New to Third Grade!

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by teacherhoosier, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Aug 2, 2017

    This is my first year in third grade! I am moving after 7 years in primary (2 years in K and 5 in 1st). Any advice? What to expect? Best parts?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 9, 2017

    I loved teaching third grade - inquisitive, fanciful, capable of deeper thought, better concept of consequences, a little prone to revert to the "baby" card if immature, capable of intrinsic motivation. Token economies can work quite well, and this is the age when the students are more self aware, which means that pesky deficits can really start t be identified and the students want to be "same", not "different", which can be motivational. Great ideas and concepts, and they can keep you on your toes. They are so much more capable and independent - a real joy!
     
  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Aug 10, 2017

    I've taught 3rd for most of my career. Here are some tips I've found.

    3rd graders are still very literal, but abstract thinking is beginning. I tried to include puns within my teaching day to increase their linguistic abilities; they don't always get the joke, but that's OK. Not getting it but realizing it's humor and laughing anyway is part of the brain growth. (Or one year, one linguistically mature student would almost fall out of her seat laughing and the others would wonder what was so funny)!

    I'd recommend emphasizing independent reading, even for and especially for struggling readers. If something's going to click, this is when it will, and when it clicks it's like one day a whole new student just entered the room. Interesting books/magazines that invoke curiosity also invoke brain processes that actually self-guide in reading improvement for all students. Curiosity, in fact, is a major incentive for all learning.

    Classroom discussions are quite productive at this age; not all comments seem to fit the point, but the comments do fit within the mind of the student who says them. Once they are redirected back to the topic, magnificent brain connections take place within all the students.

    I've had teachers disagree with me on this next point, but I've found that 3rd grade math must use manipulatives with plenty of practice prior to non-manipulative practice. They still have foggy concepts for addition/subtraction algorithmic procedures that need unfogged to prepare for upcoming algebraic expressions in later grades. Multiplication/division facts are the most difficult to properly memorize, not just for a test (most kids can accomplish that) but for life. Varieties in approaches seem to work best. Parents tend to purchase stuff that throws all the facts on them at once rather than a few at a time. Often kids also try to memorize each fact as a separate fact rather than combining similar facts resulting in trying to memorize 200 facts! I would have them memorize the facts "backwards, forwards, and inside out." (8x3=24, 3x8=24, 24=8x3, 24=3x8, later changing the equals to "divided by"). When I was in 3rd grade, I learned this shortcut by watching an episode of the old black and white Dennis the Menace program on TV; perhaps that episode can be found on DVD or YouTube? Anyway, Dennis's father shows him that shortcut.

    In teaching multiplication/division, I've had most success beginning with, ouch! The technical name escapes me while writing this, but by arranging units in a rectangle and labeling the rows and columns. This can even be shown as a pre-division algorithm. Array! Hooray! I remembered the term! Anyway, arrays are a great starting point for multiplication/division comprehension.
    When teaching arrays with manipulatives, I still find the old-fashioned overhead projector to be at an advantage for moving base-ten blocks around. If transparent blocks are used, they are best moved around the screen with a pencil eraser. :)

    Just a few tips I've found that I hope help. Have a great year!
     
  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 10, 2017

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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2017

    Something I've found from experience: for whatever reason, I read that third graders are too young to understand gravity, it's too weighty of a subject for them (pun intended), but I've discovered just the opposite. Science lessons typically taught during third grade are often easier to totally grasp if the students have a basic understanding of gravity. Gravity is best taught through demonstrations. Earth's gravity can be demonstrated with a large cloth held by the students (I tried several cloths to find the one that demonstrated the best). In the middle place a large ball. Then at the edge of the cloth place a smaller ball. The cloth represents space and the larger ball is the earth warping the space, or in third grade language, taking up space. (Kids are very familiar with sitting in a back seat of a car and another kid taking up their space). The little ball can be a person, an object, the moon, whatever. It has nowhere to go but to the earth. Oversimplified, but effective.(Greene, Brain. The Elegant Universe. 1999: The beginning chapters have other unique illustrations of difficult concepts that I've also alluded to in 3rd grade--hey! As Leaborb said, third graders ask interesting questions). NASA also has excellent videos that explain gravity, Newton's laws, free fall, etc. in cartoon format and in demonstrations from the space shuttle. Kids (and parents, who wonder what's wrong with that crazy teacher) are surprised to learn that there is gravity in space; that the laws of gravity apparently exist throughout the entire universe. As a demonstration of microgravity (how things "float" on the shuttle", with much care for safety of course, the students would drop a plastic coffee can from the top of a platform on the playground. First, however, they would hold a toy astronaut in the middle of the can, and drop both at the same time. From up above, they could watch how the astronaut seemed to float in the middle of the can during the free fall.
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 11, 2017

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  8. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Aug 15, 2017

    Thanks for all the information and advice! I actually changed schools right before school started and I am teaching first grade again. Have a wonderful year!
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 16, 2017

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