Sharing a class with another teacher can be tricky at times, but my teaching partner and I have really been able to make it work. One thing that we did the summer before we began teaching together was to create curriculum maps for each subject area. It took a lot of work, but we wrote yearly plans for reading and writing workshops based on the units of study we teach in third grade. We first created “Units at a Glance” and then wrote up the lessons for each day. After doing this, we both knew exactly what we should be teaching each day, and we knew exactly what our partner was teaching on our days off. Math was easier because we just follow the lessons in our program. We also decided to split up science and social studies so that I teach social studies on my days, and my partner teaches science on her days.
The schedule you see on my website gives you a look at a typical week in my classroom. We follow that schedule very closely. While there are many programs and activities that you see on my website, nearly all of them are related to a specific lesson or unit we are studying in a certain subject area. There are very few times when we interrupt our academic plan to do an unrelated activity. For example, the International Festival is a culminating activity that takes place at the end of our research unit. The students practice for the festival in music class, and the costumes and food are created at home. In social studies we do lots of exciting activities that relate the places we are visiting on our region tour. For example, students make cookies in Hershey, PA as a way to compare assembly lines production to mass production.
There are some activities, however, that do not relate directly to our academic curriculum. Grandparents and Special Person Day, for example, is just a fun way for students to share their learning with relatives from a different generation. We do tie it to writing after the guests leave, as the students write articles about the day and publish them in a class newspaper. Typing is another activity that is separate from our academic curriculum but is a district-wide requirement in third grade. Students are supposed to learn how to type by completing an intensive typing program for a solid week. To make it more fun for the kids, we turn it into a typing camp. My goal is always to make learning both fun and purposeful for my students, so I am always looking for ways to “spice up” the curriculum we are required to teach.
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