Never underestimate the power of a guest speaker. The Grade 3's we're doing a science unit on Forces and Motion.
There is so much that can be done with this unit- it is A LOT of fun.
We had just learned about friction, push, pulls, and the different effects of a force (start, stop, slow down, speed up, change direction and change shape). My Associated Teacher and I wanted them to think about forces and motion in a different way. We thought about it for a while, until we finally came up with the idea of getting them to talk to a race car driver!
Luckily, I knew someone who races as a hobby.
A few days before, as a class, we came up with a bunch of questions to ask him. We started off with questions like...
- What made you start racing?
- How old were you when you started?
Then we started to come up with questions like...
- What surface is easier to drive on?
- Is there a lot of friction on the track?
The other Grade 3 class joined us on that lovely morning, and we had a lot of fun. Each student had their question on a piece of paper, and we went around the classroom asking Mr. C our questions about forces, motion and racing! The students were very attentive, patient and respectful- and they really enjoyed having a guest in the classroom.
If you ever get the chance to invite a guest speaker, I strongly suggest that you do it. It's an awesome experience for everyone, a nice break in the routine, and feels like a field trip in your own classroom.
Writing letters may seem simple, but in actuality, there's quite the process behind it. This past practicum with my Grade 3's, we learned about just that- letter writing.
I started off this unit with asking a very important question:
"Why do we need to learn how to write letters?"
Are letters only paper pen? Where else do we see them in the day of technology? I believe it is important to start off a unit with the question "Why are we learning this?" It motivates the students to come up with real reasons, and find reasons to want to learn about it.
What I loved about this unit was how creative I was able to get with the students. We read books that had letters to and from fairy tale characters. They had to then write a letter to a character of their choice.
Lucky for them, those fairy tale characters wrote back!
For each character the students wrote to, I grouped them up (based on the characters), and wrote back to them. They received letters from the Big Bad Wolves, Peter Rabbit, Little Red Riding Hood, and others.
These back and forth letters led up to them writing a letter to a race car driver who was coming to visit us for our science unit!
Their final letter writing activity was a Letter to Self, which they could only open on the very last day of Grade 3.
Letter writing may seem mundane, but with a little creativity, it can be really exciting.
I loved this lesson so much, and it's a lot of fun. I'm placed in a Grade 3 class, and we were learning about structures; what makes a structure strong, stable, etc...
We had previously gone over what we thought we knew about structures, and created an anchor chart. They were then given the opportunity to choose a structure, and research it.
During this lesson, I initially led it with a short, relatable video about structures.
Here is the link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_rDpyhuzOE
Next, I asked the students to tell me what they knew so far about structures. After a short conversation, I then put them into groups myself, and gave them the instructions:
They were each given a plastic bag of materials, and had about 30 minutes to build a structure that, if placed on top of jello, could withstand a jello storm.
Once they completed their structures, we gathered around a desk, and I placed each of the structures the jello, and created a storm! This opened discussion about what worked well, what didn't, and why?
NOTE: This lesson idea was given to me by my fellow teacher candidate, which also worked well for her in her grade three placement!
Also, I did not go into full detail of my lesson plan here; this is just a basic over view. There was a lot more discussion and questions.
Enjoy the pictures!
Dinosaur Language Arts
I taught this lesson during my last practicum, and the students absolutely loved it. For a few weeks, I kept hearing how the students loved learning about dinosaurs; reading about them, writing- whatever it was. Naturally, it was disappointing to them learning that it was not part of the curriculum, and with such a limited time to teach multiple subjects, it didn't seem likely that we would get to it. Best advice I received about teaching was cross-curricular learning! I created a language arts lesson based on writing skills (parts of language arts that are in the curriculum) and easily made a dinosaur theme, that also included art. This made the lesson that much more exciting, and really made the students eager to write, which I found to be a struggle at times.
You can download the worksheet at teacherspayteachers by clicking on the link here:
This summer, I'm working at a preschool, and am constantly looking for new art activities. This was a great one found on Pinterest. On plastic ziplock bags, I drew snails and jellyfish. When I arrived at the pre-school, I chose 5 different colours to use (orange, yellow, blue, red and green). The students chose two colours that I scooped up in a spoon, and put put into the ziplock bag, which I then closed. The purpose of the art activity was to cover the drawing completely in paint by moving in around on top of the ziplock bag. The students loved it, and especially the second time around where they wanted to choose more than 2 colours to see what the end product would look like!
This activity would also be great in a kindergarten class.
I had so much fun creating this lesson. This math lesson was all about Capacity. The tricky part was trying to figure out how to explain mass to my grade 1's and 2's. Many different descriptions are available, and my suggestion would be to find a way that works for you and your grade. My definition of capacity was: how much an object can hold. For this lesson, they were all told to be Archeologists for Dinosaurs. In groups of 2 or 3, they grabbed a jar that had a 'dinosaur egg' inside (styrofoam ball). With the sand box and scoopers (small, paper cups) they were asked to fill up the jar with sand until they no longer could see the dinosaur egg. My question was: how many scoops of sand does it take to fill up the jar until we no longer see the egg? Answers varied for this question. The second difficult aspect of this lesson was the word 'capacity' itself. They understood the idea of the number of scoops it took to fill up the jar, and thats how many the jar could hold! However, integrating the actual word 'capacity' confused them. Since there was only time for one lesson, I had to make the most of it. My suggestion would be to have this over a span of a few lessons if time permits, and slowly integrate the word 'capacity' if needed.
Social Studies: Art
This lesson was super fun. As a class, we learned about the Native American culture during a prior lesson through a PowerPoint that I created. The art lesson later than day involved the students creating their own Totem Poles; each student chose their Spirit Guide Animal, and created the Totem Pole from construction paper and art supplies from the classroom. One student researched a Totem Pole that can be found in Ottawa (seen in picture #2) and recreated it.
Holiday Lesson Plan: Introduction
For one full week, I taught a different holiday every day. The holidays were: Hanukkah, St. Lucia, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. The first day was an introduction lesson to get the students thinking about holidays, traditions, beliefs and customs. First, we discuss what traditions meant, as well as the definition of beliefs and customs, and whether or not they were related. Then, I gave each student a worksheet in which they could choose their favourite holiday, and answer a few questions about it in either words or pictures. Here are two examples below.
Math Lesson Plan
I am currently placed in a classroom with grade 1's and 2's, which has been a great experience so far. I am able to make up lesson plans for both grades which is wonderful practice for the future. Here are some of the worksheets I used from other teachers, and sheets that I have created on my own.