Alchemy : Third Grade

 

Literacy

Our literacy lab begins every morning with a lesson about a new concept or idea.  Students then apply that information in independent and collaborative experiences.  Students in Alchemy have a plethora of literacy opportunities throughout the year that include mini-lessons, read aloud, read to self, partner read, literature circles, one-on-one conferences, and Reader’s Theater. Using CAFE menu strategies (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand Vocabulary) in a variety of literacy experiences, students diligently work toward proficiency in the common core standards in literacy.  

 

Writing

During writer's workshop, students are in various stages of planning, drafting, revising, and editing.  Students are provided with opportunities to conference with one another as well as the teacher and publishing is a choice they often make in efforts to share their work with others.  Illustrations are an essential aspect of writing, and students use their creativity to provide detailed pictures for their work.  While students are offered much freedom to create stories without given criteria, some structured writing assignments are given as a challenge to enhance their writing skills and engage their minds. Throughout the year, students will have opportunities to compose pieces that touch on the various forms of narrative, expository, and opinion writing.

 

Mathematics

Our math lab typically includes two days of whole group activities and three days of small group instruction.  The students rotate from centers where they play games that reinforce the new concepts and also promote collaboration.  While one group of students meets for direct instruction, the others rotate through the centers.  Problem solving is a major component of math time, whether through individual, partner, or group work.  Students are placed in math groups for direction instruction, but can work with other groups during centers.  They also work alongside a variety of peers during whole group activities so that the strengths of all students are maximized.  

 

Subject Studies

Our subject studies merge the ideas and curiosities of students with the resources available in the school and community.  The student-centered curriculum allows for students to be actively involved in the learning process and advocate for their educational needs.  The flexibility and democratic style of the classroom further encourages creativity and choice.  Students discuss ideas in which they are interested and list concepts that they would like to learn about.  A crucial part of this process is connecting the different ideas to one another so that students begin to understand how different academic areas and events are related to one another.  Units are designed around the unique interests of students, and materials are acquired that allow for hands-on experimentation and conversation. 

 

Field Trips

Field trips are a fundamental part of our curriculum, as meaningful learning is a direct result of personal experiences in the community.  The students have the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge in environments that call to mind authentic questions and discussion.  Our individualized units often evolve from these genuine student investigations.