As we all know, children have a tremendous amount to communicate! Throughout the day, our children are encouraged to write across subjects, but Writing Workshop is a time of the day when students are provided the opportunity to develop their writing skills. During Writing Workshop, children choose their own topic or idea within a specific Unit of Study (paragraphing, responding to literature, character essay, realistic fiction). Although they are in a common unit of study, they are encouraged to write about topics that are personally meaningful to them, while learning how to write in that particular genre. Teaching also focuses on grammar such as writing in complete sentences, using the appropriate punctuation, and spelling.
Unit 1- Paragraphing Focus Skills: Developing an idea, Organizing/Structuring a Paragraph, Elaborating- providing details that support your idea, Grammar- Complete Sentences, Capitalization, Punctuation, Spelling
The first Writing Unit focuses on writing paragraphs about topics they care about. Children get the opportunity to write new paragraphs everyday, get feedback, then revise them to make them better. By the end of the unit, students will have published multiple paragraphs, setting them up for a successful year of writing.
Unit 2-Nonfiction Reading & Writing Unit This unit pairs nonfiction reading and writing. Through videos and short nonfiction texts, students will explore adaptations animals have developed to survive in their environments. Students will learn strategies for reading complex texts. Then they will apply those strategies as they research an animal of their choice and write an informational paragraph(s) about the animal’s adaptations.
Animal Adaptation Independent Project: Students will use their knowledge from the Non Fiction Reading & Writing Unit to create a project on an independently researched animal. Students can create posters, powerpoint presentations or dioramas to teach their classmates about the animal’s habitat, adaptations and how the adaptations help the animal survive. Third graders will present these projects in class. They will work to present their projects in a way that is engaging and informative-thinking both about their delivery (eye contact, loud speaking voice) and the content (explaining and elaborating on what they learned in their research).
Curriculum Connected Field Trips: Third graders visit the Genovesi Environmental Study Center to take part in Weapons of the Wild: Poison, Armor, Camouflage, Oh My!- an exciting workshop where students discover how organisms are able to survive and thrive by adapting to their environment in many ways. Students will see firsthand the fascinating ways in which organisms use natural weaponry to defend themselves, hunt prey, or compete for resources to meet their particular needs within an ecosystem.
Unit 3- Character Idea Essay- This writing unit pairs with the Character Idea Reading Unit. In this unit, third grade writers will publish their first ESSAY! Students will learn the structure of an essay and then will take the ideas they developed about the characters in their books to write an essay about their idea with evidence and text examples. Teachers will support student learning through shared writing of character essays and also through a step by step model of how to write a character idea essay.
Unit 4- Writing About Reading In writing, third graders will learn how to write short responses on a variety of non fiction articles. First, students will learn how to really understand what the question is asking, then students will learn how to go back in the text to re-read and find the answer. Finally, students will learn how to answer the question using the A-D-D strategy. A- Answer the question in the first sentence. D- give 1 detail to support your answer. D- Give a 2nd detail to support your answer. They will be given a rubric of 0-1-2 that will assist them in self assessing their own work. In class, we will look at a variety of answers and practice scoring these based on the rubric. This will allow students to further reflect on their own work and decide what they did well and what they can do better next time.
Unit 5- Becoming an Author! Realistic Fiction Writing In our next writing unit, P.S, 172 third graders will write their very own realistic fiction stories! Students will go through the process of developing ideas, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.
They will start by brainstorming different realistic fiction story ideas- the stories will be based on characters who are around their age- 7, 8, or 9 years old, so their story ideas will have to be realistic problems a child their age would encounter. Then they will spend time developing a blurb summary of their story and their main character- what is the character’s likes/dislikes? What do they look like? What is their character flaw (negative part of the character’s personality) that is causing their problem?
After developing their main character a bit, they will make a story mountain or story timeline showing the important parts of their story. Third graders will see that authors make so many decisions about how their stories will go! How does the problem get revealed in the beginning? What attempts will the main character make? What will happen that will help the character solve their problem? Will their problem get solved or will their be a resolution where the character doesn’t get what they want, but they learn a lesson?
They will go through the process of revising their stories-where they learn different ways authors make their writing more interesting for the reader. Then they will edit and publish their realistic fiction story. Finally, it will be time to celebrate all of their hard work as authors!