Introduction

My research is intended to measure the resiliency of first grade students. My class is made up of twenty-four six and seven year old students. I teach nine girls and fifteen boys who come from military families. My students love to create and play. However, they have had a hard time this year adjusting to the full days of first grade, since our district currently has half-day kindergarten. I have multiple students complaining of headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and frustration every day. Many times the complaints are accompanied by tears and crying sessions. I have introduced the concept of resiliency to my students and we’ve had class discussions about the topic.

I first learned about Chibitronics over the summer. I looked at the website and became excited about the different crafts ideas (Chibitronics, n.d.). I purchased the kit with the plan to have my students use the light up circuits to enhance their artwork while they learned about circuitry. I knew they would be excited and engaged in using Chibitronics. Unfortunately, after receiving the kit, I had doubts that my students would have the grit to use the fragile copper tape successfully. I was encouraged to use the struggle my students will experience with the Chibitronics to measure resilience. This led me to my research question. Can struggling with technology, specifically, Chibitronics, help students become more resilient?

Thematic Review of Literature

Successful students have resilience, but it is not something they have when they are born (pbs.org, n.d.). The key question to building resilience in students is about how much to allow them to struggle. Research tells us that resilience allows people to cope with struggles, problems, and setbacks (Cherry, n.d.). People can become overwhelmed with expectations and daily life. However, they can learn to become more resilient if they learn how to manage stress and meet problems head on, they are able to “bounce back” (Doll, Brehm, & Zucker, 2014). Resilient people are often aware of causes of their emotions and understand that life has setbacks. They know that they have control over their actions and own the positive or negative effects of their chosen actions. They can problem solve and know where to look for help if they need it (American Psychological Association, n.d.). People can learn to be resilient over time. Many factors lead to being resilient. Some of theses factors include being a part of supportive relationships, good self-esteem, belief in your abilities, successful management of impulses, willingness to ask for help, and refusing to be a victim (American Psychological Association, n.d.).

Children look to both parents and teachers to help build their resilience skills (Dwyer, 2013). There are common elements for teachers to think about in regards to student resiliency. Teachers should recognize that they do not have a role in some of the core needs, but students also are not given a choice on adhering to the common elements. For example, resilient students get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly (Child Trends, 2013). The classroom teacher does not have a say in what time parents put children to bed or what they choose to feed them. However, teachers can help student build resilience by discussing the concept of resilience with students, nurturing student strengths, teach goal setting and planning strategies, reduce student competitiveness, use peer teaching methods, connect with the families of students, focus on good behavior, praise the effort made my students, and let students know that you have high expectations (Meichenbaum, n.d.). It is very important for teachers to allow students to get frustrated and work through those frustrations (Cleaver, 2015). Students need to be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

There are many ideas of what to use to measure resiliency. Many measures have been developed and are available for researchers to use, but are focused towards children over the age of ten (Hall, 2010). However, both The Resilience Research Centre and the Devereux Foundation have developed measures that can be used to determine resilience in younger children. The Resilience Research Centre has a free child version of the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) specifically for children between the ages of five and nine (Resilience Research Centre, n.d.). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) costs $120 to purchase the kit (Devereux Center for Resilient Children, n.d.). The CYRM allows students to inventory themselves using smiley, straight, and frowning faces. The inventory focuses on how they perceive their relationships and abilities (Resilience Research Centre, n.d.). The DESSA has parents or teachers assess each child using a behavior scale that only focuses on positive behavior (Devereux Center for Resilient Children, n.d.). Either of these assessments would give a good starting baseline to determine how much resiliency a student currently has and they could be assessed again at a later date to measure growth in resiliency. However, neither inventory allows a teacher measure resiliency while a student is completing a difficult task.

Technology is very engaging to students and can be used to boost resiliency when it introduces new concepts and challenges, like Chibitronics. Chibitronics are small circuit stickers that have a LED light (Hoopes, 2014). Students learn about how circuits work by using adhesive copper tape to light up the LED light. The tape is very thin and flimsy. It can be very frustrating to use, especially for young students. However, the payoff is that the lights can be used on just about anything, from artwork to clothing (Chibitronics, n.d.). Learning and working with new things can often be uncomfortable for students, which is part of the reason that resilience is an important skill for students (Couros, 2015). New technology allows teachers to help students build their resiliency skills.

Method

In this study of building resiliency in first grade students, I take a qualitative inquiry approach examining a real world situation without manipulating it. I take a naturalistic approach in this research through a case study that is observational.

Participants are chosen because they are students in my class and I see a need for building resiliency in my students to lessen the amount of time they spend at the nurse, complaining about being frustrated, and crying in my classroom. Students were not informed of the purpose of the study. Names and other personal information of the students is not presented in the research project, as the objective of the project was to analyze the influence the behavior of the students as a whole, rather than as individuals.

Prior to beginning observations, I will administer a short resiliency inventory to my students. The inventory will serve as a baseline of how resilient my students see themselves. At the end of my observation period, students will be given the same inventory to gauge resiliency growth. I will observe and video record my students each day as they work with Chibitronics. I will observe all students and record my observations daily.

A post survey will be given each day at the end of the Chibitronics building time. Students will fill out the survey to gauge their engagement and struggle that day. Surveys will help me measure the engagement and resiliency of each student.

A post interview will be given to a focus group each day. The focus group will consist of four students. The selected students will be asked two to three questions and answers will be recorded using an iPhone app and then transcribed into the form each evening. The participants of the focus group will be two male students and two female students.

Internal validity in this study will be accomplished through the analysis of multiple sources of qualitative data. This analysis will determine whether struggling with technology, specifically, Chibitronics, will help first grade students become more resilient.

Bibliography

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). The Road to Resilience. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What Is Resilience? Retrieved September 23, 2015, from About Education: http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/a/resilience.htm

Chibitronics. (n.d.). Craft. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Chibitronics: http://chibitronics.com/craft-guide/

Child Trends. (2013, October 30). What Can Schools Do to Build Resilience In Their Students. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from Child Trends: http://www.childtrends.org/what-can-schools-do-to-build-resilience-in-their-students/

Cleaver, S. (2015, April 30). 8 Ways to Help Your Students Build Resiliency. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from We Are Teachers: http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2015/04/30/8-ways-to-help-your-students-build-resiliency

Couros, G. (2015, July 15). Resilience and Innovation in Education. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from The Principal of Change: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5412

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (n.d.). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) Kit. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Devereux Center for Resilient Children: http://www.centerforresilientchildren.org/school-age/assessments-resources/the-devereux-student-strengths-assessment-dessa-kit/

Doll, B., Brehm, K., & Zucker, S. (2014). Resilient Classrooms, Second Edition: Creating Healthy Environments for Learning. New York: The Guilford Press.

Dwyer, K. (2013, October 1). Building resilience in classrooms and schools. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from Children’s Mental Health Network: http://www.cmhnetwork.org/media-center/morning-zen/building-resilient-in-classrooms-and-schools

Hall, D. K. (2010, November 17). Compendium of Selected Resilience and Related Measures for Children and Youth. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Reaching In Reaching Out: http://www.reachinginreachingout.com/documents/appendixe-annotatedcompendiumofresiliencemeasures-nov17-10copyright.pdf

Hoopes, H. (2014, January 22). Chibitronics connects circuits with stickers for entertaining electronic education. Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Gizmag: http://www.gizmag.com/chibitronics-circuit-stickers/30558/

Meichenbaum, Donald (n.d.). How Educators Can Nurture Resilience In High-Risk Children and Their Families. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from TeachSafeSchools.org: http://www.teachsafeschools.org/Resilience.pdf

pbs.org. (n.d.). What is Resilience. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from This Emotional Life: http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/resilience/what-resilience

Resilience Research Centre. (n.d.). Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from Resilience Research Centre: http://www.resilienceproject.org/research/resources/tools/33-the-child-and-youth-resilience-measure-cyrm

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