On The Parenting Passageway Facebook page, I have posted a few microblogging type posts about planning third grade. I am starting withplanning third grade now as I will have two other (older) grades to plan, and third grade is not completely foreign to me as this will be my third time through it.
I started with planning our tentative start and stop dates and vacation dates, and then mapped each week out on a piece of paper so I know how many weeks we will have in August, and how many in September, etc. and noted where days off or festivals will be occurring.
Then, I pulled out my FREE resources and started looking through them to help me remember third grade. Any free resources will do, and you don’t need a lot to plan! I pulled out some free blocks from Marsha Johnson’s files (which are still accessible if you join firstname.lastname@example.org) and the East Africa training manual PDF on teaching third grade.
Next, I mapped out my blocks and jotted down any extra things that came to mind for each block. This is like the brainstorming stage. Here is what I have so far:
August- Practical Work/Occupations of Our Area (also, Math Review, Form Drawing, Poetry)
September Farming and Gardening , Preserving (thinking about mass and volume) (cursive)
October- Housebuilding and Shelters (Native American stories, nature studies) (cursive)
November- Farmer Boy Math (time, four processes) (cooking) ( cursive)
December- Old Testament Creation (painting, grammar) (speech, acting, poetry) (cursive)
January- Language Arts Old Testament(Abram, Jospeh, possibly Moses) (modeling, drama, cooking)
February- Linear Measurement, Mass (Noah’s Ark, animals)
March- The Story of Joshua (or Moses or Elijah), writing
April- Math/Money, Four Processes
May- Textiles/Practical Projects in Garden
Now I am at the point where I want to see what I want to put in each block. This is the part, of course, that takes the longest! Sometimes what helps me is to figure out what will flow through each day of each block? So I am thinking right now about a flow to our Warm-Up time and to our Math Review time. Right now I am thinking our flow will be
- Opening Verse
- Song or Poetry or Speech Exercise
- Jumping Rope Rhymes or Zoo Exercises
- Rod Exercises or Beanbags
- Rhythmical Walking to Verse
- Hand-clapping or String Games
- Math Review – (maybe work in with weather) (Still thinking)
- Number of the Day
- Addition and Subtraction Games and/or Multiplication/Division Games
- Memorizing Math Facts
- Mental Math
- Opening Main Lesson Verse
Once you have a little template, it just becomes sort of filling things in with a progression.
As I am planning this little flow, I am thinking about progression of academic capacities and practice. For example, once I have looked at a progression of math, I will also look at Language Arts skills that I know we will need to practice in blocks and in between blocks. This is things like phonics, sight words, spelling words, readers and read-alouds. The vocabulary words will come from the blocks. I know some teachers are totally awesome and pull their spelling words from the block itself, but I have found it better for myself and my children if I use something a little more structured according to spelling words and let the vocabulary words be the organic language part from a block. That’s just me. I was an organic speller, but I have found two out of my three children needed much, much more instruction and progression than pulling out random words.
When this is done, I will plan the nitty gritty of each block by day – the review activities, the story and how I will present it (I actually love using puppets in third grade!), the artistic activities and yes, make sure that we are covering the academic capacities. The blocks sort of balance each other, so I don’t make each block heavy with writing, for example. That is why we have to look at the whole year.
Many folks get bogged down with Third Grade Old Testament stories; I don’t feel the need to tell every story in the Old Testament! Some teachers use the Old Testament; some use Hebrew Legends. I pick which stories I feel are most meaningful; for my son it will be a little about creation and going out into the world but more about the Patriarchs. More on that later.
I will post more as I go; I think it will come together quite well and then I will get moving on Grade 8!
Blessings and love,