Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bluebonnet Writing Project Reflection

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

BWP Reflections-Click Arrow once opened

this is an audio post - click to play

Audio Messaging is Up Next for Me

Soon you will be able to click on my audio messages in order to hear what I have to say. Right now, I am just reflecting on my experiences as a Bluebonnet Writing Project Participant. Make sure that you click the arrow in order to hear what I have to say when you see my audio icon. it's coming up next.

Qumana Images

This is interesting. I am just playing around with the Qumana program. This is why you seem to be seeing double.  This uploads images too.


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Intro to Qumana

Here's the intro to Qumana. I like the fact that I can do word processing through a program that allows me to edit quickly.


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Inserting Images



Hello everyone,

This is my first go at using photobucket in order to add pictures. This is me a few years ago and I think I can say that I haven't changed a bit.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Literature Review and Methodology

I'm learning new things everyday. Here is my lit review with my methodology.

Exploring the Reading-Writing Connection

Teaching can be very complex when it comes to using the best instructional techniques in the classroom to help all students learn and pass the state mandated tests. Helping each student pass the state tests has to be done while meeting each student at the point of his need, implementing the best practices in literacy instruction such as reading and writing workshops, using effective classroom management techniques, and varying the learning contexts through whole class, flexible grouping, and one on one instruction. This past year, I tried very hard to help all of my students improve their reading skills, but even though 90% of the class met their reading goal, Lee did not. She was a second language learner who made me ask the what if question at the end of the year. What if I had used writing as a vehicle to help my students improve their reading skills?
Literacy learning is a complex process that involves elements that occur in stages. Reading and writing are both integral parts of literacy learning and have often been taught separately in instruction based on teacher philosophy. Some teachers and administrators feel the need to separate the two in order to devote more time to instruction in either reading or writing and spelling. This factor is very disconcerting because it is seemingly more difficult to separate the process of reading from the process of writing because writing activities enhance reading instruction and reading instruction enhances writing activity (Bromley, 1989). When reading and writing instruction occur separately from each other, students begin to see literacy as something that is made up of differing components rather than interrelated processes that were meant to work cohesively. As a result, students begin to miss the big picture in literacy learning which is the reading-writing connection.
The focus of reading instruction is to help the reader understand the meaning within the text and the focus of writing instruction is to help the writer create a piece that is meaningful for the intended audience. Therefore, reading and writing seem to be reflective of each other and “Authorities have suggested that reading and writing might be related in areas such as knowledge of sound symbol relations, metacognition, vocabulary meaning, organizational style, syntax, word knowledge and so on (Langer, 1986; Rubin and Hansen, 1984; Shanahan, 1980; Stosky, 1983 as cited in Shanahan, 1988). Certain information theorists (Flood & Lapp, 1987; Hayes & Flower, 1980; van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983; Wittrock, 1983a, 1983b)… claim reading and writing draw upon common cognitive processes to build a text world or a “text envisionment” (Langer, 1986; Purcell-Gates, 1991 as cited in Moore, 1995). Chew (Hansen et al., eds.1982, as cited in Kauffman, 1996) affirms that the processes used to read and write effectively are similar and that the skills used by good readers can be transferred to their writing projects. These studies underline the notion that reading and writing tasks share a common course of development which can be used to enhance classroom instruction that effectively integrates the two subjects. Shanahan (1988) notes that “Study after study highlights that reading and writing are so closely related that their curricular combination could have a positive outcome in terms of achievement or instructional efficiency” (Shanahan, 1980; Stostsky, 1983). Therefore, sufficient writing should be able to increase reading skills.
Several studies reveal the fact that sufficient writing improves reading proficiency for many different types of learners (Sipe, 1993; Falk-Ross, 2001/2002; Bromley, 1989; Sitler, 1995, Waugh, 1996; Kauffman, 1996). Falk-Ross (2001/2002) noted that the students in her study made gains of at least three grade levels in reading through instruction that focused intensely on helping college students compose I-Search papers by using guiding principles of the reading-writing connection. Waugh’s study (1996) based on adolescent disabled readers noted that “students improved not only in writing skill but in reading.” This gives credence to the idea that many students who struggle as writers also struggle as readers. Therefore, a focus on both processes through related instructional practices can cause an increase of literacy learning as a whole. “Surveys of the literature by Moore (1983), Belanger (1987), and Stotsky (1984) revealed… that better writers tend to be better readers, that better writers read more than poor writers, and that better readers produced syntactically more complex writing than poorer readers” (Moore, 1995).
Utilizing the reading-writing connection to increase student achievement in literacy should be considered a natural process in instruction. Moore (1995) notes that “Stotsky (1984) found that almost all the studies involving writing activities or exercises designed specifically to improve reading comprehension or the retention of information in instructional materials resulted in significant gains in both comprehension and recall.” This gives credibility to the idea that writing instruction should not be taught separately from reading instruction. When the two subjects are taught together, writing can then become a vehicle to enhance and improve reading skills. Even Shanahan (1997) states that “the similarities of reading and writing allow cross-learning opportunities.” Writing gives the learner the opportunity to think about reading (Shanahan, 1997) which in turn can inevitably strengthen a writer’s understanding of what he reads.

Methodology
My data collection will be a focused case study including quantitative and qualitative assessments. This study will involve two classes of sixth grade students who will be instructed daily through an integrated reading and writing curriculum. The curriculum will focus on instruction taught through reading and writing workshops. Pre-test scores will be taken from each student’s final fifth grade TAKS score and the first sixth grade reading benchmark test that is administered in September. I will also use the final fifth grade Reading TAKS scores from the other two sixth grade reading classes on my team. Due to the fact that certain team members may feel uncomfortable by providing data on their students for the purpose of enhancing my research, the public fifth grade and sixth grade TAKS scores will be the only data collected for a standard control group for this study. The curriculum that I will teach will consist of writing to learn activities (Andrews, 1997; Falk-Ross, 2001/2002; “A Reading-Writing,” 1990; Sager, 1989; Zimmet, 2000), buddy journal writing activities (Bromley, 1989), and motivating writing assignments such as fractured fairy tale lessons (Sipe, 1993). The focus of all instruction will be to use writing as a vehicle to increase reading performance. Each group will receive the same instruction for the entire school year. Quantitative data will continue to be collected through the following two district reading benchmark tests and teacher made criterion referenced reading tests. The data will be triangulated with qualitative data collected throughout the year in the form of portfolio assessments and observations of student learning, reactions, and understandings of the integrated instruction. The post test data will be collected from the final TAKS reading test score administered by the state at the end of the year. The results of the post test will be compared to the final Reading TAKS scores of the other two sixth grade classes that did not receive such integrated reading and writing instruction throughout the course of the year.

References
A reading-writing connection in the content areas (secondary perspectives).(1990). Journal of Reading, 33(5), 376-378.
Andrews, S. E. (1997). Writing to learn in content area reading class. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 41(2), 141.
Bromley, K. D. (1989). Buddy journals make the reading-writing connection. Reading Teacher, 43(2), 122-129.
Falk-Ross, F. C. (2001). Toward the new literacy: Changes in college students' reading comprehension strategies following reading/writing projects. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(4), 278.
Kauffmann, R. A. (1996). Writing to read and reading to write: Teaching literature in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 29(3), 396-402.
Moore, S. R. (1995). Focus on research: Questions for research into reading-writing relationships and text structure knowledge. Language Arts, 72(8), 598.
Sager, M. B. (1989). Exploiting the reading-writing connection to engage students in text. Journal of Reading, 33(1), 40-43.
Shanahan, T. (1997). Reading-writing relationships, thematic units, inquiry learning...in pursuit of effective.. Reading Teacher, 51(1), 12-19.
Shanahan, T. (1988). The reading-writing relationship: Seven instructional principles. The Reading Teacher, 41(7), 636-647.
Sipe, L. R. (1993). Using transformations of traditional stories: Making the reading-writing connection. Reading Teacher, 47(1), 18.
Waugh, J. C. (1996). Writing to read for adolescent disabled readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 39(6), 495.
Zimmet, N. (2000). Engaging the disaffected: Collaborative writing across the curriculum projects. English Journal, 90(1), 102-106.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Literature Review (The Reading-Writing Connection)

Hi everyone, I've been having a blast in the Bluebonnet Writing Project doing research for my burning question. As a teacher, I often wonder how I can use writing to help my kids improve their reading skills. I was able to conduct some research as part of my assignments and I was able to find some great information on the Reading-Writing Connection. Here's my literature review based on my research.

Exploring the Reading-Writing Connection

Teaching can be very complex when it comes to using the best instructional techniques in the classroom to help all students learn and pass the state mandated tests. Helping each student pass the state tests has to be done while meeting each student at the point of his need, implementing the best practices in literacy instruction such as reading and writing workshops, using effective classroom management techniques, and varying the learning contexts through whole class, flexible grouping, and one on one instruction. This past year, I tried very hard to help all of my students improve their reading skills, but even though 90% of the class met their reading goal, Lee did not. She was a second language learner who made me ask the what if question at the end of the year. What if I had used writing as a vehicle to help my students improve their reading skills?
Literacy learning is a complex process that involves elements that occur in stages. Reading and writing are both integral parts of literacy learning and have often been taught separately in instruction based on teacher philosophy. Some teachers and administrators feel the need to separate the two in order to devote more time to instruction in either reading or writing and spelling. This factor is very disconcerting because it is seemingly more difficult to separate the process of reading from the process of writing because writing activities enhance reading instruction and reading instruction enhances writing activity (Bromley, 1989). When reading and writing instruction occur separately from each other, students begin to see literacy as something that is made up of differing components rather than interrelated processes that were meant to work cohesively. As a result, students begin to miss the big picture in literacy learning which is the reading-writing connection.
The focus of reading instruction is to help the reader understand the meaning within the text and the focus of writing instruction is to help the writer create a piece that is meaningful for the intended audience. Therefore, reading and writing seem to be reflective of each other and “Authorities have suggested that reading and writing might be related in areas such as knowledge of sound symbol relations, metacognition, vocabulary meaning, organizational style, syntax, word knowledge and so on (Langer, 1986; Rubin and Hansen, 1984; Shanahan, 1980; Stosky, 1983 as cited in Shanahan, 1988). Certain information theorists (Flood & Lapp, 1987; Hayes & Flower, 1980; van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983; Wittrock, 1983a, 1983b)… claim reading and writing draw upon common cognitive processes to build a text world or a “text envisionment” (Langer, 1986; Purcell-Gates, 1991 as cited in Moore, 1995). Chew (Hansen et al., eds.1982, as cited in Kauffman, 1996) affirms that the processes used to read and write effectively are similar and that the skills used by good readers can be transferred to their writing projects. These studies underline the notion that reading and writing tasks share a common course of development which can be used to enhance classroom instruction that effectively integrates the two subjects. Shanahan (1988) notes that “Study after study highlights that reading and writing are so closely related that their curricular combination could have a positive outcome in terms of achievement or instructional efficiency” (Shanahan, 1980; Stostsky, 1983). Therefore, sufficient writing should be able to increase reading skills.
Several studies reveal the fact that sufficient writing improves reading proficiency for many different types of learners (Sipe, 1993; Falk-Ross, 2001/2002; Bromley, 1989; Sitler, 1995, Waugh, 1996; Kauffman, 1996). Falk-Ross (2001/2002) noted that the students in her study made gains of at least three grade levels in reading through instruction that focused intensely on helping college students compose I-Search papers by using guiding principles of the reading-writing connection. Waugh’s study (1996) based on adolescent disabled readers noted that “students improved not only in writing skill but in reading.” This gives credence to the idea that many students who struggle as writers also struggle as readers. Therefore, a focus on both processes through related instructional practices can cause an increase of literacy learning as a whole. “Surveys of the literature by Moore (1983), Belanger (1987), and Stotsky (1984) revealed… that better writers tend to be better readers, that better writers read more than poor writers, and that better readers produced syntactically more complex writing than poorer readers” (Moore, 1995).
Utilizing the reading-writing connection to increase student achievement in literacy should be considered a natural process in instruction. Moore (1995) notes that “Stotsky (1984) found that almost all the studies involving writing activities or exercises designed specifically to improve reading comprehension or the retention of information in instructional materials resulted in significant gains in both comprehension and recall.” This gives credibility to the idea that writing instruction should not be taught separately from reading instruction. When the two subjects are taught together, writing can then become a vehicle to enhance and improve reading skills. Even Shanahan (1997) states that “the similarities of reading and writing allow cross-learning opportunities.” Writing gives the learner the opportunity to think about reading (Shanahan, 1997) which in turn can inevitably strengthen a writer’s understanding of what he reads.

References
A reading-writing connection in the content areas (secondary perspectives).(1990). Journal of Reading, 33(5), 376-378.
Andrews, S. E. (1997). Writing to learn in content area reading class. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 41(2), 141.
Bromley, K. D. (1989). Buddy journals make the reading-writing connection. Reading Teacher, 43(2), 122-129.
Falk-Ross, F. C. (2001). Toward the new literacy: Changes in college students' reading comprehension strategies following reading/writing projects. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(4), 278.
Heuser, D. (2005). Learning logs: Writing to learn, reading to assess. Science and Children, 43(3), 46-49.
Johnson, J., & Holcombe, M. (1993). Writing to learn in a content area. Clearing House, 66(3), 155.
Kauffmann, R. A. (1996). Writing to read and reading to write: Teaching literature in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 29(3), 396-402.
Mitchell, D. (1996). Writing to learn across the curriculum and the english teacher. English Journal, 85(5), 93-97.
Moore, S. R. (1995). Focus on research: Questions for research into reading-writing relationships and text structure knowledge. Language Arts, 72(8), 598.
Noyce, R. M., & Christie, J. F. (1989). Integrating reading and writing instruction in grades K-8. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.
Sager, M. B. (1989). Exploiting the reading-writing connection to engage students in text. Journal of Reading, 33(1), 40-43.
Shanahan, T. (1997). Reading-writing relationships, thematic units, inquiry learning...in pursuit of effective.. Reading Teacher, 51(1), 12-19.
Shanahan, T. (1988). The reading-writing relationship: Seven instructional principles. The Reading Teacher, 41(7), 636-647.
Sipe, L. R. (1993). Using transformations of traditional stories: Making the reading-writing connection. Reading Teacher, 47(1), 18.
Sitler, H. C. (1995). Letters from Emily: Writing-reading connections. Language Arts, 72(5), 360.
VanDeWeghe, R. (2005). What are the effects of writing-to-learn programs? English Journal, 95(2), 97-99.
Waugh, J. C. (1996). Writing to read for adolescent disabled readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 39(6), 495.
Zimmet, N. (2000). Engaging the disaffected: Collaborative writing across the curriculum projects. English Journal, 90(1), 102-106.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moments of Discovery

I think this is just a moment of discovery for me. There is so much out there as far as technology is concerned. I often wonder what the "latest in technology" truly means nowadays. For me, it is the wiki. What a fascinating concept. However, I just posted to the writing project blog and I simply cannot wait to finally introduce the whole concept of the blog to my students this coming school year.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Bluebonnet Writing Project

I am a part of the Bluebonnet Writing project, and it is pretty interesting. I would encourage any educator to get involved in some sort of a writing project. Right now, I am trying to get a handle on the whole idea of the wiki. I just posted my blog to it. Technology is just simply amazing! I am just getting acclimated to the Blog and now I find out about the wiki. I know that there is more. I am just waiting to be clued in. Be back soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Introduction

Hello,
Perhaps this is the beginning of something special for what I do.
Stacy