to cover my laptop because I was scared it would get wet and I would l ose all of my dissertation materials. So, with my laptop safe inside a plastic b ag, I took off my shoes and ran as fast as I could through the parking lot to my car. I got drenched and, to top it off, I lost one of my favorite black shoes. Bummer!]
109 05/20/09 [Dr. Reynolds showed some reading and writing strategies to the graduate students (Appendix F). I am re-learning some important stra tegies in her class. Observing this class has served as a wonderful refresher for me. I have been out of the classroom for so many years! I need to read Dr. Richards book entitled, Literacy Tut oring that Works: A Look at Successful In-School, After-School, and Summer Pro grams (Richards & Lassonde, 2009). It sounds like a book I could use with my own children as well. I will see if the university library has it.] 05/26/09 [I am writing these pieces as a journal accounting. On e of the analytic tools Corbin and Strauss (2008) recommend is the journal. They rec ommend researchers use the journal to keep track of thoughts, actions, and feelings Since I am doing an autoethnography, I must include my own thoughts, actions, an d feelings as well as those of the participants. Tonight I went to the community center to distribute pa rent consents. When I called to find what time would be the best time to distrib ute parent consents a staff person indicated from 4:30 to 6:00 P.M. would be the best time becaus e that is usually when the parents pick up their children. Things started out great; a ll of the parents seemed receptive to signing the consents. Then, a woman walked in to sign her daughter out. She listened to me speak briefly, and then proceeded to interrupt me, saying I would have to get the consent approved by the research liaison in our s chool system and the coordinator
110 of the after school program for our school system before I could get my consents signed. This parent was very confrontational so I decided to tell her I would look into it. I panicked, but stayed the course and handed out additional co nsents until 6:00 P.M. I left with a sense of dread. Where had I gone wrong?] 05/27/09 [Once the tutors split into their groups I passed out the graduate student consents. Since I had already talked about the study, and since the tutors needed to talk with each other about lessons, I got straight to the point. I di stributed the consents, asked them to read and sign the consents over the upcoming week, and indi cated I would pick them up the following Wednesday. One graduate student said jokingly (or at least I hope it was jokingly), What if we say no? Will you cover your eye s and not look at us? I didnt know if she was kidding, so I decided to give her the IRBs answer, i.e. I would still observe but not take notes on that particular persons int eractions. The graduate students had to present reading and writing strat egies while introducing a piece of childrens literature. I loved it s o much I wrote down all of the literature. I want to check them out for my kids this s ummer! Dr. Reynolds passed out a newsletter highlighting Africa n American childrens literature (McNair, 2009). The newsletter listed numerous books that have characters who are African American. As part of this course, she is e mphasizing culturally sensitive materials in the hope the graduate students will carry th ese materials over into the literacy camp, as well (Appendix F).
111 I got the chance to talk to Dr. Reynolds about the cons ent confrontation at the community center. She told me the parent was mistaken a nd the literacy camp has nothing to do with the school system. I was relieved to hear I had done nothing wrong and I could proceed with obtaining additional signed consents next Tuesday.] 06/03/09 [Marsha (the community centers director of community service and events) confirmed what Dr. Reynolds told me; the literacy camp h as nothing to do with our school system. Marsha is going to contact the after s chool program coordinator to notify her of the study. Because of this, I am prepared to inform the confrontational parent that the community center has informed all related personnel. Last night I went to the community center to obtain add itional signatures on the parent consents. Im so excited! Nine childrens parent s have signed! Some of the children are in second grade, and may be placed in an older age group. We wont be observing them because we will just look at the two younges t groups. In addition some of the children will go to summer school so I will only be abl e to observe them once during that first week before summer school begins. Its a s tart, though! The confrontational parent was not there last night; thankfully, her husb and picked up their daughter. One person from the community center staff helped me and gave me a clandestine hand signal with her hand cutting the air briskly so I wouldnt ask him for a signature on a consent form. The staff person was sitting a table away from m e on my right, so I caught the signal. Whew!]
112 06/04/09 [Both groups of graduate tutors signed consents tonight! I am so relieved to have those signatures! I am ready for next Wednesday when th e kids come to the camp!] 06/09/09 [Today was my proposal defense. I feel great about it! T he committee signed the title page, and all is good. I had to make a few minor adj ustments, but nothing major. I celebrated by taking my family to the ice cream place for dessert after dinner! I am nervous about tomorrow when the children arrive a t the camp. I hope it all goes smoothly. I am nervous because I have concerns abo ut not getting enough data, having data that is not meaningful, and the dread that somet hing will happen that will stop the camp altogether. I am generally an anxious person I can worry about any small thing. As I stated previously, Jay is my observation partner. I talked to him on the phone tonight; he is confident everything will go very well! Ja y is a Ph.D. candidate. He will soon finish his dissertation and graduate, like me. He is a n early childhood major and has had many years in the classroom as a kindergarten teach er. I am not worried about his role. I admire his abilities and his confidence.] 06/10/09 [Today was the first day of camp. I was excited to begi n, but nervous, once again, something would go wrong. Jay came with his observation h at on; he wrote furiously
113 about the children he observed. I knew I picked the right man for the job! The children are adorable, of course, and the time just flew! It was a wonderful experience all around! I have found a very effective way to answer my resear ch questions. I am transcribing what the students say and do in the literacy c amp, and what the graduate tutors say and do in the literacy camp. This takes a week and is an easier task because of Atlas.ti. I can manage the data a lot easier and extra ct the most meaningful data to use in my dissertation. I am extracting data that answers my research questions. After transcribing, I code that information and write mem os to keep track of my thoughts and ideas. From Corbin and Strauss (2008) recommendat ions on grounded theory, I process the action, interaction, and emotio ns the children and tutors have as well as the problems that happened which inhibited the action or interaction. Writing memos helps me process the interactions, actions and emotion s by interpreting what I have seen and writing about my impressions. When a new idea hits me about how to organize the data, I draw diagrams to help me understand the data more fully. I draw these pictures to keep a record of my concepts and relationships between the concepts (Corbin and Strauss, 2008) In this way I collapse the data into the most meaningful parts. The data contin ued to make sense to me when I kept drawing diagrams. The diagrams constantly kept my wor k on track. Using transcribing, memo writing and diagram drawing I hope to see the literacy camp more from the view of the participants. Unfortunately, I will only include nine children in my resea rch. Several of the children I got consents from did not come back to the cam p or had sporadic attendance. I had ten children in mind when I found out one of the childre ns parents only spoke
114 Spanish. I decided I couldnt ethically ask the parents to si gn something that was in English. I will have to only use data from observations and writing samples of nine children. The children I will observe are diverse in race, gender and socioeconomic status. Four children are Caucasian, three are African American one is Hispanic, and one is of mixed race. There are six girls and three boys. I would say six of the children are from low socioeconomic backgrounds. I say this because they ar e in the after school program that is affiliated with the neighborhood schools. This could be wrong, however. Wait-that was my own assumption. One of the childrens parents w orks at the community center. One of the childrens parents is a tutor in the camp, a nd one of the childrens parents was a tutor in last years literacy camp. The graduate tutors are not so diverse. Out of twelve graduat e tutors, two are African American. The other ten are Caucasian. It is hard for me to tell what the tutors socioeconomic status is. I would surmise the tutors are from middle class backgrounds because most of them are currently classroom teachers striving to obtain a masters degree in education. All twelve of the tutors are female.] Narrative Introduction The second part of making sense of my data is the narra tive account of what the children and graduate student tutors said and did during the lit eracy camp. The codes are alphabetical. I did make one change, however, that thr ew off my alphabetical order. I changed the code, misbehavior to interruptions. I hav e found the order was helpful to me as a writer because I knew which code was coming ne xt. I delineated most of the
115 codes from reading Kidwatching (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). I reread the first two chapters of Kidwatching to help me remember what Owocki and Goodman consider kidwatching. There are elements to kidwatching that fit into what I observed during the first literacy camp session. I used some of these as c odes. These are: assimilate, constructing knowledge, empowerment, invention/miscue, li teracy history, meaningful instruction, personal language, social worlds, and support. I used other codes as I observed unique situations in the camp. These were: conne ctions, inquiring, interruptions, and response. [Let me get more specific about the decisions I made fo r the codes I chose. There were some codes, such as assimilate, construct knowledge, and support that have always been in my vocabulary when I think of effective teaching. Back ten years ago, before my Ph.D. program and my enlightenment, I would have used those c odes, as well. However, terms such as empowerment, meaningful instruction, persona l language, social worlds, and connections are newer concepts for me. For example, I didnt think of empowerment as one of the main objectives for teaching young children Now I do. What I think of now as meaningful instruction and what I thought of ten years a go differ quite a lot. Additionally, I didnt give much thought to a childs per sonal language or social worlds. I dictated most of what children read and wrote. And finally, I definitely had literature discussions which included connections but I never named them as such and my children and I didnt focus on connections. So you could say my evo lving perspective on teaching is represented in my choice of codes.] Of course foremost I chose the codes from the data. W hen I developed the codes I had certain data in mind that would fit into the codes. For example, in the first session I
116 saw children writing in interest inventories about their social worlds and literacy history. I saw children constructing knowledge through cloze passages. I witnessed children designing art to make connections from a book to themsel ves. Additionally, I observed children writing in dialogue journals and assimilating to t he way the tutors wrote in their dialogue journals. This is a phone call that took place between Jay and me a fter I created the codes for my data. [Melinda: Hey Jay. How are you? Jay: Im OK. How are you? Melinda: Im excited! I have developed some codes for my research. Mind if I run them by you? Jay: No, not at all. Melinda: Well, the first one is assimilate. I see that as how the children are watching the tutors and changing some of the ways they t hink about literacy. Is that how you see it? Jay: Yes. And it not always causes a change but more of ten an expansion of the knowledge they already haveAssimilation helps fill in the gaps and hopefully initiates a self-reflection in the ways th ey view literacy. Melinda: Umm. Good. Yes. The next one is constructi ng knowledge. I see this as building knowledge about literacy and expanding strategies in reading and writing. How does that sound? Jay: That sounds just fine. Construction is building an d the strategies are the tools that make it sound. Melinda: Then theres empowerment. I think it means f eeling good about yourself and feeling like you have power over the situation. What do you think? Jay: Exactly and its amazing to see that in actionthat moment when a child realizes something for the first time (has that aha m oment) and knows-just knowsit is something he can handle and use again to his b enefit. For the teacher it can be a reciprocal phenomenaseeing a chil d empowered revs you up to keep trying with the next child. Melinda: Thats exactly right! Now how about inventio n/miscue. I have trouble with this because I know it is how children learn, by doin g things such as inventing their own spelling, but sometimes I just want to call them mistakes. Jay: I think it is ok to think of them as mistakes in a s ense but they are mistakes with intent. The child has an awareness that a certai n strategy or rule is
117 going to facilitate their reading or writing but not yet totally confident about which one to use to solve their problem. There is a n attempt and that attempt is what gives us insight into what needs strengthe ning in their literacy arsenal. It lets the wise teacher see whe re the gaps are. Melinda: Yes, I think some readers will get confused when I say miscue/invention. I will have to be explicit that Owocki and Goodman (2001) call mistakes miscue/invention. How about literacy history? I think i t means everything the child brings to class about what he knows about litera cy. Is that about right? Jay: Yes, and again it can cover quite a broad spectrum literacy history can be affected by their culture, previous exposure to literacy e vents, home environment, nutrition Where we want to take them is usual ly the easiest part. Literacy history gives us an idea where th ey are when we first set out. Melinda: Meaningful instruction? I say meaningful means r elevant and that the instruction strikes a chord almost in the learner, it r elates to who the learner is. Jay: Many traditional teachers (read that older) have a hard time with this one. There are those thematic lessons they feel they must do every year and they often go full speed ahead without ever assessing whe ther that instruction is relevant to their standards, curriculum an d yes, most importantly to the group of learners which changes every y ear. It goes back to that lack of self-reflection by many teachers, e specially the veteran ones. I recently read that a teacher should constantl y ask three questionsWhat? (As in what have I taught?) So what? And now, w hat? Melinda: Personal language. I think it means how the c hild communicates what she knows. It can come from home, school, any place the child goes. Jay: Yes and it may not always be verbalit can be in a look, an attitude, demeanor, willingness to participate, etc. Teaching seem s to be getting more complicated than ever and we have so much more to be aware of in our children in order to instruct them optimally. Melinda: Probably my favorite is social worlds. I l ove to hear children talk about where they come from and what they bring into the clas sroom. I love to hear the outside worlds come through in education. It ma kes teaching interesting. Jay: As you know, I am in a Title One, predominantly Hi spanic school. Two thirds of my class is ELLS so I have to really work at getting them to comprehend as much as I have to work at understanding them An exampleTara brought in snack the other dayapples and pea nut butter. I knew that apples in Spanish was manzanas. But when I asked h er how to say peanut butter in Spanish her answer was just as quickpe anut budder! Asked her again to say it in Spanish this time and she sai d peanut budder again. So I accepted that for the time being but checked l ater with our bilingual aide how to say it; she looked at me and said, We just say peanut budderits too long and hard to say the right way. Sh e knew it was
118 butter but it translated budder. I find episodes like this fa scinating! And it does make the learning much more enriched. Melinda: Great example! Support is the last code. I see support as meaning help or facilitation. Jay: Yes, and again it can involve many forms, not jus t another personit can come through a friend or the teacher and more often wil l, but it can be a book, a song, a game an activity, sometimes even a mem ory of something previously done. Melinda: Well, thanks so much. I dont want to keep y ou and I know you are at the beginning of your school year, so I will let you go. Ja y, I cant tell you how much help you have been with this literacy camp. I couldnt have done it without you. Jay: It was my pleasure. I had fun watching the teach ers as much as the students. Thanks for the opportunity. Melinda: Take care. Good luck with your school year. Jay: Thanks. Good luck to you. Bye.] Narrative Analysis Code One Assimilate. 06/10/09 All of the names in this dissertation, barring mine, a re pseudonyms. For a quick reference, here are the children I observed and took notes on: The younger group included Laura, Jeremy, Melissa, Sally, and Diamonde. The older group included Cynthia, Tabitha, Caleb, and Calvin. Today I jotted down some key points from Kidwatching (Owocki & Goodman, 2002) as a reminder about why I am using kidwatching in the first place. Then, I circled key words from these points to use for coding purposes. For i nstance, on page xii of the Owocki and Goodman text, it says, Finally, tests revea l little about childrens approaches to learning and ways of constructing knowledge. I wrote that in my notebook. Then I circled the words, constructing knowledge. After I did this with most
119 of the codes I added the codes connections, inquiry, and res ponses. I added "connections" because this was a large part of what Dr. Reynolds taught the graduate students last summer (Appendix F). Owocki and Goodman (2002) maintain that children will take w hat they already know, ask for help, and seek the information they need to e xpand their model. I will look for instances of assimilating. I noted Sally is trying to expand her model of letter writ ing. When writing in her dialogue journal, she asks a question, just like her tutor di d, and then gives a telling sentence to tell the tutor more about herself. Tutor: Dear Sally, Welcome to camp! I am so excite d to meet you. What kind of books do you like? I love to read funny books. Sin cerely, Ms. Jones Sally: Dear JonesDo you like to read BooK. I like skaerre Book Sally Caleb wrote in a similar fashion. His letter was: Caleb: Dear Miss Judy, I like to exsersiz and do pushups. f rom CaleB. What do you like to do? It amazes me how much children will accommodate their writing techniques to go along with the model they see. Therefore, it is essen tial a child sees such modeling and experiences the writing techniques often. I think of Calkins (1994) when I write about modeling writing behaviors. Her writing workshop begins with teachers modeling authentic writing. Calkins says to teach writing we must demonstrate the power and purposes writing has in our lives (p. 31). Calkins advises te achers to remember memories of times when we loved writing and to model an d draw on those memories.
120 6/11/09 I talked to Sarah today about my codes. I wanted to make sur e I had a peer debriefing because I want to make sure my research is val id and credible. I was also concerned I was going in a wrong direction with my data coding. She looked over my work and commented I was very organized. Sarah said she th ought they looked good. It felt good to have some dialogue about my dissertation. For most people I just gloss over the high points. I dont think they seem very interested. 06/24/09 [I have to go back to the Owocki and Goodman (2002) book to se e how they refer to "assimilate.] They give an example of a student who notices the word "t hey" in print. She says, "What does this say because I know T-H-A-Y s pells they (p. 4 )?" [OK, I have now memorized the page this description is on, so now I h ope I can remember "assimilate."] On to the data. Caleb enjoys the challenge of a cloze passage. A cloze passage is a strategy whereby tutors take out words from a passage in a text so that children can find the correct word from the text. Richards (1993) maintains whe n children discuss alternative choices for deleted words, their oral language abilities a re enhanced and their vocabulary and concept development is expanded.
121 I chose this particular data because the process of assi milation was clear to me. The reason it was clear is because Caleb made three c hanges, or assimilations, when he tried to fill in the cloze passage blank. The cloze presented ideas about how the people in Listen to the Wind (Mortenson & Roth, 2009) made a school for the children in Korphe, Pa kistan. Caleb guessed the word (1) water" should be placed in the blank to complet e the phrase, _____ the cement. He then changed water to (2) stir stir t he cement. Then, Caleb looked in the book and changed his answer to (3) mix mix the ce ment. In this way, he expanded his knowledge to find the right answer. Cynthia also expanded her knowledge today. While writing in her dialogue journal, she left out a closing word, "sincerely." The tutor asked Cynthia what was missing from Cynthias letter that was included in the ea rlier letter the tutor wrote to Cynthia. Cynthia found the missing word, "sincerely" and expa nded, or assimilated, her knowledge to understanding letter forms. 07/01/09 After the group read Hunter and Stripe and the Great Soccer Shootout (Elliot, 2005), the tutors asked Sally to write in her personal dict ionary. The dictionary word was opponent. She came up with the sentence, My friend w as my opponent. Sally listened to the story to determine that at the end of th e story, Stripe beat Hunter at soccer so she wrote in her journal: Sally: Stit Bet Hntr The at soaccr.
122 This group of tutors chose a wonderful book to help children predict about the outcome of a sports event. There were unpredictable part s in this story, like when Hunter and Stripe were opponents in a soccer game. The one thing I noticed, however, was the tutor who was reading the story asked the children to predic t what would happen at the very beginning of the story, not at a turning point. She would have done better to ask for predictions at the climax, or the problem in the story. Dr. Reynolds told the tutors about predicting and the most effective way to teach predicti ons when she met with the graduate tutors in the beginning (Appendix F). Some of the tu tors did not remember this advice. [I do love the way this groups prediction logs are so open -ended.] Each time the children predict, the only starter is, I predict that Then after the story is read, the starter is What really happened. I am pleased with this open-ended approach because there are no prompts or hints. Children must use their brai ns and imagination. Code Two Connections. 06/10/09 Throughout my Ph.D. program, I have learned of the impor tance of making connections with literature. [In my first grade classroo m we discussed the books we read but we didn't explicitly talk about the word "connections ." Through my work in the literacy camp, this summer and last summer, I have com e to be a firm believer in explicitly talking about the numerous kinds of connections -text to text connections, text
123 to self connections, and text to world connections with a n emphasis on the word connections.] The older group (the first grade group) is using rainforests as a theme. Cynthia looked at some birds in a rainforest book. She made the connection to the group there were birds in the book she had seen before. The tutors in the younger group wanted the children to make text to self connections, as well. They read Chrysanthemum (Henkes, 1991) to go along with their theme of All about me. Dr. Reynolds required the tu tors to write about how they were offering culturally relevant instruction. One tutor wrote We did read a book that talked about our different names, and we discussed and drew picture s about the differences in our families. [Good for them! I like those kinds of discussions about connections from text to self and others.] Another tutor wrote, We used the them e, All About Me so students would be able to relate the activities to themselves and th eir lives. Its a good start. If the literacy camp were longer, they could explore the possibility of having a theme about the class as a communi ty, All About Us. 06/17/09 The younger group made connections through an art project th at went along with the story Is Your Mama a Llama ? (Guarino, 1989). The children were supposed to draw the people who live with them. Melissa made the text to self connection by drawing herself, her mom, her dad, and her brother. After she dr ew her picture the tutor said,
124 "Who lives in your house?" Melissa said, "My mom, dad, b rother and sister. Actually, I don't have a sister." Any time a child can relate personally, or connect, to text he or she will find the text more meaningful. [When I read a novel, I feel the same way. I am reading a novel now called The Time Traveler's Wife (Niffeneger, 2003). Th e main characters grew up during the same decade in which I grew up. When the author m entions songs and discusses music of that era, I relate to that music. T he main characters in this book were a couple battling infertility; I found a text to self connec tion here because my husband and I had a similar circumstance.] Back to connections. The older group tutors shared the book Listen to the Wind (Mortenson & Roth, 2009). In the assignment from Dr. Reyn olds, the tutors again wrote about what they were doing in the sessions to provide cu lturally relevant instruction. One of the tutors in this group wrote, Yes, we have read stor ies such as Listen to the Wind. This book is based on children of a small village in Pakist an and their struggle to build a new school [I am so glad the group used this book. It is a fantast ic book. However, I think the tutors could have brought up more text to world conne ctions to make the children more aware of diversity in the classroom and b eyond. There was no discussion about diversity, and the book really lends itself well to this discussion.] 06/24/09 I found connections in many places this week! Laura got to connect the story Is Your Mama a Llama? (Guarino, 1989) to herself in the literacy log. She got t o explain that she didn't like the story very well, because she doesn't like llamas. This group of
125 graduate student tutors is very effective at getting the c hildren to write. The tutors ask the children what they want to write and ask them if they wan t some help adding more details or words. The children are getting some great instruction. By this I mean the tutors are modeling what good writers do-write, add details, write some more. The tutors constantly asked if the children wanted to write more to get the childre n to elaborate on the ideas the children were writing about. To me that is a skill that will help the children as writers in the future. The tutors for the younger group continued with the grea t instruction during the reading of the book First Day Jitters (Danneberg, 2000). Jeremy got to write in his personal dictionary the word "nervous" from the book. He gave a sentence for his word: "Getting shots makes me nervous." This connection was r eal for Jeremy. This connection might have also been very real for others in the summer literacy camp; quite a few children get upset when it is time for shots. I made the decision to include this connection because it showed very clearly Jeremy was connecting with the word nervous. It was clear he had felt nervous in the past, just as th e character in the book had felt nervous. 07/01/09 Two tutors led activities that provided many opportunities to c onnect text to self. One activity was a scavenger hunt. The older group partic ipated in a scavenger hunt around the room. The tutors placed stuffed animals in vario us areas around the room. With the animals were (a) charts that gave a fact abo ut the rainforest, (b) a connection the tutor made to the rainforest fact, (c) a question about co nnections directed to the children,
126 and (d) a clue about where to find the next stuffed animal. T hroughout the scavenger hunt the group read If I Ran the Rainforest (Worth, 2003). It was amazing to see Calvin and Caleb (the only children present that day) write so much in such a small period of time! One of the tutors clues was a hummingbird drinks from a flower. The tutor gave her own text to self connection, and then asked if this remi nded the children of anything. Caleb wrote, It reminds me of a creack (creek). Anot her stop in the scavenger hunt included the clue: The rainforest is steamy and wet. Ca leb wrote this reminded him of times at the pool. For other stops Caleb wrote, a no isy canopy remids me of a lot of people screaming, and a sticky thang remids me of a stic kers. Calvin had many scavenger hunt responses, as well. He is usually reticent about writing, but not during this activity! When the tutor aske d about a sticky connection, Calvin wrote, ArbQ nre frr og (a tree frog). You ca n see why Calvin is reticent. His invented spelling does not approximate standard English spelling as well as most children who are about to enter second grade. For instance, one o f the benchmarks the state of Florida uses for first graders who are completing their first grade year is the children should be able to edit for correct use of common spelling patterns and edit for conventional spelling of high frequency words (Florida Depar tment of Education, 2005). Calvin did not show he was able to spell common spelling pat terns and use conventional spelling of high frequency words. For a hummingbird drinking from flower, Calvins connection was A wal hsoswob rot us Qsol. (A whale shoots water out of i ts hole). Calvin was not slow when he wrote this and he was not afraid to make miscues He was empowered to write. The scavenger hunt was meaningful to Calvin. It would be wo nderful to find every
127 students scavenger hunt moment! In a class of 15 to 18 children how many children would have focused with the intensity of Caleb and Calvin? I ts a teachers responsibility to find such moments for every child. Kidwatching helps with the endeavor by requiring teachers to observe and document childrens ways of cons tructing and expressing knowledge (Owocki and Goodman, 2002). The observation is int ense and the curriculum is planned based upon the individuals strengths and needs. I looked at the case report of Calvin that was turned in by the tutor who predominately worked with Calvin. The tutor had some opinions of Calvin that were dissimilar from mine. The tutor must have been focusing on the whole and I must have been focusing on a part. The tutor wrote, From the start of the sessions, Calvin did not want to participate in any of the activities, especially the writing activities. She wrote the only parts of the tutoring sessions Calvin got exc ited about were when they painted or colored. The tutor was there the day of the scavenger hunt so I dont understand. She also wrote Calvin shut down for most of the writing activiti es, if not for all of them and did not want to participate. Calvin did have some challenging behaviors, but I was very confused about this case report. Two different teachers ca n see the same things and come away with very different opinions. What does this mean? It means different teachers are looking through different lenses when they look at childre n and what children can do. I am focused on kidwatching and watching for children being succes sful. Other teachers may have different lenses. [It is such a fascinating dynamic that each year (for the most part-there is some looping) a new teacher is with a new group of children. I know I think much more about this now that my kids are in public school. Every year a new teacher is looking through
128 his lens at the children in his class. It is scary, too, for me. Will the teacher think my child is smart? Will the teacher think my child is well-behav ed? I know it seems silly to worry about this, but I do. Each teachers lens is differen t. It can be a positive thing, as well, but I worry too much about the negative.] Another tutors report of the fifth session at the literacy camp contained an opinion about Calvin. In the last sessions, (Calvin) has been quite vocal and has demonstrated his imaginative thinking and comprehension abilitie s. We are all very proud of him, as well, as we are proud of all of our tutee s! Another positive rendering of Calvins progress! The younger group read Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005). Before the story was read one tutor asked the children to predict what would happen in the story. Jeremy got confused with the directi ons. He wrote a connection from text to self instead of predicting, as directed. He wrote, I whoad Get 1poot and these othr raccoon waod Get No Poots (Translated: I would get one po int and these other raccoons would get no points). I also included this segm ent in the miscue/invention segment because it fits under both codes. Later, using the same book, the younger group did an activit y that asked for connections using text to self. After reading Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005), the group made a Venn diagram. The tutors aske d the children to make two intersecting circles. One circle represented them a nd one circle represented a friend. The tutors asked the children to write things that were t he same and different about their friend. Diamonde dictated thoughts about her and her fri end. Diamonde said she had a dad and the friend did not. This led Diamonde and one of th e tutors into a lengthy
129 discussion about dads. I enjoy talking about my thoughts and dis cussing my thoughts in relation to others thoughts. [I am always thinking about comparison because of the emphasis in constant comparison. In this case I thought a bout how I can relate, or be compared to, the children in the study. I have compared my self to the tutors, but this is one of the first times I have put myself in the place of the children. In comparing myself to the children, I see we are the same. The children like to talk about themselves; I chose autoethnography to write my dissertation. Obviously I like to talk about myself, as well. It is empowering to make connections to yourself! I thin k children say more than adults when they make connections because they dont have as ma ny inhibitions as adults.] Code Three Constructing Knowledge. 06/10/09 [My main hope as a teacher each day was that the chil dren in my class would construct knowledge, i.e. take what they already knew, b uild upon it, and learn something greater than the day before.] Jeremy put it very succinc tly in his interest inventory (Reynolds, 2005) (Appendix F) when the tutor asked the questi on: Whats the best way to become a good reader/writer? He said, Read hundreds a nd thousands of books. What a very knowledgeable young man! I think its wonderfu l he already knows to become a good reader and writer you have to read a lot of books. I wonder who taught him that. Jeremy is a good example of how the children learned and r esponded in a positive way! The children in the older group responded in a positive way, also. The older group
130 reviewed the story The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry, 1990) today. They completed a cloze activity, filling in the missing blanks with words the teac her had deleted. After the children had gone through and determined words that make sense for all of the blanks, the teachers gave the children time to look back in the b ook for any words they would like to change. Cynthia found one of the blanks that had be en completed incorrectly. She raised her hand and told the correct answer from the te xt. I have never done a cloze passage with my first graders; it is an effective way t o help children remember the story and expand their vocabulary. Richards (1993) maintains when children discuss alternative choices for deleted words, their oral language a bilities are enhanced and their vocabulary and concept development is expanded. 06/24/09 The tutors in the older group helped the children construc t knowledge with another unique strategy. The group started writing using a str ategy called, "Write a sentence; make a story." The children only had the time to write two sentences. Tabitha wrote, "One day I saw a tapir. He had a pig face." Tabitha is constructing knowledge about animals in the rainforest. I laughed when I read he r sentences. I wish in all regular classrooms children had experiences to just be children an d write about what they want to write. I have seen some classrooms where everything t he children write is dictated by what the teacher wants them to write. I chose this next data because I could see clearly Cale b was constructing knowledge; he was learning more about literacy and a word m eaning-genre. Calebs tutor wrote to him the genre she enjoyed most was mysteries. T hen, she asked Caleb what
131 genre was his favorite. Caleb responded he liked "mack bele ve" the best (make believe). I was intrigued by this dialogue back and forth. I e-mailed the tutor, and asked her if Caleb already knew the word genre before th e two wrote back and forth about this concept, or if the child learned about genres wi th the tutor. The tutor responded back and said Caleb did not already know the word. The t utor used the journal as a way to introduce genre. Caleb was curious about the meaning so the two talked about what genres are and the tutor used the word in few sentences. What a great way to learn new words, through dialogue writing back and forth. Hannon (1999) foun d her kindergarteners wrote in dialogue journals with the impetus to compete for a moment or two with their teacher. The children enjoyed the one-oneone time with the teacher in dialogue. I think this has a lot to do with why the children in the literacy camp found the dialogue journals meaningful. The one-on-one time the chil dren spent with the tutors encouraged the children to learn more about writing. 07/08/09 Tabitha constructed knowledge about vocabulary through dialogue as well. In the book Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (Breathed, 2000), Tabitha wanted to talk about one of the pictures. She said, She looks like a standing po le. The tutor said, Yes, a statue. I saw Sally trying to construct knowledge when she wrote i n her dialogue journal. She was trying to write, I do watch Animal Planet. I nstead, she wrote, I Do Who Animal planet. She wrote who. Why? Who is a high frequency word; so she knows how to spell it and that probably influenced her choi ce because she knows how to spell the word. She is constructing knowledge because she is using what she knows in
132 new situations to build her knowledge of writing. [I am a changed woman. In past years I would have pulled out my red pen and circled the word, writte n the correct word above it and moved on. What a different teacher I will be in the f uture with my kidwatching skills!] Code Four Empowerment. 06/10/09 [One of the best feelings I used to have as a teacher was joy at watching my students feel empowered.] Owocki and Goodman (2002) say in kidwa tchers' classrooms children feel empowered because they revalue themselves. I got to witness this sense of empowerment at the first literacy camp session. During the interest inventory, the tutor asked Sally who was the best reader/writer she knew. Sa lly said, Me! I read everyday! Jeremy was elated he finished his personal dictionary ent ry first. He yelled out, "I'm done!" Tabitha completed the Garfield reading and writing a ttitude survey (Kear, Coffman, McKenna, & Ambrosio, 2000) with gusto. When she got to the question asking, How do you feel about reading at school? She lu nged forward from her sitting position on the floor with a huge force and circled the happy face. Caleb felt empowered when he was able to read the entir e interest inventory by himself. He filled out the inventory without conversation He was completely immersed in the process. He read each question carefully and ans wered without help from the graduate student tutor. Then later Caleb got very excited a bout the camp notes the graduate student tutor shared. He yelled out, "I want to r ead them! Can I read them?"
133 06/17/09 Caleb was empowered because he knew how to read well. Laur a was empowered for an entirely different reason; her tutors found a way for her to communicate successfully -drawing. Laura is a child who likes to draw answers instead of writing them. She is a beginning writer and had not started kinde rgarten yet so she has been having some trouble responding. But, when given the chance to draw her response, she flourishes and conveys the answer she wants to give. When she was asked what would happen next in the story, Laura immediately drew a pictur e to show what happened next. It is wonderful to see children growing and feeling good abou t what they can do. Jeremy also felt very comfortable in the literacy c amp setting. His group was completing a cloze passage about the story Is your mama a llama? (Guarino, 1989). The teacher left out the word, "no." She said, "I thought this was going to be a hard one!" Jeremy said, "That was the easiest one for me!" Calvin feels comfortable and he feels like he has some pow er over situations in the group. He told his teacher to cover her eyes while he r esponded to the dialogue journal. She complied. The entire time Calvin wrote he had a smile on his face. I assumed he felt good about the writing and about the idea he got to t ell the tutor what to do. I coded this particular data as empowered because Calvin felt good about what he was doing and also he felt the power in a writing situation. Sallys face lit up when her group sang the song, "Hip Hop T ooty ta." (Jack Hartmann, 2009) Here are the lyrics: Hip hot, Tooty Ta. Hip hop, hip hot Tooty Ta. Lets do it. A tooty-ta, a tooty-ta, a tooty-ta-ta. A tootyta, a tooty-ta, a tooty-ta-ta. After
134 each time of singing this, the children add a physical movemen t. The movements are as follows: thumbs up, elbows back, feet apart, knees togethe r, bottoms up, tongue out, eyes shut, and turn around. Sally knew all of the lyrics and movements to go along with the words. It seems like a simple task to sing a song with a child, but for som e this may be the only activity with which the child is comfortable. [I used to feel like some of my time was wasted just singing in the classroom, but then I remembered singing was for some, a lifeline, a skill, a literacy moment. For some reason, I was struck with the song Tooty Ta, It is a very silly song, but the children were very involved in trying to say all of the silly words with their tongue out.] This has to be good for language and also self-esteem. Even Laura, who hasnt had any elementary schooling and struggles with writ ing, was smiling broadly and trying all of the motions and succeeding. 06/24/09 I'm glad the tutors have decided Laura should be able to dr aw answers if she feels better about drawing. So, in her dialogue journal, when t he tutor asked Laura how she feels today, Laura merely drew a smiley face. I could te ll Laura felt power in being able to do this so well. Just the fact the face was smilin g says a lot about the summer literacy camp. Caleb smiled and showed excitement and expertise in th e summary activity the older group completed. He constructed knowledge about the s tory elements in the book he read. The tutor asked for a character in Listen to the wind (Mortenson and Roth, 2009) Caleb very confidently yelled out, "Dr. Greg" and wrote i t on a sticky note as fast as he
135 could. When the tutor asked Caleb for a solution from th e book, Caleb wrote the solution, yelled, "Done!" and stood quickly to give it to the tutor." 07/01/09 I didnt see Calvin writing a lot during the summary activi ty last week. Calvin, like Laura, was sometimes reticent about writing. He i s similar to Laura, too, in that he feels very positive about drawing. He does well verball y expressing what is in his drawings. His favorite thing to draw about is Sponge Bob. His pictures are detailed, and I can tell he remembers minute features about the show. Whe n he writes he holds the pencil very close to the tip. He grips the pencil firml y. His eyes are close to the paper and his concentration is intense. His body language tells m e he is concerned about drawing the details of the picture very accurately because of t his acute concentration. 07/08/09 I enjoy watching the childrens body language! Their body language tells me the children are attempting to construct knowledge. Melissa wa s eager to read one writing assignment. It was a strategy called, Four words, make a story (Richards, 2009). One of the tutors read the book Parts, by Tedd Arnold (1997). The tutors took these four words from the book: outside, fell, eyeballs, and worri ed. Melissas sentences were: I like to play outside. I fell off the tree. Outside my ho use there were eyeballs everywhere! I was worried! Melissa read her sentences with a b road smile on her face. She read with vigor! At the end of her reading, she used a louder voice and held the clipboard away from her body, with emphasis. She smiled a huge smile when she was done!
136 Its great to see children so empowered with writing! Code Five Inquiring. 07/15/09 [I am just now creating the code inquiring because it popped up. It seems a little late because this is the last session of the literac y camp. ] This week, I saw several children ask very relevant questions about the literature t he tutors were reading. The older group read Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berkeley Breathed (2000). In the middle of the story Tabitha said, What is a bikini? The tu tors explained a bikini is a bathing suit with two pieces. During the reading of Strega Nona (DePaola, 1998), Sally asked, What is a wart? The tutor told her what a wart was, and Dr. Reynolds explained, as well in a complete sentence. Melissa was inquisitive when she completed the Garfield reading inventory (Kear, et. al, 2000). She wanted to know w hat the scoring sheet was at the end. The tutor tried to explain it was a sheet to w rite down her scores. The tutor explained it was not about how good or bad she did on th e inventory, but her thoughts about reading. I am finding out how important childrens quest ions are. The first two questions by Tabitha and Sally signified the children were att entive to the books and comfortable about asking questions. The second question by Me lissa indicated she was focused on the Garfield inventory and curious about a sheet at the end that had numbers and blanks. Code Six Invention / Miscue.
137 6-10-09 When looking for children's literacy progress, it means s ometimes observing what Owocki and Goodman (2002) term "miscues" or "inventions" (p. 8). One tutor asked Laura what her address was. She said, "303." Laura also wr ote in her dialogue journal, "AM 5 5I." Tabitha said, "I know how to spell pen. P-I-N." Although I put these into the invention/miscue section, these children are also showin g what they do know. Laura possibly knows part of her address and how to convey the message she is five years old. Tabitha knows p-i-n spells pin but probably doesnt know it is a word that can be spelled two different ways. 06/17/09 Caleb made few miscues and got somewhat frustrated when ot hers did make miscues. While the first grade group completed a cloze ac tivity, a child chose a word that did not fit into the blank, Caleb looked put out and made a sound like, "Wha?" He dropped his mouth open. The teacher said, "It's OK." It w as hard for Caleb to hear a miscue. The teacher did well to sit right beside him an d encourage him to be encouraging to others. [When I reflect on my feelings about miscues, I admit I used to consider miscues something children should try to avoid. However, c hildren learn from miscues and I do too. When I make a mistake and have to fix it I am s o much more likely to learn from my mistake.] 07/01/09
138 Some miscues could have been pinpointed as such because of the small group of children. Jeremy got a little confused with the direction s for prediction logs. One tutor held up the book Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005) and asked the children to predict what the book would be about. Jerem y wrote, I whoad Get 1poot and these othr raccoon waod Get No Poots (Translated: I would get one point and these other raccoons would get no points). Jeremy may ha ve been putting himself into the story somehow, or making a connection. You cant blam e him for getting excited about connections but I consider it a miscue because his entry was not really a prediction. I also included this segment in the connections code bec ause it fits into both categories. Sallys miscue was another case in which the writing was excellent but not quite on target with what she was supposed to be doing. In her di alogue journal, Sallys tutor wrote, Dear Sally, I do love to read books. Then the tu tor went on to ask Sally what her favorite book is. Sally wrote back, Do you like to read Book. I think Sally likes to ask questions with words she knows how to spell. She fel t comfortable with all of these words so she decided to use them. She felt comfortable wit h these words because she has seen them before. She can also copy the words from her tutors writing in the dialogue journal. I coded this as miscue because I wanted to valu e Sallys constructions. Owocki and Goodman (2002) like to use the term miscue and invention ins tead of mistake or wrong because they, too, want to value childrens constructio ns. 07/08/09 Jeremy had a little trouble with the Four words, make a story (Richards, 2009) strategy. He was supposed to include four words, outside, fell eyeballs, and worried. He got two of the words in but missed the other two. His s entences were, When my
139 eyeballs started to come out, my mom was worried. Or as he wrote it, When MY eyeballs saartet to come ota, MY MoM was worried. I thought his sentence was creative and thoughtful, but the requirements were to incl ude all four words. Unfortunately, the tutors didnt say a word about this an d did not even mention it in the case report on Jeremy. I dont know why the tutors did n ot catch this. It might have been that since I was sitting back observing and taking notes, I could process the instruction without having to teach the children. The tutors had to weig h the time constraints as well as determine on the spot whether or not to draw attentio n to the fact it was a miscue. 07/15/09 I got considerable information from the case reports th e tutors turned in to Dr. Reynolds. I found it interesting to get someone elses per spective on things I had observed but had never written down. For instance, Caleb used many capital letters in the middle of words. His tutor analyzed his journal and found on the first journal entry Caleb wrote his name with a capital B. The tutor surmised this was because the b and the d are so similar Caleb found the capital easier to remember. But, then later, she wrote in her case report he may just have a habit of using capitals in the middle of words. I think she is right. I think part of the miscue is Caleb loves to write and wants to get as much down as possible, omitting conventionalities once in a w hile because he is so focused on the content. I would much prefer a writer to enjoy writi ng and make a few miscues than be super cautious about doing everything right. Nolen (2001) found through her research with kindergarteners that the children in one t eachers classroom were successful because they used writing first and foremost to tell about their own
140 experiences. The teacher considered conventional corr ectness a secondary concern for the childrens writing. Code Seven -Literacy History. 06/10/09 Owocki and Goodman (2002) believe children have literacy hist ories. The children know about literacy from past experiences. For i nstance, Jeremy knew the title was on the cover. He demonstrated this when he yelled at the graduate tutor to stop taking away the book because, "I'm looking at the title!" Laura declared, "I like to write but I don't like to read. Jeremy circled the frowning face for reading aloud. And, Caleb said he "likes to read all day long!" Sally knew her favorite genre. In the interest invent ory the tutors administered today, the tutors asked Sally, Do you like to read/write? Why or why not? Sally replied, I like to read because I like reading silly bo oks. Sallys mom is a teacher, and I just wonder if some other teachers have influenced her l ove of reading along the way. [Perhaps this is a good time to share some of my own literacy history as a writer. I was not very sure of myself as a writer until high sch ool. One high school teacher was very complimentary of my writing. I needed this encourage ment at the time in my life. I was fair at math, science, and social studies. I did exc el, however, in reading and writing. After this high school teacher showed interest, my wri ting improved. In college, I took another self-esteem plunge in regards to my writing. It took me until I was 38 and in my
141 pilot study last summer to regain confidence in my writing Dr. Reynolds had a large part in this surge towards confidence in writing. She encouraged me to try autoethnography and my writing started to soar. My life is a testimony t o how several teachers, even teachers separated by decades in a students life, can imp act a student.] I wonder about the supportiveness of Jeremys classroom t eacher. Is Jeremy just naturally a child with high self-efficacy, or did his teac her help him along this path? In the interest inventory today, Jeremys tutor asked him, Do you like to read? Why or why not? Jeremys response was, Yes. Both. I write good and read good. I only wish all children beginning first grade had this high self-efficac y. What a great beginning to literacy! Kim and Lorsbach (2005) found when children write on a high level it indicates and influences the level of writing self-efficacy. In th eir study the more children gained reading and writing skills the more confident they were and the higher their self efficacy was. This seems to be true of Caleb, as well. As one o f my professors pointed out to me, this is in stark contrast to Nolen (2001) who found contends writing should first and foremost tell about the childs experiences, using convent ional correctness as a secondary concern. [Which do I believe? It seems before beginning the program at this university I would consider Kim and Lorsbach (2005) to be in line with my teaching practices. But now I am more in line with Nolen (2001) and the way she s ees writing. I know I would much rather see my daughter write a long story (which s he does almost weekly on her own) than be painstakingly cautious about writing convent ions.] 06/17/09
142 Speaking of a great beginning to literacy, Laura has not y et begun elementary school and had six weeks of preparation in the summer li teracy camp. Her literacy history includes writing on lines. Laura learned somewhere to write on lines, not in the white spaces. She decided to change the look of her paper today and make lines to accommodate her writing. I made the decision to code th is data as literacy history because even though Laura has not started her public schoo l education yet, she has a literacy history. In fact, I say a newborn has a li teracy history. He hears talking, sees books, feels textures, and many more. This is his start t o literacy. Calebs literacy history includes reading daily. In his d ialogue journal he was asked the question, What would you like to do during our sessio ns?" He responded, I want to Read 3 books a day. From CAleB! I saw Melissa us ing her two fingers to save a small space between words. Her literacy history includes keeping words apart so they are legible 07/01/09 In observing what Jeremy knows, I found another instanc e where I was glad I was kidwatching. The younger group talked about the word, opponent in Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005). Jeremy wanted to show what he knew when he yelled out, Hey! That has eight letters! I love to hear children talk about the words they know and can spell, proving to others they can spell words with a lot of letters in t hem. It is almost like a competition the more letters, the greater accomplishment. [My daught er, niece, nephew, and two
143 second cousins had a discussion about this very thing over the weekend. One of my second cousins said, I can spell supercalifragilisticexp ialidocious! Wow. Thirty-four letters. That made me giggle.] 07/15/09 Melissa likes reading. This is part of her literacy histo ry. I could tell Melissa liked reading when she completed the Garfield reading inventory (Kear, et.al, 2000) in the last session of the literacy camp. However, she was unsure when her tutor asked a question: How do you feel about reading class? Melissa said, I dont think Ive been to reading class. Her tutor said, You know, a class where you read, like this one. Melissa stared blankly at the tutor. The tutor said, Like here, where we read books. Do you like i t? Melissa said, yeah. She eagerly circled the happiest Garfield face. Sally knows how to edit her writing work. This is part of her literacy history. In a case report about Sally, her tutor wrote, Most of the time when she reread her sentence and it did not make sense, she would catch her mistake and correct it.
144 Code Eight Meaningful. 06/10/09 I'm looking for meaningful activities with the children. What I hope to see is instruction that is relevant to the children and relates to what the child wants to learn. Owocki and Goodman (2002) find when children are engaged in meani ngful activities they are most apt to show us what they know and can do Caleb explained a desert is a place with no water, lots of sand, and hardly any living things. Wow! I don't think I could have come up with that accurate of a definition! Caleb finds reading meaningful. When a tutor asked him a que stion from the interest inventory, If I gave you one hundred dollars to bu y whatever you wanted, what would you do with the money? Caleb replied, Buy a car a nd a book. I dont know many children who would say they would use money they recei ved to buy books. 06/17/09 In addition to the interest inventory questions, I am finding the dialogue journals are very meaningful for the children. The children get the opportunity to show what is important to them. It is empowering. Laura got to write ab out her favorite book, BROWBAR (Brown Bear, Brown Bear) and her favorite thing to do, ,COLR (color). Here again, when the tutors and children write in dialo gue journals, I get a sense of the childrens literacy history. The first day of ca mp, Cynthia mentioned a baby and her mom. Her graduate tutor was confused and didn't know if the baby had already been
145 born. So the graduate tutor wrote back, asking if the baby had been born. Cynthia got to write back and say, "The baby is stel in her tuemmy (T he baby is still in her tummy). Now the graduate tutor knows a big piece of Cynthias life I chose this data for coding because it was relevant to Cynthias life. Cynthia can relate to the story and the writing of the story because it is all about her. In her dialogue journal, Melissa got to write about what she does for fun. "I woct LiBrare Moves With My dad. sumtimz I Go to the Comonudes etr. (I watch library movies with my dad. Sometimes I go to the community center ). Love Melissa. 06/24/09 The prediction logs were meaningful for the younger group this week! The story was First day jitters (Danneberg, 2000). The story lent itself for predicting bec ause it had such a unique ending. Throughout the book, the reader thinks a child does not want to go to the first day of school and then, at the end, the re ader finds out it is in fact the teacher who is so reticent about it! Great book! Another great book is Listen to the Wind (Mortenson & Roth, 2009). Caleb found the cloze strategy that went along with this book meaning ful. He gave his full attention to finding the correct answers to fill in the blanks. When another child found an answer before he could, he said, "Aw! She got it!" Calvin also found the summary strategy meaningful. The tu tor asked the children who would write "they didn't have a school" as the probl em in the story Listen to the Wind The tutor chose Tabitha. Calvin said, "Can I write it too?"
146 Cynthia is still finding the dialogue journal meaningful a nd still talking about her mom having a baby. This week she told about her mom having four kids and one in her tummy. In response to her tutor's question, Cynthia shared her sister is the oldest. 07/01/09 Why participate in activities, strategies, or lessons i f they are not meaningful to the children? I saw so many meaningful moments this week! I dont know if Jeremy loves to write in any situation, but he loves to write i n literacy camp! During one writing strategy he stretched his neck up and said, Oh, my neck hurts . The tutor asked him if he slept on it funny. Jeremy said, No. Because Im writ ing so hard! I can see why his neck hurts. He is concentrating so hard on his writing he hunches down, almost in a fetal position. 07/08/09 Just last week I spoke of Jeremys love of writing. Jerem ys case report, written by the tutor who predominately worked with Jeremy, contai ned contradictory information. Jeremys tutor said, When it came tim e to write Jeremy didnt want to write and complained of his backache. What a different vie w from mine! Jeremys tutor also mentioned she would have liked for Jeremy to elaborate on his writing, take time to write neatly, write slower, and think about his writing. Thats funny. I thought Jeremy was a creative, funny, intentional writer. The tutor said, I would like to see the student elaborate on those ideas and really enjoy writin g. [I found Jeremy smiling, participating, and writing up a storm.]
147 Calvin found writing a class story was meaningful. He gener ated the problem of the story. The problem he came up with was the jaguar live s on the ground. All of the other animals live in the trees, and the jaguar will eat all those other animals. I am fascinated about what Calvin finds meaningful. At times he is disruptive, but when he finds an activity meaningful, he gives it everything hes got. This implies his teacher must find meaningful activities for Calvin. All four of the children in the younger group found the stor y Parts by Tedd Arnold (1997) meaningful, perhaps because it was gross and funny. The children were immersed in the prediction logs. The children thought lon g and hard about what might happen at the end of the story: he will have a loose toot h, he is breaking apart, he is getting sick, and he thinks he is falling apart. The children were meticulous in creating pictures that went along with the predictions. When Sal ly found out at the end the boy in the story found ear wax in his ear, she drew a picture o f ear wax coming down a boys cheek. Melissa drew a picture of a person holding an eyeb all. I think this book will be memorable to the children. I admire the tutors for sele cting such an appropriate book for this age group! 07/15/09 The older group produced a class book about a jaguar. In th e beginning of the book there was a biographical section about all of the authors -the children. When the tutor read Tabithas biographical information, Tabitha lit up with delight. She breathed in quickly and smiled. I implied from this that Tabitha thought the fact she was one of the authors was meaningful to her.
148 Caleb found a KWL, or K now, W ant to Know, and L earned (Ogle, 1986), chart meaningful. Calvin did not. Before the older group read If I Ran the Rainforest (Worth, 2003) they completed a KWL chart. Caleb completed the maj ority of the columns by himself. He knew different animals live in the rainfore st, tree frogs have sticky toes, and no human size cats live in the rainforest. He wanted t o learn what kind of animals live in the rainforest, whether peacocks talk, whether tree frogs have read spots on their toes, and whether jaguars climb trees. Calvin was off task and d idnt contribute anything to the KWL. The group did not complete the L section this sessi on. I think they ran out of time. Maybe that will come next session. Caleb and Calvin found the scavenger hunt meaningful. The y were both very excited about finding the animals from the clues the tutors gave. Calvin eagerly and enthusiastically found the monkey after a clue was given He was so interested in the scavenger hunt! He became completely immersed. The t hing I enjoyed the most about this experience was it was authentic. If the children co uld read the clue and look carefully they would find the next animal. [Several years ago, I wrote a case study for a doctoral class. The focus of this case study was a second grade class field trip. I then presented the case study at a conference in San Antonio, Texas. The mediator at the conferenc e noted my case study was the only one, of all of the Ph.D. student,s who wrote about an a uthentic writing experience. I took that comment to heart and will strive to teach authent ic writing experiences as often as I can.] Research supports authentic learning experiences. Perry (2008) found her participants, Sudanese refugees, became empowered when they had authentic learning
149 experiences. Calkins (1994) encourages teachers to model authe ntic writing when they are beginning the writers workshop. I think of authentic experiences as real-life experience s. Children can take these experiences and use them in their daily lives. The experi ences are not contrived or made to be busy work. [It was more difficult for me, when I was a teacher, to think of authentic writing experiences. I had to be creative, not conform to my basal reader guidelines. I think of play when I think of authentic writ ing experiences. My children love to play restaurant. This is wonderful for me to wat ch because they always get out a pad to write down what I want to eat. Additionally, the y hand me a book from our bookself to use as my menu. I pretend to pick something off o f the menu to eat. Not only are my children learning writing is important for careers (such as waiting tables), but reading is important.] When the older group read If I Ran the Rainforest (Worth, 2003), they got to a page that asked the reader to find five hidden pictures. Calvin intently did this and put his full attention into it. Sally found the Good Morning (Scelsa, 1978) song meaningful. She was very confident when the tutors asked her to stand up front and lea d the hand motions. The lyrics are: Good morning. Good morning. Good morning to you. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning to you. The day is beginning. Theres so much to do. Good morning. Good morning. Good morning to you.
150 Code Nine Interruptions. 06/17/09 It is wonderful the children get so much one-on-one inte raction with the graduate student tutors. One student, Calvin, needed assistance with settling down. He needed lots of reminders to stop interrupting other children. On this day he did not work cooperatively during read aloud. He was not attentive to the story Listen to the Wind ( Mortenson & Roth, 2009). He had to be monitored throughout. [When I was a classroo m teacher, I always had one student who had a hard time se ttling down. It was hard when so many other children needed assistance. A small group setti ng should be helpful. The graduate tutors are doing a good job of keeping him on task a s well as they can.] Code Ten -Personal Language. 06/10/09 Each child is unique and has his or her own "personal langua ge" (Mickleson, 1990). I want to discover more about each child's personal l anguage. In the first session, all tutors in both groups admini stered paraphrased questions from the WISC-R Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (Weschler, 1974) to the children. In her case report, one tutor mentioned when s he asked Cynthia the question, If you were given 100 dollars, what would you do with it? Cynthi as answer was, Buy a house. The tutor thought this was a very mature respons e considering most her age would want a toy. This might be important to this child beca use she might not have a house right now.
151 Jeremy called a chrysanthemum a "banana flower." If you have ever seen a chrysanthemum, you know Jeremy is accurate in thinking the long, yellow parts of the flower look like bananas. Tabitha said her first name w as Tabitha, middle name was Babitha, and last name was Kabitha. The graduate tutor sai d, "So your name is Tabitha Babitha Kabitha?" Tabitha shook her head yes. 07/01/09 During a cloze strategy about the book Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005), the children focused on a section in the s tory about the two main characters playing basketball together. The tutor a sked the children to finish a phrase _______ a basket, Jeremy raised his hand enthusiastical ly to finish the phrase. When the tutor called on him, Jeremy said he lost his m ind. Another child answered for him, shoot a basket. 07/08/09 Jeremys personality and personal language were clearer than most of the children I observed because he was animated and talkative. After re ading a portion of the book Parts by Tedd Arnold (1997), a tutor asked the children to predict wha t the rest of the book might be about. When a tutor asked Jeremy to share his prediction, Jeremy shook his head and then held his head in his hands. He said, Its s o funny I cant read it! Then eventually he read what he wrote: He thinks he is going to fall apart. The picture was of a sideways boy. One arm and one leg were in the air with one arm and one leg on the
152 ground. I chose Jeremys reactions and coded them as perso nal language because his reactions showed me one of the aspects of his personal language-humor. Code Eleven Respond. 06/17/09 I developed the code, respond because I wanted to show how a group, in the first case and an individual child, in the second case, re sponded in an unusual way. The children in the older group were literally touching knees with the adjacent group, but everyone was on task. This lends credence to t he graduate tutors who worked so hard to keep the children's attention. This is unusual b ecause my experience has been when children are so close they can touch they tend to misbehave. 07/01/09 I paid special attention to Diamondes picture in her predi ction log. Diamonde predicted Hunter and Stripe (main raccoon characters in the story) would play soccer. She told what really happened at the end was srip wun the Gam (Stripe won the game.) The interesting thing about her picture was both raccoons we re frowning. Diamondes response was so accurate because even though Stripe did win the game, neither one of the raccoons was very happy about it because through the game their friendship had suffered. I loved how Diamonde picked up on that unusual response. This shows Diamonde was listening to the story and has great comprehension skills. Code Twelve -Social Worlds.
153 06/10/09 I am using a sociocultural, developmental approach to the se observations. Owocki and Goodman (2002) determine this kind of approach is based on t he premise children construct knowledge in their own social worlds. Jeremy wanted to bring his social world into his dialogue journal. The tutor asked the question, W hat do you like to do? He wrote, "I like to play with toys." Calvin wanted to te ll about something important to him in the interest inventory that was adm inistered today. The tutor asked, If you had a hundred dollars, what would you do with it? Ca lvin replied, Pizza and Chuckie Cheese. This makes me think of Calvin in his fre e time, eating pizza at Chuckie Cheese. He must really like it if he thinks of it first when he thinks of found money. 06/17/09 Jeremy wanted to tell about his social life at home. H e wrote in a family picture, "My famly likes to Be laze. We like to wach TV." (My family likes to be lazy. We like to watch TV). Cynthia wanted to tell about what her fa mily likes to bring camping -marshmallows. Caleb likes to bring lots of fruit when he camps. Calvin did attempt to write again this week, showing me onc e again that he likes Sponge Bob. The teacher wrote down what Calvin read to h er. He wrote, "I Lilc pu BOB Sxa r Pans. Nod that s my nsou thoj. lik. (I like Sponge Bob Square Pants. And that is my show that I like). I was proud Calvin attempted to wr ite! [It was at this point I knew I was getting involved with the children. I felt like I was Calvins advocate and wanted so
154 badly to tell him I was proud. I should have. I felt I c ouldnt, however, because I was just supposed to be observing. On the other hand, it wouldnt have hurt anything to give him a pat on the back or encourage his writing. Its hard for m e because of all of my years as a teacher, encouraging. Additionally, I am a nurturer. I t ake my son to school every day. He is three. He and I have developed friendships with four girls and one boy at the school. We all sit together at breakfast and talk. I k now they think Scott is cute, but I have a feeling they like me, too. Sometimes the children h ave problems in the mornings. One day one of the girls cried because she missed her m om. I consoled her until a teacher came and lovingly took her to her classroom to chat. M y heart breaks when a child is sad and my heart soars when a child is successful. So it we nt against every grain of my being to refrain from congratulating Calvin. This part of observation will be tricky for me in the future. I will have to negotiate a lot of different circumstances as a researcher. Som etimes I will have to negotiate circumstances just to be asked back into a research site. There will be tension in these situations. But what made Calvins situation important to me was the fact he did not get encouragement at that point and I thought he should have. ] 06/24/09 Calvin and Jeremy constructed knowledge this week by using th eir "unique social worlds" (Owocki and Goodman, 2002, p. 3). Calvin drew a pict ure in his dialogue journal about Sponge Bob. His tutor told him through the dialogue journal she liked Sponge Bob, too. The tutor asked Calvin if he had seen the e pisode where Sponge Bob becomes a hamburger cook. Calvin answered back with a picture of Sponge Bob making
155 crabby patties. I am impressed by this tutors knowledge about Sponge Bob and her ability to use that knowledge to connect with Calvin. Di d she watch the show independently? Or did she watch it just so she could respo nd to Calvin? If she watched it just for Calvin I am impressed. I cant stand the sho w but maybe I could make allowances if I have a child in my future class who love s the show. Regardless, I made the decision to code this data as social worlds because I can see Calvin loves Sponge Bob and this may be his entry point into literacy (Schneider, 2001). Jeremy created his own sentence to describe the word "n ervous" in his personal dictionary. He wrote, "Getting shots makes me nervous." Later the group made nervous faces out of clay. 07/01/09 [I enjoyed getting to know Jeremy better.] He reveals so much about his personal life through his conversations and writing. During the discus sion on Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005), Jeremy made a connection from text to se lf. He said, My friend and me playing war games on the computer an d we were on different teams. This was related to Hunter and Stripe being on d ifferent soccer teams. When Jeremys tutor wrote to him, I hope you got that toy you w anted, he wrote back, I bid Get the toy I wanted. The toy was called BakuGan.
156 07/08/09 Cynthia talked about her world outside of literacy camp i n her dialogue journal. Her tutor asked her where she was the previous week, beca use Cynthia was not at the literacy camp. Cynthia wrote, I was at my geapens home I spnedte nite at my gmese homt to I Love them Love: Cynthia. (I was at my gr andparents home. I spent the night at my grandmas home, too! I love them!). It jus t sets up another clue about how to reach Cynthia through her outside life. Dyson (1995) com es to mind whenever I find out more about a childs outside world. She urges teachers to think of children as not just learners. Children are people living in the complex world, l iving day-to-day lives. Teachers need to consider childrens interactive lives b ecause childrens ways of writing reflect how they interpret their own social place. 07/15/09 Jeremys social world includes cartoons. Jeremys tutor wrote in the case report about Jeremys writing. She said Jeremy wrote a speech bubble the correct way. He saw it in a cartoon. I love it! Literacy moment and soci al world come together to create something the child finds important -cartoons! [I looked at a paper just this morning a teacher at my daughters school gave me. The sheet cont ained activities for parents to do with their children over the summer. One was to cut out cartoons from the newspaper and put them in the right order. Great idea! Cartoons are a fun way to teach sequence! I need to save the cartoon section next Sunday. My daughter loves cats so I can find a cartoon about cats. I will cut up each frame and tell her to put t he frames in order. She can read now so she should be able to do this.]
157 Code Thirteen Support. 06/10/09 Kidwatching fulfills assessment's ideal function, which is to support student learning (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). In a literacy camp like this o ne, I knew I would find many instances of support from the graduate tutors. One s uch instance was during the prediction journals that were part of the teaching se ssion. Laura decided she didn't want to write her own sentence so the graduate student w rote while Laura dictated. Support comes in many shapes and forms. Today the tutors gav e the children interest inventories. The tutor asked Jeremy, What does your teacher do to help you learn to read/write better? Jeremy said, Seat work. Yuck! Oops-sorry, that was the first word that came out of my head. That is a personal opinion. I wonder if this is Jeremys impressio n or if in kindergarten they did a lot of seat work? If I had been Jeremys classroom teacher, I would have been embarrassed by his response. Sally showed her support for others. On the interest inv entory the tutor asked Sally, Do you know someone who cant read/write? How would you explain reading/writing to that person? Sally said, My friend Gina. I would teach her to point t o words.
158 06/17/09 This week I saw graduate students supporting children and childre n supporting children. For instance, Jeremy and his group were playing the Simon Says game. One of the children stood up when Simon didn't say. Jeremy tried to save the other child by saying, "No, don't!" One of the graduate students supported Calvin when he had troubl e writing in his reading log. Calvin wrote he didn't like the book. The gra duate tutor encouraged him to write why he didn't like the book. The tutor started th e sentence, "I do not like all" and then Calvin finished with thepajis (the pages). During one instance this week, there was an opportunity for support that was missed, as a result of classroom distractions. Caleb w as looking at a map in the cover of The great kapok tree (Cherry, 1990). He saw a two-dimensional map of the world, pointed to both sides and said, "Look, both of them say Pa cific Ocean." The tutors were distracted and didn't respond. This could have been a great teaching moment to discuss the shape of the earth and how it wraps around itself. 06/24/09 [When I was a classroom teacher, I frequently had troubl e supporting late-comers to my classroom, especially if I was in the middle of a lesson or teaching strategy. However, in the literacy camp one day, Laura came in l ate, during the time when the children were writing in their dialogue journals. She jumpe d right into it, there wasn't any transition problem. The tutors did an excellent job of b eing patient with her and providing her the support she needs.]
159 Diamonde was new to the camp this week and joined the youn ger group. Her group decided to make name poems. The children were to write different words that described themselves using each letter of their names. The children read these aloud in front of the other children and tutors. When Diamonde re ad hers, she forgot the e word (last letter in her name). Her tutor silently shook h er hands and smiled a very big smile. Diamonde took the hint and remembered exciting was the w ord." I thought the gesture showed support. I decided to code this data as support because I saw the tutor was helping Diamonde. She supported without even using words. Support can come in written form, as well. One of the t utors had to turn in a camp report for the third session. She wrote, Our group decided to use a schedule with name cards to divide the tasks among the tutors. We can rotate th e names each week so we have the opportunity to do each task at least once. [I loved this idea! Not only could the teachers keep thems elves on track but the children could also know what was coming next. I liked it f or selfish purposes, too! I knew what I was observing!] 07/01/09 This session there was even greater than one-on-one support! In the younger group there were six tutors and three children. Diamonde w rote in her dialogue journal and came to a word she needed help with -good. She asked her tutor how to spell good. Her teacher made the \g\ sound. Diamonde said, g ? The tutor smiled broadly and clapped. Diamonde spelled good Gud. When it came time for her literacy log, she asked that the tutor write, while Diamonde dictated. The tutor complied.
160 There were two children in the older group today with six tutors. Caleb read out of the book If I ran the rainforest (Worth, 2003). He read some very challenging words. This was the phrase he passage he read: These vines and f erns grow where its dim and its hot. Spider monkey lives here and the wild ocelot. He only needed help with the last word -ocelot. The tutor knew the word and a little something about the ocelot, so she explained wha t an ocelot looks like and eats. I was impressed! I dont know anything about ocelots. I comm end this tutor for being well prepared! 07/08/09 I commend one tutor for supporting another tutor to begin a task. Calvin finished his dialogue journal early. He sat and waited for the othe rs to finish so his tutor could administer the Garfield Reading and Writing Inventory (Kea r, et.al, 2002). Evidently, one of the other tutors thought that just sitting around waitin g was not good for Calvin. She reached over to Calvin and said, Youre going to do the Gar field. Listen to your tutor for directions. I found this fascinating. I thought the guidan ce was needed and I was glad the other tutor stepped in. In the younger group, the tutors asked the children to writ e original sentences with four specific words. Diamonde wrote her sentences and incl uded all of the words. When Diamonde shared her work, her tutor said, Good writin g Diamonde! You used all those four words! The tutor patted Diamondes leg with appreciat ion and praise. Diamonde beamed! Its amazing what a little, harmless physical touch can do to a childs morale.
161 07/15/09 I found a situation where I wished one of the tutors ha d made a different decision and supported a childs eagerness. Cynthia was eager to rea d the newly published (by the tutors) class book. She started reading aloud while the oth ers were silently looking through the books. One of the tutors stopped her because t he tutor wanted to read it herself to the children. Cynthia slammed the book and put it in her bag. The tutor started reading. I dont know if the tutor saw Cynthias distr ess or chose to ignore it, but I wish Cynthia had gotten an opportunity to read at least part of the story. It was important to her. On the other hand, another of Cynthias tutors wrote in her case report Cynthia would always look at my entry to copy the formatting, which was a tool I shared with her on the first session. That kind of support can be so meaningful to Cynthia because she needed it to write a letter in the right format. Calebs tutor wrote that Caleb appeared to be able to go back into the tutors writing to find words he would like to use. Caleb could copy th em into his own writing. This is another way to support writers in dialogue journa ls. Dialogue journals are a necessity in the classroom. Melissa wrote in her dialogue journal while her tutor he lped her. Melissa tried to copy the word activity. She copied the word letter by letter, which took a while. Her tutor suggested Melissa copy three letters at a time inst ead of one. Sounds like a simple thing for a child, but Melissa may not have thought of it h erself. The tutor did well to introduce Melissa to this helpful hint.
162 Child by Child Data Analysis At this point I used Atlas.ti to extract, compare, explor e, and reassemble each individual childs data. I did this by taking four sheets of n otebook paper. On each sheet I wrote one to three childrens code names (the first one or two letters of their names), their real names, and their pseudonyms. Then I chose the function in Atlas.ti that searches for patterns or strings in my primary text. I typed in each c hilds code name and searched throughout all of the data for patterns or anything that s truck me as changing from session to session. Atlas.ti made this so much easier than if I would have h ad to look through all of the documents on my own. If I needed a certain session, I could toggle back and forth with ease. If I needed a certain phrase which I knew th e child had said, I could toggle for that, as well. I am so glad I had Atlas.ti to work wi th. After a while of using the code names, I learned it was easier to just toggle back and fo rth between sessions than to hunt for code names. For instance, I looked for Diamonde, whos e code name was A. There were way too many As and Atlas.ti highlighted them all. Jeremy I will begin with Jeremy and focus on the the trends in his data, from session one to session six. Jeremy began his writing in the first session with these sentences: I like to play with toys. and I like to re ad. He was merely answering the questions the tutor had provided in her dialogue journal. Howev er, by the sixth session, he wrote with such energy and enthusiasm his back started hurting. He wrote more words in his work, and the words were not provided for him. He s ound spelled the tougher words with confidence. He started adding humor to his work; i n session five he couldnt read his response because he was laughing too hard. Jeremy sta rted trying out question
163 marks in session four. In closing his entry in his dialogue journal he wrote, Sincerely, Jeremy Waite? Melissa Melissa had an added advantage in the literacy camp. She had just finished kindergarten and her teacher in kindergarten was al so one of the literacy camp tutors. [This made me think of the concept of looping. Woul dnt it be great to start out a school year with the same group of children you had the previ ous year? It would be easy to start up where you left off.] Melissa consistently us ed her imagination and smiled throughout all of the camp sessions. The only change I coul d concretely see was during the sixth session when her tutor taught her how to copy words three letters at a time. Melissa tried to copy one letter at a time before this session and it took a long time. Laura Laura was the child who had not begun kindergarten yet. D uring the first session she seemed worried she was not writing as the ot her children were. But then the tutors encouraged her to draw pictures. In session two, sh e immediately started drawing and did not write words. In session three she decided to t ry writing again. The tutor who was writing to her in the dialogue journal asked her how she was feeling. With the tutors help she wrote DEARMSJOHNSON (picture of a smiley fac e) LAUrA. At another time that day, she wrote about how she feels about her f amily. The teacher sounded out each letter and helped with every word. Sally Sally was asked at the beginning of the camp who was th e best reader she knew. She said, me! She was inquisitive and loved singing. She was frequently asked to show others the hand motions to the song. She stood up f ront and demonstrated the motions with confidence. I did, however, notice a trend i n her writing. She wrote in session two, Do you like to read Book. The tutor answer ed yes, she did like to read
164 books. Then, to the same tutor, in session four she w rote, Do you like to read Book. In session three the tutors asked the children to write down if they liked Is your mama a llama? (Guarino, 1989). Sally wrote, I like It becos It whos fun. [I thought it was interesting Sally wrote the same thing twice and then wrot e she liked a book because it was fun. This led me to a thought about my former class room. My children loved to write words with which they were familiar. The most used word i n my classroom was fun. It is easy to spell. It was a struggle to get the children to writ e other descriptive words. Some just wanted to write everything was fun. Diamonde Diamonde did not arrive until the third session. She r aised her hand to answer a cloze passage question and then, either lost her nerve or forgot. She had to ask a friend to help her out with the answer. In session four however, she answered a cloze passage question with confidence. In session three and four Diamonde needed extensive help from the tutor in writing in her literacy log. By s ession five she wrote two lengthy sentences in her prediction log by herself. She wrote fir st to predict, and then to tell what really happened, in the end of the story Parts (Arnold, 1997). Cynthia Cynthia was enthusiastic during most activities. In s ession one, she wrote about her love for her mom and her new tutor. In session two, she showed comprehension skills when she answered summary questions c orrectly. Similarly, she showed she comprehended the story which was read in sess ion three when she made predictions. She wrote again about her love for her tuto r. She missed session four, but in session five, she wrote about her love for her grandparen ts. She gave many contributions for a class book which the group was putting together. In session six, she wholeheartedly painted a mural and sang a song about the rainforest. But th en it happened. Cynthia was
165 very excited about reading her groups published class book. Sh e took it out and began reading. The tutor stopped the reading and told Cynthia she (the tutor) would be reading the book instead of Cynthia. For the rest of the sess ion, Cynthia sat with her head in her hands, rocking back and forth. She did end up cuddling up to anothe r of the tutors who rubbed her back. Tabitha Tabitha was the only child who was interested in who Jay and I were and what we were doing. Once, we asked her if it would be OK to watch her learn; she was OK with it. She refused to participate in a discuss ion on story elements and a stretching break in session three. In session six, she refused to participate in a song. She told the tutors she knew the song but she just didnt want to participate. Towards the end of the sixth session, however, I saw a new side to Ta bitha. When the tutors brought out the class book, the tutor read the biographical informati on about the children on the first page of the book. Tara lit up and smiled broadly. Then aft er the class book was read Tabitha participated wholeheartedly in a book discussion. Sh e asked a clarifying question about the text and she made a remark about one of the i llustrations that a statue looked like a standing pole. Caleb On to Caleb. First, literacy was important to Cale b. I wont go session by session because data about Caleb are interspersed thro ughout the sessions. I just couldnt find a sequential improvement in his literacy learning. In the paraphrased questions based upon the revised Weschler Intelligence Scale, Revised (1974), the tutor asked Caleb if she gave him one hundred dollars to buy whatever he wanted, wh at would he do with the money? He said he would buy a car and a book. The tutor also asked him if he liked to read. He said, I read all day long! He commented in his dialogue journal he liked make
166 believe books. Caleb is a fast writer! One of the tu tors asked for a character in one of the books they were reading. Caleb yelled out an answer and wrote his answer on a sticky note as fast as he could. In another session, he wrote a solution to the books problem, yelled he was done, and stood to give it to the tutor. C aleb was an eager child. The first time the tutors read the camp notes he got excited about t hem and yelled, I want to read them! Can I read them? When a tutor asked him in a dia logue journal if what he would like to do in the remaining literacy camp sessions he wr ote, I want to read three books a day! Calvin For the most part, during sessions one, two, and three, Calvin was not interested in the strategies the tutors modeled. He would nt participate, needed reminders to stop interrupting, talked over the tutor, paid little at tention to the stories that were read, and stood during times when everyone else was sitting. But then came session four. One of the tutors planned a scavenger hunt where the children l ooked for clues that included animals from the rainforest. It seemed that this activi ty was a turning point for Calvin. In my observational notes, I wrote these words to describe Calvin on this day: eager, enthusiastic, interested, immersed, and intent. He wr ote like crazy! Then in session five, he generated a lot of information for the class b ook. He insisted that the jaguar get eaten.
167 Summary My research questions were: What types of literacy inst ruction do nine children receive from their graduate education major tutors in a community of interest summer literacy camp? How do nine children respond to the liter acy instruction they receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp? I found a treasure trove of data when I observed these tw o groups of children! I was able to successfully show the types of literacy inst ruction the nine children received from their graduate education major tutors in a community of interest summer literacy camp. These were: dialogue journals, personal dictionari es, artwork, literacy logs, cloze passages, songs, scavenger hunts, acrostic poems, case r eports, literature discussions, connections, story elements, class books, picture drawi ngs, Garfield Inventory (Kear, et al., 2000), Interest Inventory (Richards, 2009), KWL, WISC-R (Weschler, 1974), and Venn diagrams. Additionally, I was able to show how nine children responded to the literacy camp instruction The children assimilated, connected, constructed knowledge, felt empowered, inquired, invented, interrupted, responded, and were supported. Nearly one half of my data is from observational notes. I decided to use so much of the observational notes because I felt a part of t hat data. I loved being there and seeing the surroundings, the interactions, and the activity goi ng on. I know Jay helped me with the observational notes so I wasnt physically present for all of it, but I asked him for clarification when I needed it. The other large percent age of data, documents, was helpful as well. I liked the concrete part of this data. The work was not subject to question because it was written down permanently. Then the smallest percentage of data
168 came from introspection. [I had trouble with chapter five because I didnt want to put myself in the data. But then I remembered it was an aut oethnography and I had to insert myself. I thought I was almost tainting the data and the childrens responses when I wrote about myself. It was so much easier in chapters one, t wo and three. That was before I met the children and was committed to telling their story. I was very pleased with the amount of data I found and eve n more pleased when it came to me how I was going to organize this data. I think of the many exercise classes I have been involved with over my teenage through adult year s -more on this to come in chapter six.]
169 Chapter Six Conclusions Introduction The purpose of this study was to observe and describe lite racy teaching and learning events that occurred between nine children and their tutors in a community of practice summer literacy camp. In chapter five, I emplo yed constant comparison and writing memos. I analyzed these literacy moments and t hose which were similar in nature, constantly comparing events and individuals, by se ssion, for similarities and differences. I also wrote memos to talk about how the literacy moments affected the children, tutors, and me. Now I will discuss the diagra ms, which evolved over the time I observed in the literacy camp. The diagrams helped me ma ke sense of the data. 06/11/09 From the beginning of this study I have made rough diagrams that show what the codes mean to me and how the patterns of action, inter action, and emotion come together to make up the literacy camp. My first diagram was just a spider-map of all of the preliminary codes (See Appendix H). I grouped thoughts in one category with examples, actions in another, and feelings in the last. This initial diagram is a very basic spider-map, which shows I dont have very much data. It also shows I am still developing my own interpretation of the data because the subheadings -act ions, thoughts and feelings -are not fully developed thoughts. The subheadings come from Corbin and Strauss (2008),
170 who say researchers should describe the process of act ion, interaction and emotions. I did, however, incorporate what I saw in the third-tier b ubbles (i.e. assimilate). It is fascinating to me that all of my findings in the third ti er bubbles can fit into Corbin and Strauss components of grounded theory. I know I am not fi nding new theory but the components of grounded theory were helpful to this study ( Strauss & Corbin, 2008). It is important to me to remain open to new interpretations, as opposed to staying with the safety zone of the principles of others. This spider-map visual doesnt provide enough depth to the data. Perhaps this is because I dont have very much data. But what I did find in the data, to date, is one child invented (wrote what she knew about how to write her addre ss, i.e. 303), one child assimilated (adapted her writing style to fit into the d ialogue journal), one child connected (discussed books to think about birds she had seen), and and one child learned about deserts (learned a definition for desert). One chi ld felt empowered (yelled excitedly when he completed a task), and supported (received help from tutors when he had trouble with spelling words). One child brought in outside worlds th rough personal language (called a chrysanthemum a banana flower), social wor lds (wrote about what he liked to play with), and literacy history (talked about a fondness for reading all day long). For my next diagram Ill have to think of a visual that demonstra tes the children are the focus of this data.. 06/30/09 The data I have seen thus far is represented as a fra med picture of a child (See Appendix I). The head represents the literacy history, per sonal language, and social
171 worlds of the child. I saw a child draw lines on paper becaus e that is how she likes to write. A child wrote his family likes to be lazy sometim es. Children discussed camping with family. All of these events demonstrated children s thoughts and also reveal who the children are and where they come from. The arms and torso represented the actions of the child: invent, respond, connect, attend, and assimilate. [I know all parts of the body ar e active in one sense or another, but for some reason I think of the arms as one of the more active parts of the body.] The children were active in the literacy camp. One child used c apital letters and backwards letters to invent his own way of writing. Another conn ected the text to himself when he wrote about his nervous feelings associated with getting sh ots. I observed some misbehavior this week and wrote that word as one of the a ctions. Misbehavior does not seem to be an appropriate word, so I will likely change it. One of the children needed constant reminders to sit down, to pay attention, and to b e kind to others. In the framed picture of the child, the block under the fe et represents the outcome of the literacy camp: empowerment. When I drew this I t hought of a child standing on a block to receive some kind of award, like the medal ceremo ny at the Olympics. [This reminds me of my childrens gymnastics and swimming classes. During the last session of each class, the staff direct the children to stand o n a block to receive their ribbons for the session.] I used the word empowered because I observed one child get the opportunity to tell the tutor what to do when he instruc ted her to cover her eyes. I saw a child yell, Im done with excitement and enthusiasm af ter he completed a task; and I heard another child comment the strategy on which the gro up was working was the easiest one for him.
172 The frame surrounding the picture of the child represents t he tutors help in framing the camp: support and meaningful learning experiences. On e child got the chance to talk about her family and the upcoming arrival o f a new baby. Another child supported his friend in Simon Says when he told her not to c omplete an action because Simon didnt say. I like the diagram of the framed p icture of the child because it is child-like. But it also seems to me the camp had action and the children had a reaction. I wonder if I could come up with a diagram to show that? 07/01/09 Finally, I thought of a picture to represent action and reaction. The older group used a make believe campfire for snack time. They used paper towel rolls and tissue paper to create a fire. During each session, the group would roast marshmallows in the fire. It was this activity that gave me an idea for a diagram. (See Appendix J). The logs represent personal language, social worlds, and liter acy history -the foundation of a childs literacy. I watched children and observed these fo undations when one child discussed how many letters were in a word, another child t alked about playing war games with his friend, and a third child became upset because another child stole his idea. The fire represents meaningful instruction, support, assim ilation, knowledge, connection, and misbehavior. I wrote misbehavior at fi rst and then was encouraged by one of my professors to change this word. Instead of mi sbehavior, I used interruption. I observed the action-flames when I saw the scavenger hunt, the prediction logs where children predicted what a cat would m ake in a rainforest, the
173 connections a child made while comparing a rainforest to a da y at the pool, and the support of a tutor during a childs reading. The heat radiating from the fire represents the empowe rment the children felt when they gave their opinions of the books the tutors r ead to them in the camp. No; still not there yet. I like the action/reaction i dea, but it seems like being empowered is the end. There is no more. Maybe more of a cyclical diagram would represent the data. In that way a child could come with a literacy history, do something in the camp, feel empowered, and then have a new literacy history, etc. The cycle would just keep going on and on. 07/09/09 Maybe my diagram should be simplified (See Appendix K). M aybe all along the childs life, he or she is acquiring literacy history, co nstructing knowledge, and feeling empowerment. I witnessed literacy history when a child wrot e about her love for her grandparents and when a child laughed really hard about his stor y about eyeballs falling out. I observed a child constructing knowledge when he wrot e so hard his back hurt and when a tutor supported a child when she presented her writi ng to the group. And finally, I saw empowerment when a child circled all happy faces on the Garfield Reading and Writing Inventory (Kear, et.al, 2002) on the last session of the camp. No, I dont like this either. It still implies there are steps to literacy. I dont think there are ever steps to literacy. It is a free-flowi ng process. It is not inevitable that a child who has a literacy history will construct knowledge and fee l empowered every time. I must keep thinking.
174 I reflected on Dysons (2002) work. She would appreciate the kidwatching approach and not my old linear approach. Dyson is a proponent of watching children to find out how written word evolves from a childs social past and present. I also found this to be true in this literacy camp. Dysons analogy to ball et and the messiness that goes along with the beauty and straight lines of the dance ri ngs true when applied to the evolution of a child along a literacy journey. Dyson wan ts to see how children learn to become full participants in their present childhoods and in their travels far from narrow lines into ever-widening futures. She put it so well. I coul dnt appreciate this participatory, immersion approach until this stage in my li fe. [I used to envision a narrow path along which I thought children traveled in to learn to read and write. But, the narrow path does not make sense. Only a handful of the first gr aders appreciated my linear instruction; the other students needed me to be more fluid. I will be in the future.] 07/21/09 [Im trying to be more fluid, to see things as they come messiness and all. I think my epiphany has come! Two mornings ago I was in a body toning class. The class is at a local gym. The time was 5:45 A.M. I know this is a crazy time to work out, but it fits my schedule. The class is so hard! A friend who tried out the class says the instructor is a sadist! She pushes us to the limit to do our best. I s tarted this class about four weeks ago. When the instructor told us to get heavy weights I chose the three pounders. I knew I could not keep up with the rest of the class because I had not taken a weight training class in years and years. But something is happening! I am finding that each class I can add a little more weight to my routine and I am getting stron ger.
175 I feel empowered!] Is this what the children feel at th e literacy camp? I started sketching out an arm and a barbell to help me think this thr ough. Later I found some free clipart that was much better than my artwork (See Append ix L). I thought about my codes that represent background knowledge or the framework that children have when they come to the camp (history, personal habits, and s ocial worlds). The background is represented by the arm. Everything I have done in the past to exercise and everything that makes up my muscle genetically constitutes my background. The barbell is the instruction and support (or cooperation of the two) given by the instructor. In other words, the instructor provides the appropriate tools to exerci se. The third component is the action of the arm. Even though the instructor can tell me how to exercise, it is up to me to put my arm into motion. The actions of the arm (and the children in the literacy camp) construct, connect, assimilate, learn, and inquire All of these represent the happenings of both the exercise class and the literacy camp. The outcome of all of this is the sense of empowerment -the result is that I am s tronger, I have learned more about myself, and I feel capable of going to the next step obt aining stronger muscles and raising the weight on my barbells. This is similar to t he reaction the children had in the literacy camp-also empowered. The reason why I italicize d happenings, cooperation, reaction, and framework (see Table 2) is because they a re my themes. Is this how the children in the literacy camp felt? I think so. They will enter the next grade feeling more capable and more empowered to read a nd write better. I hope it will last. It was good for me to re-learn how it feel s to get better at something. As adults we can easily forget the awesome feeling of learning som ething new and getting better at it.
176 Assertions of the Study Happenings. Reading over my data again brought me to the realization t hat I should elaborate on comparing a literacy camp to an exerci se class (Appendix L). There are numerous similarities. First of all, happenings. Modeli ng takes place in both environments. The graduate tutors did a lot of modeling. When t hey wrote in the childrens dialogue journals, the tutors modeled. The children got the hang of the dialogue journals right away and started writing such questi ons as: Do you like to read? and What do you like to do? The questions were in respo nse to questions the tutors had asked the children in previous dialogue journal entries. [In my current body toning class, the instructor does most of the exercises at the front of the room so we can follow. She also counts for us and gives us hints about how we should be doing the particular exercise. She is models constantly.] Another happening is that the children in the camp constructe d knowledge about literacy. When the graduate students taught a writing or reading strategy the children constructed knowledge and comprehension about the text. [Every time I go to an exercise class, I construct know ledge about my body and its capacity to work and function. My body is also con structing knowledge each time on how to get stronger and fit.] The children inquired mostly about definitions or meanings o f words For example, Sally asked what a wart was and Tara asked what a bikini was. [In contrast, very few of us in the exercise class as k questions of the instructor. I dont know if this is because none of us have questions, or because the music is so loud we know she couldnt hear us even if we did have questions As adults, we ask fewer
177 questions than children. Perhaps adults are more guarded, or perh aps adults just think they know it all.] In the literacy camp, I saw miscues and inventions that centered on childrens not following directions for instruction or misusing writing conventionalities. I almost didnt use this code, because I think these miscues are inevitable and useful to see how the child is progressing. But, on second thought, I think it was importa nt to include this data because of the premise in kidwatching that miscues are not to be called mistakes. [My body toning instructor has not corrected me for any m iscues, but I am sure I have made them. Last week I went on a cruise with my family. I decided to go to an abdominals exercise class on board the ship. I went to t he class because I wanted to stay in shape for my body toning class. I also went to the cl ass because I knew I was eating way too much on the ship. One of the hardest exercises wa s the plank position from pilates. We had to hold the position for thirty seconds. The instructor told us numerous times to keep our rear ends down and if we didnt, he wou ld come and correct us. He told us this because if we did the exercise the wrong way we could hurt our back. Sure enough, without actually touching my rear-end, he forced my re ar-end down because it was sticking up too far. Miscue! When I think of my miscue I think of childrens miscues. As a teacher I am bound to point out why misc ues in literacy may be harmful to children. For example, if I let a child read an incorrect word over and over I am going to hurt the childs comprehension of the text. Especially if the word is crucial to the childs understanding of the text. This scenario could result in a child misunderstanding a text and skewing his literacy history.]
178 Cooperation. I observed so much cooperation in the camp. The tutors supported the children with meaningful instruction. In looking back at the data, the dialogue journals were meaningful to both children and tutors. Ever yone in the camp enjoyed conversing with one another and telling about themselve s. The story Parts by Tedd Arnold (1997), and the scavenger hunt were both very meaning ful, as well. The children wrote more during these two activities than during any other activity in the camp. [My body toning class is meaningful to me because, on the days I take the class, I feel more energetic, productive, and strong. No wonder I w ant to go back class after class.] The graduate tutors supported the children in so many ways. T he most support I saw came in the writing of sentences and the spelling of w ords. One tutor encouraged a child to tell why he didnt like a particular book. One tutor pantomimed a word from a sentence a child was trying to remember. Another tutor he lped a child spell good. I saw one tutor explain what an ocelot was. I saw a tuto r praise a child for writing a complete sentence. Finally, I noticed a tutor helping a chi ld understand that copying words is quicker if you write more than one letter at a time. There were also moments of support from tutor to tutor and from child to child. [I feel supported from the exercise instructor because sh e is there, waking up at the crack of dawn with us, telling us how to exercise. But more importantly, I feel supported by my husband with this body toning class. He gets up with the children on these mornings. He has the house under control when I get home. He tells me all the time about how good I look. My nephew said a sweet thing on the c ruise last week. He said to my sister, One thing I know about Uncle Ernie is, he sur e loves Aunt Melinda. My
179 sister asked him why he said so. He said, Because Uncle Er nie talks about Aunt Melinda all the time. You know, I dont know many husbands who would encourage their wives to pursue their Ph.D. and not make money. My support comes mainly from him. I am a lucky woman. Just like children experience a summer slide when they a re off for the summer, I experienced a summer slide when I did not attend e xercise classes for twelve days. I went on vacation. I told my instructor about my disser tation. She thinks its a great analogya child learning reading and writing, and an adult in an exercise class. I also told her about the concept of summer slide and literacy. I confessed I had missed class for over a week and would be feeling the pain in my muscles the next morning. She said that I would get the muscle back and not to worry.] Reaction. I think the children felt empowered because they were succe ssful. I saw children writing funny stories and laughing out loud. I saw s everal reluctant writers conveying meanings through drawing, which enabled them to correspo nd with others. And I saw children reading to find out story elements in th e book. For the most part, the children were initially positive about literacy instruction and related exercises; I saw this trend continue throughout the camp. I think a lot of this was due to the small group setting. The children felt positi ve about the amount of one-onone interaction. Additionally, the children got smarter and learned more about reading and writing. [I feel empowered by exercising because I am getting stronge r. I am making gains on my weight training and learning more about my body. I fee l successful.]
180 Framework. I mentioned in chapter four that the children had positiv e literacy histories. They enjoyed reading and writing, as evidenced fro m the interest inventory and the Garfield Reading and Writing Inventory (Kear, et.al, 2002) that the graduate tutors administered on the first literacy camp session. This confidence gave the children a leg up in the literacy camp, and hopefully a leg up when they st art the next grade. [I reflected in detail upon my history with exercise cla sses (Appendix L). Most of the participants in the body toning class are slender. I wonder what it would be like to go into the class being overweight or having a poor self imag e. Similarly, I wonder what it is like for a child to enter a class having a poor self-percepti on in the area of literacy. It could be traumatic.] One of my favorite things to observe was the childrens social worlds. My favorites were the childrens family pictures and the d ialogue journals. I found out so much about what the children valued and appreciated. [In thinking about my social worlds and exercise, I think of my preference in music. In the body toning class and most group exercise cl asses, music is played during exercising. I have a fondness for rap music with hard bass in the background. Every time a song comes on that has these features, I find myself w orking harder and even smiling through the pain. Thankfully my instructor plays a lot of this type of music.] I feel good about this diagram. I like that it is not l inear in any way. The process is on-going. Children can be anywhere in the diagram or all pl aces at once. I am pleased with how the process got me to this diagram. Some would say, So what? You have a diagram, but what does it mean to create a metaphor for a literacy camp that takes the shape of a person exercising? I would say
181 to them that this picture represents the camp and effect ively reaching young children through literacy. Literacy fitness, if you will. All parts work together to create a sense of empowerment. Without one part the other parts wont wor k as well. A teacher must look at the childs framework and where he comes from. In a ddition, the happenings in the classroom must be observed so that the teacher gets a full picture of what the child can do with others and by himself. The teacher must have cooper ation with the child through support and meaningful instruction and empowerment will hopefu lly occur throughout the process. The process is not linear, cyclical, or h aphazard, but on-going and static. The childs job is to put forth the effort, to build upon the skills he already has and use the support the teacher offers. Implications of the Study This study has implications for those who teach liter acy to young children. The information in this research might help to change what Graue (2008) considers a missing piece in research discourse -teaching. She argues resear ch discusses children and research discusses educational ends. Rarely do researche rs use the experience of teaching young children meaning, context, and power. I found that mea ning, context, and power were all evident in the childrens responses and inquisitio ns. I see new opportunities for teachers because of this rese arch -writing strategies and reading strategies that empower children to love litera cy learning. The study also extends the literature by providing more re search on the effects of summer literacy camp. But the techniques and strategies fr om the literacy camp do not have to be included only in literacy camps. Dr. Reynolds te aches the classes to the
182 graduate tutors because she wants the graduate tutors to g o back into the classroom and offer these strategies to children (Appendix F). Any child in any educational setting would benefit from these strategies [I told Dr. Reynolds, I wish every childs language arts block each day looked like the two hour sessions in the literacy camp. She told me that in her classroom the language arts block frequently did look very similar. I can imagine the support the children in her class felt. I envision great potential for teachers using the techniques observed during this literacy camp. I put myself in the position of one of the graduate tutors, especially the teachers newer to the field. I am envious that they are going into the classroom with research-proven techniques in the beginning of their career. I know I cannot change history, but I sure wish I could. When I go back into the classroom setting, I will be reborn as an educator. I will empower my children to con struct knowledge through meaningful instruction. After analyzing the data, I now know how to change the way I think about what children bring to the classroom, whether it is their l iteracy history, personal language, or social worlds. I was the kind of teacher who told my chil dren not to write about certain things, such as guns, violence, or TV shows. I wont do t hat anymore. I will let the children be themselves and write about what is meaningful to them. The problems I encountered as a teacher -my reliance on standardized testing, and my linear way of teaching the reading curriculum -ha ve been countered with this research.] This study can help toward solving the problems of standardi zed testing and linear teaching by reinforcing kidwatching and literature-based reading and writing strategies.
183 The literature was well-chosen, as well, as seen in t he childrens empowerment. The graduate tutors selected the literature with care, which w as crucial because the literature was the basis for all of the reading and writing strat egies. Clay (1993) says that standardized testing may be a problem i f used in isolation. She states that in the first two years of schooling, observation records are more useful than standardized tests because they provide the teacher w ith a closer look at what the child really can do. Observations inform the teaching process I agree. Kidwatching is just the way to relieve the problems of standardized tes ting, seeing what the children can do on a class by class basis instead of at the end of the school year, comprehensively and under pressure. By observing session by session, I got a clea r picture of each childs literacy capabilities. Standardized tests have become t he focus of teaching in some schools. I dont agree that this is good practice. Standardized tests are a one-size-fits-all solution to classroom assessments. Children are different, in different locales, and nee d to be treated as unique. There has to be a better assessment which is reflective of the gro up of children being tested. Teachers should teach students at their instructional level and not in a linear way that conforms to a standardized test. Dyson (2001) says linear teaching has no place in a classr oom. Children expand possibilities by adapting, blending, and differentiating cul tural resources (p. 36) and textual exploits (p. 35). During the non-linear environment of the summer literacy camp, I found children adapting and blending, assimilating and co nstructing knowledge. The graduate tutors were able to teach without textbooks o r canned commercial materials.
184 Furthermore, the study has implications for research ers. If researchers consider the data in this dissertation they may find useful infor mation to further their own studies. For instance, if researchers are trying to find out how a summer literacy camp functions and what children might learn in the process, they might read my research. Those who might want to learn about writing autoethnographies might also read my work. I know I read several dissertations written in an autoethnographic voice. Finally and most importantly, the study has implicatio ns for children. [I did this research because of the children.] We need teachers who m odel research-driven strategies in the classroom. If all of the graduate tutors go into t he classroom and teach as they did in the literacy camp, so many children will be reached a nd feel success. I successfully defended my dissertation on November 19, 2009. At the final defense the outside chair recommended that I add a few i mplications from the study. The first is that the camp provided a fun way for children to learn reading and writing. Teachers should take these instructional practices back into the classroom. Second, I saw social interaction in all of the sessions of the lit eracy camp. This was interesting because it again proved to me that children need to talk and be socia l to learn. And last, I think I became self-aware throughout the study and I found out wher e I was coming from in terms of being a teacher and where I wanted to be. Directions for Future Research [I would like to further this research by taking the conc ept into the classroom and conducting an additional study based on my findings. Again I thi nk about the
185 conversation with Dr. Reynolds in one of the sessions about teachers using the younger groups schedule as a guideline for a typical day in the cl assroom. I appreciated the way the younger group modeled writing and reading strategies. I w as also grateful for the way the tutors in the group organized the order of the strategies in a chart that was posted on the wall.] Unfortunately, with a group larger than five, all of those strategies and lessons would last so much longer than a school day allotted to a classroom teacher. I would love to be that teacher for the five children. If it was no t possible to have just a small group of five, I could pull out a small group to model strategies, whi le the remainder of the class could participate in meaningful literacy centers. Just as Triplett (2007) says, I found when teachers and chi ldren participate in book discussions, children learn vital comprehension strategi es. This kind of rich discussion took place frequently in the summer literacy cam p. One example is through the cloze passage strategies. In my own classroom I would tap into childrens identities by letting children talk about their interpretations of the text Again, the graduate tutors had these talks frequently through prediction logs and dialogue journals. Conversely, as Copenhaver-Johnson says, I found that tuto rs did not talk about race in the literacy camp. [I hope to change that by havin g frequent discussions about race in my classroom. An appropriate way to do this woul d be to read a good piece of literature first.] However, there were a few activities that were relat ed to diversity in the camp, as Lee, Ramsey, and Sweeney (2008) suggest. The tuto rs from the younger group read Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown (Elliot, 2005). The children made a Venn diagram to show how the children were alike and diff erent from one of their friends. The same tutors read Chrysanthemum (Henkes, 1991). The children then wrote
186 about their families and had a discussion about how thei r families were alike and different from other childrens families. Just as Rodgers (2004) says, I found that the tutors scaffol ded when they kept in mind the childrens cutting edge of learning. I think the graduate tutors tried to find out the childrens cutting edge. I observed this when I looked at the dialogue journals. Most tutors tried to discover what the children could do and tea ch slightly above that level. [I will do this, as well.] There were no tests in the literacy camp and no prepar ation tactics. [Standardized test preparation will not be a part of my curriculum, e ither. This may be problematic because administration may encourage teachers to prepare children for standardized tests. When I taught first grade the practice books were passed ar ound from teacher to teacher. The principal never came around to check if each teacher had used them. Of course at that time I did use them so administration would have be en satisfied. If I teach in another situation where the circumstances are different I wo uld probably explain my motives and then the principal and I could have a lengthy discussion on why I dont agree with preparing towards a test.] McGill-Franzen and Allington (2006) state that there is li ttle evidence that proves that test preparation improves test performance. In fac t, they consider extensive test preparation to be a sign that the school and district have no idea how to improve reading. [I will teach reading and writing strategies and use kidwat ching to constantly observe what the children can do and what the children need help wi th.] Just as Kim and Lorsbach (2005) say, I discovered that whe n tutors observed the actions of children it enabled them to identify ways childr en could increase writing self-
187 efficacy. The case reports were perfect examples of t his. The tutors searched for ways they could empower the children and wrote about those way s in the case reports. [I hope to increase childrens self-efficacy. It will be one o f my goals as a teacher.] Kidwatching (Owocki and Goodman, 2002) will be a great way to observe th e actions of children. [I will record what I see and then identify ways that I can increase childrens self-efficacy.] For example, Kim and Lorsbach found that when very high and very low self efficacy children write, they need extra time. The low self eff icacy children sometimes get stuck in their writing, and the high self efficacy children ta ke longer to do well. Similar to Nolens (2007) findings, I found that when the chil dren were given choice and creative control their motivation for wri ting increased. In the dialogue journals, the children could write about anything they wante d to write about. They were given creative control. [I will be fervent with dia logue journals in my classroom. The benefits are enormous. Additionally, as I stated befo re, I will use authentic writing experiences whenever possible.] Stone, Engel, Nagaoka, and Roderick recognized press and person alism as important educational components. Press and personalism we re present in this summer literacy camp and contributed to the childrens substantive l earning experiences. The tutors pressed when they offered meaningful experiences, l ike the scavenger hunt. The tutors showed personalism when they supported the children t hrough compliments, pats on the leg, spelling help, writing help, and reading help. The tutors used encouraging words constantly. [I need to work on the personalism pa rt in my classroom. I was business-like as a first grade teacher and needed to loosen up. I was once called
188 militaristic by one of the parents of one of the chil dren in my class because of my behavior plan. Most importantly, I hope the children will all feel th at they are capable learners. I hope that I can find ways to incorporate practices from their outside lives into the classroom setting (Schneider, 2001).] This may provide new entry points (p. 432) for children to learn literacy. This also relates to authe ntic learning experiences. [I will start to use Authors Theater to let children confront their identity and have an entry point for children to learn literacy (Dyson, 1994).] I observed ma ny graduate tutors writing back and forth in the dialogue journals to children abou t childrens outside lives. This certainly gave Calvin an outlet to express himself and ta lk about his love for Sponge Bob, something he wanted to do in all six sessions. Wow! The future looks bright but exhausting! Every day I thank God for my childrens teachers. They make decisions like these every day and for that I am so thankful. Its hard to be a teacher! But if I take all of these concepts into the classroom and then use the results as research I will know if it is possible to bring the literacy camp strategies into the classroom and effectively teach y oung children. Postscript [With respect to my autoethnography, I have learned so muc h about myself and others. I learned that I can compare myself now to my f ormer self as a teacher. I can also compare myself to the graduate tutors. I can compare mysel f to the children and put myself in the place of a learner. I have always need ed to do this more, put myself in
189 anothers shoes. I am glad I finally can experience t his in a very broad way. It helps me as a teacher, a student, and a human being.] I now favor sociocultural perspective. I believe, as Owo cki and Goodman (2002) do, that children construct knowledge within their own social worlds. [I was a believer in a sociocultural perspective before the summer literacy camp, but now that the research is near an end, I am even firmer in my belief.] All of t he children in the literacy camp were unique and it was the responsibility of the graduate tutors t o find rich experiences for each child. One of the graduate tutors found a rich experie nce for two boys when she made up the scavenger hunt for rainforest creatures. [The hardest part of the research was the time it took to get the parents to sign the consent forms. All of the parents signed, when I asked th em, but it was getting to the community center at the right time that was the diff icult part. I had to take my own children up to the center most of the time because pick-up is between 4:30 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. One time I even went to the community center at 6:00 A.M. to try to get consents signed. I made eight different, ninety minute round trips to the community center on my continuing quest for the elusive completed, parental consent form. When the Institutional Review Board made the decision to require parental conse nts, one of the board members stated that she thought it would be empowering for the pare nts to sign a consent. With that in mind, I guess I dont mind all of the trips. The funniest part of the research was the portable co pier I brought to the literacy camp each week. Before the camp began I hunted f or a small copy machine to take with me to copy the childrens journals and writing work. I couldnt find a cheap one, so I took my home copier. It is big. I hunted for a durable hand cart and couldnt find
190 a good price on that, either. So I ended up taking my huge pri nter, zipped up inside of a jumbo suitcase on wheels. I looked silly! I could not have gotten such rich and comprehensive data wi thout the help of my friend, Jay. Jay was there for all of the sessions w ith children. His notes were an invaluable resource. I transcribed them, coded them, and anal yzed them. If I had questions about anything, I called him for clarification. Seve ral times I e-mailed him with questions or comments. Additionally, we had time before the children came to discuss the data, because we both got there approximately one hour befo re the children got to the camp. Jay effectively doubled my eyes and ears and offered reaf firming feedback regarding the assembled data and reflections. Without his h elp I could only have observed half of what I observed in the literacy camp. W hen I asked him to read my chapters, he said that I wrote about the data in an inter esting and accurate way that was true to the literacy camp. He thought that I explained wh at I was doing well and that I supported the observations well. Jay did not refute anything that was included in chapters four or five.] I sent an entire copy of my dissertation to one of the graduate tutors. I wanted a member check to see if I represented the graduate tutors in a fair way. I called her one week after I sent her the chapters. I asked her if there was anything that she would change or anything I did not represent well. She said I did a goo d job representing the camp. The only thing she would change was that she would list the chil dren and what group they were in at the beginning of chapter five. I thought it was a great idea. I incorporated her feedback into the preceding chapter. It was interesting that instead of looking at things
191 that happened in the camp, she chose to focus on the way I presented the data and wrote my dissertation. In chapter five I spoke about teacher lenses being differ ent. I saw Calvins writing one way, and a tutor saw it a different way. This made me realize, even more so, how peoples lenses change the way children are thought of in the classroom. [I think that I was harder on the tutors than I was on the children. I w as more critical about what I saw the tutors do. I think this means that I became a good kidwa tcher but need more time to become an adultwatcher. I need to remember that everyon e has a lens they look through, be it an adult or a child.] Quality I look back to Richardsons (2000) criteria for ethnographic qual ity. I do believe that this piece contributes to an understanding of socia l life in the literacy camp. I believe the piece succeeds aesthetically. Dr. Reynolds invited me to come and speak with her qualitative class about my dissertation. My dissertati on invited some interpretive responses. Some of the students found it hard to believe that I could write about myself so much. Other students found the dissertation riveting and couldnt put it down. Nobody said it was boring. I think there was plenty of self-awareness and self-e xposure so that the graduate students could make judgments about my point of view. My subje ctivity was both a product and producer of the text. I was changed because of t his study. My work has inspired at least one of the graduate students to use autoet hnography in her dissertation. And last, the story seems true to others. It was a c redible account of a social sense of
192 the real. I did add some fictional accounts of conversati ons that took place between my husband, my sister, and my friend Jay. But the conversations seemed real and credible. I hope that if Richardson were to have graded my work she w ould think of this dissertation favorably. I agree with Anfara, Brown, and Mangione (2002) when they c ontend that how researchers account for their approach to their resear ch is very important when evaluating the research. For that reason, I want to tell you ex actly how I achieved triangulation. I want to show you how I triangulated, because once I was encouraged to go through the motions of triangulation, I was excited how it transf ormed and connected my data. My research questions were: What types of literacy instruction do nine children receive from their graduate education major tutors in a co mmunity of interest summer literacy camp? How do nine children respond to the litera cy instruction they receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp? My da ta sources were observational notes, documents, and introspection. I us ed all of the data sources to answer the research questions. To find out what types of litera cy instruction nine children received, I watched children and tutors, I collected journa ls and writing samples, and I thought about what I saw and reflected about myself. To find out how nine children responded to the literacy instruction, I watched children, I examined journals and writing samples, and I reflected about myself and what I saw. I accomplished triangulation when I developed codes (cat egories) and themes, described in Table 2. As shown in Table 3, I then went bac k through my data, code by code, looking to see how often I used observations, docume nts, and introspection, in relationship to one another. I hand-wrote a rough draft o f what my new table would look
193 like. I then went code by code, making Xs for each time I used each data source for each code.
194 Table 3 Triangulation of the Summer Literacy Camp Data Finding Source of Data O D I Theme I: Happenings Code 1.1 The children changed the ways they thought about literacy. X X Code 1.2 The children related texts to other texts, themselves, and the world around them. X X X Code 1.3 The children built their knowledge about literacy. X X X Code 1.4 The children asked questions to understand. X X Code 1.5 The children made mistakes with intent. X X X Code 1.6 The children caused pauses in instruction. X X Code 1.7 The children answered questions. X X Theme II: Cooperation Code 2.1 The tutors provided instruction that was relevant and related to the child. X X X Code 2.2 The tutors and children supported each other. X X X Theme III: Reaction Code 3.1 The children felt good about themselves and had power over the situation. X X X Theme IV: Framework Code 4.1 The children knew about literacy. X X X Code 4.2 The children communicated in their unique ways. X X Code 4.3 The children brought in their outside worlds. X X X Note: O=Observation; D=Document; I=Introspection
195 [I have a confession to make. Before the pre-defense I had not done this step. One professor pointed this out to me at the pre-defense. I went back after the pre-defense and took the steps to show triangulation. The process was fa scinating to me. I have always loved record-keeping. Here was proof that I had done the study well and I hadnt even shown the reader that I had done it well. I approached m y husband right after this triangulation experience and said, I triangulated! I a m so excited! This is what real research is all about!] Creswell and Miller (2000) indicated eight verification procedures for qualitative research: (1) prolonged engagement and persistent observati on, (2) triangulation, (3) peer review or debriefing, (4) negative case analysis, (5) clar ifying researcher bias, (6) member checks, (7) thick description, and (8) external audit s. Creswell recommends that researchers include at least two in each study. I have included four: triangulation, peer review or debriefing, clarifying researcher bias, and member c heck. I actually had two peer debriefings. One was my conversa tion with Jay about the codes, and how we define them. The other was on the day after my first session with the children. Sarah and I had a peer debriefing (See page 117). When I chose to do an autoethnography, I didnt think tha t I would have a more valid study. However, it was very easy to say that I included researcher bias. The whole study included my biases. I did get a member check when I asked the tutor to read my w ork. [I almost had a panic attack after I sent it to her. It was one of tho se times when I wished I could undo an e-mail. I e-mailed Dr. Holland my concerns and she advis ed me to tell the student to please not share it with anyone else. I had visions of the tutor spreading the dissertation
196 around to other tutors and I didnt feel like that would go over too well. I didnt put some of the tutors in a very positive light. It turned out OK a nd the tutor did not share my work. It taught me a lesson, though, about sharing confiden tiality requests before you send out your work.] Summary I would like to end with a closing prayer, commonly attrib uted to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943; I keep it above my computer and abov e my bed. God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot c hange, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference. Ame n (Kaplan, 2002). [I used to think I was only one teacher; I couldnt possibly change much in education. Now I know how much I can change. When I go ba ck into the classroom I will be a force to be reckoned with. I will teach as I know I should, from research-driven methods only. I will fight to teach children in the way s that I know are effective. I memorized this prayer in a very low point in my life, m y years of infertility. I repeat it to myself many times during a week. It has applied so many tim es in moments when I was dealing with this dissertation. I find that it applies in most, if not all, situations in my life. It applies to this research because this research is ho w my life has come around. Eight years ago I was a teacher spinning her wheels. I was no t effectively teaching children. Now, eight years later, I am about to earn my Ph.D. W ith the degree I hope to make up for the previous years and touch many childrens lives. I h ave the courage to change!]
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213 U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). Projected migration race and Hispanic origin: 1999-2100. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://www.census.gov/population/projections/nation/summar y/np-t7-c.txt van Manaan, J. (1988). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Weisber, P. (1994). Helping preschoolers from low-income bac kgrounds make substantial progress in reading through direct instruction. In R. Gardner, & D. Sainato (Eds.), Behavior analysis in education: Focus on measurably superior instruction (pp. 115-129). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co. Weschler, D. (1974). Manual for the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation. Wohlwend, K. (2008). Research directions: Play as a litera cy of possibilities--expanding meanings in practices, materials, and spaces. [Electronic version]. Language Arts, 86 (2), 127-136. Zhang, G. (2007). Multiple border crossings: Literacy pract ices of Chinese American bilingual families. In V. Purcell-Gates (Ed.), Cultural practices of literacy: Case studies of language, literacy, social practices and power (pp. 85-98). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
215 Appendix A. Summary of Multicultural Articles (2005 to 2008) Articles Author Multicultural Education Findings Sutherland (2005) Contended that discussions about literature can help adolescents with identity. Black, adolescent girls were the participants in a literature discussion of The Bluest Eye Researcher found: *Eurocentric view of beauty was a boundary *literacy and identity were connected Copenhaver-Johnson (2006) Argued that teachers need to talk about race in the classroom. In many classrooms being White is normative. Henning, Snow-Gerono, Reeds, & Warner (2006) Posited that fourth graders can use literature to make comparisons to current world situations using: *nonfiction accounts of Christopher Columbus *strategies such as literature detectives Triplett (2007) Identified how first, second, and third graders : *negotiate reading intervention pull-out groups *are labeled as struggling readers in some contexts and not in others *use literature circles Davis (2007) Provided evidence that seven and eight year-olds: *use pre-conceived ideas about gender in talking about reading enjoyment *in working class schools engage in discourse that is gendered and afforded boys as having low reading status Gomez, Johnson, & Gisldottir (2007) Distinguished that the f igured world of a school can come from the principals philosophies and can be shaped by this philosophy by: *identifying struggling readers and writers *celebration of movement through levels of books *empirical evidence showing what students can do
216 Appendix A (Continued) Lazar (2007) Noted that providing courses for preservice teachers with an emphasis on urban, minority children: *should include discussion *should include direct experiences *did help in making the teachers more sympathetic and understanding Christ & Wang (2008) Recommended that first graders: *should have opportunities for student-led groupings for instruction *sometimes are not enculturated into classroom practices *need knowledge of procedural practices Glimps & Ford (2008) Argued that the internet can be used for many instructional purposes such as: *family ancestries *simulations *diversity discussion Lee, Ramsey, & Sweeney (2008) Posited that kindergarten chi ldren: *need conversations about race and social class *need activities related to diversity *become more aware of race and social class when discussion and activities evolve in the classroom Perry (2008) Contended that storytelling: *has cultural importance *is a powerful form of sense-making Taylor, Bernard, Garg & Cummins (2008) Found that kindergarten c hildren: *could create published works with their dual-language families *discovered the works were personally relevant *formed new relationships with family members
217 Appendix B. Summary of Literacy Instruction Articles (2004 to 2008) Authors Article Instructional Practice Rodgers (2004) Argued that a teacher who effectively uses Reading Recovery and running records makes moves, observes childs response, and makes another move to accommodate childs learning process. Stipek (2004) Identified two teaching practices and found different schools used these for different purposes: *constructivist teaching *didactic teaching Brown, Morris, & Fields (2005) Provided the following evidence for the effectiveness of 1:1 tutoring: *second through fifth grade children who are tutored fare better *paraprofessionals and teachers have about the same rate for success Kim & Lorsbach (2005) Maintained that: *motivation can be seen through observations and conversations *teachers should look at reasons why children have high self-efficacy *children with high and low self-efficacy need extra time for writing *children with low self-efficacy have less writing skill knowledge *teachers can accurately determine childrens perceived self-efficacy Kuhn, Schwanenflugel, Morris, Woo, Meisenger, Sevcik, Bradley, & Stahl (2006) Recommended the use of two reading approaches: *FORI (fluency-oriented reading instruction *Wide-reading Approach Labbo (2006) Noted the functional role of computers in the classroom and suggested that teachers: *incorporate childrens outside worlds in the classroom *remember the role of leader and follower in the classroom
218 Appendix B (Continued) Nolen (2007) Contended that first and second graders: *have varied motivations to read and write *have motivations that are socially constructed *have motivations that are determined by the classroom community Dyson (2008) Distinguished that first graders use multimodal literacy to: *take part in official writing practices *practice literacy *dynamically learn the basics of writing *produce text Graue (2008) Elaborated on DAP (developmentally appropriate practice) and standardized testing to conclude that the teacher is missing in both. Helf, Cooke, & Flowers (2008) Posited that 1:3 tutoring was the best possibility for tutoring and should be the preferred method. Neumann, Hood, & Neumann (2008) Distinguished that three strat egies are beneficial in supporting early literacy skills: *scaffolding *an environmental approach *a multisensory approach Wohlwend (2008) Contended that multimodal play is beneficial because it: *provides spaces for children to play with meaning *provides space for children to achieve school goals
219 Appendix C. Summary of Summer Learning Articles (2004 to 2008) Authors Article Summer Learning Findings Downey, von Hipple, & Broh (2004) Provided evidence that suppo rted: *schools act as equalizers *learning rates are less variable during the school year *family and neighborhoods are responsible for the learning rates during the summer Borman, Benson, & Overman (2005) Contended that voluntary summer school programs can negate the summer slide Stone, Engel, Nagaoka, & Roderick (2005) Argued that press and per sonalism: *are more present in summer programs than in regular school year settings *contribute to substantive learning experiences Lauer, Akiba, Wilkerson, Apthorp, Snow, & Martin-Glen (2006) Identified that OST (out-of-school-time) programs: *can have positive effects on the achievement of math and reading *can improve reading for both elementary and secondary children McGill-Franzen & Allington (2006) Recommended that we decon taminate the accountability system by: *recognizing summer reading loss *altering the current model of retention *minimize test preparation activity *abandon test accommodations Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson (2007) Noted that childrens ou tside lives account for the majority of the achievement gap. Kim & White (2008) Posited that scaffolding: *can be effective in an at-home reading initiative *with oral reading and comprehension are more effective than just reading literature by itself
220 Appendix D. Kidwatching Observation Sheets
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228 Appendix E. Summer Literacy Camp Observation Form Summer Literacy Camp Observation Form Name: ______________________________ Date: ______________________________ People present: ______________________________ Physical Setting: ______________________________ Observer: ______________________________ Research Questions: 1. What types of literacy instruction do nine children receive from their graduate education major tutors in community of interest summer literacy camp? 2. How do nine children respond to the literacy instruction they receive from graduate tutors in a summer literacy camp? Notes: Feelings, Personal Meanings, Personal Significance:
229 Appendix F. Syllabus The Reading/Writing Connection Practicum in Reading and Writers and Writing: Trends and Iss ues Summer Session, 2009 Janet C. Reynolds, Ph. D. Course Instructor and Camp Leader Course Prefix & Number: RED # 6846/ Practicum in Reading Course Prefix & Number: LAE #6315/Writers and Writing: Trends and Issues Summer Semester, 2009: Class Meetings: Wednesdays, May 13, 20, 27 and June 3 at USF, 5-9 PM in Room EDU 115 and 9-1 PM. University Area Commu nity Center, June 10July 15, 2009 Instructor: Janet C. Reynolds, Ph. D. E-mail: JReynolds@coedu.usf.edu and firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours: By Appointment The College of Education is dedicated to the ideals of C ollaboration, A cademic E xcellence, R esearch, and E thics/Diversity. These are key tenets in the Conceptual Framework of the College of Education. Competenc e in these ideals will provide candidates in educator preparation programs with s kills, knowledge, and dispositions to be successful in the schools of today and tomorrow. For more information on the Conceptual Framework, visit: www.coedu.usf.edu/main/qualityassurance/ncate_visit_info_mater ials.html Teachers are learning helpers. Their main job is not to test, or tri ck, but to help learners reach their fullest potential through guided differentiated instruction. Ex emplary teachers are like Lev Vygotsky, the constructivist scholar. They model and t hey work along with learners (Reynolds, 2005) CAMP MOTTO : We offer research-based instructional strategies and best practices We know if our tutoring students have experienced difficulties with tradit ional literacy instruction, we must move forward and offer strategies and best practic es designed to help children accept responsibility for their own learning. We always mode l our thinking and we model strategies before we expect tutees to participate. We LIMIT asking questions. We promote student engagement and success. We always know why w e are helping tutees learn something. We stay away from Round-Robin oral reading. We never use ditto sheets or commercial materials. We follow a pattern of i nstruction for each tutoring session. Disability Statement If you think that you have a disability that qualifies you under the Americans with Disabilities Act and requires accommodations, please visit the USF Office of Student Disabilities Services (974 4309) in order to receive special ac commodations and services. The College of Education CARE s
230 Appendix F (Continued) Please give Dr. Reynolds written communication from t his office regarding your special accommodations. USF Policy on Religious Observance All students have a right to expect that the university w ill reasonably accommodate their religious observances, practices, and beliefs. Please notify Dr. Reynolds in writing if you will be absent in accordance with this policy. Special Course Requirements Attend all classes on time and remain in class for th e entire class session. Tardy after 15 minutes = one absence. Leaving class 30 minutes early = one a bsence. Two unexcused absences = lowering grade point one whole grade (e.g., from an A to a B.) Please turn off cell phones. Please use your computer only to take class notes Thank you. Course Description: Practicum in Reading/Writers and Writing: Trends and Iss ues is an innovative, combined graduate course that focuses on topics a nd issues relevant to authentic assessment and remediation of reading and wri ting problems of primary through-high school literacy learners. It is an applica tion course, where graduate students with learners who are experiencing literacy problems. Required Reading Gipe, Differentiated Instruction (For Reading Practicum students). I will also place required readings on BlackBoard for all graduate students. Th ere are two packets of reading materials at Procopy. Students in the Practicum course must purchase and use the Practicum Reading packet. Students in the Writers and Wr iting course must purchase and use the Writing and Writers packet. Students in both co urses must purchase and use both packets of materials. Important Information This summer we will embark on a special journey in which t wo classes of graduate education students work together to tutor children at-risk i n a Community of Interest (COI) Summer Literacy Camp. Members of a COI frame and then resolve a problem. Members come together in the context of a special proje ct and dissolve after the project has ended. Members have the potential to be innovative an d transforming. Communities of Interest members have interactions across boundary sy stems (e.g., the disciplines of reading and writing and concomitant theory, instructiona l practices, and materials). Challenges facing Community of Interests are in building a shared understanding of the task at hand, which often does not exist at the beginning of an initiative (e.g., reading and writing graduate students learning to collaborate to offer combined lessons to children at-risk in the summer camp). Shared understanding evolves incrementally and collaboratively. Members MUST learn to communicate and learn with others (Engstrom, 2001). COIs rely on multiple knowledge systems (in our case kn owledge, elements, etc., associated with the semiotic/sign systems of reading and writing). Although similarities exist between these two disciplines and it is beneficia l to connect these two disciplines for literacy instruction, there are some basic differ ences-receptive versus expressive language, books versus writing instruments and paper, vocabula ry for elements.
231 Appendix F (Continued) Accordingly, students in the Practicum and students in W riters and Writing will work together in teams to plan and offer tutoring sessions. Tut oring sessions take place on Wednesdays from 10-noon beginning June 10 th and ending July 15 th Tutoring sessions take place at the University Area Community Center on 22 nd Street. Our first 4classes will meet on Wed, evenings in EDU 115 fro m 5-9 PM (May 1, May 20, 27, and June3). From then on we meet at 9AM on Wednesda ys at the UCC. After tutoring sessions are over at noon we regroup together for additional seminar discussions, lectures, demo lessons, and group interactions. There are some graduate students who are taking both classes concurrently. These graduate students will have to work especially hard to fulfill obligations for both courses. More Important Information I will distribute teaching supplies during our second evening me eting. These consumable supplies have been procured from a grant from Verizon Rea ds. I will also ask graduate students what other teaching supplies they might need and I w ill purchase as many of these supplies as I can. Some doctoral students will work in the camp. One student, Melinda Adams, will collect data for her dissertation. Two other doctoral students, Bar bara Peterson and Sarah will assist all of us. Both of these doctoral students are fa miliar with this program and with concerns you might face and solve You may chose a partner with whom you would like to collab orate. You may choose a grade level (e.g., K6/7 grade) Your absence will cause difficulties to the program. Tutoring sessions follow a structure as listed below: Distribute sturdy, attractive nametags (Complete sente nce My name is Susan .). Go over printed /posted group rules. (Only three rules) OUR GROUP RULES 1) We listen when others speak. 2) We raise our hands when we want to speak. 3) We respect others and ourselves. Read aloud for the groupCamp Notes. These Notes are written like a letter not listed 1,2,3. Distribute dialogue journals in which you have written entr ies during the week (individual entries to each tutee depending upon tutees int erests and what tutee needs to learn next about written language). Conduct a reading lesson that ALWAYS includes a pre-during a nd post reading strategy. Connect fiction with content text. Connect readings with a visual (not a visual aid). Offer culturally relevant readings. Connect reading with writing. Connect reading and writing with other sign systems (lite racies) of visual art, music, dramatic arts, technology, puppet-making, informal drama, poe try, dance). Make dioramas with tutees. Make murals with tutees.
232 Appendix F (Continued) Offer culturally appropriate lessons at all times Complete a cloze passage with tutees at every session. DO NOT HAVE KIDS READ ALOUD IN A ROUND ROBIN FASHIO N! (Ill tell you why). You must use multiple strategies that I demonstrate and t hat are discussed in your Packets of materials. Use Yes/No and Why; It Reminds Me Of; What Do I See? Think? Wonder? How Do You Know ? and many more strategies. I will observe your sessions. The doctoral students will observe your sessions. Keep children moving every 20 minutes or so. Two hours is too long for children to sit. End all sessions with What did we learn? Write group res ponses on a chart and read aloud at next session (Last week we learned ) Use Prediction Logs, Individual Dictionaries, and Litera cy Logs. Each tutoring group will make a group book. Tutors help with this best practice. Copies for all students? Reading students offer reading lessons and writing students offer writing lessons. However, collaborate and share your knowledge. We only tutor six times so make the most of it. You can list this innovative configuration on your resume. Required packets of materials are available at Pro Copy. Reading and Writing graduate students will collaborate and turn in a 2 page collaborative case report by Friday of each week. These 6 case reports will document your work during the six sessions and must include objectives, achievemen ts, and problems. Use this structure: Date; Tutors Names; Tutees Names; Objectiv e of Each Lesson; Description of How Each Lesson Went; What You Would Do Differentl y in the Next Lesson; What Outside Resources You Used: Anything You Want to Tell Me Each collaborative group must e-mail weekly within the gr oup and then send the e-mails to me. I will keep track of the e-mail messages and I wi ll respond to you. Class Readings and Assignments *Each week, pairs of students will collaborate and give a n overview of a reading and a writing strategy. *Because of this intense collaboration, I strongly sugges t that pairs of collaborators and group collaborators meet outside of class sessions. Yo u might stay after class. You might meet at other times during the week. If you do not meet as pa irs or groups you might find that your grade might suffer because planning is insufficient. Weekly tutoring sessions must follow the model described above. All students must have a copy of Doing Academic Writing: Connecting the Personal with the Professional by Reynolds and Miller (2003). Follow the guidelines for aca demic writing that are portrayed in this book when you write y our weekly case reports. Note: Pre-and post-assessments of your study participants o n an Informal Reading Inventory are welcome. Various IRIs are appropriate, such as Woods and Moe. For older students The new Comprehensive Reading Inventory: Measuring Reading Development in Regular and Special Education Classrooms (Cooter, Flynt, & Cooter, 2007 that includes passages K-12 in Spanish and English, may be of int erest to you. It also includes
233 Appendix F (Continued) vocabulary measure, although of high-frequency words only. The authors state the assessment takes 15-20 minutes per student. The USF library h as copies of a few IRIs appropriate for older students. However, you do not have to use these time-consuming assessments. Assessments that ARE required are: The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (The Reading Teacher May, 1990, beginning on pp 630. You must score this assessment f or pre and post testing so you need 2 copies of this assessment for each tutee in the literacy camp. *In addition to data obtained from The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey obtain a weekly writing sample from each student; ask paraphrased que stions on the WISC-R. Ask Interest Inventory questions. These are NOT paper/pe ncil tasks. *Interact with your tutees. These required assessments must be turned in for each tutee in the program. *Interspace tutors with tutees at all times. Handle al l problems with kids within the group. Do not isolate kids. Solve all behavior and learning pr oblems within the community Course Objectives and Outcomes for Graduate Students: 1. Students will learn how to collaborate with a partner o r partners to plan and offer research-based reading and writing lessons to sma ll groups of students at-risk. 2. Students will develop an understanding of the factors th at relate to appropriate and meaningful assessment of reading and writi ng abilities. 3. Students will learn to work successfully with learners experiencing reading and writing difficulties, including creating a group book. 4. Students will learn how to communicate with parents if appropriate to gain insight into the relationship between the home, sch ool environment, and learners. literacy achievements. 5. Students will recognize the characteristics of diverse authentic assessments. 6. Students will learn how to interpret, triangulate, and integrate assessments to best make recommendations for effective instruction. 7. Students will learn how to utilize recommendations for improving learners literacy abilities in reading comprehension an d writing strategy. 8. Students will analyze and understand the moral and ethical dimensions of reading and writing assessment and culturally relevant i nstruction. 9. Students will recognize cultural, linguistic, and ethnic dive rsity and develop understandings of diversity issues in the contex t of reading and writing assessment and instruction specifically the nee d to build upon learners strengths rather than emphasizing weaknesses. Do not use the term Use instructional needs
234 Appendix F (Continued) 10. Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate eff ectively with peers, administrators, and learners. Grading will be based upon weekly tutoring planning and instruct ion, weekly e-mails to Dr. Reynolds, weekly 2 page collaborative explanations of strategies listed in the two packets of materials, and weekly case report summaries. Grading Scheme: A Plus = perfect attendance, perfect group creative book, compl eting all assignments on time, including report to Dr. Reynolds by Friday of each week; perfect academic writing on weekly case reports. Each team mem ber takes a turn writing up the weekly case report. Sincere, motivated; on-time always; culturally relevant lessons; strategies offered at all times; offer multiple liter acies, dress professionallyno skin showing, jeans are ok. A = same as above with minimal writing help needed A minus = same as above with minimal writing help needed B = same as above with writing help needed one absence a llowed C = same as above with 2 absences, much writing help nee ded D and below + under prepared, 2 or more absences, late re ports and late assignments I will always speak privately with a graduate student whose grade is in jeopardy (Below an A). Course Agenda: Dr Reynolds will lecture on reading and writing topics. R eading for Practicum in Reading students is Gipe J. (2005) Differentiated Reading Instruction. Wks 1, 2 and, 3: Overview of the course, direct measures of assessment, review of basic reading and writing terminology, theories, approaches, a nd strategies. Fundamental aspects of reading and writing difficulties. Principles of working with students in need of rich literacy experiences. Administration of informal reading inventories and other assessments. Correlates of reading and writing disabili ties. Semiotic theory, multiple literacies, and the visual and communicative arts. The a nalytic process, forming initial diagnostic hypotheses. Interpreting \ informal assessmen t data. Writing lesson plans (model to be provided). Reading and writing instructional str ategies (e.g., comprehension, metacomprehension, developing a perspective f or reading, hypothesizing and predicting about text ideas and events, accessing and e nhancing background knowledge, word identification strategies, collaborative, teacher-directed and creative writing strategies). Stanley and his Family Integrating Rap, Rhyme, Music, and Rhythm with Story Book Reading (posted on BlackBoard_ Please have for first class. Wks 4, 5, and 6: Planning an instructional program. Reading and writing instruc tional strategies continued (e.g., Reciprocal Teaching, I Wonder, Y es/No and Why, It Reminds Me Of. QAR, Readers Theatre, Add a Word/Stretch the Sent ence, Teacher Dictation). Instructional techniques and materials continued (Paired Repe ated Reading, Request, Dialogue Journaling, Speed Writing). Classroom organization fo r literacy instruction for
235 Appendix F (Continued) all students. The importance of literacy games, learning word meanings. Alternative and authentic assessment (e.g., oral and written story ret elling, macro cloze activities, portfolios, dialogue journals). Discussion of structure of final case reports and communication to parents. Reading records, Getting to Kno w My Story Character, Language experience stories, KWL plus, vocabulary expan sion, What Do I See? Think? Wonder? Inferencing/How Do You Know? Change a Word/Change t he Sentence, Paraphrasing ) Wks 7, 8, 9, and 10: The reading/writing connection, Write a Sentence/Make a Story, Spelling Categorization). : Instructional techniques and mater ials continued (Find the Features and Connect them, Evaluate students literacy a chievements. Celebrations. Bibliography for Additional Reading. This list is included to enhance your professional development. Cardarelli, A. (1988). The influence of reinspection of stude nts IRI results. The Reading Teacher, 41 664-667. Carr, E., & Ogle, D. (1987). K-W-L plus: A strategy for comprehension and summarization. Journal of Reading, 30 626-631. Coley, J., & Hoffman, D. (1990). Overcoming learned helpl essness in at-risk readers. Journal of Reading, 33 (7), 497-502. Cunningham, R., & Allington, R. (1994). They can all read and write Albany, NY: Harper Collins. Cudd, F., & Roberts, L. (1989). Using writing to enhance con tent area learning in the primary grade. The Reading Teacher, 41 74-79. Dressel, J. (1990). The effects of listening to and discussi ng qualities of childrens literature on the narrative writing of fifth graders Research in the Teaching of English, 24 (4), 397-414. Duffelmeyer, F., & Duffelmeyer B., (1989). Are IRI passage s suitable for assessing main idea comprehension? The Reading Teacher, 42 358-363. Duffelmeyer, F., Robinson, S., & Squier, S. (1989). Vocabu lary questions on informal reading inventories. The Reading Teacher, 43 142-148. Gambrell, l., Palmer, B., Coding, R., & Mazzoni, S. (1996) Assessing motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 49,(7), 518-533. Gill, J. (1992). Focus on research: Development of word kno wledge as it relates to reading, spelling, and instruction Language Arts, 69 444-453.
236 Appendix F (Continued) Harris, V. (Ed.). (1997). Using multicultural literature in the K-8 classroom Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon. Huck, C. (1992). Literacy and literature. Language Arts, 69 520-526. Norton, D. (2001). Multicultural childrens literature through the eyes of many children, Upper saddle river, NJ: Prentice Hall. Notable childrens books in the language arts (K-8). (1991). Language Arts, 69 515-517 (special issue). Pace, G. (1991). When teachers use literature for literac y instruction. Ways that constrain, ways that free Language Arts, 68 12-25. Purcell-Gates, V., (1991). On the outside looking in: A st udy of remedial readers making meaning while reading literature. Journal of Reading Behavior, 23 (2), 235-253. Purcell-Gates, V., & Dahl, K., (1991). Low SES childrens s uccess and failure at early literacy learning in skills-based classrooms. Journal of Reading Behavior, 23 (1), 1-35. Roller, C., ( 1996). Variability not disability Newark, DE, International Reading Association. Course Content: Please note that several themes thread throughout the course. These include communication, collaborative efforts, and a philoso phy that we have the expertise and knowledge to enhance all K-12 learners literacy abil ities. Course Format and Expectations: Due to the structure of this class, students must attend a ll class sessions, and come prepared to be active participants in collaborative smal l group and class discussions. Students will apply in tutoring sessions what they learn i n this class, as well as what they have learned in previous classes. Each class session wi ll include, in addition to discussion of the assigned topic, time for students to discuss their on-going tutoring activities. Evaluation of Student Outcomes: This course focuses on the practical application of current literacy knowledge to the classroom. Evaluatio ns will include: weekly electronic journaling with Dr. Reynolds, collaborations, work with K-6/7 learners, typed weekly assignments, presentation (to our class) of a reading and a writing strategy in a combined lesson. Important Writing Tips. Study this list and write accordin gly. Limit use of weak ing verbs.
237 Appendix F (Continued) Know when you use passive or active voice. Decide in wh at voice you will write and stick to that voice. Limit use of adverbs and adjectives. Start off with a simple on-topic sentence. Dont digres s. Dont take forever to get to the point. Remember that good writing is good thinking. Know your audience. Write using simple language. Avoid jargon. Avoid wordiness. Vary vocabulary, but if you begin your report using the ter m student stick with that term. Dont switch to children tutees, or pupils Be reader hot--critic cold. Monitor your writing at every word. Know exactly what yo u say and why. Remember that time spent revising is time well spent. Remember that academic writing should be just as exciting to read as a top selling novel. Read exemplary research articles to become familiar w ith academic writing. Consider your audience at all times. Guide your audience th rough your report with sub headings. Spend part of your first session determining what your tut ees know about literacy and what they need to know. Use the following assessments (l isted above). Record information. Suggestions for Initial Interview Questions (Interest Inven tory) Published by Richards in the Gipe text 1. Do you like to read/write? Why or why not? 2. Whos the best reader/writer you know? What makes him/ her such a good reader/writer? 3. Do you know someone who cant read/write? How would yo u explain reading/writing to that person? 4. What does your teacher do to help you learn to read/writ e better? 5. What do you do when you come to a word that you dont know ? How do you figure it out? What do you do if that doesnt work? 6. What do you do if you dont understand what you read/write? What do you do to try to figure it out? What do you do if that doesnt wor k? 7. Whats the best way to become a good reader/writer? 8. Do you think that youre a good reader/writer? Why or why not? 9. What types of activities do you do on the computer? 10. Do you use the computer in school or at home? What computer activities do you do? 11. What do you like to do when you are not in school? 12. Do you know any reading or writing strategies? Can y ou name them? What do you use them for?
238 Appendix F (Continued) Twenty Paraphrased Questions from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for ChildrenRevised (WISC-R) for Young Children. If you tutor older chil dren, rephrase these questions accordingly. 1. What is your first name? last name? middle name? 2. What is your address? 3. What is your telephone number? 4. How many sisters and brothers do you have? 5. What is the first letter of the alphabet? last lette r? 6. What alphabet letter comes before c? after g? 7. Name the seasons of the year. 8. What month is it? 9. What month comes after this month? 10. What is the date of your birthday? 11. How old are you? 12. How old will you be next year? in two years? 13. How many pennies in a nickel? 14. How many pennies in a dollar? 15. Why do we put stamps on letters/ 16. Why do we put license plates on cars? 17. If you found a wallet on the ground and it had no identifica tion, what would you do with it? I 18. If you and a friend were playing ball and the ball crashed into a neighbors window, what would you do? 19. What number comes before the number 10? 20. In what city do you live? 21. Why does oil float on water? 22. Why does a boat float on water? Obtain a writing sample. Do not tell tutees what to writ e. Give them choices. For very young children the following prompts are appropriate: Write a ll the words you know. Write all the alphabet letters you know. (Tutors: Write some letters and numerals and point to them. Ask, Is this a number or an alphabet le tter? What is the first/last letter of the alphabet? What sound does t, m, n, s, make? Assess each tutee using the Garfield Elementary Readin g Attitude Survey . Additional Lesson Reminders Do not use inappropriate books. All good literacy lessons be gin with a good book. Most literature should contain characters, settings, problems and solutions. Use culturally responsive, sensitive literature, African-American liter ature, Hispanic literature, and Caldecott and Newberry winners. Connect literature with genre writing. Genre writing includes the following: memoir, how to, poetry, imaginat ive, persuasive, descriptive, academic, humor. The following books are just a few that you can acquire at libraries are
239 Appendix F (Continued) appropriate for genre writing: Obtain multiple copies f or children to follow along. Provide sentence markers and magic windows to help tutee s keep their eyes on appropriate words and sentences. Engage children in creatin g comic books. Help them take snapshots of their favorite place in or outside o f the UCC. Help them write about their photographs. Cannon, J. (1997). Verdi. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace. A young python does not want to grow slow and boring like th e older snakes he sees in the tropical jungle where he lives. Writing model: good example of having and solving a problem; wri ting description. (Problem solving writing)_ Barrett, J. (1991). Animals should definitely not wear clothing. New York: Scholastic. Humorous pictures of animals wearing clothes show why this would be a ridiculous custom for them to adopt. (persuasive writin g) dePaola, T. (1999). 26 Fairmount Avenue. G.P. Putnams Sons. (memoir) Henkes, K. (1996). Lilly's purple plastic purse New York, NY: Greenwillow Books (imaginative writing) Johnson, A. (1989). Tell me a story, Mama New York, NY: Orchard Books.(memoir) Polacco, P. (2002). When lightning comes in a jar. New York, NY: Philomel Books. memoir) A memoir is a vivid or intense memory about a persons l ife that was framed by unique events (Zinzer, 1987). Here are some picture b book memoir s Angelou, M. (2003). My painted house, my friendly chicken and me. Random House. Soto, G. Snapshots from the w edding. Putnam. Rylant, C. (1982). When I was young in the mountains Dutton. Some Writing Prompts I Am/ I Am Not I Remember I Know/I Do Not Know When Did You Have a Change of Heart (change your mind?)? What Have You Always Wanted to Write About What is Something You Have Never Told Anyone? What are Your Thoughts about the world? Your family? Whe re you live? When is a Time You Lost Your Temper? What Will You be Like When You Are Old? What Do You Need to Do to Become a Better Person? Whats Right and Not So Right with your This Summer Cam p?
240 Appendix F (Continued) What Do You Love? (Not Who) What Would Make You Happier? List Ten Behaviors You Need to Quit Doing If tutees are too young to write their thoughts on these topics encourage them to share orally and write their thoughts on chart paper. Do a read ing/writing connection and have individual children read what they said. (What I can say o thers or I can write and what others or I write I can read and others can read). Introducing Genre Writing Before you expect children to write on various genres, you must model these genres for children. For example, when introducing poetry, you might read some of Shel Silversteins poems. You might introduce Bio Poems by cre ating your own Bio Poem and sharing it with children. For example consider the follo wing poem: Sick by Shel Silverstein "I cannot go to school today," Said little Peggy Ann McKay. "I have the measles and the mumps, A gash, a rash and purple bumps. My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I'm going blind in my right eye. My tonsils are as big as rocks, I've counted sixteen chicken pox And there's one more--that's seventeen, And don't you think my face looks green? My leg is cut--my eyes are blue-It might be instamatic flu. I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke, I'm sure that my left leg is broke-My hip hurts when I move my chin, My belly button's caving in, My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained, My 'pendix pains each time it rains. My nose is cold, my toes are numb. I have a sliver in my thumb. My neck is stiff, my voice is weak, I hardly whisper when I speak. My tongue is filling up my mouth, I think my hair is falling out. My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight, My temperature is one-o-eight.
241 Appendix F (Continued) My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, There is a hole inside my ear. I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what? What's that? What's that you say? You say today is. .Saturday? G'bye, I'm going out to play!" To All Good Kids By Dr. Janet. Reynolds Heres a poem to all good kids Who like to read and write They help others and never frown And never, never fight Heres a poem to all good kids Who may be girls or boys They eat their spinach and broccoli And share their favorite toys Heres a poem to all good kids Who grow up and turn out cool We know we can depend on them Cause they follow the golden rule. A Reference for Poetry Technically Its Not My Fault: Concrete Poems by John Grandits. Houghton Mifflin Company (Clarion Books), 2004. 48 p. Summary Book designer John Grandits uses the voice of eleven-year-old Robert to present inventive poet ry. This is a book that will appeal to kids (especially boys) who are looking for a quick, funny read. Grandits uses shapes, typefaces and other design techniques to enhance the va rious poems. Technically, they are not all by definition concrete poems, but they are clever and eye-catching and will certainly appeal to even the most die-hard poetry-ha ter. Be forewarned about the subject matter, which not only includes standard fare, such a s homework, pets and basketball, but also The Autobiography of Murray the Fart and Spew Machine. In the same way, before expecting children to write a memoir, a persuasive piece, a how to piece, an imaginative piece author your own memoir, etc., at home and share with children before you expect them to write. Writing requirements for writing students. Align these a ssignments with your tutoring.
242 Appendix F (Continued) Turn in a typed two-page memoir second-class meeting. Beca use of the large number of students in these two classes, I cannot accept any assignm ents after due date. Turn in a persuasive piece the third class meeting. Turn in a how to piece the fourth-class meeting. Turn is original poetry the fifth class meeting. Strategies for Spelling Instruction How can you help students become accurate and independent s pellers? Check out "Spelling -What's All the Fuss?" chapter one from Spelling in Use by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Wood Ray, to learn more about how spel ling fits into the broader topic of learning to write. Designed for teachers and fami lies, the book features stories from real classrooms and rich examples of student writ ing. Read the English Journal article "What I Wish I'd Known about Teaching Spelling" f or eight recommended teaching practices. See "Spelling and th e Middle School English Language Learner" for additional techniques to help the langua ge learners you teach. The article "Teaching Challenged Spellers in High School En glish Classrooms" from English Journal also foregrounds writing as the key to spelling instruction The article suggests that teachers begin by observing samples of student s' writing and then weave in skills lessons related to the spelling needs they observe. To explore alternatives to teaching spelling in isolation consider the ways that helping students to imagine themselves as writers "is much more c omplex than nurturing a more stable grasp of sentence clarity or spelling" in the Tea ching English in the Two-Year College article "Imagine You're a Writer "Winning the War of Words: Improving Our Students' Spelling" fro m English Leadership Quarterly explains an alternative spelling bee activity that promo tes camaraderie and offers students strategies for overcoming their spelling foes. For additional resources on teaching spelling, consult the resources and strategies included in NCTE's Spelling Teaching Resource Collection ... Using Vocabulary Instruction to Shape Students' Spelling The Vocabulary Book As students explore vocabulary words and expand their comprehension skills, they learn about word structure an d spelling in context. The Vocabulary Book provides teachers with sound advice and research-based mo dels of exemplary instruction. The book presents a comprehensive plan for vocabulary instruction from kindergarten through high school -one b road enough to instruct students with small vocabularies, exceptional vocabular ies, and every child in between.
243 Appendix F (Continued) Dancing with Words : NCTE's Dancing with Words: Helping Students Love Language through Authentic Vocabulary Instruction uses practical and fun activities with words to invite students to a lifelong dance with language. The book includes chapters on how to appreciate the different vocabularies used in a big city ne wspaper, in sports writing, book and TV reviews, news reporting, editorials, and science w riting. Chapter Three, which explores activities for the first days of vocabulary instruction, is available online.
244 Appendix G. Pilot Study Pilot Study: Finding My Voice as a Qualitative Researcher: An Autoethnography about Learning to Trust Myself as a KidWatcher Melinda Adams University of South Florida
245 Appendix G (Continued) Jay: How is the concept paper coming ? Melinda: Awful. Its starting to feel like my experience with infert ility I had this conversation with my uncle John in February of 2008. Two weeks prior to this conversation I met with two of my committee m embers regarding my concept paper. The meeting had not gone well. I presented the mem bers with an idea about service-learning with young children. I think the idea was f ine; it was how I went about organizing the plans that wasnt acceptable. I ended the mee ting by crying. Why was I comparing the concept paper to infertility when s peaking with my Uncle John? During my four years of infertility, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt that I was putting time and effort into something that ultimately might lead to nowhere. I also had the feeling I needed to know a lot mo re information about my body and what the process of reproduction was like. This infe rtility time was like a roller coaster. I was on top of the world, thinking we were on t he right course and then boomshot down. Each time the pregnancy test told me I was not pregnant, I felt discouraged and distraught. I felt similar feelings on that day of the committee meeting. The professors thought I didnt have enough experience with research. I ha d been taking a different route than most in my Ph.D. program. Eight years ago, I took three classes before I adopted my kids. During my third class, Statistics II, my husband and I got a call out of the blue that there was a beautiful baby girl in Georgia who was ours. I rushed to
246 Appendix G (Continued) Georgia and subsequently put Stats II on hold. I didnt retur n to classes until two semesters later. In 2005, we adopted a baby boy. Now most of our time was spent raising two small kids. I stayed at home with the kids up until my gra duate assistantship, which coincided with the challenging committee meeting. Should I have done my graduate assistantship earlier so that I could have gotten the exper ience with research prior to my concept paper? There is no doubt in my mind. If I had been a graduate assistant earlier, I could have made connections with professors in the program and gotten extra experience with research. The time period before our daughters birt h would have been the best time. However, you cant change history. Back to the concept paper. Sadly, I had put about fifteen hours into my unsuccessful concept paper. I needed more research experi ence before starting my dissertation. Again, I felt discouraged and distraught. A few days after the conversation with my uncle I tal ked to Dr. Reynolds. She had an idea for a pilot study, which might give me more re search experience. Initially, I was wary of the concept of a pilot study. When I learned that, during my pilot study, I would have the opportunity to observe children and graduate students at a summer literacy camp, some of my wariness dissipated. I realized the pilot study would not be so b ad after all. Dr. Reynolds suggested I use the kidwatching practices of Ye tta Goodman. While reading Kidwatching: Documenting Childrens Literacy Develop ment (2002), I
247 Appendix G (Continued) highlighted text, and smiled, nodded my head, and smiled some more. This book was the culmination of all that I had learned in my classes at the Ph.D. level. Dr. Reynolds suggested four research questions to get me st arted: 1. What do ten young children who participate in the USF/AC C summer literacy program know about literacy? 2. What types of literacy instruction do they receive fr om their graduate education major tutors? 3. Is this instruction appropriate and culturally sensitive? 4. Does this instruction promote literacy as functional ? I was so thankful for this suggestion. Before the pilo t study, I assembled the research questions and the kidwatching practices. They were an easy fit. In the back of the kidwatching book there are multiple checklists for c lassroom observers. I shrunk eight of them, copied them back to back and laminated the m, so now I had one reference sheet for eight checklists, which included spelling knowledge writing knowledge, book knowledge, interactional competencies, oral language funct ions, talk contexts, and bookhandling knowledge. Rationale for My Inquiry The kidwatching practices outlined in Kidwatching (Owocki & Goodman, 2002) are for teachers to evaluate their own students. I wan ted to find out if an outsider could observe the children and reflect upon classroom practices Kidwatching focuses on getting to know the children and the families of the childr en, throughout the school year. I did not get to do this, but using the practice of kidwatching and using several of the
248 Appendix G (Continued) checklists gave me an opportunity to share insights and re veal whether or not the practices would be useful in a summer camp or school class room. Participants The summer camp focused on reading and writing. The camp t ook place in a multi-use facility in a low-income area of Tampa. Gr aduate students taught the children and received credit in a reading and/or writing class at USF. Most of the children attended a camp within the same facility Monday through Fri day, from morning until evening. Some of the children, however, participated in the literacy camp only. The literacy camp went from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M. on six co nsecutive Wednesdays in the summer of 2008. The ages of the children I observed wer e between 5 and 9. Children were initially grouped by grade level. Some of the chil dren were shifted because groups were too large or too small. Because the firs t grade class had more than twelve students during the first session, one of the gradua te assistants shifted two children to the kindergarten class. Attendance varied each week. I observed three different groups and took field notes. I orig inally named the groups based upon grade levels, but after some children were s hifted I used a different naming convention. The youngest children were called group A, the middle children were called group B, and the oldest children I observed were call ed group C. The Kidwatching Practice Model
249 Appendix G (Continued) Yetta Goodman defined kidwatching through her work in the 1970s and 80s (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). Kidwatching is the practice of obs erving what children know by documenting childrens expressive knowledge and the ways children construct knowledge. After observing, teachers plan instruction that is tailored to specific strengths and needs (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). It is a state of mind. K idwatching affirms the importance of childrens experiences. The premise of kidw atching is that children are always moving forward as learners (Flurkey, 1997). It is the t eachers responsibility to build on what children can do and reflect on childrens abil ities and knowledge (Goodman, 1996). Kidwatching can be used as a manual for educators to use while in the classroom (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). The laminated observation checklists served as my chea t sheet for actions I observed in the classrooms. I could have used blank paper to r ecord observations, but I wanted something more organized. I created observation shee ts for each child I would observe with six sections. I used one for each child f or each session. The six sections were: 1. Knowledge about literacy 2. Types of instruction received 3. Appropriate instruction 4. Culturally sensitive instruction 5. Functional literacy promotion 6. Other notes. Each section directly coincided with my research questi ons.
250 Appendix G (Continued) I went into the first session with my laminated check list, my observation sheets, a pen, and a determination to work hard. It was difficult to pick out which children to observe. I selected several children from the first se ssion who did not show up for the later sessions. I tried to select those children who w ere outspoken so that I could record some of their dialogue Before I wrote this paper, I re-read Doing Academic Writing in Education: Connecting the Personal and the Professional (Reynolds & Miller, 2005), which I first read in a writing roundtable class. The tex t suggests invention strategies to get the writer started in the writing process. I have a lways been a visual learner, so I decided to draw a picture of what my pilot study would look like By the time I got to the third draft I couldnt find a piece of paper. Before the tho ught escaped me, I grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on, which was an envelope. I quickly jotted down my ideas, and the concept still remains on the envelope. Rationale for Using a Developmental, Sociocultural Pe rspective If I utilize the kidwatching practice for my dissertat ion (which I hope to do), I will use the sociocultural perspective. In the book Kidwatching Owocki and Goodman (2002) describe most kidwatchers as informed by a sociocultur al perspective. They further maintain that children construct knowledge within th eir own special worlds. Children make hypotheses and test them to determine the way in which language works. As teachers we try and provide rich experiences for o ur children. The challenge is that
251 Appendix G (Continued) each child is unique and has many sociocultural experiences. A rich experience for one may not be for another. Kidwatchers should try to find ou t what makes a rich experience for each child. Rationale for Using the Tradition of Ethnography After researching theoretical traditions and orient ations and reading Kidwatching (Owocki & Goodman, 2002) once more, I decided that for my di ssertation I want to utilize the ethnographic method. Goodman (1996) addresses ethnogr aphy in the book Notes from a Kidwatcher. She notes that a good ethnograph er carefully observes by spending time watching, interacting, making notes, and interpr eting information. To help me further understand what ethnography is, I went ba ck to my Qualitative Measurement I class textbook. Patton (2002) describes fieldwo rk where the investigator is immersed in the culture. Ethnographers ask the questi on: What is the culture of this group of people? If I am going to use the ethnographic metho d in my dissertation, I must spend some time getting to know the culture of the children I will observe The Inquiry Literatures Informing the Inquiry At this point I needed to look at some other research to find out about analysis. I decided to go to The Qualitative Report based upon my experience in my Qualitative Measurement I class. I focused on an article about the same literacy camp from two
252 Appendix G (Continued) years prior. The article was insightful, and I learned a lot from it. The article is called, Making Meaning of Graduate Students and Preservice Teachers E-Mail Communication in a Community of Practice (Reynolds, Be nnett, & Shea, 2007). I read the analysis section and found out the authors used globa l constant comparative analysis. I reviewed the references regarding this technique and decided to look closely at how this analysis was done. One reference was in a textbook which I didnt have and which was not available at the USF library. I decided I needed it, so I ordered it. The book is called An Introduction to Qualitative Research (Flick, 2006). Limitations of the Inquiry Since the literacy camp was only six weeks long, I made adaptations in my practice of kidwatching (Owocki and Goodman, 2002). In a clas sroom, teacher observations would lead to changes in the way that teach er led future instruction. In this summer literacy camp, observations might lead to an unde rstanding of how children learn in general. Additionally, my observations may lead to ways in which future camp instructors and teachers in schools could give more meaning ful instruction. Data Analysis After reviewing Introduction to Qualitative Research (Flick, 2006), I decided grounded theory might work better for me. I went back and r ead Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (Strauss &
253 Appendix G (Continued) Corbin, 1998), which guided me through coding the data. I found out that open coding was going to fit my research. First, I discovered wheth er the children were showing oral language, writing, or reading skills. This was Strauss and C orbins (1998) first step in coding, to conceptualize, or group according to properties. My n ext step was to look at some questions offered by Kidwatching (Owocki & Goodman, 2002) for analyzing data. I chose four questions. These were: 1. What does the child know about language? 2. In which settings does the child use more or less oral la nguage? 3. In what activities does the child need further support? 4. When is the child successful in getting things done? In this way I used Strauss and Corbins (1998) second step, whic h is to define categories and develop the categories in terms of their properties. The final step in my analysis was to determine if the instruction that I obser ved was appropriate, functional, and multicultural. This was similar to Strauss and Corbins (1998) step of relating categories through statements of relationships or patte rns. This is what I found: Examples of Literacy Moments Examples Showing Knowledge about Language The children were very knowledgeable about language, which became evident through their writing, reading, and oral language skills. Example One : Child (Timothy):
254 Appendix G (Continued) (Writes in response to a graduate assistants entry in a dialogue journal) I dont know what Im going to do this week. I just rebme meber I going fishing. from. Mr. Seleres Example Two: Child (Timothy) Writing letter to mom and dad: (Says) How do you spell thank? T-h-i-n-k? Graduate Student (Says) Yes, but change the i to an a. Child (Timothy): (Says) Im going to write it big. (Writes) Dear mommy and daddy, Thank you for all you have given me. Love, Mr. Seleres Example Three: Graduate Student : (Says) Where was his setting? (Regarding the book Rainbow Fish ) (Pfister, 1992) Child (Xavier): You mean where did the story take place? Graduate Student: Yes. Xavier: In the ocean.
255 Appendix G (Continued) Example Four: Graduate Student: (Says) Why did he say ole for the matador camp? (Re garding the story Toot and Puddle ) (Hobbie, 1997) Child (Keith): (Says) From the song (sings) Ole, Ole (Title of act ual song, Hot, Hot, Hot) (Cassell, 1983) Graduate Student: Good! Thats making a connection! Examples of Settings which Promoted Literacy Use Settings were important to the graduate students. The graduat e students found uses for the community center space which would not ordin arily be used for learning. Graduate students taught activities that are not usually con sidered academic. Additionally, graduate students selected literature that pro moted literacy talk. Example One : ( Teacher brought in a photo album from a trip she took on he r honeymoon) Child (Catherine): Related building in photo album to her former home of P uerto Rico Example Two: Child (Sean):
256 Appendix G (Continued) (Says) I can make a connection! I saw a movie once wh ere someone got hurt by getting his head stuck in the elevator! (This was during a readin g of the book Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day ) (Viorst, 1972) Example Three: Children and graduate students take individual cameras outside to take a Wonder Walk. Child (Michelle): I wonder what the ant is looking for? Example Four: Group C developed a play using Readers Theater. They reen acted the play using The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry, 2000) as their story. Children made hats, dictate d paraphrased lines, and acted out the part they were given. Throughout the process, the children were engaged and excited, talking excitedly about their parts. Child (Michelle): (Says) I dont want it to be over! Examples of Settings where Children Needed Support Dr. Reynolds recommended teaching reading and writing stra tegies to the children by naming the strategies and introducing a new one f or each session. Making
257 Appendix G (Continued) connections and making prediction statements about books we re two such strategies. As can be expected, children needed multiple attempts with lea rning the various strategies. Example One: Graduate Student: What does connection mean? Child (Keith): Respect the book! Example Two: Graduate Student: What little thing goes there? Child (Mary): Comma! In the middle or there? Graduate Student: There. Example Three: Children are asked to write an I wonder about the rainbo w fish Child (Carolyn): He can Giv His FRes Sum Gler.
258 Appendix G (Continued) Examples of Settings Showing Success One of the most valuable parts of the camp was that th e children were successful. Some children do not feel this success in their classrooms The small graduate student to child ratio may have contributed to this success. As ment ioned previously, Dr. Reynolds encouraged the graduate students to ask the children specific que stions about literacy at the end of each session, such as: 1. What are you learning to read better? 2. What are you learning to write better? 3. How can we help you to help you be a good writer/reader? Children answered these questions thoughtfully. The answers were helpful to the graduate students because they could plan for future lessons Graduate students in all three groups were required to produce a class book with the c hildren. I observed group B as the graduate students passed out individual copies of the class book to the children. Without being asked to read the books, children immediately opened the books and started reading one anothers excerpts. Example One: Child (Timothy): (Says, after reading Keiths excerpt in the class book) Nice handwriting, Keith! Example Two: Graduate Student: What can we do to help you be a good writer?
259 Appendix G (Continued) Child (Sean): You cant. Im already good. Graduate Student: What can we do to make you great? Child (Sean): Keep doing books and prediction logs. Example Three: (Writing in dialogue journals) Child (Xavier): (Writes) My TuTors are Nise. My Friends TUToRs aRe N ise! I Like to read Books! CaptR Books! (My tutors are nice. My friends tutors are ni ce! I like to read books! Chapter books!) Example Four: One of the graduate students read P is for Passport (Scillian, 2003). As the story went along, children were encouraged to wonder about what the diff erent letters in the story would represent. Children excitedly responded and could hardly wait for their turn to speak. Indications and Implications My research showed that this summer literacy camp wa s a fertile place for learning. The children came to the camp with prior knowledge about literacy, which was
260 Appendix G (Continued) the beginning of my kidwatching practice. Owocki and Goodman (2002) describe a teachers responsibility to build a community that encour ages children to fully demonstrate their knowledge. This community must be caring, and the children must feel safe to take risks. The literacy camp was just such an environment. Michelles comment, I dont want it to be over (during Readers Theater) i s one indication that the children, working with challenging material, were relaxed and having fu n. Using Readers Theater helped children take on multiple points of view. This greatl y expanded childrens communication skills (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). The literacy instruction was appropriate, and the children learned much about reading and writing. The questions the children were asked at the end of each session were valuable. Sean was asked the question, What can we do to make you great? Sean commented, Keep doing books and prediction logs. This was i ndicative of the desire to continue the instruction given to the children in the camp Seans willingness to write in prediction logs follows Bredekamp and Copples (1997) description of how sixthrough eight-year-olds develop. The authors contend that in thi s age group, childrens metacognition improves because children can think about thei r own thinking processes. Additionally, when children engage in conversation about th eir learning, it can strengthen childrens abilities to communicate, express themselves, understand, reason, and solve problems (Wells, 1983; Wilkinson, 1984; Nelson, 1985; Chang-Wells & Wells, 1993; Cobb, Wood & Yackel, 1993; Palincsar, Brown & Campione, 1993)
261 Appendix G (Continued) There were many opportunities for me to observe instructi on that promoted functional literacy. Smagorinsky, Sanford, and Konopak (2006) describe functional literacy in terms of instruction that provides children wit h a way to make meaning and order in their lives. Gee (1999) believes that students do n ot master any school practice without believing they will use it now or later in life. The Wonder Walk that the graduate assistants in group C planned was an event that promoted li teracy as functional. I saw children reporting information, expressing language knowledge, building productive learning relationships, describing sensory experiences, requesti ng information, and responding to teachers requests for information (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). All of these oral language functions are real-life processes that the children were practicing (p. 111). After reading Toot and Puddle (Hobbie, 1997) to the children, graduate students in group B asked their children to write a letter to whomeve r they chose. Timothy wrote a letter to his mom and dad. Timothy expressed language knowle dge, formed productive relationships with his mom and dad, and expressed emotional i dentification by thanking his parents for all that they have given him (Owocki & Goodman, 2002). Again, the graduate assistants chose an assignment that is related to real world functions. Toot and Puddle (Hobbie, 1997), P is for Passport (Scillian, 2003), and The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry, 2000) are three of the books that were used in th e literacy camp. All three of these books showed that the camp provi ded culturally sensitive
262 materials, even though the graduate students from groups A and B confessed they could have done Appendix G (Continued) more. Goodman (1996) explains that within a multicultural f ramework, we respect each other, recognize our similarities, debate our multiple pe rspectives, accept and celebrate our differences, and are constantly involved in exploring t he strengths and influences that all the members of our world community contribute to our ow n growth and well-being (p. 32). Gee (1999) claims that culture and identity must b e present for success in school activities related to literate language. Graduate students in group C planned for a camp theme of cultur e and identity using travel, passports, and cultures around the world. P is for Passport (Scillian, 2003) is an ABC book. The author encourages respect for one an other through getting to know the world better. Scillian urges everyone who reads th e book to remember that people make the world go around. Looking back to Goodmans definition of a multicultural perspective (1996), the book makes the reader recognize similar ities, strengths, and influences in our world community Group C used The Great Kapok Tree for their Readers Theater production. It is a book about a young man who wants to cut down a kapok tree but is talked out of it by some animals and a child from the rain forest. By intro ducing a book about the Amazon Rain Forest, graduate students emphasized another continent The young man in the story has new eyes at the end of the story. He respects othe rs (albeit animals, not people) and
263 has taken on multiple perspectives. Additionally, the yo ung man finds out that each animal has strengths and contributes to our world. Appendix G (Continued) Toot and Puddle (Hobbie, 1997) is a book about two pig friends. One pig, Toot, decides to travel around the world while the other pig, Puddle, decides to stay at home. The trip is told through postcards from Toot to Puddle. Group B told this s tory and described differences in each new country and the influences that each country contributes. When Toot travels, Puddle imagines multiple perspectives by read ing Toots postcards. Keiths aforementioned connection to ole was an interesting o ne. The picture represented Toot at matador camp in Spain. Keith related ole to a s ong he had heard. This was an example of the strategy this class was working on: mak ing connections. The implications for this research may affect teac hers of young children. The research indicates that a summer literacy camp is an opportune experience for rich, meaningful instruction for children. The introduction of li terature, the talk-rich environments, and the communication between the children a nd the graduate students all contributed to this experience. Kidwatching provided an excellent pathway for me to observe c hildren and the objects, events, and people in their worlds (that) make knowledge construction a different experience for every child (Owocki & Goodman, 2002, p. 4). Each child was unique, each child had potential, and each child had a personal l anguage (Mickelson, 1990).
264 Post Script I learned a lot from this pilot study, including how rese arch illuminates childrens remarkable abilities and teachers care and concern for children. I am no longer Appendix G (Continued) discouraged and distraught. I was struggling with infertility, but then adopted two amazing kids! I was struggling with research, but then I ha d this amazing research experience and I found my voice as a researcher!
265 Appendix G (Continued) Reference List Bredecamp, S. & Copple, C. (1997). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Educati on of Young Children. Casell, A.C.E. (1983). Hot, Hot, Hot [Recorded by Buster Poi ndexter]. On Buster Poindexter (CD). New York: RCA. Chang-Wells, G. & Wells, G. (1993) Dynamics of discourse: Literacy and the construction of knowledge. In Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in childrens development, eds. E.A. Forman, N. Minick & C.A. Stone: 58-90. New York: Oxford University Press. Cherry, L. (2000). The Great Kapok Tree. Orlando, FL: Voyage r Books. Cobb, P., Wood, T. & Yackel, E. (1993). Discourse, mathema tical thinking, and classroom practice. In Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in childrens development, eds. Forman, E.A., N. Minick & C.A. Stone, 91-119. New Yo rk: Oxford University Press. Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to qualitative research Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Flurkey, A. (1997). Inventing Learning Disabilities. In Teac hing and Advocacy, edited by D. Taylor, 211-38. York, ME: Stenhouse. Gee, J.P. (1999). Critical Issues: Reading and the new Lite racy Studies: Reframing the National Academy of Sciences report on reading. Journal of Literacy Research 31 (3), 355-374.
266 Appendix G (Continued) Goodman, Y.M. (1996). Notes from a Kidwatcher: Selected Writings of Yetta M. Goodman. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hobbie, H. (1997). Toot and Puddle New York: Little, Brown and Company. Nelson, K. (1985). Making sense: The acquisition of shared meaning New York: Academic. Owocki, G. & Goodman, Y. (2002). Kidwatching: Documenting childrens literacy development Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Palincsar, A.S., Brown, A.L. & Campione, J.C. (1993). F irst-grade dialogues for knowledge acquisition and use. In Contexts for learning : Sociocultural dynamics in childrens development, eds. E.A. Forman, N. Minick, & C.A. Stone, 43-57. New York: Oxford University Press. Patton, M.Q. ( 2002). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Pfister, M. (1992). Rainbow Fish Chambersburg, PA: North South Books. Reynolds, J. C. & Miller, S. K. (2005). Doing Academic Writing in Education: Connecting the Personal and the Professional Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Reynolds, J. C., Bennett, S. V., & Shea, K.T. (2007). M aking Meaning of Graduate Students and Preservice Teachers E-Mail Communication i n a Community of Practice. The Qualitative Report 12 (4), 639-657. Scillian, D. (2003). P is for Passport Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
267 Appendix G (Continued) Smagarinsky, P., Sanford, A., & Konopak, B. (2006). Functional Literacy in a Constructivist Key: A Nontraditional Student Teachers A pprenticeship in a Rural Elementary School. Teacher Education Quarterly, 33 (4), 93 -109. Viorst, J. (1972). Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Aladin Paperbacks Wells, G. (1983). Talking with children: The complementary roles of parents and teachers. In Early childhood development and education eds. M. Donaldson, R. Grieve, & C. Pratt, 127-50. New York: Guilford. Wilkinson, L. 1984 Research currents: Peer group talk in el ementary school. Language Arts 61 (2), 164-69.
268 Appendix H. Early Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experience LITERACY CAMP BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE (THOUGHTS) ACTIONS FEELINGS LEARN (MEANINGFUL) ASSIMILATE CONNECT INVENT / MISCUE EMPOWERED SUPPORTED PERSONAL LANGUAGE SOCIAL WORLDS LITERACY HISTORY
269 Appendix I. Child-Like Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experience : EMPOWERED INVENT RESPOND CONSTRUCT CONNECT MISBEHAVE ASSIMILATE LITERACY HISTORY PERSONAL LANGUAGE SOCIAL WORLDS
270 Appendix J. Action-Reaction Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experience EMPOWERED EMPOWERED EMPOWERED PERSONAL LANGUAGE, SOCIAL WORLDS, LITERACY HISTORY GET MEANINGFUL INSTRUCTION, SUPPORT, ASSIMILATE, CONSTRUCT KNOWLEDGE, CONNECT, INTERRUPT, RESPOND, INVENT
271 Appendix K. Cycle Diagram on the Literacy Camp Experience LITERACY HISTORY ASSIMILATE CONSTRUCT KNOWLEDGE EMPOWERMENT
272 Appendix L. Diagram Metaphor: Empowerment nn nnrrrr n nrn r r r nn r r nnr n nr rn nn rr
About the Author Melinda Adams earned a B.S. Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education at Florida Southern College and a M.S. Degree in Educatio nal Leadership at Florida State University. She worked as a kindergarten teacher for one y ear and a first grade teacher for eight years. While in the Ph.D. program at USF she was a stay-at-home mom for seven of the eight years. The eighth year she was a graduate assistant, teaching Childrens Literature, observing to research Tune into Reading, and teaching level I interns. She published an article in Journal of Reading Education and presented a paper at National Reading Council.
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Adams, Melinda G.
An autoethnographic account :
b a description of nine young children's literacy learning experiences in a summer camp
h [electronic resource] /
by Melinda G. Adams.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 272 pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: My research assistant and I employed participant observation to study graduate tutors and children in a literacy camp setting. Research questions were: What types of literacy instruction do nine children receive from graduate education major tutors in a community of interest summer literacy camp? How do nine children respond to literacy instruction they receive from graduate education tutors in a summer literacy camp? We collected data once a week for six weeks. We observed and took notes to determine what instruction graduate tutors offered and how children responded. I used autoethnographic methods to reflect on my former teaching practices. Ellis and Bochner (2000) say that to be an autoethnographer you must be introspective about your feelings, observant about the world, self-questioning, and vulnerable. Data consisted of observation notes, writing samples, and my introspection regarding teaching practices. I found, through constant comparison analysis, that graduate tutors provided supportive, meaningful instruction to children and as a result the children felt empowered. Based on these findings, I suggest that teachers remain mindful of the benefits of supportive student-centered pedagogy. Future endeavors may include bringing these instructional techniques into the classroom.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Co-advisor: Susan Homan, Ph.D.
Co-advisor: Janet Richards, Ph.D.
x Reading and Language Arts Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.