Research question: How can I use technology to increase ELL speaking and writing skills?
Collecting Data: Once I have collected student writing samples I need to decide what information I am going to look at.
Students: I decide to look at writing samples of 5 level 3-4 ESL students, 2 of whom are on IEPs.
What is the Purpose of my Research?
Feeling a little overwhelmed I decided to focus primarily on the purpose of using information I gather to inform and improve my teaching. My question “to increase skills” is very vague. In order to look at data I need to be more specific about what this means. How can I focus on what to look at in writing skills? What do I THINK I taught my students and did they show they learned it?
Over the course of the year we have focused on 3 genres: Narrative, Opinion, and Literary Analysis. I decided just to focus on Narrative.
What have we taught – and what did students learn?
Over the course of the year as we teach narrative our focus is on teaching students to include “DAFT” – Dialogue, Action, Feelings, and Thoughts. In addition we worked on adding descriptions and onomatopoeia. Also, I want some way to measure the use of more academic vocabulary. And I decide to count the number of sentences students use.
Project 1: Writing a section of the story of Goldilocks from the Goldilocks point of view, after doing oral “Interviews with Goldilocks” on in Book Creator on the IPADs. This was a hand-written assignment.
Project 2: Rewriting a Fairy Tale from a new perspective. There was no oral activity before writing. This was a hand-written assignment.
Reactions to the Data
- More writing included Actions
- There was more description in the first activity that included a speaking activity.
- There was more dialogue in the second activity
- More than half of the sentences do not include academic vocabulary.
- Even though we talked a lot about Onomonopeia, students used it very little.
- There was an increase in Dialogue in the second assignment. The student who used significantly more dialogue had a lot more sentences overall.
Use technoloty to Increase use of DAFT
- Use the next narrative task to have students use Chromebooks to type so we can focus on revision more and include DAFT as a rubric.
Use technology to Increase Academic Vocabulary
- Find ways to provide examples of academic vocabulary students can use – an example might be providing a word bank on a Google classroom document for writing so it is easily visible.
- Narrative writing about a Social Studies topic may provide more opportunities for strong vocabulary than Narrative writing about Fairy Tales.
- Try using Google Read Write to say sentences with vocabulary before writing.