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The purpose of this research was to examine the writing responses generated by students if they were provided with manipulatives which could potentially stimulate ideas for descriptive writing responses. The participants of the study were fifth grade students at a charter school in the Southeastern United States. The guiding assumptions of the study were (1) manipulatives assist students in stimulating ideas in several content areas, (2) students who receive support in the writing process may be more successful in producing descriptive texts, (3) as writing topics become more abstract, students require more writing support. Data were collected over a two-week period in which students responded to four writing prompts which became more abstract in nature. Qualitative data regarding the trends involving student responses from a treatment and control group, gender analysis, and descriptive trends were collected and analyzed. Quantitative data regarding overall word count, descriptive word/phrase ratios, and holistic scoring were also collected and analyzed. Overall, several factors including gender, ability level, and writing developmental level contributed to the variations of student writing responses. This study has implications for both classroom teachers and researchers.
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