During reading, students in third grade classes at my school are grouped according to ability: high, medium, and low. Generally the high group is reading above grade level, the medium is on level, and the low group reads below level. At present I am teaching in one of these EOL (Essentials of Literacy) classroom. The twenty third-graders in this classroom rank lowest in reading among the three existing third grade reading classes.
During a different time of day and for a shorter time period, I am also teaching my Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute unit from 2004, in one of the heterogeneous third grade classrooms, to students who represent all three reading levels. Here, the general ability level is somewhat higher than it is in EOL, and academic and behavioral problems are usually of a lesser magnitude. I plan to use elements of my unit in both of these settings, but the material and approach will be designed primarily for use in a third grade classroom with students representing a variety of academic grade levels.
Though I plan to teach my unit in a third grade classroom, it is adaptable to a number of other grade levels. Having taught third and fourth grade for a number of years, I feel the material is especially suited for either of these grade levels. With appropriate adaptation it could be used on an even higher grade level, especially fifth or sixth grade. Some middle school group having difficulty in the area of Language Arts also could be a target of this unit's material.
This unit is designed to last for a minimum of two months, if taught two to three times a week with each session lasting forty-five minutes. However, depending upon the depth of the group's investigation and the resulting discussion, it could easily last for more. The individual teacher must make the final decision, regarding the unit's length, based upon her/his particular circumstances. Since my situation is somewhat different, I will adjust my lessons to the schedule of the teacher in whose classroom the unit will be taught. I anticipate that it will begin in January and last until early May.