Inside the Classroom: Language Arts Block in 3rd Grade

Take a look at what the Third Grade Language Arts Main Lesson Block* looks like.

By Branigan Reed, Third Grade Teacher

Learning Goals

  • Students will:
    Understand and distinguish between the four types of sentences (command, statement, question, exclamation) and the punctuation used for each example.
  • Explore adverbs and understand how they support other types of words within sentences.
  • Independently compose a written synopsis of a story heard in class.
  • Collaborate with peers to compose a written synopsis of a story heard in class.

Class Work

In addition to the ongoing practice of spelling, mental math, movement, speech, and song work that occurs throughout the year, the main activities of this block included:

  • Independent writing: synopsis of the story of Joseph
  • Group Writing: Compose group retelling of the story of Moses
  • Compose sentences using the parts of speech learned and practiced so far this year. (article, noun, verb, adjective, adverb)
  • Main Lesson pages recording important aspects of stories heard in class, and grammar lessons practiced throughout the block.

Why do we teach this block and why do we teach it this way?

In January we are completing our second language arts block and continuing with our exploration of the Hebrew stories of the Old Testament. The children heard stories of how the world was rebuilt after the great flood, as well as the obstacles Abraham faced in the city of Babel and the journey to Canaan. They learned about Jacob’s struggles with his brother that led him far from home, only to return to reconcile with Esau, and the amazing trials of Jacob’s son, Joseph the dream interpreter and eventual confidante of the Pharaoh. Finally, we have come to Moses’ dramatic experiences at the hands of the Egyptians, and their great exodus into the desert. The content of these stories is juicy and thrilling, and filled with the best of cliffhangers that allow the children to digest the ample details at a healthy pace.

The rich stories of the Hebrew people provide the children with an experience of right and wrong, faithfulness, perseverance, and honor. At the same time they also give us many beautiful images that inspire the main lesson drawings, writing, and painting we create each week. We are able to use bold colors and have begun to incorporate more form into our artwork, particularly in painting. This allows the children to experience again and again, with each repetition meeting a different part of them: writing connected to thinking, painting connected to feeling, and drawing connected to their will work.

Working with grammar and the different parts of speech throughout this block help us to put our experiences and thoughts about the stories into words. The children are beginning to build the ability to express themselves through writing, using the tools to help make their sentences more colorful and descriptive. The hardships and sense of rightness and perseverance provide a supportive and enriching backdrop for the practice of practical skills such as handwriting and grammar practice.

*A Main Lesson Block is a dedicated two-hour block of time in the morning that concentrates on specific subject. A main lesson block lasts anywhere from three to six weeks during which one subject is the focus.

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