Teaching a Lesson: Grade 3
These exciting activities will help you and your third-graders make the most of Scholastic News Online. Each mini-lesson can be done in one or two class periods and can be repeated as often as you like throughout the school year.
Predict and Check
- make and check predictions about current events.
- Daily news updates at Scholastic News Online, T-chart (PDF)
- Discuss what makes "news" and how people get the news (TV, online, newspapers, magazines, word of mouth, etc.). Have students log on to Scholastic News Online. Point out the Today's News section, and invite students to study the picture and read the headline. What do they think the main news story will be about? What can they infer from the photo?
- Distribute the T-chart graphic organizer (PDF). Have students label the left side of the chart "Predict" and the right side of the chart "Check." Have students write what they think the news story will be about in the left column.
- Have students click on the photo or headline to read the full story, then use the right side of the T-chart to record what the story was actually about and whether their predictions were on-target.
The "Write" Stuff
- write and publish thoughtful responses to nonfiction text.
- Daily news updates at Scholastic News Online
- After students read a daily news report, direct their attention to the critical-thinking question(s) at the end of the story. Have students write a short response to the question.
- Encourage students to revise their responses for the traits of good writing, including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and mechanics.
- Have students submit their responses to their Scholastic News Online student blog section. (Click on "Blog It" at the end of each story to type in responses.)
What's the Big Idea?
- use a graphic organizer to record the main idea and supporting details in a news story.
- Any story on Scholastic News Online, Idea Web (PDF)
- Review the concepts of main idea and supporting details with your students. Remind students that the headline of a news story is often a great clue to the main idea.
- Have students log on to Scholastic News Online. Choose several stories for students to read from the news or Special Reports sections. If you are using a special report, be sure to direct students' attention to a specific story within the report.) Break students into small groups and assign each group a story.
- Distribute copies of the Idea Web graphic organizer (PDF) and invite students to work independently to fill in the spider map with main idea and important details from the assigned story.
- Have students meet in their small groups to compare graphic organizers. Give each group a clean copy of the organizer, and have the group create one final map that reflects their ideas.
- Have a representative from each group draw their final map on the board and summarize it for the rest of the class.
Have students write a new headline for their assigned story that conveys the main idea in a clear, concise way.
Picture Prompt Writing
- use photos in the news as creative-writing prompts.
- Scholastic News Online "Write the Caption" feature
- Direct students' attention to the weekly "Write the Caption" photo in the Games and Quizzes section. Challenge students to write three captions for the photo and submit a favorite for possible publication.
- Explain that many standardized tests use pictures or illustrations to spark creative-writing assignments. Have students choose their favorite caption from step 1 and begin planning a story that explains what is happening in the picture. Advise students that their story should have one or two main characters and a clear beginning, middle, and end. It should involve a conflict or challenge that needs to be solved.
- Have student volunteers share their stories with the class.