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Let's Pretend An Intervention to Enhance Language Development in Low-Income Kindergartners Ann Cale Kruger Educational Psychology and Special Education

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Title: Let's Pretend An Intervention to Enhance Language Development in Low-Income Kindergartners Ann Cale Kruger Educational Psychology and Special Education


1
Let's PretendAn Intervention to Enhance
Language Development in Low-Income
KindergartnersAnn Cale KrugerEducational
Psychology and Special Education
2
  • The Georgia Wolf Trap Project
  • A collaboration of the Alliance Theatre, Fulton
    County Schools, and Georgia State University
  • Funded for three years (2005-2008) by the U.S.
    Department of Education, Arts Education Model
    Development and Dissemination Program

3
  • Acknowledgements
  • Students, Classroom Teachers, Teaching Artists,
    Administrators
  • Jackie Gray, Carol Jones, Michele Mummert, Denise
    Jennings
  • Audrey Ambrosino, Lynda Kapsch, Heather Smith,
    Nicole Lorenzetti, Carol Ashong, Brook Bays,
    Josephine Lindsley, Callie Reeves, Daniel Medina,
    Kareema Spells, Peter Samuelson, Elizabeth
    McGarragh, Macy Strickland, Lisa Quick
  • Educational Psychology and Special Education

4
Context of the Intervention
  • The achievement gap begins before the childs
    first day of school.
  • Language development in early childhood predicts
    school performance
  • Low-income children begin Kindergarten with less
    than half the vocabulary of high-income students,
    leading to challenges in literacy development
  • In high-stakes, underachieving schools,
    Kindergarten often does not resemble
    child-centered early education

5
Nature of the Intervention
  • Theoretical orientation shared understanding and
    intentions are sociocognitive processes
    underlying cultural learning
  • Social and communicative experiences that support
    the development of symbolic functioning are
    essential in early childhood
  • Pretend play, the developmental foundation of
    drama, is the childs first language.
  • Joint pretense and story sharing can unpack
    language. Drama engages childrens emotions and
    intellect, transcending culture and class.

6
Design and Implementation
  • Random assignment of low-income schools to
    conditions (with waiting controls)
    pre-intervention/post-intervention
  • Kindergarten classrooms - see DVD
  • Professional learning opportunities for teachers
    in the summer and fall artists and teachers
    collaboratively infuse drama into 13 language
    arts lessons in January and February
  • Three years, almost 70 residencies, over 1200
    students, approximately 16,000 contact hours of
    instruction
  • Anticipated multiplicative benefit

7
Sample Characteristics
  • Years 1, 2, 3 combined
  • N 545 (control217, intervention328) 51 males
  • 36 special needs (remedial ed, special ed or
    both)
  • 71 qualified for free (? 130 poverty level) or
    reduced-cost lunch (130-185)
  • 2008 federal poverty level for a family of 4 is
    21,200
  • 94 African American
  • Only significant group difference Control 90
    AA Intervention96

8
Starting Point for the Sample
9
Data Sources
School Year 1 2005-6 Year 2 2006-7 Year 3 2007-8
G control intervention intervention
H X control X
T X X control
B intervention intervention (services)
S intervention intervention intervention
Sb (services) (services) (services)
10
Data Collected (Pre and Post)
Year 1(05-06) Year 2 (06-07) Year 3 (07-08)
Cohort 1 Kindergarten Language Development (PPVT, TOLD) Emotion Understanding GKAP Grades 1st Grade CRCT Scores (ELA, Reading, Math) Grades 2nd Grade CRCT Scores (ELA, Reading, Math) Grades
Cohort 2 X Kindergarten Language Development (PPVT, TOLD) Emotion Understanding GKAP Grades Writing 1st Grade CRCT Scores (ELA, Reading, Math) Grades
Cohort 3 X X Kindergarten Language Development (PPVT, TOLD) Emotion Understanding GKAP Grades Writing
11
Hypotheses
  • Intervention students will show more improvement
    than control students in
  • Language Development
  • Writing (near transfer)
  • Academic Achievement (far transfer)
  • Each child serves as own control using analyses
    of covariance

12
Language Development
  • Over the Kindergarten Year
  • PPVT (receptive vocabulary)
  • TOLD-P3 subtests
  • Oral Vocabulary (semantics)
  • Grammatic Understanding (syntax)
  • Sentence Imitation (syntax)
  • Most challenging to describe when 3 years
    combined

13
Grammatic UnderstandingTOLD Percentiles
14
Writing
  • Story starters
  • On my way to school today I saw a magic bird..
  • On my way to school today I saw a singing
    tree.
  • Administered in small groups by a researcher
    during Years 2 and 3
  • Drawing with dictation or writing (with invented
    spelling) or some combination. A meaningful
    activity for the students.
  • Grounded inquiry led to coding categories.
    Excellent reliability. (condition was obscured.)
  • Quantitative Codes words, word types, sentences,
    characters, voicing, perspectives

15
Vocabulary
Mean Number Per Story
16
Sentences
Mean Number Per Story
17
Qualitative Coding Categories
  • Character Continuity
  • The child mentions or implies the main character.
  • Schema
  • The child writes about a typical routine during
    their day. The magic bird got on the school
    bus.
  • Theme
  • The child writes about a reciprocal relationship,
    a conflict, or a goal. The magical bird followed
    me home. I shared my snack with her.
  • Structure
  • The story starter is the beginning the child
    supplies a middle and an end. For example, It
    was ignoring me. is an action. It was ignoring
    me. It flew away. has an ending.
  • Resolution
  • The child creates an ending that completes the
    story theme. For example, The magic bird flew
    away. might be a story ending. However, The
    magic bird flew away. I felt sad. represents a
    conclusion to the theme.

18
Pretest On my way to school today, I saw a magic
bird
  • I came to play with Spiderman.
  • The brat doll had braces.
  • The magic bird was green. (Character Continuity)
  • The magic bird went to go to the gas station.
    (Schema)
  • I am trying to get my wand back from the magic
    bird. (Theme)
  • The bird was magic. Those are birdies looking for
    food. The magic bird gave them food. (Theme and
    Structure).

19
Posttest On my way to school today, I saw a
singing tree
  • The pig is in the mud.
  • When I came out of my house, I saw a singing
    tree. My dog came out, too, and we all danced.
    (Theme)
  • I dont like singing trees. They always hurt my
    ears. The squirrel doesnt like the tree singing.
    The squirrel threw an acorn in his mouth and was
    shaking his tail at him. Then the tree went in
    the water. He didnt know that there was a shark
    beneath him. The shark ate him up. (Theme and
    Structure and Resolution)
  • I am walking in the woods. The sad tree is
    singing a sad song. I am going to see him crying.
    He is sad because he has no friends. All his
    friends moved. He is sad while it is morning.
    (Theme and Structure and Resolution)

20
Writing Quality
Percentage of Students with Improvement over Time
21
Academic Achievement
  • Kindergarten - GKAP and grades-NS
  • All analyses of follow-up in 1st grade and 2nd
    grade were conducted controlling for Pretest
    Kindergarten PPVT
  • These analyses test for an effect one to two
    years later WITHOUT further intervention

22
Report Card GradesFirst Grade (Cohorts 1 2)
23
Language Arts CRCTFirst Grade (Cohorts 1 2)
24
Report Card GradesSecond Grade (Cohort 1 only)
25
Special Needs Sample
26
Report Card GradesFirst Grade (Cohorts 1 2)
Special Needs Only
27
CRCT Language ArtsFirst Grade (Cohorts 1 2)
Special Needs Only
28
CRCT ReadingFirst Grade (Cohort 1 2) Special
Needs Only
29
CRCT MathematicsFirst Grade (Cohort 1 2)
Special Needs Only
30
Recap
  • Intervention Effect on Language Development
  • Significant improvement in syntax
  • Intervention Effect on Writing
  • Significant improvement in vocabulary and style
  • Intervention Effects on Academic Achievement
  • First Grade Language Arts CRCT and Grades
  • Second Grade Grades
  • Special Needs First Grade Grades and all three
    CRCT measures

31
Contributions
  • Not a revolution, but a reminder
  • Developmental appropriateness
  • Encouraging children to find their voice-
    child-centered education supports symbolic
    development
  • Authentic, meaningful activity in a language-rich
    and emotionally engaging context
  • Usefulness of this approach for development and
    learning

32
Whats Next?
  • Analyses of contributions of development (syntax)
    and learning (writing) to language arts
    achievement over time
  • Analysis of teacher experience in the program on
    changes in student development and learning
  • GWTELL (US DOE 2008-2012)
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