Whitney Huffman

Developing Text Evidence Through Because

In our action research project, we started by identifying our problem. The main problem identified was that our students were struggling with written responses using text evidence to support their claims and explaining the evidence thoroughly. We looked at several different tools that we could implement that could help improve the problem in our students’ written work. We looked at Kagan structures, the “Because” tool, Reading for Meaning, and PEERS. Out of these tools, we selected to test the “Because” tool with the use of Kagan structures, round robin and round table, to help solve our students’ problem in their written responses. We felt like this tool would work best with our study because our main goal was to get students to further develop their ideas by explaining the text evidence thoroughly. Using the “Because” tool we felt like we could take our students’ written responses to the next level by requiring a “because” to further explain and develop ideas. We concluded that if forming the habit of explaining their claims and evidence more thoroughly is what is required, then we’d expect that using the “Because” tool will lead to students’ forming this habit and creating more thoroughly written responses. For our study, we decided on a 6 week experiment that would be measured with a pre and post test, teacher observations, and a student self-reflection. We began our experiment with our pre-test. After giving the pre-test, we noticed that our students needed a refresher on pulling text evidence and implementing it into their writing correctly. So, we tweaked our study to start with a week of review and then introduced the “Because” tool in week two. In week two, we focused on modeling using the “Because” and whole group practice to get the hang of it. Week three had the students using the “Because” tool verbally through Round Robin. For week four and five, our students practiced on the written form of using the “Because” tool with Round Table. Our observation notes concluded that students were understanding that there could be multiple “Because” explanations to support the same evidence. In week four and five, students worked to build upon each other’s ideas by providing a “Because” to the evidence presented by the previous student. Students were understanding how to develop ideas more thoroughly. Week six ended our study with individual practice, post tests, and student self-reflection. We analyzed our data and discovered that all of our students showed growth from utilizing the “Because” tool in their writing. Ideas were being developed more thoroughly. After analyzing the data, we felt like we received the results that we wanted. In fact, the results went above our expectations. Our students’ writing vastly improved with using this “Because” tool to help them develop their ideas. We discovered that the “Because” tool formed a habit for our students in explaining their claims and evidence more thoroughly. Due to these results, we decided that we will continue to utilize the “Because” tool with new students in the upcoming school years to continue helping future students grow and improve their written responses to help them be successful in written work. 

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