Students will use the writing process, which includes pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing to practice writing skills learned. A variety of informational and narrative genres will be covered in third grade. Our writing program this year will focus on the writing process equally as much as the final product.
We will continually teach writing skills through mini-lessons and these skills will be applied in a variety of activities such as writing stories, informational pieces, reports, reflections, journal entries, and poetry. The mini-lessons are composed of explicit teaching points from the following areas:
Choosing Ideas – Students will focus on: choosing an interesting topic or theme, presenting a clear main idea, providing good supporting details, and holding the reader’s attention.
Organization – Students will focus on: including a beginning, middle, and ending, using transitions to show how ideas connect, choosing a structure that matches a given theme, and sequencing ideas in a chosen order.
Voice – Students will focus on: knowing whom their audience will be, letting their readers see how they feel about the topic, writing as if they were speaking to their readers, and making their reader think about what they have to say.
Word Choice – Students will focus on: choosing words that make their meaning clear, choosing nouns, verbs, and modifiers that are interesting and exciting, using language that is natural, and choosing words and phrases that catch the readers’ attention.
Sentence Fluency – Students will focus on: making their writing fun and easy to read aloud, building sentences that make meaning clear, showing connections between thoughts, varying sentence length and structure, and starting sentences in varied ways.
Conventions – Students will focus on: spelling, paragraphs, punctuation, grammar and usage, and capitalization.
Presentation – Students will focus on: making their writing look good, leaving white space around and within their writing, using titles, bullets, page numbers, subheadings, and other aids, and adding illustrations and visual aids to clarify meanings.
The third graders will practice these skills throughout the following Units of Study as well as through various extension assignments in additional content areas:
The Arc of Story
Students will study creating and developing stories in which characters feel real. They will work on drafting and revising pieces with an eye toward believability and prepare for publishing with an audience in mind.
The Literary Essay
We will write about reading, citing and using textual evidence to support our theses. They will work on their craft to develop effective beginnings and endings to their pieces, and finally, compare and contrast familiar texts in compare and contrast essays.
Boxes and Bullets-Informative Writing
Throughout this unit, we will continue to develop our essay writing skills. We will focus on drafting and revising essays. Students will explore a variety of text structures and develop research skills.
Word Study & Vocabulary
During word study this year, one goal will be to teach students key words containing the major prefixes, suffixes and spelling changes and how to use these to decode, spell, and build meaning for many polysyllabic words. Did you know that four prefixes (re, dis, un, and in/im) account for over half of all the prefixes readers will ever see? The most common suffixes (s/es, ed, and ing) account for 65% of all words with suffixes. Research shows that in order to be a proficient speller you must have basic knowledge of word structure. During the year, we will also begin exploring greek and latin root words in our word study.
Vocabulary is another important component to word study in third grade. Both indirect and direct vocabulary instruction strongly affects students’ reading comprehension.Throughout the year, students will pay close attention to new and interesting words during read-aloud, and learn to infer the meaning of such words using context clues. Follow-up discussions and activities will help students develop a more conceptual understanding of the vocabulary terms. During our reading units, students will be “front-loaded” with advanced vocabulary terms needed for text comprehension. They will complete instructional activities that allow them to explore and create a deeper understanding of the terms. Students will also explicitly learn academic vocabulary terms throughout the content areas.