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Seed Archive

Candidates in the Master of Science in Education program have always produced thoughtful, diverse and relevant Master’s Thesis papers and projects. In recent years under the excellent tutelage of Dr. Madalienne Peters these projects have only increased in their quality of academic scholarship. All of the articles shared here have been published to the ERIC academic database.
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Spring 2010

Social Cognition with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Peer Relationships by Melissa Geary

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders have deficits in social cognition, and as a result, face many social communication barriers especially with their peers.  The purpose of this study was to determine whether social knowledge could be improved for students with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders. The participants of this ten day study included six fifth grade high functioning students with Autism Spectrum Disorders between the ages of 10 and 11.  The results of the study showed that with an intensive social thinking program social knowledge could be improved for students with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders.   Social Cognition with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Peer Relationships

Postsecondary Education Preparation/Career Exploration by Academic Scholar 2010 Rajinder Gill

American students accustomed to standardization in secondary education have experience with fulfilling the requirements imposed upon them, but often these students require further assistance to facilitate their personal decisions about education after high school.  Postsecondary education and career preparation programs, educators, and educational counselors can provide guidance to encourage student self-awareness and goal setting.  A pilot postsecondary education preparation/ career exploration program was developed to address the needs of educators and students in a rural county.

Preparing California Public Middle School Students For Scientific Inquiry into Environmental Issues by Outstanding Student 2010 Gretchen Thompson

As of 2010, the California State Standards for Science for grades six through eight do not sufficiently address the importance of inquiry-based studies, limiting the scope of possibilities in public education. Studies show that middle school students build a deeper understanding of conceptual science and its application if they have opportunities to apply their knowledge through empirical activities. A student survey in a Marin County, California public middle school revealed that students learn science concepts best, and prefer experiential activities, to other teaching methods.

A Pilot Study Comparing Total Physical Response Storytelling™ With the Grammar-Translation Teaching Strategy  by Rubén Castro

This study evaluated the effectiveness of Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS™) compared to the Grammar-Translation approach for acquiring and retaining new vocabulary in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. The subjects were adult Hispanic learners with limited literacy. Results indicated that both Grammar-Translation and TPRS™ approaches made an important difference in student retention of vocabulary: the improvements in vocabulary acquisition and retention were 49% using Grammar-Translation and 45% using TPRS™.

Practicing Democracy in the NCLB Elementary Classroom by Margaret H. Davis

This study examines the importance of practicing democracy and identifies ways in which it can be done in the NCLB classroom. By surveying a population of public school teachers and through follow-up interviews, this paper endeavors to bring awareness to its importance and to provide ways in which the NCLB classroom teacher can practice democracy.

2010 A Digital Odyssey: Exploring Document Camera Technology and Computer Self-Efficacy in a Digital Era by Robert Joaquin Hoge

Within the sphere of education, navigating throughout a digital world has become a matter of necessity for the developing professional, as with the advent of Document Camera Technology (DCT). This study explores the pedagogical implications of implementing DCT; to explore the relationship between teachers’ comfort with DCT and to the self-efficacy beliefs of teachers.

Social and Emotional Learning Strategies to Support Students in Challenging Schools by Zandra K. Marulanda

Educators often face particular challenges in the classroom, including classroom management, student academic achievement, and job satisfaction. This research examines the effects of implementing a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approach for students as part of the regular education for elementary public schools.  It is evident through the help of a SEL program and the teacher’s collaborative efforts, students and teachers are able to adapt and adopt new attitudes and beliefs which in effect enhances learning and reshapes the school culture.

Road to Equality in South African Education: a Qualitative Study by Kevin O'Brien

South Africa is experiencing a crisis in its educational system, a lack of access for Black South Africans from township communities to quality education, perpetuating vestiges of the old apartheid state. This study examines the LEAP (Langa Educational Assistance Program) school of Science and Maths as a model for educational change. Results indicated that since 2005, LEAP students are achieving passing scores on the annual matriculation examination, and more than 90% of LEAP graduates continue their education.

Using Electronic Books to Increase Elementary Students’ Motivation to Read by Lauren Ashley Short

One of the main challenges that elementary teachers face is developing a reading program that adequately meets the need of all students. This research explores ways in which electronic books can be used to motivate students to read, thereby improving their reading skills. Results indicate that electronic books are motivating to elementary students. 

Identifying Obstacles to Incorporating Ocean Content into California Secondary Classrooms by Jennifer Stock

Ocean Literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on individuals and their influence on the ocean. The ocean is largely excluded from California secondary content standards. This study examines the importance of ocean literacy for high school graduates and the obstacles teachers face when trying to include ocean content in their classrooms.

Spring 2009

Place-based Education and Teaching about Marin County Birds by Sharon Barnett

This paper serves as an introduction and explanation of Place Based Education and identifies and evaluates Place Based Education science curricula with regard to Marin County bird species.  The ultimate goal of this review is to furnish educators with organized and easily obtainable natural history information, curricula and resources about Marin County birds. 

The Use of Melodic and Rhythmic Mnemonics to Improve Memory and Recall in Elementary Students in the Content Areas by Orla Hayes

Mnemonic strategies that use imagery and visual cues to facilitate memory recall are commonly used in the classroom. A familiar tune, song or jingle, used as a mnemonic device is another popular memory aid. Studies of the brain and memory reveal that exposure to music not only alters but increases brain function in students.  The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of musical and rhythmic mnemonics to facilitate the recall of academic content in the K-5 classroom.

Multicultural Students’ Perspectives on Their Mathematics Education by Melissa Millerick

This study examines characteristics of multicultural education and student perspectives on their educational experiences in a San Francisco Bay Area community. Fifteen students of diverse multicultural backgrounds participated in focus group discussing what they feel are successful mathematics teaching practices. A change in classroom pedagogies is necessary to educate increasingly diverse student populations however any pedagogical changes in education must include diverse student voices.

The Relationship Between ADHD and Giftedness by Kimberly Orendorff

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common disorder that is often identified when a child first enters school.  It has been proven that many of the characteristics of ADHD such as lack of attention and impulsivity are also common among children who are both gifted and talented.  This paper aims to review the current research on ADHD and giftedness and identify techniques to help teachers recognize and educate students who are classified as being both ADHD and gifted in the classroom. 

Teacher Empowerment and Collaboration Enhances Student Engagement In Data-Driven Environments by Cristy Pollack

The purpose of this study is to explore the crisis in a data-driven educational environment and identify ways teachers can find their voices, value what they bring to the profession, and offer leadership within their schools. Teachers at public schools were asked about their experiences in adapting state adopted curriculum to enhance the engagement of their elementary school students. Results indicated that schools can succeed in student success by facilitating teacher empowerment through collaboration.

Blended-art at the Kindergarten Level by Jessica Sill

In today’s standards driven classroom environment, art is often overlooked in place of text based curriculum. The idea of this project is to blend two approaches to teaching art and intertwine this approach into the rigorous daily curriculum.  The purpose of this endeavor is to determine the positive and negative effects of blended-art, a combination of open-ended-art and structured-art, at the kindergarten level.

Fall 2008

The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: How to Restore Justice for At-Risk Youth by Rolando Crisostomo

The current juvenile justice system in the United States faces many problems. As a result, researchers and scholars have been inspired to find other alternatives to the traditional juvenile court process. This review of literature focuses primarily on one such alternative – restorative justice.

Improving Compliance with Rehabilitation Treatment Recommendations Among the Latino/a Population of Caregivers and Clients by Maria Martinez

This paper addresses what is currently known about language barriers in health care, ways in which language barriers affect health and health care, the usefulness of linguistic access service interventions. The purpose of this research is to explain how cultural and language barriers impede effective health care outcomes from both the health care provider and patient.

Understanding the Global Warming Discussion by Richard Seymour

Climate change is an area of science that has been studied for many years. We now live in a unique time in that our scientific abilities have not only given us a precise age of the planet, but of the universe itself.  This paper analyzes educational resources for climate change and applies concepts from these resources to research-focused curriculum for secondary school students.

A Global Conceptualization of Giftedness: A Comparison of US and Indian Gifted Education Programs by Benjamin Wright

This study examines the similarities and differences between the US and India in their approaches toward gifted education programs.  By comparing and contrasting both country’s efforts, this study attempts to uncover common global themes in gifted education which will further the equity of gifted education throughout the world.

Spring 2008

Gender Equity in High School World History Curriculum Support for a Balanced Perspective by Kirianne Brackett

We are providing our secondary students with an unbalanced, inaccurate view of world history, This can lead to greater social injustice.  The purpose of this paper is two-fold. 1) examine the reasons for  and issues with providing a gender balanced view of history in order to lead to a more well rounded illustration of history; 2) demonstrate how this can be done in a regular World History Survey Course and an Elective Women’s History Course.

Meeting Diversity With a Multicultural English Elective Course by Christina Dell'Osso

High school English teachers need to respond to the diversity of cultures that our schools possess, and be open-minded in our construction of the curriculum that English classes should encompass.  My research examines student engagement in English classes when multicultural/ethnic texts are included, and whether or not an elective class with such texts would be of interest to students.

Fostering Engagement for Students from Low-Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds using Project Based Mathematics by Allison Heyl

This research poses the question: How can project-based algebra engage low-socioeconomic status high school students?  Will teaching through projects promote engagement for this population of students?  By looking at comparative studies on instruction comparable to project based learning versus traditional instruction, the literature suggests that students are more motivated, engaged, and have increased an understanding of mathematics.

Bereavement, Grief and Juvenile Delinquency: A Participatory Study by Helen Parker

Based on ten years worth of observation of adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system, this study explored the relationship between bereavement, grief and juvenile delinquency.  A dialogic participatory research project was implemented to explore the impact over time of bereavement on the thoughts, emotions and behavior of two young women who are on probation. After a deep exploration of their grief related journeys, the participants were also invited to suggest strategies that might be supportive of other young people experiencing similar loss, and to reflect upon the outcomes of participation in this research process. 

Fall 2007

Using Appreciative Inquiry on a Multicultural Nursing Unit As a Transcultural Method for Discovering Individual Strengths and Common Values about Caring Relationships by Lisa Miller

In this study, Appreciative Inquiry is used as the methodology to discover individual strengths and common, unifying values of caring among a diverse team of nurses caring for patients in a multicultural setting.  An action research study was conducted using a representative sample of thirteen nurses from one nursing unit.  Key words include the following: Appreciative Inquiry, Philippine American nurses, internationally educated nurses, diversity and teamwork, nurse satisfaction linked to patient satisfaction and Culture Care.

Family Language Labels: Effect on Children Living with Non-Parental Caregivers by Megan Ottoboni

Teachers and schools are constantly using the word parent, mother, or father to describe children’s caregivers when in fact many students live permanently or temporarily, with caregivers.  The purpose of this study is to examine the effects that continued exposure to the word parent has on elementary students living with non-parental caregivers. 

Spring 2007

Family Support for At-Risk Second Graders to Improve Reading Fluency by Nhung Luong

Parents and caregivers can play an important role in helping their at-risk children improve their reading skills. The purpose of this study is to show that with teacher-scripted directions to parents or caregivers, read aloud practices at home will help at-risk second graders increase their reading fluency level.

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