Stranger in the Woods

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I wrote this lesson based on the story "A Stranger in the Woods".  Stranger in the Woods.pdf  After my students did the lesson, I went back to analyze my teaching and reflect on how the lesson went.  Here is an excerpt from my lesson (analysis and reflection):

Analysis:
Overall, I feel pleased with the way this lesson went. The introduction of the book went well, and it got the students engaged and excited about the story. I was a bit surprised at how excited they were that all the pictures in the story were real pictures a photographer took. We talked about what strangers are and they made predictions about who the stranger might be in the story. It was helpful to have a quick discussion about what types of things we would expect to find in the woods, because it really got the students to pay attention to the story (and notice when one of the things they predicted showed up!) I feel that almost everyone was participating during the story calling out some verbs, adjectives, and animals as we went along. That really showed me that they were listening with a purpose and they were fulfilling that purpose. It showed me that they were meeting those objectives I had of them recognizing those words as we went along. At the same time, it was hard to see who was calling out and that they all were understanding what adjectives and verbs are. A student helper wrote the different things students were calling out. That helped those who needed a little more assistance with writing their poems.

Writing the poems went well also. I had some students struggle, and I feel that I spent a lot of time with them and that I didn't get to assist everyone I needed to. That is one of the things I would change about this lesson. In order to make everyone successful, I think I needed to have the struggling writers together like on one of our side tables, so that they stayed a little more focused and were closer to the board to write their animals, verbs, and adjectives. I think that if they would have been all on one table, I would have been able to get to each of them instead of leaving some out. I was very happy that most of the students got their entire poem written (some even got to write more than one). Those few that did not finish or begin their poems was because I couldn't get to everyone during that time period. During morning work the next day a couple of students finished, and the other couple of students finished before creating their illustrations at the computer lab.

Reflection:

The read-aloud for this lesson went really well. The students were engaged and listening with a purpose. It made me feel good that they were so excited about the story. One thing that I realized at the beginning of the read-aloud, was that this was not going to be a quiet group of students. I began thinking about LLED block and the reading class we took. In that class I learned that read-alouds are very important and that children relate and experience these read-alouds in different ways. One way is by talking through the story and sometimes, expecting them to be completely quiet is unreasonable. I normally do prefer students to be quiet during read-alouds, but I figured for this one I probably needed to prepare for some noise. The students were calling out names of animals, words that described them, and actions they were doing. No one was off-task during these times, and I think it was helping them process what we were learning about. That took me a little out of my comfort zone, because normally when kids are talkative during read-alouds it's not a positive thing, but I got used to it quickly and it went alright.

I would really enjoy doing this lesson in my future classroom. Even if I used the book in a different way, for a different purpose, I would do it because the photographs alone were beautiful. I liked that it tied in so well to Schoolyard (the students were talking about how we should take care of nature) and into our study of adjectives and verbs (which we had been working on with our "Mitten" activities.) It is also a fun story to read in the winter because of the snow and the snowman involved.

Justification:
C3 - I believe that this shows how I used data from my own classroom teaching to evaluate his/her own strengths and areas for improvement.  I took notice of the things I would do the same and differently in order to help my students reach their learning objectives.  There were a few students who struggled during this lesson, and I reflected upon how I would try to make them more successful if I do something like this again.  

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