Sunday, February 7, 2010

K12 Online Conference Presentation

As I move through my first term as a Secondary English M.Ed. student, my goal has been to expose myself to as many English classrooms and teaching styles, and as much Secondary English Education theory/methodology as possible. I used this week’s “free-choice” blog assignment as an opportunity to learn more about literacy in the high school English classroom.


K12 Online Conference 2009 Presentation
"Promise Into Practice: What It Now Means to Teach Adolescent Readers”
Presented by Sara Kajder

http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=311

This presentation details Kajder’s action research project on the effectiveness of various literacy practices in 9th grade “standard” (low level) English classrooms. For a complete Fall semester, she studied 4 separate 9th grade classrooms totaling 120 students that had been assessed as borderline proficient, struggling to meet 9th grade GLE’s. She separated the 4 classes into 2 groups of 60 each. Group A students were exposed to various technology-based literacy practices throughout the course of the term, whereas Group B students were taught with a more classical approach.

The following is an outline of the semester tasks and how the tools for execution varied from Group A to Group B.

Task 1: Literacy Narrative - student self-introduction
Group A: voice thread
Group B: written letter

Task 2: Independent Reading - book summary/review
Group A: book trailer
Group B: book talk, oral presentation

Task 3: Literature Circle “Projects”
Group A: podcast
Group B: presentation

Task 4: Literature Circle Groups – discussion groups
Group A: outside of class
Group B: in class

Task 5: Writers Workshop
Group A: screencast feedback
Group B: written and oral paper

Task 6: Elements of Persuasion
Group A: remix
Group B: written paper

The findings of Kajder’s action research project suggest collaboration with peers and opportunity for sharing work with an authentic audience while providing a learning environment that fosters creative expression gave students a purpose for their reading and writing, and therefore motivated them to read for comprehension and write for reading. While both groups improved literacy proficiency, the “technology-infused” (Kajder) environment of Group A posted a greater improvement in literacy proficiency than Group B. With a purpose for their work and knowing they had a peer audience to capture, students showed they possessed stronger individual and collective literacy skills than had been previously assessed.

Having viewed Kajder's presentation, I will consider the alternative technology-based forms of literary exploration and project presentation in the English curriculum when designing my own.

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