Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense

7-12-2018

Graduate Advisor

Patrica B. Kopetz, Ed.D.

Committee

Wolfgang Althof, Ph.D.

Nicholas Husbye, Ph.D.

Na Young Kong, Ph.D.

Abstract

Over the last several decades research has been conducted surrounding popular culture and children’s writing/composing. Much of this research focused on children in early elementary school classrooms. I discovered, when preparing for this project, that there was very little published research (written in English) surrounding preschool-aged children’s compositions (with or without the emphasis on popular culture), and what happens in the writing center. This study helps fill the gap in the research by documenting how preschool children in a mixed-age (ages three to five years) classroom, who attend a public school in an urban, Midwestern area, write/compose when given the chance to use materials that feature their favorite popular culture icons. It also provides increased understandings of the tensions and joys surrounding children’s writing and composing surrounding popular culture in the preschool classroom for both the teacher and the children. This basic qualitative study uses the tenets of action research and thematic analysis to analyze the data collected in the writing center (via observations and work samples) over the span of twelve thirty-minute sessions and the teacher-researcher’s reflexive journal. Five teacher interviews were conducted to help the teacher-researcher understand the teachers’ perceptions of their preschool writing centers. Additionally, pre- and post-test journaling samples were collected from two classrooms (one was the teacher-researcher’s classroom comprised of 18 children and the other, a control group in the same building comprised of 8 children). These provided evidence that the children in the intervention group demonstrated more growth than those in the control group.

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