• Can I tell you what really happened?: learning to make decisions in response to indigenous student voice in a high school language arts classroom

      Rushman, Alyssa M.; Patterson, Leslie; Siekmann, Sabine; Martelle, Wendy (2019-05)
      This study focuses on engaging high school students in reading and the decisions I make to sustain that engagement. I learned that one way to enhance the engagement in my classroom is to listen to my students' stories and to incorporate culturally relevant texts. All of the students in this study were previously in our school's language intervention program: Read 180. While teaching this intervention-based class, I noticed this class was a behavior management nightmare. The students' challenging behavior led me to question the intervention program's ability to sustain my students' engagement through the prescribed texts. This study aims to describe my observations in a 10th grade Language Arts II class in Chefornak, Alaska. Specifically, this thesis describes my findings and analysis as it relates to how students show engagement and how I make (and revise) decisions in response to my students' voices. I used teacher action research (TAR) to research the events in my classroom. During an 11-week period, I collected audio recordings, student work samples, and teacher action research journal entries. At the end of the research, I also wrote memos about the data. I used constructive grounded theory (CGT) to make sense of the story the data tells and to see what kind of patterns were present. This research is important to me because it helps me to understand the weaknesses and the strengths in my own instructional planning as well as how I interpret students' participation in class. After this research, I am convinced that learning outcomes are preceded by learner engagement, and that learner engagement is complex.
    • Tua'll (and then) I used math to tell a story: Using think alouds to enhance agency and problem solving in an indigenous high school mathematics class

      Boyd, Jennifer Ayaginaar; Patterson, Leslie; Martelle, Wendy; Siekmann, Sabine (2019-12)
      This paper examines action research in a high school math classroom with a focus on student discourse and agency. Students' use of language to explain their problem-solving processes was documented and analyzed. Specifically, the focus was on variations in student language and how the teacher responded to students during the problem-solving process. The following questions guided the analysis of what happened in the classroom: 1) How do my students talk about their math process? 2) How do I mediate their problem solving? One of the teacher researcher's earliest realizations was that she interfered in students' opportunities to problem solve on their own. Additionally, the students' explanations of their "problem-solving process" included more narration than justification or explanation of the process. On reflection, the teacher researcher decided to return to the research process to look further into these interactions while students were problem-solving. The second phase of research focused on student agency and how teachers can mediate for their students. Over a four-week period, the teacher researcher looked at the influences of multiple levels of assistance while each student was talking through his or her problem-solving process. Data sources include field notes, student artifacts, videos of student think aloud videos, and transcriptions of group work from the teacher researcher's classroom. The findings provide detailed insights into how these high school students approach math problems and how they describe and explain their problem-solving processes. The teacher researcher explores implications for teacher actions, insights into how students work together, and observations of students discussing their problem solving. Specifically, the teacher researcher noticed a need for language focus in mathematics instruction. In addition, teachers should problem solve with their students, rather than for their students; and allow students to mediate with each other to develop student agency.