Date of Award

7-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of the writer's workshop approach in a kindergarten classroom, given the confines of Reading First. The goal was to use this information to more effectively assist kindergarten students in developing their writing skills. This study was designed to highlight the importance of writing instruction at this level and to explore one particular writing approach, writer's workshop. Furthermore, it could prove to be informative to other teachers at my school who are struggling to include writing instruction while also meeting all the requirements of Reading First. Thus, my research questions were as follows:

• What impact can writer's workshop have on kindergarten students?

• How can writer's workshop affect students' writing mechanics?

• What impact can writer's workshop have on students' writing attitudes and behaviors?

In order to explore the impact of writer's workshop in my classroom, I selected three of my students for case studies. I chose students about whom I wished to learn more and students with a range of abilities. I selected a student who struggled in writing, one who excelled, and a student who was more average in her writing skills. In this way, I was able to consider in what ways the writer's workshop approach was or was not effectively meeting each student's individual needs. I used rubrics weekly to collect data. I used the Kindergarten Writing Rubric to analyze writing samples and assess the writing conventions used. This rubric analyzed language use, spelling, legibility, directionality, spacing, punctuation, and capitalization. I selected the Kindergarten Writing Rubric, because it was the rubric used in my district for grading the fall, winter, and spring writing benchmarks. Thus, it corresponded with my district's writing standards. I also observed student behaviors during writer's workshop time and used the Writing Workshop Rubric to determine my students' writing attitudes and behaviors. I adapted this Writing Workshop Rubric from Lucy Calkins, using her categories and adding my own indicators. This rubric analyzed student attitude, confidence, planning, independence, and productivity. I also conducted interviews with the three participants at the beginning and conclusion of the study using questions I developed.

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