Loyola Intern Presenters




2021 Intern Presenters

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

Presenters are sorted by alpha order based on last name.

Return to the main Maryland PDS Network Conference page


Ezinne Akano | Mathematics

Strategies to improve learning outcomes during virtual teaching of mathematics among middle school students. | Click here to view presentation

This study seeks to make actionable recommendations to improve students’ experience with online learning of mathematics during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) pandemic. In March 2020, schools halted in-person learning because of the disease outbreak. Many teachers worked tirelessly to translate in-person lesson plans to online lesson plans. For several teachers, even the most experienced ones, online teaching is new territory, and supporting resources were scarce. Many educators had to restructure teaching and find new ways to connect with students to create an effective learning environment. Overcoming challenges involved with virtual learning is relevant and the reason for researching this topic. This study examines the challenges and opportunities presented during virtual mathematical education. The study participants, who are eighth-grade students, will be surveyed, and their online classroom will be examined to create more effective learning. The research question is: What strategies do students utilize in a mathematics class to create the best student outcomes with online learning? These will be highlighted and recommended to educational stakeholders to improve student learning. Strategies to recommend for the appropriate authority include promoting collaboration among students, providing socio-emotional support to students, and enhancing students’ technological resources.


Brooke Amodei | Elementary Education

Integrating Fine Arts Using Drawing as a Pre-Writing Skill | Click here to view presentation

Inquiry Question: Does fine arts integration aid students in adding specific details to their opinion writing?

Public elementary school
3rd grade
Seven students involved in study
Seven students were picked because they are on grade level for writing- not high performing and not low. They are on grade level if not slightly below and could use improvement with adding details and elaborating in writing.

Some evidence I collected included an attitude/opinion survey about writing and drawing (given before and after the study to track changes), student writing samples, student drawing samples, and informal verbal student comments. I used a lot of verbal encouragement and reminders constantly to use their drawings to include details. I used a rubric that I made to judge their pre-writes and post-writes (after the study) to track growth and progress.


^Back To Top


Grace Baltimore | Elementary Education

The Positive Impacts on Fourth Grade Students’ Social Emotional Learning (SEL) through a Student-Centered Book Club | Click here to view presentation

This Reflective Inquiry Project is focused on improving fourth grade students’ social and emotional learning (SEL), specifically their communication skills and social awareness, through the use of a student-centered book club. This research is being conducted during the age of COVID-19, which means that students are learning in a virtual environment and cannot physically be in the school building. On account of this difficulty, a student-centered book club will create a sense of community in the classroom, while motivating students to become more self-aware about their participation and overall communication with their peers. Students will use a Participation Protocol during the book club, which will work to improve on calling-out in the middle of a discussion and talking over other students. Over a six-week period, two students who struggle with their SEL skills, particularly calling out and interrupting students in class, will be pulled into a small group and use this protocol to gain better self and social awareness, which will transfer into the everyday classroom. Through the collection of detailed field notes, data charts, and video recordings of the students—their SEL skills will be analyzed to determine their growth in communication and awareness.

Olivia Borzilleri | Elementary Education

How an extensive vocabulary can impact reading skills | Click here to view presentation

1. Topic: Literacy
Inquiry research question: To what extent will vocabulary increase my students’ achievement in fluency & comprehension?
2. I am at an elementary school, which is located in Maryland. It is a suburban area, and has various grade levels ranging from Pre-K to 5th grade. Our classroom has 17 students, ranging in various levels. We have 5 students with IEP plans and many a handful of students see the reading specialist and the special educator. Some students are in-person a few times a week, while others are virtual.
3. For methodology, I will be implementing decodable stories in both phonics and literacy. Here, I will be assessing how an extensive vocabulary can impact a student’s reading comprehension and their fluency. I will be implementing running records and reading comprehension questions to measure my students outcomes. I would like to see how their vocabulary range can affect their reading skills.


Jenna Budney | Social Studies

Differentiated Instruction Influences ELL Student Performance | Click here to view presentation

My research question is: How does implementing differentiated instruction in English Language Learners in the social studies classroom influence student performance? I have conducted my research at Lansdowne Middle School for an 8th grade American History class. Throughout my research, I have chosen 5 ELL students to monitor while using different instructional techniques.


Elizabeth Burke | Elementary Education

Integrating Mathematical Games to Develop a Mastery of Estimation | Click here to view presentation

This research was conducted in a third-grade classroom in a Baltimore County Public School. The study involved five focus students who showed that additional mathematics instruction would be beneficial to aid them in learning to their best ability inside the classroom. The outcomes of this study will be measured through a pre-assessment, anecdotal teacher notes, a practice problem worksheet, and a post-assessment. The practice problem worksheet will be called a “show what you know” which will serve as a check-in for the teacher after the third week of the intervention. Students will receive direct instruction once a week for four weeks. Each session will place for a total of twenty-five minutes and focus on rounding whole numbers to the nearest ten and hundred by using number lines and playing an online interactive game in order for the students to demonstrate an understanding of estimation. The question of this research study is as follows: To what extent will rounding whole numbers increase my students’ achievement in mathematics?


^Back To Top


Sophia Cavacos | Elementary Education

Using “Cookie Math” to Develop Conceptual Understanding of Multiplication for Struggling Third Grade Students | Click here to view presentation

Number sense, the ability to think flexibly about numbers and quantities to solve problems, has become a focus in elementary school math instruction in recent years. Concrete and visual models are crucial to developing number sense in elementary school, and success in multiplication starts with conceptual understanding of those operations. How can developing number sense skills increase students’ achievement in multiplication? This inquiry study was carried out in a third grade classroom at a Title I elementary school, focusing on three students identified by parents and faculty as needing additional support in multiplication. Two students receive services through IEPs, and the other student has a behavior intervention plan. According to preassessment data, two students did not demonstrate an understanding of the concept of multiplication, and the other student demonstrated an adequate understanding of the concept but made many errors in calculations. The group met daily for three weeks for 30-45 minutes to practice multiplication problems involving factors of 2, 3, and 4 using “cookie math,” a visual representation of multiplication involving making equal groups. Work samples and field notes were collected and analyzed throughout the intervention, and a post-assessment was given at the end to track student growth.


Erin Connolly | Elementary Education

Building a Restaurant with Partial Products and Array Models | Click here to view presentation

Multiplying decimals is an essential component of the 5th grade math standards. Students often struggle to use reasoning and a variety of strategies to determine the product of two decimals. To what extent will reasoning and utilizing a variety of strategies to determine the product of two decimals increase my students’ achievement in multiplying decimals? This inquiry project focuses on going through the proper steps required to open a restaurant, while placing an emphasis on those processes that involve multiplying decimals. The group I worked with consisted of four 5th grade students from an elementary school. These students mostly made of female students who are of diverse backgrounds, met with an intern for 20-30 minutes during their lunch sessions for four weeks. The baseline data of these students, based on their Math Unit 2 post-assessment, was below grade level standards. The student intern provided direct instruction to those four students while relating the material to real-life situations involved in opening a restaurant. Through Jamboard, the students practiced multiplying decimals with array models and the area model. The students’ work was collected after every session for evaluation of understanding and guidance as to what direction to proceed in the following session.


Riley Cruey | Science

Motivation and Student Work Completion | Click here to view presentation

Motivation in the virtual environment has been a challenge and I wanted to examine how different instructional approaches lead to student motivation improving and ultimately if more work would be turned in. Many students were handing in incomplete work and/or often late. How can motivational teaching strategies encourage students to complete their work on time? I examined a high school Honors Forensic Science class consisting of twenty students at Overlea High School in Baltimore. The class was mostly female students of diverse backgrounds. Most students indicated in their goal setting that they wanted to improve their grades from the previous semester and an interest in being in the class for career purposes. Students completed goal setting sheets and were monitored through work completion to see their response to different teaching methods and activities. There were checkins with the goals to maintain intrinsic motivation and outside encouragement through planned interventions and varied activities.


^Back To Top


Erin Delaney | Elementary Education

Improving Math Performance through Literacy-based Interventions | Click here to view presentation

My research focuses on identifying literacy interventions that help close the achievement gap between students performing below grade level in mathematics and those on grade-level. To conduct my research, I worked with students who are currently ranked at least two levels below 5th grade math exceptions. My data centers around student surveys, in order to learn about their opinions on math, which will allow me to create more engaging lessons. I also administered a baseline assessment and a post assessment to each student. Additionally, I have collected observational data.
Improving math skills is an important area to study because not only is a certain standard of mathematical mastery expected as laid out in the SLOs, including being fluent in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, applying the appropriate operation to a real-world application, and having a strong understanding of place value, fractions/decimals, and exponents, but math is a part of everyday life. Math teaches more than problem solving. It teaches how to think critically, how to reason, and even how to clearly communicate. It is an important skill and students should have a strong understanding of the matter.


Taylor DiMarco | Elementary Education

Supporting ELL Literacy Development Virtually | Click here to view presentation

This reflective inquiry project is focused on developing the best strategies and methods for supporting English Language Learners to improve their literacy skills. Since this research is being conducted during the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus, students are being taught in a virtual setting. This has created an added difficulty and highlighted an even greater need for added support for ELL students. This study was conducted with two male third grade ELL students who attend a public school in the Baltimore County Public School system. While these students receive supports in small groups with an ESOL teacher, they also benefit from additional support within the general education curriculum. The methodology and practices implemented within this study worked to develop literacy for ELL students in this class. These students benefited from additional supports in order to teach the students different skills they could use to eventually become independent in their literacy development. Methods used included, small group work, extra instruction, differentiated readings, vocabulary development, and sentence starters. Outcomes will be measured by comparing and observing student work examples from different points in the year to determine the development of their literacy skills.


Erin Dunn | Elementary

Improving Student Narrative Writing using the Gradual Release Model | Click here to view presentation

This research was conducted in a 5th grade classroom in Baltimore City. The study started with 7 students, but enough data was collected for 3 students due to extenuating circumstances. The outcomes of this will be measured using anecdotal notes, two pre- assessments, a post assessment and formative assessments for each topic focused on narrative writing. Students received instruction during intervention groups once a week for thirty minutes on how to write using character development, writing a setting using sensory data, writing dialogue in a narrative piece, and including conventions in writing such as periods and capital letters. The question of this research is, to what extent will using the gradual release of responsibility increase student achievement in the elements involved in writing narrative texts? This research assesses using the I do, we do, you do format to improve students’ abilities in style, development, structure in narrative writing


^Back To Top



Holly Fitch | Science

Disciplinary Literacy and Scientific Argumentation | Click here to view presentation

My inquiry question is, “How does the implementation of disciplinary literacy strategies influence students’ ability to construct and support a scientific argument?”
My focus on this topic stemmed from observations and reflective conversations with my mentor about the prevalence of ELA-based argumentation styles in the science classroom.
Argumentation in science is a key disciplinary writing component that is distinct from argumentation in other disciplines. I implemented disciplinary literacy strategies to support student development of scientific argumentation skills.
The participants are 3 students from an 8th Grade Standard Science classroom within a Title I public school. Students were introduced to scientific argumentation in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. They have not had exposure to scientific argumentation since that lesson.
In Week 1 students constructed a scientific argument and completed a confidence rating survey. In Week 2, students were given explicit instruction in searching for information, and practiced using a media literacy form. In Weeks 3 & 4, students were given instruction in searching for information, and practiced using text. In Week 5, they used a CER organizer to construct a scientific argument, and rated their confidence. Data was analyzed from comparative scores and ratings.


Sarah Flaherty | Mathematics

Math Drilling and Math Anxiety | Click here to view presentation


Ashley Florio | Elementary Education

Relationship Between Types of Brain Breaks, Student Enjoyment, and On-Task Behavior | Click here to view presentation

This research proposal explores the impacts different types of brain breaks can have on five students’ on-task behavior in a 2nd grade classroom. The types of brain breaks have been broken down into three categories: physical, breathing, and mental. Each type will be implemented once a week for three weeks in the schedule’s built in break time that follows the students’ math block and before the literacy block. Directly after the activity, the teacher will be analyzing student on-task behavior and recording observations using a method created by Jarrett et. al. In addition, students will be filling out interest surveys which will be used to explore a relationship between enjoyment, the type of break, and on-task behavior.


Allie Freer | Elementary Education

Math Facts Automaticity | Click here to view presentation

The inquiry topic is on second grade math SLOs. Students will be improving their math fact skills through automaticity. The school is Elmwood Elementary in Overlea, MD. The school is in a suburban neighborhood. The grade level is second grade and there are five students involved These five students struggle with basic math facts. Students will start the reflective inquiry with a pre assessment assessing the automaticity on basic math facts. Students will have five minutes to solve the problems. Then we will work on basic math facts with numbers +0,+1,+2, doubles, etc. After the month instruction students will take the same assessment again to see their improvement. Videos will be used to enhance their knowledge.


^Back To Top


Emily Giannakoulias | Music

How Does Student Choice Effect their Motivation and Engagement? | Click here to view presentation

During my internship I noticed that my students were not as engaged as they normally were and lacked the motivation to complete their work. As a result, I wanted to find a way to combat this so, my research topic is “How does student choice effect their motivation and engagement in the classroom”. I will be collecting data on two high school choir classes and one high school guitar class. All three of these classes include students from each grade level (9th,10th,11th, and 12th). I will be providing students with the opportunity to make their own choices when completing an assignment and then collecting data based on how they felt about making those choices. The data will be collected through observations, interviews, and surveys. All three of these classes were taught on an online platform and this has been taken into consideration when analyzing the data. Within the student surveys and interviews, students were asked questions based on how they felt about online learning and how it has affected them.


Patricia Gildea | Elementary Education

Short Vowel Intervention Implementation to Best Support Students Long-term Literacy Needs | Click here to view presentation

When analyzing my third-grade students decoding surveys at the beginning of the school year, it was clear that a group of my students were having a great amount of trouble decoding words with short vowel sounds. This data led me to focus on the following question throughout the entirety of this semester: to what extent will providing intervention for short vowels increase my students’ achievement in decoding words when reading and improve their writing abilities. The basis of my project focused on two individual students in my third-grade classroom. These students were chosen for the intervention based on both their similar goals within their phonics instruction and their results on their decoding surveys. The methodology implemented within this project was that students were given both a pre-assessment prior to implementing intervention and a post assessment after completing six weeks of intervention. The interventions ranged from one to two times a week. Throughout the intervention, students completed a series of formal and informal assessments with the main focus on short vowel sounds. The intervention sessions and activities were created based on evaluation of student formal assessments and observations in order to create instruction that would be most beneficial.


^Back To Top


Hallie Herz | English | 2021 Outstanding Inquiry Study Award Winner

From Progressive to Culturally Relevant in an English Language Arts Classroom | Click here to view presentation


Anna Hess | Elementary Education

The Introduction of Rhyming Poetry to Improve Reading Fluency | Click here to view presentation

Developing reading fluency is a crucial skill that is utilized in learning across all subjects. Lack of strong reading fluency skills can lead to students falling behind their peers and struggling in various subjects. With virtual instruction, many students have lost a significant portion of the reading fluency practice time they would have received in person. This inquiry project explores the question, to what extent will rhyming poetry increase my students’ achievement in fluency passage reading? Rhyming poetry combines phonics and word instruction as an approach to improve reading fluency. In this study, four second grade students, three females and one male from diverse racial backgrounds, were selected based on their low DIBELs reading fluency assessment scores (each student scored lower than the benchmark goal of 78% accuracy). These students received interventions twice a week in 30 minute sessions for a seven week period. During interventions, students were exposed to 1-3 different rhyming poems that would be modeled, choral and individually read, in addition to the review of relevant vocabulary. Observational notes were taken during interventions and pre- and post-assessments were implemented to measure the students’ performance and improvement in reading fluency.


^Back To Top

 I | J


Samantha Kennedy | English

Poetry & Confidence | Click here to view presentation
^Back To Top



Alessandra Manago | Social Studies

Discussions and Thematic Units | Click here to view presentation

The ability to hold an effective and constructive discussion in the classroom is an essential task for students and teachers to participate in. Discussion allows students to form arguments, practice analytical skills, and communicate with their peers. Teachers creating a positive classroom environment and planning discussions allow students to perform/ practice these skills. And so, my research question is how do Social Studies teachers’ implementation of discussion-based thematic units influence students’ engagement in Social Studies? Through this, I will be implementing different forms of discussion in a thematic unit: the Reconstruction Era. It is an Honors U.S. History class that is a mix of general education and students with IEP/504s; a total of 24 students who are in the 11th grade. Because of the pandemic, this research will be implemented on the online platform. The methodology of this research includes two surveys (one at the beginning of the unit and one at the end), impromptu discussions, a Socratic Seminar, a reflection paragraph, and self-assessments of their participation in the seminar. This methodology has a variety of quantitative and qualitative data.


Caoimhe Mannion | Elementary Education

Increasing Student Engagement in the Virtual Setting | Click here to view presentation

The virtual learning environment has changed every aspect of how our classroom communities function. Technical issues, distractions at home, lack of access to materials or a conducive learning environment all present obstacles to academic success and teachers and students have had to adjust. My pod was struggling with engagement and participation during whole and small group instruction so my mentor teacher and I wanted to research how tracking participation points and providing fun, community building incentives for work and engagement would improve academic success and student engagement. Over a 7 week period, my co pod leader and I implemented a point tracking system and implemented various other strategies including office hours, parent communication and lunch bunches. We saw an increase in pod attendance, engagement and academic success.


Colleen McCormack | Elementary Education

Improving Letter-Sound Relationships for Nonsense Word Identification in Second Grade Readers | Click here to view presentation

In this study, I aimed to use my students’ needs to identify the following question: To what extent will explicit, weekly, small group instruction on the study of phonemic awareness and phonics increase below level readers’ achievement in blending nonsense words based on the recognition of the alphabetic principle?
I am placed at a Title I school in a second-grade classroom, teaching virtually since September 2020. For this project, I worked with a small group of six students; four of them are ESL students. Each of the students in this group were assessed to be below grade-level in reading, including in their decoding and blending skills of nonsense words based on the DIBELS 8th edition subtest for Nonsense Words.
Students were pulled in a small group one to three times a week to practice blending nonsense words. The goal was that students would become comfortable blending these words through being explicitly instructed to use the letters in each word to determine what sounds they would make while blending. Data sources included pre-and-post assessment of the DIBELS 8th edition Nonsense Word subtest, from October 2020 and February 2021, and weekly informal assessment of individual response and identification of sounds and words.


Molly Murphy | Elementary Education

Can learning long vowel spelling patterns, help students to read more on their own without help from a teacher? | Click here to view presentation

I will be conducting this inquiry project at Pine Grove Elementary in Baltimore, MD in the district of Baltimore County Public Schools. This study will be done with three 2nd grade students. My topic discusses the importance of understanding long vowel sounds and spelling patterns. The purpose of conducting this study is to improve their reading skills and be able to identify different spelling patterns with their corresponding sound when stopping at words they do not know; this will help them not need as much aid from teachers. I will be including both hands-on as well as online practices to do my research. I will teach them 1-2 new long vowel spelling patterns each day using Google Slides and engaging videos. I will create activities where students will have to use cards with either letters or long vowel spelling patterns to make words. Students will take a pre-assessment to see their prior knowledge as well as a post assessment to see how much they’ve improved. I will also assess regularly both in online assessments as well as paper/hands-on.



^Back To Top


Caitlin O’Connor | Elementary Education

Using Area Models to Improve Multiplication with Multi-Digit Numbers | Click here to view presentation

Multiplication, an essential math skill, can be simplified for students by using an area model. With this method, students are able to visualize the multiplication problem and model it using place value. This model helps both students and teachers to pinpoint where mistakes are made and help them to come up with strategies to improve their multiplication with multi-digit numbers. By setting up the numbers in expanded form, students can multiply with basic facts and annex the zeros. The research I am conducting examines which strategies can help students improve their multiplication of multi-digit numbers. The group of students that were chosen for my research has struggled with multiplication throughout the year. I am measuring how their use of this model may improve their ability to multiply with larger numbers. I have incorporated a variety of platforms and tools to help them practice this skill. Throughout the timeline of my research, we have reviewed different types of area models and assessments were given to measure if the interventions were successful.

^Back To Top


Arden Prendergast | Mathematics

Math drills and their effect of in class participation and math anxiety | Click here to view presentation

I incorporated review math topics into the warm up activities for 3 weeks and analyzed class participation during that time. I also gave a pre and post “test” to see if the students math basic skills improved and if any of this had an effect on math anxiety.


Sharon Prince | Social Studies

Evaluating self-assessment rubrics as an intervention for improving student performance on writing tasks in a seventh-grade World History class. | Click here to view presentation

Much of social studies education inherently involves literary practices. Disciplinary literacy in social studies is when students engage in the same practices of social scientists who engage in argumentation and source analyses, which are literacy-focused practices. As a result, we hope to engage our students in critiquing claims and arguments made by people, analyzing social problems, and evaluating sources in the context of World History.
In the online environment, we have noted that students have a difficult time developing a claim statement, providing ample evidence for their claims, as well as putting class readings and notes into their own words. Thus, we began providing students with outlines and sentence starters that they can use in their writing. This allowed some students to develop more coherent ideas, but other students still continue to plagiarize information found online or turn in work without having attempted the writing portion. We have noticed that although we provide rubrics for the students, they still continue to turn in work that does not follow teacher-generated guidelines. Researchers Andrade & Valtcheva (2009) assert that students perform better on writing tasks when they assess themselves using a rubric and then are given the opportunity to edit their writing.

I will be using a teacher-generated rubric that will reflect the learning process; the rubric will embody cognitive science principles and thus allow room for student improvement and learning through the process. Students will be provided the rubric, then will be asked to evaluate an exemplar as a whole class. Then, they will have time to write on a social studies topic and complete the self-evaluation rubric and a short reflection. Finally, they will be given the chance to edit their draft and submit the assignment. Finally, they will be given teacher feedback on their writing assessment. Therefore, the four sources of data that will be collected are as follows: students’ self-assessment rubric and short reflection, teacher evaluation, student artifacts from the draft of the writing task, and student artifacts from the final product.


^Back To Top



Julianne Raniolo | Elementary Education

The Impact of Higher Level Questioning on Identifying the Theme | Click here to view presentation

To what extent will higher level questioning increase my students’ achievement in identifying the theme?”

The context of this study is based on a fourth grade ELA class in a suburban town outside of a city. This study stays consistent with the same five students over a four week period of time. The five students chosen for this study all possess different individual literacy strengths and weaknesses, as their reading levels range from Fountas and Pinnell L-X. These specific students also all have differing needs, including one of the students having an IEP.

The methodologies implemented over this five week period of time include asking questions that require the students to answer using a higher level thinking process. These questions include reflection of the text as well as making connections to the students’ own lives. Students will analyze the characters’ thoughts, words, actions and feelings in both poem and narrative form. Students, through making connections to the text and their own lives, are assessed on their capability to determine the message/ life lesson the author is trying to communicate. Outcomes will be measured through pre and post assessments, as well as collecting ongoing data through weekly small groups.


^Back To Top


Helena Sanders | Elementary Education

Improving Phonics Skills By Improving Nonsense Word Fluency | Click here to view presentation

The focus of this Reflective Inquiry Project is to address the extent to which improving nonsense word fluency will increase student achievement in phonics and the alphabetic principle. This study took place in a first grade classroom in a public school with three students, one of those students being an ESOL student. The intervention lessons were implemented in small groups in a virtual platform, as schools were virtual at this time due to COVID-19.
After reviewing the students scores on their DIBELs assessment in the area of NWF, the three students met in a small group each week for 5 weeks to practice and improve their NWF. In each lesson, the students learned the importance of practicing nonsense words, reviewed the short vowel sounds, and practiced reading nonsense words in a variety of activities. At the conclusion of the small group lessons, each student was tested using another DIBELs assessment in order to see how their NWF improved over this period of time. The students also were assessed using a reading passage in order to see how much their overall phonics skills/alphabetic principle improved over this period of time.


Kathleen Shepherd | Elementary Education

Dual-Language Vocabulary Interventions in the Second Grade Math Classroom: Implications for solving Application Word Problems | Click here to view presentation

Scholarly evidence shows math vocabulary misunderstandings to be a pervasive issue which could impact lifelong mathematical learning. Therefore, this study was implemented in efforts to find equitable pathways to support the math learning of English Language Learners, in examining the effect of Spanish language vocabulary interventions on the success rate of solving application word problems. The study was implemented virtually in grade 2 at a K-8 community school, during weekly, small group math interventions. Students in groups 1-3 were English Language Learners, and students in group 4 spoke English as their first language. Students completed a pre-assessment in which they solved a word problem without any dual-language vocabulary supports. Over the course of 5 weeks, students engaged in small group math instruction which focused specifically on identifying and analyzing the key words within word problems, in order to make linguistic connections and clarifications surrounding these critical keywords across the Spanish and English languages. Weekly collected data, as well as a post-assessment given the end of the study, allowed for a deep analysis which examined the rate at which the dual-language vocabulary interventions impacted the students’ word problem solving abilities.


Ernest Stewart | Mathematics

Math Intervention in a Small Group | Click here to view presentation

How does scaffolding affect small group instruction and performance? I am conducting my research at a mid-Atlantic high school and middle school in the United States of America. The research will be operating under distance learning due to the COVID-19 virus. There are 24 students in virtual learning. The family of six students agreed to participate with this study. The content area is 6th grade algebra. The gender breakdown of the school is 62% female and 38% male. The school is designated as a Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) school. The small groups will be offered scaffolding in the classroom as well as in small breakout rooms. Scaffolding will include flip videos, vocabulary sheets, and teachers note. The flip video will focus on low educational density areas. Vocabulary sheets will focus on disciplinary literacy in mathematics. Teachers notes will be published to Google Classroom by request or need. Data will be collected from the formative assessments to view student progress and to decide what scaffolding is needed. This qualitative research data will be correlated from student work and observational notes.


Kathleen Stringer | Elementary Education

Sight Word Solutions | Click here to view presentation

In the first grade, a fundamental skill that students must memorize and be able to use in contexts while reading are sight words. Unlike other words, students are unable to sound these words out or decode using their phonemic awareness and phonics skills. Students need constant practice reading these words in an instant manner and being instructed in how to pronounce the word fully. Students should not and will not be given the opportunity to sound them out. These types of words need to be read fully and without decoding. Over the course of a 5-week period, students will be receiving 10-minute instruction every day on sight word practice and opportunities to practice decoding nonsense words. Students will be receiving sight words in their homework that should be printed and practiced at home. There are also homework slides due weekly, where students are expected to practice reading the sight words. The class is a first grade class consisting of students of diverse backgrounds, including ESOL students.


Rory Szymanowski | English

Use of Socratic Seminars to Boost Student Engagement in the Virtual Environment | Click here to view presentation

In virtual classroom environments, student engagement, both with their texts and their peers, have plummeted. Naturally the question of what can be done to improve these levels of engagement was asked. Specifically, what effect does the integration of Socratic Seminars in literary units have on the students’ levels of engagement with both their texts and their peers? The inquiry was conducted at a magnate school with approximately 25 sophomore students. This project was conducted during a unit on Macbeth, the students had one act a week to read and they prepared questions for a seminar each week. The seminar was entirely student led with minimum involvement from the teachers. The students engaged in a dialogue with their peers for the duration of the period. Pre and post surveys were conducted which provided one of the means used to measure the outcome of the inquiry. Another tool used to measure the outcome were notes taken during the seminar as to which students contributed and how much they contributed. Finally, the grades on their final essays for Macbeth, while not able to be compared to previous semesters, were used to measure the outcome of this inquiry.


^Back To Top


Julia Teare | Elementary Education

Incorporating Movement in Reading | Click here to view presentation


^Back To Top

U | V


Shannon Ward | English

Increasing Reading Motivation in the Virtual Classroom | Click here to view presentation

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of reading motivation was a significant hurdle students struggled to overcome. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that difficulty was increased exponentially, and was perhaps intensified even more for students in urban settings with minimal resources. The central research question became: How might motivation to read be encouraged via social learning in the virtual classroom? My study takes place in an urban high school English classroom, where a group of 24 students’ reading motivation was measured through their excitement and participation levels. Over four “book club” meetings, each beginning at the start of the week, students participated in an informal dialogue about what they were reading about, many times discussing topics that were only thematically related to the unit novel. Students’ grade averages and dispositions toward reading were then studied before and after implementation of these social reading measures.


Jack Weeks | Social Studies

Student Perceptions of Online Instruction During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Click here to view presentation

While there have been many studies of the impact of online instruction on students, the overwhelming majority of those studies have involved students who had voluntarily opted to learn online and who were instructed by teachers who had prepared to teach online. The subject of this study is a student body which has been required to take online classes since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These students are a group of 71 mostly high school seniors who attend an inner city school and are taking social studies classes for the duration. The study involves a questionnaire made available to all students followed by a short synopsis of daily online activity and a one-on-one interview with three students in order to determine what the impressions of online learning are among these students whose reasons for learning online are significantly different from subjects in past studies.


Emma Wiseland | Elementary Education

Writing Conventions to Achieve Writing Goals | Click here to view presentation

This research project addresses the question, to what extent will targeted instruction of writing conventions increase my students’ achievement in writing. For this study, it will be conducted in a public elementary school in a fifth-grade classroom with a total of twenty students. The data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted for those who fully participated in the assignments given. Therefore, between seventeen and eighteen students’ work will be examined weekly. To implement the intervention, it takes the form of a continuous pattern over the course of four weeks. Intervention begins with a pre-assessment to measure students’ prior knowledge and then on the following day or two there will be instruction that is molded and guided by the data collected from the pre-assessment. The writing convention instruction will be ten-to-fifteen-minute mini lessons to address the needs of the individuals. At the end of the week, the students’ will complete a post-assessment to track their improvement and weigh what challenges may still be present. The outcome of the intervention will be measured weekly and be deemed effective based on student growth of applying writing conventions in their summative assessment in comparison to the diagnostic assessment.


Sydney Wilcenski | Elementary Education

To what extent will weekly implementations of writing conventions mini-lessons increase my students’ achievement in properly writing conventions in Standard English? | Click here to view presentation

In my elementary internship classroom, the fourth grade students are struggling with using proper writing conventions. Using correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing continues to be problematic within all writing prompts. As a consistent theme, the data shows that students are having difficulty understanding how to write in complete sentences, identifying subjects and predicates, and using capitalization in the necessary spots. The cause of these challenges could have stemmed from the lack of in-school instruction within the past eight months and the information that was not covered during the beginning months of COVID-19 towards the end of the 2019 school year. The need for more writing instruction is in high demand within each classroom at my internship school, which is why the school has decided to focus on writing instruction throughout the school year of 2020-2021. Using an intervention called “F SPEED,” which focuses on conventions such as framed sentences, subjects, predicates, evaluation, expanding, and describing will help the students feel more comfortable with writing conventions. Weekly mini-lessons of different writing conventions, specifically those listed in the detailed intervention F SPEED, should be implemented to ensure students’ understanding.


^Back To Top


Abigail Yamartino | Elementary Education

Read Alouds as a tool for explicit vocabulary instruction with ELLs | Click here to view presentation

ELL’s limited english vocabulary is a large obstacle in their ability to comprehend passages. This has the larger impact on their future classroom learning and testing. In order to address this, the driving question to this inquiry project is “To what extent will ELL modified vocabulary instruction increase my students’ achievement in reading comprehension of literature and informational texts?” (InTASC 9l, 9n, 10p). This study was completed in a small group setting with 6 students identified as needing ESL services. All of the students tested two grade levels below grade 6 in order to qualify for this small group. The students were in 6th grade in an urban elementary/middle school in Baltimore, MD. The methodology I utilized to complete this intervention was through weekly assessments as well as field notes. The weekly assessments consist of a pre-test and a post test in comprehension as well as vocabulary assessments. Through weekly assessments they were able to express their learning about vocabulary words as well as their overall comprehension.

^Back To Top


Click UMBC’s logo to see their intern presenters


Return to the home page

last updated 2021 04_26 nrm