Thursday, March 15, 2012

Changes for 3rd Grade

I know that I've already posted about our plans for Jay's 3rd grade year. This post is specifically about the things that are changing in 3rd grade. It's not so much about material changes, but about the changes to the way we do things.

He has kind of flown through his Spelling this year, having finished All About Spelling Level 1 and finishing Level 2 in the next few weeks (he's only got 5 steps left). We haven't done Spelling every week, but the in weeks we have done it we usually finish 2-3 steps. In 3rd grade, we'll be slowing down a bit, doing just one lesson a week. This is for a few reasons. 1) Levels 3 & 4 introduce some additional work into the steps, such as the Silent E Book, Writing Station, and Homophone List. This extra work will require extra time. 2) In 2nd grade, he's been writing his words & sentences on the whiteboard, but will be doing it on paper in 3rd. Doing the written portion on paper will take a bit longer.

Math will be broken up into multiple sessions each day. This is mainly do to the jump in amount of work for 3rd grade. He'll be doing 1 page from Mastering Mathematics each day. He will be doing 1 page of story problems each day. He will be doing 1 page of Key to Measurement or Metric Measurement each day. He will also be doing Life of Fred Fractions and Life of Fred Decimals & Percents, probably at a rate or 2 - 4 chapters a week. So, we'll be alternating Math with Language Arts. So, it will look something like this: Mastering Mathematics, Spelling, Measurement, Grammar, Life of Fred, Vocab, Story Problems, Writing. That way, he gets breaks from both Math & Language Arts, preventing meltdowns and him tiring of either subject.

The changes in use will be minimal. Really, there are just some minor changes due to the set-up of the book. As I have said, we only got the teacher books for Easy Grammar. The format of the teacher books for 3rd & 4th grade is quite different from the format for 2nd, 8th, 9th, and 10th. Due to the different format, I can't just pull out the pages and give him the pages that need to be done each week or let him work straight out of the book. We'll still be doing one page/lesson per day. There are teacher pages, though, for each topic, which will require some teaching time. The answers are on the opposite page, so he'll have to get the page on the day he is to do it, not pages for the whole week at once.

In Check the Deck and Flip the Deck, each unit ends with a written assignment. This is a bit different from Discover the Deck. So, it seems that Writing will be a bit more structured and require more written work from him. This also means that he'll likely be using the computer more, because he'll be typing his unit end assignments.

The big change in Music is that we'll be adding in a 3rd instrument. He'll continue with recorder 2 days a week and Native American flute 2 days a week. He'll also be adding in drums, though I'm not sure how many days he'll be practicing. I think we have Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory software, which I hope to get him working on.

I'm thinking of watching the DVDs twice a week, instead of once a week. We practice the signs, whenever possible, all week long. I think that an additional viewing of the DVD each week will help.