Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education






Our action research project began with finding a common denominator between a Mathematics teacher (Amanda Johnson) at a rural, alternative school and an English teacher (Rebekah Lund) at a rural, k-12 school. We wanted to research something that was relative to both of our struggles as teachers and the content in our classrooms, which are different in content, but similar in structure. Many of our students come from low-income backgrounds, where education is not always the primary focus. For Amanda in particular and somewhat Rebekah, many of our students are working through problems that are larger than academics, such as addiction, involvement in the court system, and family issues. So we discussed multiple ideas for our research, including increasing parent involvement and improving formative assessment. What we finally settled on researching was how we could better teach students vocabulary specific to our two content areas, with the hope of sharing our findings with other content areas as well. Our problem we decided was that our students’ vocabularies were lacking due to limited exposure throughout their home and academic histories and also due to superficial, quick, and ineffective teaching of vocabulary previously in our classrooms. We wanted to be able to enhance our students’ academic vocabularies to help them understand basic and deeper material. Our action research question became: What effect will a diverse vocabulary instructional program have on vocabulary usage by secondary learners in mathematics and English? Our goal was to find out how we could make our vocabulary instruction more effective for all students by using researched, best practices.

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