Hoeg 1 In reflection, the Unit I taught on storybook wolves was very well received by the students.

Not only were the children given an opportunity to attack old subject matter in a new light, but they were also able to work within several genres of Language Arts instruction. The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood are by no means intellectually stimulating for third graders. All of my students were familiar with each of the texts and could probably have told the aforementioned fairytales before even beginning the Unit. Interestingly enough, however, the class remained very active within the stories and found themselves exploring the character of the wolf much more intricately than they had before. To truly delve into the nuances of this sharp-toothed animal, we took the time to read over twenty different tales that shed light on our “evil” character. By taking the time to examine the varying portrayals of the wolf, the students were able to decide for themselves whether or not a wolf in nature is all that trustworthy. Based on their summative assessments, it is clear to me that the third graders came away with many interesting thoughts on wolves. The children answered eight multiple choice questions that were very highly scored. These questions looked mainly at facts and situations that had directly occurred in our classroom. The second portion of the exam, however, was much more interesting. The students were given four academic prompts which asked that they take as much time as was needed to formulate strong responses to opinion-based questions. Not only did the students need to pick (and remember!) their favorite wolf, they also needed to explain the how and why of his actions. For the final question, the third graders were asked to make a few executive decisions on their own potential animal-based publications. They needed to choose an animal and decide, as the author, how this animal would act within social settings.

Hoeg 2 Depending on their choice of “good” or “bad,” the students then were asked to go into detail as to how they would make this decision clear. If only based on these last responses alone, I can strongly say that the students learned not only about wolves during my unit, but also about the power an author has on a character, and, even more so, how to formulate their own opinions. As I continue with my teaching, I would certainly consider a few alterations in planning future units. Although I feel very confident that the students came away with strong ideas and a wealth of knowledge on the subject matter, there are some things I would like to change. To begin with, we covered a lot of material throughout the Unit including writing our own raps and plays, holding a mini-debate, working with “I wonder…” questions, and even deciding which of the three pigs we would be based on personal work ethic. Because most of this work rested in the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, I am quite certain that the children will retain the basic ideas and information. In the future, however, I might like to slow down the pace a bit and reconfigure exactly what we will cover. Each of my lessons had worthwhile features and could be beneficial to the students throughout the year, but I think it might have been helpful if we focused on a smaller amount of information. In my future units, I will pick a few less activities that the students will be able to digest. That way, we will have the opportunity to stall and spend time on trouble areas as needed. Directly in terms of student work, I also found it quite intriguing that the students did the best when they were asked to share their responses. If I made it clear at the beginning of a lesson that we would be sharing with the class, the students made a notably stronger effort. They also really enjoy working with partners and in teams. I

Hoeg 3 have no problem with the students mentoring one another and assisting each other in their own learning, so small-groups are an everyday part of our classroom. I believe that the camaraderie and classroom skills that come out of teamwork are crucial in establishing a classroom rapport. These will remain permanent assets of my unit planning as I continue in the future. My Unit was not perfect; I certainly had some slip-ups and wasted time. As a beginning teacher, that is to be expected. What was covered well in this Unit, on the other hand, proved to be entertaining and incredibly informative. I am very pleased with the student response that I received and feel confident that the third graders came away with useful material that pushed them to think for themselves. I hope to maintain much of my planning strategies in the future, so long as I am also willing to alter and adjust them to best suit my students’ needs.