Data! Data!

Here’s What I Found:

At the onset of this experiment, I suspected that the answer to my “is using technology more engaging” question would be affirmative.  But the data suggests that it is a vibrant, enthusiastic, resounding “wahoooooo!” from my students.  I have shown them myriad tools in the Google suite with which we have accomplished all sorts of feats.  They have puzzled through creating Google drawings without many directions, they have created and taken surveys, they have inserted images, they have conquered the Google classroom.  But most of all, they have written.  Much like I am doing now, they have composed on the keyboard happily tapping away at their desks.  I see them actively working.  I see them able to switch from screen to trade book, searching for quotes, and back to screen.  But the most exciting to see is the data here collected from our Google Form:


Will They Surprise Me?

The next piece of data to collect, though, will be the pièce de résistance (I wonder whether my students might use the read/write tools to look that little french number up! — because THEY CAN!).  The “end of year” assessment piece in which I will ask them to hand write and then type two pieces of writing.  I will be asking students to do this in a week or so, as they are pretty fried from standardized testing.  

Next Year Will be a Breeze!

On that testing note, after this experience of closely observing students working (and working diligently!) using the Chromebooks, I am no longer anxious about what they can accomplish online next year when they are asked to compose on a keyboard rather than with a #2 pencil.

Data – Looking at writing samples of ELL students

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.


The Data:  


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.


Student Dialogue Actions Feelings Thoughts Onomonopeia Description Sentences Vocab
A* 3 5 10 12 3
B 1 7 2 6 17 10
C* 1 6 6 6 4
D 2 1 8 12 3
E* 5 2 5 8 7


Project 2:   Rewriting a Fairy Tale from a new perspective.  There was no oral activity before writing.  This was a hand-written assignment.  


Dialogue Actions Feelings Thoughts Onomonopeia Description Sentences Vocab
A* 18 2 2 2 26 6
B 3 9 1 11 6
C* 3 13 2 2 25 5
D 4 2 2 1 4 18 9
E* 2 6 3 1 1 13 7


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.  

Next Steps

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.