Date of Award
Master of Arts in Education
Education, Leadership and Public Service
Reading Specialist (BR)
Christi Edge, PhD
Judith Puncochar, PhD
Derek Anderson, EdD
This qualitative classroom action research began with a problem that developed over the course of a school year at a rural kindergarten through fourth-grade Title One elementary school in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Before beginning this research project, many of the students were highly engaged in their learning; however, some students were identified as not engaged and seemed to be coasting. The teacher researcher decided to try something new to engage all fourth-grade students. She decided to present her students with a constructivist approach to solving the problem of stacks of unwanted phonebooks from the district office. She challenged fourth-grade students to each repurpose a phonebook, thus inviting students to be an active participant in constructing reality and not just a passive recorder of one’s environment (Elkind, 2004). Rather than being told what to do with the materials, students had to make a plan for themselves. The only instructions were that students must repurpose the phonebook so that the phonebook became something new. What possible impacts might open-ended art projects have on the perceptions of fourth-grade students learning in art? Data were collected in the form of student and teacher completed rubrics, open-ended and multiple-choice questions completed by participants, and the teacher researcher’s anecdotal notes. Four primary themes in the data: student choice, social interaction, recycling/repurposing, and success. This research will inform the teacher researcher’s current and future classroom teaching practices regarding the use of constructivism in fourth-grade art lessons.
Swanson, Amanda M., "PERCEPTIONS OF OPEN-ENDED ART BY FOURTH-GRADE STUDENTS AND THEIR TEACHER" (2014). All NMU Master's Theses. 20.