Students' perceptions and practices of planning and their teacher's decision-making during writing instruction




McElhany, LaShera Denise

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The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to examine the teacher's instructional goals, practices, and decision making during writing instruction, to examine the practices students engage in when they plan, and to understand second grade students' perceptions of planning when writing. The design of this study was informed by collective case study methodology in an exploration of the phenomenon of planning practices and perceptions and the instructional influences on second grade writers within the context of the second grade classroom. Data collected for this study included student writing plans and writing samples, peer and student-teacher conversations about writing, observations, written artifacts, and digital media. NVivo 10 qualitative research software was used to assist with data management and analysis. Analysis revealed two themes related to teacher decision-making: Whatever They Needed and Taking Hold of Thinking Maps. My role as the teacher/researcher and the decisions I made were fundamental as I chose to expand my practices of modeling the process of writing to support whatever my second grade students needed as writers. Three themes were revealed in relation to second grade students' planning practices and perceptions about planning: Models and Modeling, Intersubjectivity, and Multiple Perspectives as Practice. By modeling the planning process, I was able to provide a scaffold for practicing the skills necessary to hone the craft of writing. Peers can be a source of ideas, motivate writing choices, and create meaning for the final product. Findings in this study provide additional support to the literature regarding peer talk and peer conferences. Planning is the part of the process of writing that appears to be most influenced by development. The findings in this study provide strong evidence that developing writers between the ages of 7 and 8 (second grade) have the ability to plan despite developmental concerns. In this study, the participants' responses to questions about the planning process revealed they understood the importance of planning and its purpose. Students used the tools available to them to construct plans and referenced Thinking Maps as part of the planning process.



Elementary education, Reading instruction, Teacher education