Shakespeare in the Modern Classroom

By Madison Simpson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janine Davis

This project is a demonstration of my time in both the College of Education and the English Department here at UMW. As the COE has taught me, the classroom is a constantly changing environment, and, unfortunately classrooms today aren’t necessarily changing with their students. I created 4 units surrounding Shakespeare’s Macbeth in hopes of creating an example of how teachers can use technology to make older texts, like Shakespeare valuable for their students. Each unit covers the same type of material, but modifies how the information is presented by grade level, adapting to the different Virginia SOLs for each grade. The following link is the link to my project, contained on a Google Site in order to provide the easiest navigation tool. You can visit my site here! Link is also listed in the descriptionhttps://sites.google.com/view/modernchakespearecapstone/home

Researching & Creating Children’s Literature for the Frederickburg StoryWalk Project

By Eli Keith, Beth Anderson, Kira Frazee, John Giannini, Kayla Havert, Mariah Lipscomb, Stephanie Martens, Katie Molina, Juliette Sanusi, Kendall Wilkinson

Faculty Mentor: Professor Melissa Wells

At the beginning of the 2021 Spring semester, we decided as students in EDUC311 that we wanted to author and illustrate a book featured at the Fredericksburg StoryWalk on the River Heritage Trail. Though COVID-19 was a barrier to the way this had been done for this course in the past, we took a series of steps to accomplish what we needed to in order to produce our book, “Alex’s Day on the Rappahannock.” In one of the first weeks of the course we met with the Outdoor Recreational Supervisor for Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation, and Events, Callie Brown, to discuss what the book would need to look like in terms of length, content, page dimensions, and time frame for finishing. Once that information was known, we spent several weeks researching children’s literature and the Virginia Standards of Learning (VSOL’s) to decide what the book would be about. Callie had mentioned that river safety was a topic that is always important to teach children, so our aim was also to incorporate that if possible. Once we decided what to teach with the book, we delegated duties so that each of the ten students in our class took care of two of the pages. Everyone spent time planning the writing and illustrations for their pages, and this culminated in in-class illustration work. Eric Carle, a well-known children’s book author, uses a collage style for all of his illustrations that we emulated for our book. We spent three class periods painting, cutting, and pasting together illustrations, which were later scanned in order to preserve the artwork for the StoryWalk. Finally, once all of the pages were completed and ordered, we edited and revised the book as a class to make sure everything was exactly as we wanted it. Steps: brainstorming, research, delegation of duties (writing), painting day, cutting/pasting day, revising and editing, finished product!

The Effect of Cultural Relevance of a Text on the Comprehension of 4th Graders

by Sabine Wills

Faculty Mentor: Professor Courtney Clayton

This study investigates if the cultural relevance of texts as rated by students has an effect on their comprehension scores of those same texts. The literature suggests that there might be a connection between comprehension to culturally relevant texts, especially in students who are underrepresented in children’s literature in general. This study was performed in a virtual classroom and consisted of reading aloud picture books to fourth graders in a low-income school twice a week over five weeks. After each read aloud, three students were assessed on their perception of the cultural relevance of the book and their comprehension of the text. These students were randomly selected for a purposeful sampling while the rest of the class worked on an ungraded independent activity. The comprehension of the text was assessed using written retellings and the cultural relevance was measured with a Likert scale. Each fourth grader’s responses resulted in different correlations between the cultural relevance and comprehension scores for all the stories. This could be due to several reasons, including the exposure that some of those students have to seeing themselves reflected in children’s literature. This is based on the predictability power of certain questions within the culturally relevant survey. Cultural relevance did show a correlation for students who were historically underrepresented in children’s literature. This shows a need for more diversity in children’s literature to be accessible and inclusive to more students.