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. Fun_Teacher

    Fun_Teacher Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2017

    I used to teach only third grade. The curriculum for 3rd grade is definitely an interesting set up. I would consider third grade to be another chapter in a student's education. Third grade is typically a mixture of students. You will still have to teach appropriate behavior and how to be good in a classroom, but also you can use detention as a consequence. There are some students who are independent and ready for third grade, yet there are some students that aren't set for third grade. I loved teaching third grade. I can help you and give you additional advice, since I have taught third grade for ten years.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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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!
     
  5. Teacherhere

    Teacherhere Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2017

    I'd say 3rd is the defining grade from more a babying k-2 to what the rest of their schooling should be. They are very capable and you need to set the bar high for them. Grow them up quick and push them hard academically. A lot of growth can be made in 3rd grade depending on the teacher.
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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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!
     
  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    Aug 10, 2017

    I agree 100% 3rd graders are still concrete thinkers in a lot of ways and NEED the concrete, hands - on learning that manipulatives can provide. When I taught, and reviewed adding and subtracting, many of the students couldn't because they didn't understand conceptually what they meant. I brought out the base ten blocks and we went back to modeling numbers and then bringing or taking them apart... yeah... I had some students who couldn't tell me that there were 10 ones in a ten stick... :eek::eek::eek:!!!
    And then moving onto multiplication and division, moving the objects around into groups and arrays so that they can SEE it will definitely help. I think a lot of teachers just underestimate manipulatives in general and think ''showing it on the smart board is enough.'' I've both taught 3rd grade and subbed in a variety of age groups (including 5th) who would still benefit from the hands - on learning that manipulatives can provide.
    Be very EXPLICIT in your instructions and MODEL everything you do! Don't assume anything about your kids and understand 3rd grade, while fun, is a tough age group. It's definitely a fun challenge from both an academic and developmental stand point. Students are at an age where they LOVE to start questioning why things are the way they are... so be prepared! I heard the question "Why?" so many times it's now embedded into my brain! I didn't have those experiences working with 1st or 2nd because they still just kind of do what you need them to without really questioning it.

    This will help. Knowing third graders. https://oqoyz1y45eq3fjitpwe0w2k8-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/sites/default/files/ET3intro.pdf


    In my opinion many are like chihuahuas in that they are still little and rely on you, but want to assert their independence ("big heads") and show that they CAN do stuff... so give them opportunities with boundaries.
    They LOVE competition and I absolutely loved playing those kinds of games with them especially to help them as they learn spelling words, math facts, etc.
    Reading is HUGE for them! They are now ''reading to learn'' but many will still struggle with reading so be on top of that! Really work with your students to make sure that they are on grade level reading because if they don't by the end of the year, they will really struggle in years beyond.
    Moving up from the babies you'll definitely LOVE it! You can give them tasks and watch them go without needing to be on them 100% of the time.
    I think that's what I loved most!
    And they're really funny (with great little personalities) so be ready for that.
    :):thumbs:
     
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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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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.
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2017

    Very interesting questions related to academics and not! One student raised his hand -- looked very eager to share/make a point -- "Yes?" "Mr. L, do you shave your armpits?"
    :D:rofl:

    "Why do you wear a belt?"
    "Can I throw this (pumpkin) at your car?" We had gone on a field trip where all the kids got pumpkins. Now picture one of the most innocent kid (Alfalfa) even with freckles and gelled hair holding it up and asking. It was a horrible question, but he was so adorable and innocent.

    Here's a joke a third grader told me... "Why did Tigger go in the toilet?"
    He was looking for "Poo(h)" Get it? Pooh... like the bear.
    I couldn't help but laugh as silly and stupid as the joke was.
    :D

    To be fair, ALL students have these random questions, but I think third graders are at a point where they now have the gumption to stop and sincerely ask them to see what they can ask and how you'll respond. I think they're testing you at this point in their lives.

    Be ready for ANYTHING!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  10. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Aug 15, 2017 at 9:19 PM

    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!
     
  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Groupie

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    Aug 16, 2017 at 8:03 AM

    Ok. 3rd grade would have been a fun experience, but congrats!
     

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