NEAL Reflection


Entering Text through found poetry
Students are giving pieces of the text and places them together to create a poem.

Choral Reading
Fragments of the text were given to members of the class.  One student acts as "the conductor" and points to students.  When a student is pointed to they read their phrase.  This results in an interesting musical quality to the reading.

Statue Art and Tableau
Students "sculpt" each other to depict scenes from the book or emotions felt.

Cross curriculum planning with the arts

Field Trip to the Springfield Museums
Students visited the Springfield Museums to learn more about color and shapes showing mood in art. 

Completing evidence to support our character's traits

After discussing character traits, students had to complete activities where they found evidence from the story to support their claim of the character's trait

Painting character traits
Students used all of the information about our character to paint their first impressions of the character's traits

Discovering Character Motivation
Students looked for textual evidence to discover character motivation.  They used pieces of evidence from the book such as, "He's my brother" and "What about the owls" in a choral reading exercise to understand why the character was acting in a certain way. 

Showing Dynamic Character through Art
Students represented the changed character traits through visual art. 

Showing Dynamic Character through Textual Evidence
After learning about the character's motivation students were able to see how the character has changed.  They now could find textual evidence to support the new character traits that we have found.

Expressing Emotion through Movement
Our visiting artist was able to work with the students on movement activities.  These activities focused on the dynamic character traits that we discovered.

Showing a dynamic character through art
Students placed both of their paints next to each other and observed the different ways they depicted the character through out the story

Gallery Walk
Students set up their art work and then walked through to see what other students painted to show character traits.  Students then had the ability to share with the class which paintings they thought showed this transition well.

Student Reflections
Students were asked to reflect on their learning in different ways through out the unit.  They were often given a format to help them reflect. 

Final Performance
The final performance included all of the aspects that we discussed in class relating to character.  It began with students telling about the beginning traits.  Students cited textual evidence, placed paintings on the background and completed a movement exercise while students places recycled instruments to depict our character at the beginning of the story.  Students also completed a personal story of how they originally felt about someone using tableaus. 

Students then showed character motivation through textural evidence and completing a choral reading.

Students then uncovered the new character traits.  They did this by telling character traits, showing textual evidence, hanging up pictures on the background, and completing a movement exercise while other students played recycled instruments.   Students told the second part of their personal stories where they told how their first impression was wrong using tableaus. 

The performance ended with each student saying a character trait that they felt described them. 


Students were given pieces of the text that related to the main character.  This proved to be a interesting exercise and I was surprised by the conversation that originated from fragments of the book.  We were able to get a sense of the character as well as discuss author's word choice.  Students also made predictions of what relating to the plot and mood of the story.

The choral reading activity was completed three time throughout the unit.  As a class we were studying dynamic characterization and character motivation.  Phrases that related to our character at the beginning, when we discovered the motivation, and after the character changed showed the students how this transition occurred using short phrases.  This was useful for differentiation of instruction.  Higher level students were able to really look at phrases and discover which were the strongest phrases, while lower learners were able to look at just phrases to gain a better understanding. 

To better understand how the character felt, student created statues of how our character felt through different sections of the book.  Students were able to better understand the emotions of the character during the story.  They actually had to look like they were angry or upset.  It attached one more kinesthetic sense to the emotions of the book. 

Collaborating with the art and music teacher at our school was a new, valuable experience.  In the end I wanted students to demonstrate mood and emotion in art to represent the character's trait as we discovered them.  Our art teacher completed lessons with the students about color, shapes and mood in art.  She also had them made instruments that were used in our final performance.  It was great to have her talents shine through in areas that I wasn't as familiar. 

Having the opportunity to visit the museums in Springfield allowed the students to look at the ideas of art on a larger scale.  They were able to continue their investigation of expression in art.  They also were able to see how the purpose of art has changes through time. 

Finding evidence in text is directly related to our curriculum.  I was originally weary that complete the unit in a more artistic way would take away from the student's ability to complete these more academically challenging tasks, but I found the opposite to be true.  Students were able to relate the idea of finding evidence back to the activities we completed and were actual able to complete this more difficult task with more independence than I anticipated.

Students really enjoyed this activity.  They were able to use the ideas of character that we discussed in class and also the ideas of conveying mood through color and shapes that they learned in art class.

Students enjoyed completing this activity with choral reading.  They were able to understand the connection between a character's action and a character's motivation.  Differentiation was also used in this activity.  Students of all levels were able to actively participate to deepen understanding. 

Students were able to used similar ideas and techniques to complete a new representation of the character.  Students used the ideas of artistic representation to show the new character traits that we discovered.  Students enjoyed this activity and were excited to represent their new ideas in a creative form. 

After exposing student to a variety of ways to learn about character such as choral reading, found poetry and painting, students had a better understanding of the story.  They were able to find textual evidence, which was helped by their comprehension of the story.  I think the comprehension was influenced by the many different ways students were exposed to the story.

It was helpful to invite an artist in that had more experience with the ideas of dance and movement.  She was able to lead the students through a series of exercises that allowed them to express emotion.  This added to the multi-sensory approach that was used to teach the students about dynamic character.

After comparing textual evidence to show a change in character, students were able to compare visual representations of the same concept.  This was helpful for student to explore the same concept through different avenues. 

It was interesting to hear students speak about art.  They were able to articulate what they saw in the paintings that showed the concepts we discussed in class.  Having the students discuss characterization in many different ways was able to deepen their understanding of the concept. 

Reflection is such an important part of growth.  We often reflect as teachers, but I have found it is also important for student to be able to reflect on learning.  I would often read to them a reflection I had on a lesson and then give them a format to use for their own reflection.  The reflections varied from content to learning style.   I found this to be an incredible important part of the unit.

The students were very excited to share what they learned.  Many other classes from the school were able to attend the event.  Students were allowed to choose which part of the performance they would participate in based upon their comfort level.  All student participated appropriately and were excited about the final performance. 

It was interesting to see the students shine in this type of performance based assessment.  They could explain each part of the performance and how they related to the objectives of the unit.  It allowed the strengths of all students to shine!