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Using literature to help 4th and 5th grade students with disabilities living In poverty develop the problem-solving skills they need to be successful in their world

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The critical-thinking skill of problem solving needs to be part of the curriculum for all students, including those with learning disabilities living in poverty; yet, too often this is not

The critical-thinking skill of problem solving needs to be part of the curriculum for all students, including those with learning disabilities living in poverty; yet, too often this is not the case. Too often students in poverty and students with learning disabilities are provided a curriculum that is watered down, focused on the basics, and aimed at managing their behaviors instead of helping them learn to think critically about their world. Despite their challenges, these students can learn to problem solve. Educators need to help students make connections between the critical-thinking skills learned in school and the problem-solving skills needed for life. One solution might be to use literature with characters facing similar problems, hold grand conversations, and teach them a problem solving method. Together, these three parts have the potential to motivate and lead students to better thinking. This action research study explored whether literature with characters facing similar problems to the study's participants, grand conversations, and the I SOLVE problem solving method would help students with disabilities living in poverty in the Southwestern United States develop the problem-solving skills they need to understand and successfully navigate their world. Data were collected using a mixed methods approach. The Motivation to Read Profile, I SOLVE problem-solving survey, thought bubbles, student journals, transcripts from grand conversations, and researcher's journal were tools used. To understand fully how and to what extent literature and grand conversations helped students gain the critical thinking skill of problem solving, data were mixed in a convergence model. Results show the I SOLVE problem-solving method was an effective way to teach problem-solving steps. Scores on the problem-solving survey rose pre- to post-test. Grand conversations focused on literature with character's facing problems led to an increase in students' motivation to read, and this population of students were able to make aesthetic connections and interpretations to the texts read. From these findings implications for teachers are provided.

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  • 2012

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The effect of cognitively guided instruction on primary students' math achievement, problem-solving abilities and teacher questioning

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The purpose of this study is to impact the teaching and learning of math of 2nd through 4th grade math students at Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School. The Cognitively Guided

The purpose of this study is to impact the teaching and learning of math of 2nd through 4th grade math students at Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School. The Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) model serves as the independent variable for this study. Its intent is to promote math instruction that emphasizes problem-solving to a greater degree and facilitates higher level questioning of teachers during their instructional dialogue with students. A mixed methods approach is being employed to see how the use of the CGI model of instruction impacts the math achievement of 2nd through 4th grade students on quarterly benchmark assessments administered at this school, to see how students problem-solving abilities progress over the duration of the study, and to see how teacher practices in questioning progress. Quantitative methods are used to answer the first of these research questions using archival time series (Amrein & Berliner, 2002) to view trends in achievement before and after the implementation of the CGI model. Qualitative methods are being used to answer questions around students' progression in their problem-solving abilities and teacher questioning to get richer descriptions of how these constructs evolve over the course of the study.

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  • 2012