Through the course of the year, both reading and writing workshop are connected to and interact with social studies topics (including the building of a strong community).
Third graders begin the year building their reading life. Students reflect on their experiences as readers, identifying their reading habits and establishing goals. For the first few weeks, students practice skills such as building stamina, using a notebook, selecting appropriate texts for independent reading, and using genre as a way to get their minds ready for what is to come in their reading. With excellent reading habits secure, the students immerse themselves in the following units of study:
Reading Narratives: Using a class novel, Stone Fox, students identify the elements of fiction and develop skills within the text (retelling and summarizing, identifying story elements), beyond the text (inferential thinking and character analysis), and about the text (examining the choices an author makes to make the text clear and interesting).
Reading to Learn: As students learn about countries around the world in Social Studies, they begin to develop more sophisticated skills for reading nonfiction texts. Through this unit students will: identify the main idea of a paragraph, page, and section of text, summarize, and analyze the relationship between main ideas and details
Book Clubs: In the spring, students will select a book to read in a club with other students. Not only will students develop skills for speaking and listening within a group, they will delve deeply into character analysis, theme, and more sophisticated author moves such as foreshadowing and building suspense.
We have intentionally linked reading, writing, and social studies so as to build student understanding of each in relation to the other. As writers, students will learn how to brainstorm ideas, organize their thinking, draft (including flash drafts), revise, edit, give/receive feedback, and use technology to represent their ideas. Students will immerse themselves in the following units of study:
Writing Narratives: Through the lens of personal experiences and small moments, students will craft a realistic narrative story that includes a plot, developed characters, a theme, and a setting. Throughout the unit, students may begin to insert what they have learned in our first unit in social studies (identity) into their writing,
Expert Texts: In this unit, students go through the writing process two times. The first iteration allows students to use what they already know and create an “expert text” that teaches others about their topic. For instance, a student may know a lot about baseball. In thinking about baseball, the student may brainstorm what they will write, will plan how to organize and structure their ideas, will draft a text, and will receive feedback to revise and edit. In their second written text, students may choose another expert topic or may choose to write about the country they are researching in social studies.
Persuasive Writing: In our last unit, students find themselves brainstorming problems (either local or global) that require action to solve. Using research and persuasive writing techniques (hooks, addressing the audience, shocking the reader, etc.), students draft speeches to convince their reader to act!
Throughout the year, students participate in Fundations spelling and language study lessons. These intentionally sequenced lessons build students’ understanding of words and language that includes phonics, phonemic awareness, and syllabication. Fundations lessons are hands-on, interactive, and depend a great deal on student participation. Students use dry-erase boards, manipulative letters, and pencil and paper to explore and test how language works!