Four MEd Students Present Inquiry Projects

Four more Master of Education students at Antioch University Santa Barbara presented their educational project portfolios on November 15 as part of the “Public Conversations with Critical Friends” series, an updated formulation of the more traditional master’s thesis defense. Four other MEd students previously presented their projects in September.

The four students – Amelia Horner, Lindsay Johnson, Janet Lemons, and Angela Sturgeon – presented their year-long Inquiry Projects on the topics listed below.


Titles and Abstracts of MEd Inquiry Projects:

Amelia Horner: Importance of and Ways to Integrate Art Within Elementary School Multiple Subject Classrooms

“The purpose of this inquiry project is to illustrate the importance of integrating art within elementary school multiple subject classrooms, and ways in which it can be integrated.  By sharing my personal experiences and passion for various art forms I hope to establish a classroom culture where students use art materials as a vehicle to learn various academic subjects such as Social Science, Math, and Language Arts.  My proposed lesson style would utilize project based learning, classroom routines, and provide various forms of learning opportunities designed to address multiple intelligences as described by Howard Gardener. Lastly, this inquiry project focuses on teaching a rounded arts education which flourishes when students are taught Art History, art criticism, and aesthetics alongside the discipline of creation. When students are taught those four pieces of art education together they learn how to appreciate creative efforts, express their response to specific works, and develop their own personal aesthetic.”


Lindsay Johnson: Sustaining School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms in Santa Barbara County Elementary Schools

“This study looks at the importance of gardens as outdoor classrooms on Elementary School campuses.  I chose this project because of my passion for outdoor and environmental education. This topic is very relevant to me because I work for an organization that recently adopted one of the largest school garden programs in the nation. I am learning the logistics of operating thirty two school gardens in nine school districts with thirteen Garden Educators administering garden and nutrition based curriculum to approximately eight thousand elementary aged students. During this work, I have taken the time to look at myself as a leader of a local non-profit organization while examining the partnerships and interactions within the community that have developed myself and the organization to where we are today.”


Janet Lemons: How Am I As A Positive Mentor/Teacher Going to Advocate for Students in Foster Care

“It is important for teachers to understand the obstacles students have who are placed in foster care.  This study has confirmed that there are a high percentage of foster care students that have attended seven or more schools between their elementary and high school years.  This research assists teachers in recognizing how vital it is for students in foster care to have at least one positive role model in their lives. Students in foster care who have a mentor have a higher success rate in school than those that do not have a mentor as a positive role model.  After meeting with community members affiliated with the foster care system and teachers in both the Goleta and Santa Barbara School Districts I have discovered that teachers need to establish consistency in their classroom for children who face challenges of volatile homes. It is imperative that teachers have routines and structure to help make the foster care student feel safe and secure. This helps build confidence in their daily life.  It is essential to keep lines of communication open between the relationships built between the teacher and foster parent as well as all the court mandated Social Workers and Child Appointed Special Advocates. This will help to plan and provide services for foster care students. The findings confirm how important my role is as a teacher to be a positive mentor to foster care students. With the evidence I have found I believe my commitment will lead to a higher success rate of foster care students graduating from high school and going onto college.”


Angela Sturgeon: Mapping the Future: Geo-Literacy in the Elementary Classroom

“This inquiry project supports my belief that geo-literacy is at the core of global understanding and that, as a teacher, I have a responsibility to prepare my students to be citizens of our globally interconnected world. The focus of my inquiry was “how can I help increase students’ geographical knowledge so that they learn to recognize the relationships between people, places, and environments both locally and globally?” I looked at the five themes of geography, the current state and national geography standards, and historical and current research on geography teaching. I collected numerous children’s books that can be used to develop children’s geographical knowledge. I also collaborated with teachers and other experts in order to learn more about the current state of geography teaching in elementary schools. My project proposes that we teach with maps and globes at hand and incorporate the study of geography across all content areas so that our students learn to identify and make connections between themselves and other people and places in the world.”

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