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Caroline Tritschlers Research Design

LLED 7070E, Spring 2015


Research Purpose/Belief Statement
I have been teaching Kindergarten for four years. I have always
been interested in teaching writing at this age level because usually
writing in Kindergarten goes from drawing pictures, then to labeling
pictures with letter sounds, and finally creating sentences. I have seen
several students become disinterested in writing when they begin to
have to write more than what used to be expected. I want my
students to be excited about writing and I want to prepare them for the
21st Century as I teach writing.
I will focus this particular research question during the second
half of the Kindergarten year through various ways of using technology.
I will compare student interest, engagement, and writing with the use
of technology to their writing with just the use of pencil and paper. I
have already read so much about 21st Century writing in the
elementary classroom, and I want to take what I have learned and
apply it in my classroom for my students learning. In his book,
Crafting Digital Writing, Hicks explains the necessity of teaching writing
with technology: The question is no longer whether we should use
technology to teach writing; instead we must focus on the many ways
that we must use technology to teach writing (Hicks, 2013, p. 2). He
also explains that while there is still value in writing on paper for our
youngest writers, we must integrate this type of writing to also include
21st Century writing such as exploring images, videos, slideshows,
wikis, podcasts, digital stories, and other types of digital writing such
as social networking (Hicks, 2013, p. 2). I am also convinced that it
doesnt matter how young our students are, it is never too early to use
technology in the classroom. In their book, Technology and Critical
Literacy in Early Childhood Education, the authors explain that It is
crucial for educators at all levels of schooling to take charge of
reshaping curriculum and pedagogy in relation to technology
(Vasquez & Felderman, 2013, p. 97). There is research virtually
everywhere to support the importance of teaching students to read
and write digitally. In Barbara Moss and Diane Lapps Teaching New
Literacies in Grades K-3, the authors explain that students must be
able to read and write in print as well as the digital world (2010, p. 2).
The word must is critical here to us as teachers of reading and writing.
Throughout my classes in my Reading Education Masters I have
seen the importance of 21st Century teaching and I want to do more in
my classroom. This teacher-research design project will allow me to
take what I know about technology in the classroom to enhance the
writing of my students and get them excited about writing in their
worlds. I am excited to take this jump into teacher research text year,

as I have been guided through this process through our text by


Shagoury and Power this summer. As teachers, we aim to create the
best possible learning environment for our students, and we can do
this through collecting and analyzing data of our students in a
systematic way (2012, p. 3). However, we must not fear the process or
be afraid of change and flexibility with our research. Instead, we must
do our research in the midst of teaching, carefully weighing the value
of different ways of teaching and learning (2012, p. 5). In this
process, I want to be reflective, diligent, and open-minded about
finding new ways to engage my students in their learning and needs
for the future.
Research Question
How can technology be used in Writers Workshop in Kindergarten to
enhance student writing and student engagement in writing?
Sub-questions
-What works really well in writing when using technology? What might
be more difficult?
-How can I make students more excited about writing through the use
of technology during Writers Workshop?
-What are students gaining from 21st Century writing, as opposed to
traditional writing?
-Which apps, programs, resources, and social networks can be used in
my classroom?
-What is it about technology that makes learning different?
-How can student engagement be enhanced with technology? What
are some different ways my students already use technology at home?
-How can I make sure that my students understand their digital
footprints?
-How will I see changes in motivation and performance in reading and
writing if I add more opportunities to use technology in the classroom?
-What will be different about writing when using technology versus
writing with a paper and pencil?
-How can I make sure that I am engaging each learner individually?

-What areas of writing need the most work for my students? In which
areas are they already successful?
Data Collection
-Pencil and paper writing samples from Writers Workshop, which will
be kept in their Writers Notebooks. Each month (during the Spring
semester) I will look at a piece of writing from each child and help that
child determine his/her writing goals for the month. These could
include writing the correct sounds in words in the correct sequence,
using finger spaces between words, spelling sight words from the word
wall correctly, writing complete sentences, capitalization, punctuation,
or telling more.
-Digital writing samples from each student. As we get used to writing
sentences and working on writing goals, we will work on 1-2 writing
projects digitally each month, using different apps or programs. I will
compare this work to what students do on paper. I will look at a
sample from each child monthly for this part too. I will compare and
contrast student engagement when using technology and the quality
of their writing (depending on individual writing goals). Digital writing
samples will be kept in a digital portfolio for each student through
Evernote.
-Conferencing: Through conferences and conferencing recording
sheets, each student will understand their goals for writing, both on
digitally and non-digitally. I will be able to take note on whether
students seem to be accomplishing their goals or more excited to work
on their goals through the digital project (s) of that month.
-Student Surveys: During writing conferences with students, I will ask
them questions throughout the month about the following things: how
they feel as writers currently, what is hard about writing on paper,
what is hard about writing digitally, which tools do they prefer, how do
they prefer to do writing, how they feel about their goals, etc. I will
take informal notes on these conferences.
-Please also keep in mind that while one new digital tool is introduced
each month, students can continue to use these tools for writing
throughout the remainder of the school year. I will be keeping track of
days that students are allowed to choose to write in Writers Workshop
either through using a technology tool of their choice or writing on
paper in their notebooks.

Data Analysis
Through the data collection above, I will be able to monitor my
research question. I plan to conference with students each week as
they work on their writing, and reflect on their work (digital and nondigital writing) at the end of each month. I will also record my
observations of the children when writing with various tools in Writers
Workshop. I will also take notes on student choices when in Writers
Workshop. Finally, when I conference with students, I will take notes
on my informal questions about writing. I will take my own notes about
the goals that are accomplished with each student and whether they
are more engaged and goal-oriented in their learning/writing with
through the use of technology. Finally, with colleagues, we will decide
which technology tools worked best during Writers Workshop this year.
Then, we will use findings to continue using old and new technology
ideas during Writers Workshop the next school year.
Support/Collaboration
I plan to do this research in my Kindergarten classroom during Writers
Workshop times. I will discuss this research with my co-teachers so
that we are all on the same page and working together on this
research. I will also share my data-keeping tools, methods, and plans
with my co-teachers and encourage them to join in this process with
me. My co-teachers and I have teach collaboratively, aim to be
flexible, and are most often willing to try new ways of teaching. We
will also plan to meet monthly to talk about how our research is going
well and what we need to continue to do.
Time Line
*Please also keep in mind that while one new digital tool is introduced
each month, students can continue to use these tools for writing
throughout the remainder of the school year. I will be keeping track of
days that students are allowed to choose to write in Writers Workshop
either through using a technology tool of their choice or writing on
paper in their notebooks.
January
-Plan and teach Kindergarten lessons on writing goals, work on writing
sentences each day in Writers Workshop, helping students to
understand their writing goals through daily writing and conferences.
-Technology integration: Practice typing writing drafts digitally through
a word processing app, such as Microsoft Word. Then have students
print out their work and draw pictures to add to it.

-Confer weekly with students, record data, and analyze it.


-Observe how students feel when using technology (excited,
apprehensive, nervous).
-Collect end of the month writing data (one on paper and one digital
writing piece from each student) and compare and contrast the writing
pieces.
February
-Continue lessons on writing goals, work on writing sentences on paper
each day in Writers Workshop. Teach students about characters, plot,
and setting and beginning, middle, and end of stories. Students will
practice writing their own stories this month on paper and into paper
books.
-Technology Integration: Have students use an iPad app such as
StoryMaker, Explain Everything, or BookCreator to create digital
stories.
-Confer weekly with students, record data, and analyze it.
-Observe how students feel when using technology (excited,
apprehensive, nervous).
-Collect end of the month writing data (one on paper and one digital
writing piece from each student) and compare and contrast the writing
pieces.
March
-Continue lessons on writing goals, work on writing sentences on paper
each day in Writers Workshop. Teach students about writing as a way
to communicate ideas to others. Also, teach students about making
webs to organize thoughts and brainstorms, for example making a web
on paper of words that have the short a sound.
-Technology Integration: Explain Twitter to students and use it as a
mentor text. Then have students compose Tweets from a class
account. As a guide, I will use Chapter 7 (Crafting Digital Media) from
Troy Hicks Crafting Digital Media.
Also, introduce Popplet app for digital mind mapping, and teach
students to create webs using this app.
-Confer weekly with students and record data and analyze it.
-Observe how students feel when using technology (excited,
apprehensive, nervous).
-Collect end of the month writing data (one on paper and one digital
writing piece from each student) and compare and contrast the writing
pieces.
April

-Continue lessons on writing goals, work on writing sentences on paper


each day in Writers Workshop. Introduce students to non-fiction
writing about something of their choice-animals, weather, important
person, etc.
-Technology Integration: VoiceThread as a way to craft non-fiction
writing about a research topic. I will use Chapter 2 (Teaching and
Learning with VoiceThread) of Vivian Maria Vasquez and Carol Branigan
Feldermans book Technology and Critical Literacy in Early Childhood.
-Confer weekly with students, record data, and analyze it.
-Observe how students feel when using technology (excited,
apprehensive, nervous).
-Collect end of the month writing data (one on paper and one digital
writing piece from each student) and compare and contrast the writing
pieces.
May
-Continue lessons on writing goals, work on writing sentences on paper
each day in Writers Workshop. Have students practice taking photos
and writing on paper about those photos to tell a story.
-Technology Integration- Photography. Students will use iPads to take
photos of their choice and then using an app (such as StoryMaker) to
write digitally to tell the story of their photo. As a guide, I will use
Chapter 7 (Picture This: Using Photography as a Tool for Critical
Literacy) of Vivian Maria Vasquez and Carol Branigan Feldermans book
Technology and Critical Literacy in Early Childhood.
-Confer weekly with students, record data, and analyze it.
-Observe how students feel when using technology (excited,
apprehensive, nervous).
-Collect end of the month writing data (one on paper and one digital
writing piece from each student) and compare and contrast the writing
pieces.
June
-With colleagues, decide which technology tools worked best during
Writers Workshop this year. Use findings to continue using old and
new technology ideas during Writers Workshop the next school year.
Bibliography
Hicks, T. (2013). Crafting Digital Writing: Composing texts across
media and genres. Portsmith, NH: Heinemann.
Moss, B & Lapp. D. (2010). Teaching New Literacies in Grades K-3:
Resources for 21st-century classrooms. New York, NY: Guilford.

Shagoury, R. & Power B.M. (2012). Living the Questions: A guide for
teacher-researchers. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Vasquez, V. & A. Felderman C. (2013). Technology and critical literacy
in early childhood. New York: Taylor & Francis.