When the students' dialogue journals were evaluated using the criteria for written work, the researcher expected the students to receive low scores. Because the criteria had been developed for written work at the college or university level, the researcher assumed that the criteria would be too critical for the short dialogue journal entries of elementary-aged students. Singed English. The common misuse of verb endings was expected by the researcher because of the nature of the sign system that the students use. Often the students do not add the required Signed English endings to their signs to indicate verb tense. For example, a separate hand movement must be added to the end of the sign "give" to indicate that the past tense form "gave" is being used. This same hand movement can be added to many signs to indicate that the past tense form of a verb is being used. The researcher had observed that the students did not use this ending, as well
as others, on a consistent basis either in their signing or in their written work so he was not surprised to see that it was left out in many of the dialogue journal entries. Requiring students to add the proper endings onto signs and to write the proper verb tense all of the time, and practicing these verb forms with the students, may decrease the frequency of the misuse.
Practice and/or Reteaching. Spelling errors caused points to be lost in evaluating the dialogue journal entries, but many of the spelling errors were made more than once by the same student. If a student is consistently misspelling a word, then he/she probably thinks that he/she is spelling the word correctly. This suggests that the student may only need to be retaught the proper spelling of the word. Some of the spelling errors may also result from the student's lack of confidence in using the computer keyboard. Poor spelling may be more of an indication of the lack of proofreading than of poor spelling ability.
Scheduling. A common problem throughout the study was following the prescribed time schedule for students to read and respond to e-mail. Although each student was designated a specific time to work on the computer, attendence and various other factors caused students to miss their time to work on the dialogue journals.
Classroom Work. As part of the students' daily work, they are writing short stories, such as completing a short story already started for them, drawing a picture and writing a short story about the picture, creating a short story based on a given picture prompt, and/or creating.a short story while including words from a given word bank. The use of these short stories in conjunction with the dialogue journal writing may have an effect
on how well the students perform in the dialogue journals. Although no definite comparisons could be made, a possible correlation may exist. It will be interesting to observe the students for the remainder of the researcher's internship experience to see if such a correlation exists.
Intern Teacher Frustration. One unexpected outcome of the dialogue journal writing process was the initial frustration felt by the intern teacher when thinking about topics for dialogue journals that would be of interest to the students. Not knowing much about what the students liked to do outside of school made it difficult to make initial dialogue journal entries interesting. As the dialogue journal entries continued, the ease in communication that the intern teacher experienced increased, due in part to the topics which the students initiated themselves.
Teacher-Student Relationship. The greatest unexpected outcome of the
dialogue journal writing involved how quickly the students began asking
questions of the intern teacher. Because data were collected over such
a short time, the researcher did not expect the students to do much except
respond to his questions in the dialogue journals. The students' questions
suggest an interest in the intern teacher and the beginning of more than
the teacher-student relationship. This finding was consistent with that
of Kluwin and Kelly, who suggested that more communication occurs when
there is a genuine relationship between the dialogue journal partners.