Thursday, January 24, 2008

Advantages/Disadvantages of Literature Focus Units

What are literature focus units?
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the pattern of practice you observed.

Descibed in the blog to Dr. Chatel, in my Tuesday Experience classroom, the teacher was at the end of using a literature focus unit. She had the students read three books over the past month or so on the time period when John Rolfe came to Jamestown. They had done many activities and research on this time period and on the day I was in the classroom she was giving them an end of the unit final quiz.

The advantages of using this type of pattern in the classroom are large in my eyes. The students were motivated to learn more about the topic and share their experiences during the past month with me. They had been working with a "discovery" program that allowed them to explore the land of this time in their small groups. They were given problems and experiences to deal with in their group. They were also allowed to trade materials and people with other groups in the classroom. After reading the three books that they were given to read over the past month or so, along with the different programs and activities the teacher had come up with I believe the students were excited to know so much about this topic and being able to share everything they learned with me excited them. It is a wonderful feeling when students are so very excited about a topic they have been learning about for the past month, the teacher obviously had worked hard on coming up with all the different plans and activities they had accomplished.

Some disadvantages in using this type of pattern is that if the literature focus unit is used for "too long" students may become bored with the topic and lose their earning to learn more. This is a serious problem because not only could it lose the students interest in the topic but it could become a problem where students learn to not enjoy language arts due to the fact that things are being dragged on for far too long.

My tuesday experience teacher obviously did not have this problem, the students were still focused on learning and when explaining to me the different things they had done and what they knew they showed extreme excitement.


Nancy said...

It sounds like your Tuesday experience teacher planned her unit well. I agree with your comment about students losing interest during the unit. Varying the projects and providing students some choices are ways to keep everyone on task. How do you think Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences might affect a teacher's planning of a literature focus unit?

Nancy said...

I would love to hear more about your experiences and reflections regarding class and readings..