Date of Award

Winter 2005

Project Type


Program or Major

Literacy and Schooling

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Thomas Newkirk


This project is the result of a question I raised about using documentation panels in my classroom; it is teacher research. Teacher researchers participate in their own inquiries, participating as both teacher and researcher in the study. Teacher research provides practitioners a method for investigating a question or wondering that arises from the classroom. This project aims to explicate the science learning demonstrated by 5, 6, 7, and 8 year old students through the use of student created documentation panels while at the same time providing me with an insightful and critical look at my pedagogy. Within the context of my primary multi age classroom setting I investigate my use of nonfiction texts to teach emergent and early literacy skills, discuss why I encourage classroom discourse among my students, posit the need to establish criteria for completing best quality work, and argue for the inclusion of science in an integrated curriculum.

I analyze the visual and conversational texts of the documentation panels for evidence of science knowledge as noted in the National Science Standards for students in Kindergarten through grade two. I create categories connecting the visual text to the Science Standards including, picture glossaries; life cycles; simples, scale, and analytic diagrams; various types of maps including bird's eye view and elevations. The categories created to connect the conversational text to the Science Standards include use of content vocabulary, approximations of vocabulary, discussion of scientific concepts and processes, an analysis of student generated kinesis, and examination of the narrative stories some students tell as they talk about science. Linking the documentation panels to the National Science Standards provides evidence of science knowledge in young students in this class.