Journal of Teacher Initiated Research
The Journal of Teacher Initiated Research (JTIR) is a peer reviewed, online journal for teachers and teacher educators designed to advance knowledge, theory, and quality of teaching and learning. Contributors include Otterbein graduate students and faculty, as well as invited guests.
The overall objective is to advance knowledge, theory, and quality of teaching and learning. Readers and contributors include classroom teachers, teacher educators, and administrators. Editorial Objectives:
- Present articles of interest on the research, development, and applications of PreK-post secondary education.
- Provide practical strategies and research driven decision-making for the classroom.
- Contribute to the professional development of practicing teachers and college instructors.
- Serve as a forum for exemplary capstone projects for students in the MAE graduate program.
Special Summer 2018 JTIR Issue
Welcome to this special issue of the Journal of Teacher-Initiated Research (JTIR), Summer 2018. This special issue is comprised of one Master’s capstone project that earned the distinction of publication in JTIR, our Otterbein University Education Department e journal. The project was a curriculum development project, titled:
Teaching Academic Vocabulary in Math Classrooms to a Diverse Group of English Language Learners: An Exploration of Best Teaching Practices – By Miriam Sandoval
Miriam Sandoval is a passionate teacher who enjoys helping ELL (English language learners) students to acquire the English language and become familiar with the American culture so they can thrive in school and become successful global citizens. Miriam develops strong connections and relationships with ELL students and parents because she is a second language learner herself. As such, she understands the student experience when learning a new language and the frustration that sometimes this experience brings. She believes that teaching academic language to ELLs is a critical component in their learning, as it will ensure students effectively understand the content being taught.
Miriam was born and raised in Lima, Peru where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. She worked as an elementary teacher in a bilingual school for almost four years before moving to Ohio in 1998. Miriam currently holds Ohio teaching licenses in Multi-age Spanish, Early Childhood Education and a TESOL endorsement. She works at Westerville City Schools as an ESL bilingual paraprofessional and will complete her Master of Arts in Education at Otterbein University in the summer, 2018.
ELL Handbook MSandoval > (PDF)
Autumn 2011, Volume VIII
Our eighth issue finds us welcoming two new editors to our journal. Thank you, Kristin Reninger and Carrie Scheckelhoff! Our authors for this edition tackle a variety of questions: How can the preschool classroom nurture authentic writing? How can video clips improve the teaching of calculus? While those two examples illustrate the age range of students our authors teach, there continues to be that common thread: good teachers constantly seek ways to improve their practice. Read and learn with this year’s featured authors, as they incorporated Readers’ Theater, listened to families’ literacy stories, employed technology in mathematics instruction, and asked critical questions about kindergarten screening procedures. We hope this issue gives you something new to explore!
Dee Knoblauch, Karen Robinson, Kristin Reninger, and Carrie Scheckelhoff, Editors
Parent Stories of Struggling Readers (PDF) – Sandra J. Benton
Dusting Off the Writing Center: Creative Writing in the Preschool Classroom (PDF) – Betsi Byers-Spurlock
How Does Video Clip Technology Affect Student Motivation and Learning? (PDF) – Valerie Sharritts
Kindergarten Screening: What Results Are We Getting? (PDF) – Rebekah N. Springer
Autumn 2010, Volume VII
Welcome to our 7th issue! Our teacher authors for this issue represent a great deal of variety, in their methodologies, areas of teaching, as well as the questions they have pursued. Nevertheless, we continue to honor the asking of classroom questions: those deceptively simple issues with which good teachers struggle: How best to get the point across? How to engage students more? What do they already know? How can I do it better? Please enjoy our authors’ good efforts!
Dee Knoblauch and Karen Robinson, Editors
Going From “I Can” to “I Can and Here’s How!”: Writing About Math in a 3rd and 4th Grade Mathematics Classroom (PDF) – Emily Garner and Jennifer Duncan
How Do Clickers Affect Student Engagement and Test Performance? (PDF) – Andrea Arner
Promoting a Healthy Breakfast Composition Among Kindergarten Students (PDF) – Jennifer Krites
Autumn 2009, Volume VI
How can we assist our English language learners to be more fluent readers?
In central Ohio, this question is being asked frequently by our teachers as our classrooms become increasingly more diverse. This sixth issue of JTIR is our largest ever! In addition to 3 articles addressing the needs of English language learners, this issue also focuses on children with special needs and their parents, the teaching of vocabulary and other literacy practices, and the transition from a student athlete to college coach. The array of topics in this issue reflects our teacher authors’ varied interests and challenges. Enjoy!
Dee Knoblauch and Karen Robinson, Co-Editors
Strange Sensations: Dealing Effectively with Sensory Issues in the Early Childhood Classroom (PDF) – Elizabeth English
English Language Learners and Fluency Strategies (PDF) – Joan Klemek
Can Vocabulary Study for High Schools Students Be Fun? (PDF) – Janet Pickens
Transitioning from Player to Coach: A Self-Study (PDF) – Brett Neiderman
A Fluency & Technology Learning Center for Struggling Readers (PDF) – Karen Small
Digital Storytelling Closes the Gap Between Schools and Immigrant Parents (PDF) – Mirka Visnjic
Making the Standards Fit the Kids, Rather Than the Kids Fit the Standards (PDF) – Kiley Wilkins
Autumn 2008, Volume V
Welcome to our fifth issue!
Second grader Ben’s self-portrait and illustrated goals for the year are just a sample of the innovative efforts that our teacher authors share with you in this 2008 Journal of Teacher Initiated Research. Our mission continues to be to showcase the action research of professional educators. Our authors have critically examined their teaching and made the systematic effort to improve their classroom practice. We hope that you can learn from these educators and as you do, take an idea for yourself!
Dee Knoblauch and Karen Robinson, Co-Editors
Does Oral Storytelling Help First Graders Become Better Writers? (PDF) – Kim Cody and Teresa Wagner
Word Boxes: Helping Students Spell (PDF) – Christine Jajack
Tools for Writing: Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs (PDF) – Jennifer D. McCord
Finding Identity in Text for Sexual Minority Youth: A Critical Analysis of Middle School Health Texts (PDF) – Kara Putinsky-McCoy
Shared Ownership of Assessment: Student Portfolios in a Second Grade Classroom (PDF) – Jacqueline K. Ryan
Autumn 2007, Volume IV
Welcome to our fourth issue!
Start with a simple question. Isn’t there something in your classroom that you would like to change? Think about aspects of your teaching day that may not be going exactly as you wish…How can we frame that challenge into a question that can be addressed in some systematic way?
As advisors for our graduate students’ capstone projects, we often say these words. We work carefully to help our teachers find the questions that will yield a workable action research study. This issue continues to celebrate the inquiry that drives good teachers to explore their practice. In this, our fourth issue of JTIR, we share our most diverse group of articles: from preschool to high school settings, from vocabulary instruction, to parental involvement, to problem-solving in mathematics. Each of our eight authors has tackled a problem that mattered. Two of our authors, Bre Cady and Michelle Mason, stated, “we are always looking for valid, authentic, and meaningful activities to enhance our teaching.” Good teachers everywhere are involved in that same search. We hope that you find food for thought in this issue. Enjoy!
Karen Robinson, Ph.D., and Dee Knoblauch, Ph.D., co-editors
Discovery Bags: Home-School Connections for Preschoolers (PDF) – Bre Cady and Michelle Mason
CGI: A New Way to Teach Fractions to Middle Schoolers (PDF) – Trish English and Scott Von Almen
Got a Context Clue? Vocabulary Development in Middle School (PDF) – Jill Hotchkiss
Using Literature Circles in a Scripted Reading Program: A Self-Study (PDF) – Cheryl L. Kanuckle
Focused Reading for English Language Learners (PDF) – Denise Mundy
Promoting High School Girls’ Interest in Math-Related Careers (PDF) – Deborah Rosensteel
Autumn 2006, Volume III
Welcome to our third issue!
Our four authors all happen, coincidentally, to be middle school teachers. We hope you will appreciate how each of them started their action research with the kind of challenge that all teachers face. In each case, the teacher was not satisfied with some aspect of his or her classroom practice – there was a real problem….something was not working as it should.
Vivian Dodson struggled with a common problem of the middle school language arts teacher – getting her students started with ideas down on paper and peer editing their writings. She shares how she broke the tasks of writing and assessment down into small steps. Focusing on traits of good writing, Ms. Dodson showed students the difference between plain “rice cake” and more descriptive “salsa” words. Another language arts teacher, Tawnya Schroeder wrote, “I struggled with how to get students to develop an appreciation of the world they would come to know.” Ms. Schroeder tackled the factual inaccuracies and stereotypical thinking of her reading students through a multicultural literature approach. We find interesting Ms. Schroeder’s use of concept maps as a tool for documenting her students’ thinking about migrant cultures. A music teacher, Nicole Williams, was unhappy with the results of traditional assessment at the beginning of her music classes. Her results with reflective journal writing as an alternative to tests and quizzes are impressive. Finally, science teacher John McCoy wondered “whether there was anything I could do to have a positive influence on my students’ attitudes toward science and school.” In his article, he shares his efforts to encourage his students to use reading strategies as they read news articles of science.
As seasoned educators, we have come to appreciate that reflecting on one’s practice and systematically attempting an intervention are marks of a good teacher. Furthermore, that kind of dissatisfaction, coupled with decisive action, is needed for sustained change in education. We are pleased to offer you the accounts and stories of the problems these teacher-researchers encountered and the solutions they attempted!
Patti Albaugh, Karen Robinson, Dee Knoblauch
Blending Writing Traits and Brush Strokes for Successful Writers (PDF) – Vivian Dodson
Creating Multicultural Understanding in a Monocultural Setting (PDF) – Tawnya Schroeder
Reflective Journal Writing as an Alternative Assessment (PDF) – Nicole Williams
Improving Middle School Students’ Attitudes Toward Science (PDF) – John McCoy
Autumn 2005, Volume II
Welcome to the second volume of the Journal of Teacher Initiated Research!
Seven classroom teachers share their classroom research and stories. This volume’s articles, incorporating more graphics and even some video, cover a wide range of classrooms and topics.
Collaboration is a recurring theme for four of our teacher-authors. Heather Uncapher trained fifth grade students to help her first grade students with their writing skills. The first graders’ writing skills improved as did their attitudes towards writing. Read this article for Heather’s tips on managing a Buddy Program with another class. Sonja Johnson and Staci McCafferty, urban second grade teachers, collaborated to improve their high achieving students’ work in math. They found that their teaming and resulting techniques helped students learn independently of the teacher and that the students were also able to actively assist each other. Heather VanAlstine found that using literature circles increased her 6th grade students’ participation and personal responsibility for their learning. One can sense Ms. VanAlstine’s enthusiasm for literature circles when she writes, “My students are visibly confident in their reading and discussion skills.” Collectively these four teachers found that collaboration empowers both learning and teaching.
Two other teachers focused their research on reading skills and literature. Gretchen Dougherty, a high school reading teacher, was able to create an SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) program for her 11th and 12th grade English students. Ms. Dougherty found that her approach reduced off-task behavior and increased literary engagement among her students. Michelle Fraley used the software program KidPix to increase meaning-based reading strategies of her 1st grade ELL (English Language Learners). Ms. Fraley’s article contains techniques as well as many wonderful student products.
Finally, Jenger Schmersal tackled a timely topic for today’s teachers: testing. Her study focused on the effects of teaching test taking strategies to 3rd graders. In this article one can both read and watch videos of Ms. Schmersal’s productive and successful study.
We hope you enjoy reading the research results of these talented and committed teachers. We did!
Patti R. Albaugh, Ph.D. and Karen S. Robinson, Ph.D., Editors
Creating a Successful SSR Program in a High School Classroom (PDF) – Gretchen Dougherty
Literature Circles: Effective Practices That Promote Participation (PDF) – Heather VanAlstine
The Rules of Engagement: Teaching Test Taking Skills to Urban Third Graders
Jenger Ann Schmersal
Using Kid Pix to Help ELL Student Respond to Literature (PDF) – Michelle R. Fraley
Why Work Together? Collaborative Conversations Lead to Student Success (PDF) – Sonja Johnson and Staci McCafferty
Writing with Study Buddies (PDF) – Heather Uncapher
Autumn 2004, Volume I
Our first issue of JTIR showcases action research conducted as capstone projects for the MAE Curriculum and Instruction and the MAE Reading degrees at Otterbein University. The featured articles and the portrait of classroom practice demonstrate teachers’ efforts to help their students interact with curriculum in meaningful ways.
All the teachers in this volume of JTIR address the challenges of working with special populations. In an effort to make her curriculum available to all her students, Patty Randall developed a unique “collection box” system that emphasized focus points for her seventh grade writers. She wondered if limiting the feedback and making concrete the students’ writing tasks would be successful. Kelly Wood helps to answer the question that all teachers ask: Does this program do what it purports to do? She wanted to know if the district-adopted math program worked for her learning disabled students. Eileen Tamasavich asked about her high school vocational education students, “What role does intrinsic motivation play in a reading program?” Her results are thought-provoking. Amanda Solether practiced the art of reflective practitioner; she probed into the results of a standards-based, assess-teach-assess model for reading instruction for her fourth grades.
Enjoy learning from these thoughtful teachers, as we did.
Patti R. Albaugh, Ph.D. and Karen S. Robinson, Ph.D., Editors
Digging for Gold (PDF) – Patty Randall
Motivating High School Special Needs Students with Significant Reading Problems (PDF) – Eileen Tamasovich
Testing Out the Ohio Assess-Teach-Assess Model for Fourth Grade Problem Readers (PDF) – Amanda Solether
Contact Dr. Dee Knoblauch at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on submitting a paper.
JTIR Editorial Review Board
Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Daniel Cho, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Roland Sintos Coloma, Ph.D., University of Toronto
Sue Constable, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Marlene Deringer, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Mary Donovan, Columbus City Schools
Michelle Erklenz-Watts, Ph.D., St. John Fisher University
Harriet Fayne, Ph.D., Lehman College
Wendy Gardiner, Ph.D., National Louis University
Brian Harper, Ph.D., Cleveland State University
Susan Hersh, Ph.D., retired educator
Sunhwa Jung, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Kelly Kidder, Ph.D., Lipscomb University
Clare Kilbane, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Dee Knoblauch, Ph.D., Otterbein University (Co-Editor)
David Levine, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Grace McDaniel, Otterbein University
Kristen Reninger, Ph.D., Otterbein University (Co-Editor)
Karen S. Robinson, Ph.D., Otterbein University (Co-Editor)
Diane Ross, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Patty Ryan, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Carrie Scheckelhoff, Ph.D., Otterbein University (Co-Editor)
Wendy Sherman Heckler, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Jeff Smith, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Susan Thompson, Ph.D., Otterbein University
Adele Weiss, Ph.D., Otterbein University