Third graders begin their day by reading a morning message. The morning message is part of our Responsive Classroom practices that helps children make the shift from home to the classroom community. The message sets a positive tone for the day, and gets the students excited about the academics they will be learning. The message instructs students on what morning work they will work on while we wait for all of our classmates to join us!
After about 15-20 minutes of morning work students transition to our morning meeting. Morning meetings, are also part of our Responsive Classroom practice and consist of a class greeting, share, and cooperative/team building activity. Morning meetings can be done with individual classes or the entire third grade! These meetings provide students with a safe environment that provides a sense of trust, allows all students to feel important, and encourages respectful learning.
Math begins by going over the homework from the night before. Students work cooperatively in their table groups to correct each problem. This provides students with the opportunity to self-assess for understanding. If there are errors or confusions the students are responsible to “coach” their peers how to solve correctly. After homework is checked, we begin our whole group instruction and teachers introduce new concepts through modeling, discussing and working through problems cooperatively as a group.. After whole group instructions, the students work independently in their workbooks while teachers pull small groups for reinforcement or challenge work.
After math students have a 20 minute snack and brain break! Third grade is a time for many social changes within a child. To help children navigate the social dynamics of third grade we teach specific conflict resolution strategies that students are encouraged to use during recess times. We also encourage students to engage with a variety of peers by having “Mix It Up Mondays” where students are paired with groups they don’t normally gravitate to. Teachers may ask these new groups to create games, or we teach them new activities to try out together. We have found third graders love to mix it up, and appreciate the guidance!
Our reading block looks different throughout the year, depending on the skills that we are working on. At the beginning of the year we start with teacher led guided reading groups and Daily5 activities that students can work on independently. Once we know the students as readers we begin to teach comprehension strategies through whole group instruction and mentor text. At the beginning of the week we teach a new skill and students take notes in their interactive notebook. The first half of the year we explore non-fiction. We teach text features and identifying organizational patterns. Later in the year we explore Fiction selections and teach students how to dive deep into books. Skills taught include inferencing, making connections, following the plot, identifying conflict, character traits and theme. During our fiction unit we introduce student lead book clubs. With their peers students read, discuss and practice comprehension strategies.
From there, we head to lunch and then afternoon recess!
After afternoon recess, a 10 minute Responsive Classroom quiet time strategy allows students to transition back into the classroom in a purposeful and relaxed way so that they are better ready for an afternoon of learning.
Third grade uses the Sitton Spelling program and Simple Solutions grammar program to explicitly teach multiple spelling and grammar rules. During this time students have time to work cooperatively in groups to apply the skills in multiple ways.
Depending on the day, third grade ends their academic learning with theme or Writer’s Workshop. In theme students learn how to research and take notes through various project based activities. Our theme studies include Rhode Island, the United States, and a cultural study of China. Each final project allows students to use their knowledge and creativity to showcase what they’ve learned. During this time students may utilize the various resources and technology provided to them. They also have opportunities to create in the Innovation Lab!
Writer’s Workshop is a research based writing curriculum that supports all students. Through rigorous teaching, students learn to write with clear vision and skilful intention. Each lesson starts off with a mini-lesson that is assessment based, explicit instruction. The mini lesson is a time when the whole class gathers to learn a technique, raise a question, or reinforce a strategy. Next students work in pairs or a group to practice using the skill taught during the mini lesson. Students then spend the bulk of the time writing, and applying all that they’ve been learning. During this time teachers will pull individual students or small strategy groups. Writer’s Workshop ends with a quick share to recognize the students’ achievements.
The third graders are currently studying chemistry. They have learned how chemistry is the key to all other sciences. By making slime and gak, the students could make real life connections to springtime conditions in their own world. They learned how our bodies defend themselves in many different ways to prevent us from getting sick. One way our noses keep allergens like pollen, spores, and dust out of our lungs is with a sticky, slimy substance called mucus. When they breathe air in through their nose, allergens like pollen and dust get stuck in the mucus and become trapped. By making slime they could see how making a slimy substance very similar to mucus, and sprinkle it with glitter to imitate the way that allergens are trapped in our noses. During our chemistry lessons they learned terminology such as dissolve, solubility, chemical or physical change, reaction, lab procedures and importance of careful measurement.
The students begin the day by checking the warm up board and solving the equations to see how much of each activity they must do. After warm ups the students each grab a badminton racket and practice hitting the birdie back and forth with a partner. They are then divided into teams and given the options of playing a game against their opponents or they can just volley back and forth if they want. Every 5 minutes they switch partners and opponents. There is also a sign up list for those who would like to play 1v1 against a friend or the teacher.
Life drawing in the garden, Faith Ringgold story quilt collage, Leaf pots, Scientific bird illustrations
We begin with a review of our recorder technique, and a music reading warmup. We alternate singing and playing songs on our recorders, and end with students performing for each other.