KSA #01 Contextual Variables · KSA #03 Program of Studies · KSA #06 Planning · KSA #08 Relationships · KSA #09 Instructional Strategies · KSA #11 Assessment · KSA #15 Professional Learning

It’s about taking risks and today I did just that

Before my Language Arts lesson today, if you had asked me what to expect or how I was feeling about the lesson I would have told you a few things. Primarily, I would have told you that I don’t know what to expect and that I was taking, what I perceived to be, an extremely big risk.

During my previous lessons, I had worked with my students on the essentials to the paragraph. We used a sandwich analogy. We have the thick bun at the top (our topic sentence) followed by the good stuff, our juicy details (supporting sentences) and lastly our thick bottom bun (closing sentence). This was something that was extremely tangible for the students to guide their paragraph writing.

Yesterday, we worked on the juicy details and thick bottom bun. At the end of our lesson consisting of class discussion and teacher guided instruction, I divided the students into four groups of five students. Each group was given a different, cross-curricular, question to write a single paragraph on. They used a hamburger template to brainstorm and finally composed their paragraph. I typed these paragraphs, to increase anonymity in preparation for todays lesson.

Now, my big risk: the students reformed their groups and I distributed the paragraphs, each group received a different paragraph than their own. I was asking grade threes, for the first time, to review their peer’s work requiring each of them to really apply their learning. Throughout the class l facilitated the students discussion and at the end of the lesson I was extremely impressed with the students response to the task.

This lesson could have flopped hard, but it didn’t. I think that this can be attributed to the scaffolding that was done in previous lessons. Without building their knowledge and providing the class with a sturdy foundation to work on in the leading classes, I do not think today would have been nearly as successful. The scaffolding combined with student collaboration, really helped to solidify students understanding allowing them to move through various levels of Blooms and apply their learning from previous classes to todays task.

When we are working with students of any age, it is important of educators to build our students knowledge from the ground up. Ensure that your class has the resources they need to be successful and push your students.

“Students will rise to the level of expectation”

I believe that, within reason, humans are resilient and this includes young minds. Set the bar high and provide the necessary resources for your students and they will strive to surpass that bar.

Until next time,

Mr. B

Grade 3 LA Sequence of Paragraph Writing Lessons

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