Saturday, January 7, 2017

3rd Grade Lesson Plans for the First Week Back from Winter Break

The winter holiday for me is always a time to relax and enjoy time with my family. I recharge my batteries and then right before it's time to go back to work, I do what I call "super planning sessions" where I look at what we have left to do during the school year and I map it out. Then I turn the idea map into a series of lesson plans. Taking the real break before I start planning allows me to come at my plans with a clear mind and not the frustration that has often built up by the craziness of those final weeks before the holidays. 

So yesterday I sat down and wrote out four weeks of lesson plans. I worked subject by subject and walked through what I want to accomplish in the coming weeks. So for example I did 4 weeks of math lesson plans first, and then moved on to our shared reading plans for the same 4 weeks. This allowed me to connect my guided reading plans to my shared reading plans and my writing plans. One reason I enjoy lesson planning for multiple weeks together is that I can see the links that I want to build for my students betweeen the various lessons. I'm kind of a big picture person.  

Now I have only sent next week's plans to my administration because as much as I like to plan, I live in the real world and I know that nothing in life, and very little in my classroom works exactly as planned. So on Friday of each week I will take five minutes and look over where I planned for us to be and where we actually are. Then I will adjust the plans as necessary. When I get to that last week that I have complete, I will repeat my original process and plan out another month of lessons.

Now that I have shared the process I use to create my plans, I'd like to share with you my actual lesson plans for this first week back from winter break. Each Friday or Saturday this school year I will be posting my actual lesson plans here on my blog.

3rd grade lesson plans with activities and center suggestions from Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

We start our day with Math every day. We review homework, begin our calendar books and take our daily timed fast fact quizzes, which my students call "number sprints". 

Then we do problem solving centers. I copy and paste each of the word problems from my lesson plans onto my problem solving graphic organizer (which is available at my TPT store in an editable format). Then I work with a small group of students on that problem while the remaining students work in small groups to solve the same problem. We have 30 - 45 minutes for this activity so many of my students finish the daily problem early. When students finish their daily problem early, they work on our problem solving path journals or tiling puzzles.

Once we have finished problem solving, we spend an hour on math rotations. Many people would call this time "guided math". However, for me this time is different because I very rarely do whole group lessons during Math, so this is really my minilesson teaching time. There are some days that I teach the same lesson 3 times as students rotate through their centers. However, more often the students are working on independent practice while I am there to guide them. While students are not with me, they work on calendar books, practice math facts and work on IXL.

3rd grade lesson plans with activities and center suggestions from Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

After math we have about 45 minutes and we use that time for writing. This week we are going to use the excuse of the new year to look back at the writing we have already done this school year and make some writing "resolutions" for the new year. We will also start exploring Story Bird, a great website for creating online storybooks. My students are going to be using this website to create their own folktales.

Lunch follows writing and after lunch (and recess and bathroom break) we work on grammar. A portion of our time goes to reviewing Daily Language, which we use as homework. Then we will spend time working on our parts of speech worksheets from my parts of speech unit.

Also featured on this part of my lesson plans is our country study project. We only do country study on Fridays. Fridays are an early relase day and the day my students take all of their "specials" - PE, music and keyboarding. So rather than try to squeeze in math and literacy too, we do all of our science and social studies on Fridays. My students chose countries earlier this year and we are working through monthly units using those countries. This Friday we will begin our science unit on rocks, soils and fossils. First we will learn about the types of rocks and then they will figure out which of those types of rocks can be found in their country. The students build incredible buy in to each of our science and social studies topics by making it personal by researching "their" country.

3rd grade lesson plans with activities and center suggestions from Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

We end our days with reading. First we do whole group and shared reading, introducing vocabulary and working on genre and reading strategies. This week we begin our unit on folktales with the Alaskan folktale The Frog Princess. We will also begin looking at making text to self connections with our reading strategies posters.

Next my students take a Spanish class. And then we do our guided reading block. During the guided reading block this week, I unfortunately have to complete reading assessments. My students know that when we are rotating, if I am doing assessments, they will have a different activity to work on. This week they will be creating genre charts using old scholastics order forms. 

Meanwhile at the other centers, my students will work on: contractions vocabulary packets, IXL and book reports. My students have been slowly working on book reports all year long. They started with mystery book reports, which most (but not all) of my students have finished. Then we began working on informational book reports, this is what most of my students are working on. However, some of my fast workers have finished those and have begun working on their historical fiction book reports.

Finally, we finish the day with our read alouds. This week we are working on folktales, so we will be reading The Little Red Hen and two versions of The Emperor's New Clothes.

So that's what my class is doing this week, what's your class doing?