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Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Graphic Organizers as a Support Tool for English Language Learners School Writing Development

This inquiry study examines the effectiveness of a graphic organizer tool in supporting English language learners (ELLs) in school writing development as they work towards academic literacy development. The context of the study is a forth-grade mainstream ELA classroom in a rural area of Western New York. The study is based on multiple intelligence theory, asset model of learning, and multiliteracies (Gardner, 1983; Gee, 2003: Ladson-Billings, 1994). The guiding research questions include how ELL students use graphic organizers in working towards independence in writing and what kinds of benefits graphic organizers provide for ELLs to write academic texts. The findings suggest that the graphic organizer functions as a semiotic tool for cognitive development and expression of personal interest within the context of school writing. It concludes with a discussion of the importance of providing choices of meaning-making resources as a motivator in learning how to write academic texts.

Presenter: Lauren Hawkins (Graduate Student)
Topic: Education and Human Development
Location: 215 Hartwell
Time: 1:30 pm (Session III)