Action Research for Education

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Rationale

The strategy that was implemented with the kindergarteners at Ridgedale Elementary was to provide adequate practice opportunities in order to supplement the spiral mathematics’ curriculum. The study focused on providing regular review sessions and practice time for a unit based on money, which is a concept that had already been introduced to the students through the regular math curriculum.

This strategy was chosen because the school wide math scores are lower than the other core subjects. The spiral curriculum at the school is thought to fail to provide students with the basic skills needed to understand core concepts such as number sense. By providing the students with more opportunities for practice by supplementing the curriculum, it allowed the students to memorize and generalize these concepts. The study was based over two weeks of daily reviews or short practice sessions with the theme of money. The topic was chosen because money is an abstract concept that is often hard for students to grasp in short periods of time. It is also stated in the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives (CSO’s) that the students must learn about coins. By the end of the study, most of the students were hoped to reach mastery level. The bulk of the quantitative data was taken from the pre and post assessment. The pre assessment was given before any extra practice opportunities had been provided. The post assessment was after the weeks of implementation and was the same as the pre assessment. The students sat one-on-one with the teacher and were asked a series of questions about coins and money. They were allowed to use actual coins to determine the answers. Data was also gathered through journal entries and samples of student work. The pre-instruction information was gathered immediately within the first two days of the placement. Formative assessments were gathered throughout in the form of student work and reflections, and the summative information was the most decisive part of the study. The research question for the study was as follows: How will adequate practice opportunities affect the outcome of student learning throughout a spiral curriculum? The data collected was used in order to plan for lessons and review sessions with in this classroom and other classes who are using the same program. The information is being shared with the teachers and staff at the school in order for them to better serve the students. It is also being shared with peers and Fairmont State so that pre service teachers have a better understanding of how to work through the downfalls of a spiral math curriculum by supplementing it with more activity. Learning Teaching Contexts

Community Factors
Morgantown is located in Monongalia County which is in the north central portion of West Virginia. It is approximately one hour south of Pittsburgh, PA. The total population of Morgantown is 26, 809. The median household income is $20, 649 which is significantly lower than the nation median of $41, 994, and leaves 38.4% of residents below poverty level. Eighty-nine percent of the citizens are Caucasian, 4% are African American, 0.2% are American Indian, 4% are Asian, and 2% are another race (Census, 2000). School Factors

Ridgedale Elementary School is located at 1550 Goshen Road, Morgantown, WV, 26508. It accommodates 320 students and thirty-two professional staff, along with twelve service staff. This means that the student to teacher ratio is 10:1 which is below the district and state average. One hundred percent of the classes are taught by highly qualified teachers, and these teachers range from regular classroom teachers to fine arts and resource teachers. The grades range from pre kindergarten to grade five (Garvin, 2008). Forty-eight percent of the students at the school are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Ninety-five percent of the students are Caucasian, 3% is African American, and 2% are classified as another nationality...
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