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Melissa Axell

Unit Reflection
Stage III

As this semester is winding down and I am now reflecting on the outcome of my

unit and the overall experience of teaching it I have learned so much in such a short

amount of time. Having the opportunity to plan, organize, and implement a unit with the

help and advice from my field instructor and cooperating teacher has been quite a journey

and experience. The process, time and energy that goes into creating a unit has shown

me the reality of the nature of teaching. It has taught me simultaneously how to time

manage, plan, organize, and exercise a great amount of flexibility at once. Laying out the

framework and slowly piecing together a plan was the hardest thing for me. In the very

beginning, I had a very hard time knowing where to start. As I got to it though, with the

advice from my CT and FI, I began by taking the time I had to work with, and the days,

and creating a calendar to help show me the reality of the time I had to teach the unit.

From there on, I set up the objectives and big ideas I knew that I really wanted to cover

and teach. This path I followed will definitely be useful to me in informing how I plan

units in the future. I think it is important to make sure you keep your objectives and

goals in mind while planning the daily lessons, and always be able to look at the overall

big picture and think practical about what you will actually cover. Realizing the time you

have to work with is also important because you may begin with so much that you want

to cover, but realize that you’ll never get through all of it. In other words, the practice of

deciding what is the most important thing you want the students to learn is most difficult.

The reality is there is never enough time, so knowing that you want to hit one or two

major concepts and driving that to mastery is much more worthwhile than teaching a
plethora of concepts that aren’t reinforced or really understood.

Furthermore, using benchmarks and curriculum maps was also very useful in

making a plan for the unit, and I know that will always be one of the most important

things I rely on in creating units in the future. My field instructor gave me advice when I

began that helped me along the UTE experience by saying that most often times doing

less is more. I couldn’t fully agree with her more, and that was what I began to keep in

mind when I began to solidify my unit plans. Now that I have finished this unit, I can

honestly say that I may have really driven 2-3 main concepts the entire time, and that

may be all that they learned in the span of two weeks, but I am okay with that. That is the

nature of how people, and children learn. Everything in learning takes a lot of time, and

day by day reinforcing, assessing, and reteaching, that is if you want it to remain.

Something so simple as understanding what a vocabulary word meant took several days

for students to learn, and then some. The process of teaching it, and then keeping it as a

focus days after and weeks after is a must for worthwhile and everlasting learning to

occur.

Overall, I think my students did rather well with the poetry unit, and teaching them what

the haiku is all about. I spent about two weeks teaching this type of poem, and even after

the final summative assessment, some of them were still struggling with making an

accurate haiku that followed its rigid syllabic form. Nevertheless, it is okay though

because they have now had a chance to do it, and next time they learn it again down the

road, it will be that much easier and better than before. Even more clearly now I see how

the cycles we did all through the semester depicts how teaching and learning occur. I

know that this lesson on a haiku will cycle back into the students academic career and
they will become that much more stronger at it each time they see it. I have been the first

one to open that cycle up for them, and that is exciting to me all on its own.

For me, the greatest way for me to document and examine student learning in

order for students to learn better was to constantly assess, reassess, and reteach. I found

that to always know what students were producing in their work was what informed what

I would teach the following day regardless of what my unit calendar had me doing. If

students didn’t get it the day before, I would find a way to reteach it that would better suit

their learning. I constantly reflect after I teach a lesson, and seek feedback from my field

instructor and cooperating teacher, this was how I enhanced the students learning. I am

always putting my students first as far as how they react to what I teach them, and if I

think they were engaged, learning, or applying what I had taught them. By testing them

daily with formative assessments and one on one time, I was always adjusting what I

planned on teaching due to what they were showing me emotionally, and mentally. Just

by reflecting daily on my own teaching practice in conjunction to the feedback I got from

student work, participation, body language and so forth is what sets the tone for how I

planned and taught. All in all, this, plus the added input and collaboration from my CT

has allowed me to have a great environment to grow and learn as much as I can in this

semester and greatly aided in executing my unit.

As far as what I would change about designing a unit in the future is adding more

assessments informal and formal because I feel as though I didn’t get the opportunity to

create as much assessment as I wanted to. I myself probably wouldn’t have written out

so much as I did for this unit, but when I begin to teach on my own that won’t have to be

the case anymore, but I definitely find it most useful to always reassess, and readjust
plans daily. I like to write out a plan and always be prepared, and mentally process what

I imagine the lesson to look like. Furthermore, being proactive and organized about what

I teach and very open to change and flexibility will allow for the greatest success in my

eyes. It was important for me to look at the big picture, and be practical with the

situation. Knowing that everything will not be done is okay, and realizing this releases a

lot of the pressure that one feels when executing multiple units at a time. Mistakes will

always be made, and there is always room for growth. With this in mind, hopefully I will

reach the potential I desire, and start to begin this journey and career as a teacher.