Author(s)

Kelly Ann McGrail

Date Approved

9-9-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.T. Teaching

Department

Teacher Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Browne, Susan

Subject(s)

Children of same-sex parents;Families

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

The goal of this study was to determine how first grade students define a family. Qualitative research was used as the methodology for this inquiry. The participants were thirteen first grade inclusion students in a school that is located in Southern New Jersey. An instructional unit depicting various family constellations was implemented along with authentic discussions, a student survey, an interactive bulletin board, a classroom library containing family books, and writing prompts contained in My Family Journal. The data collected and analyzed was from student discussion, the subjects' work, direct observation of pupils, the instructional unit, and a teacher research journal. It was found that the first graders define a family by love, skin color, and co-habitation although they were able to recognize that some family members can live in different places. Repeated use of the family terms would help in future instruction along with broadening the scope of family dynamics to include those with same-sex parents.

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