My students are exposed to a variety of writing. The opening unit extends students’ work with personal narrative while engaging them more fully in the complete writing process, with increasing emphasis on drafting and revising their work. They will also explore nonfiction writing by turning to texts as their teachers. Children work in clubs to gather, synthesize, and organize information about animals, and then use this information to seek solutions to real-world problems. Third graders use their newfound abilities to gather and organize information to persuade people that the causes the children believe in matter, like stopping bullying, recycling, and saving dogs at the SPCA. Third graders use familiar fairy tales to explore techniques of fiction writing such as writing in scenes, employing an omniscient narrator to orient readers, using story structure to create tension, and crafting figurative language to convey mood.
Through a workshop model reading program, I am able to support the crucial transition children make from learning to read to reading to learn. The opening unit launches my students’ lives as upper elementary school readers. Children ramp up their reading skills by immersing themselves in within-reach fiction books while working on word solving, vocabulary development, envisionment, and prediction. In third grade, they will address essential skills for reading expository nonfiction, such as ascertaining main ideas, recognizing text infrastructure, comparing texts, and thinking critically, as well as the skills for reading narrative nonfiction, such as determining importance by using knowledge of story structure. Third-graders spend time with fiction books, learning to closely observe characters, make predictions, and sharpen their skills in interpretation.