Most third-grade students are wide-eyed and bushy-tailed when it comes to new activities in the classroom. They still are young enough that new projects seem exciting and typically approach them with enthusiasm. They also are becoming more independent and often enjoy taking ownership of special classroom assignments. Third-graders are self-sufficient, so they don't usually need constant hands-on assistance from teachers.
Keep It Green
Third-graders are old enough to understand the importance of recycling and environmental awareness. Some might have grown up in homes that practiced recycling but now are old enough to start taking responsibility for themselves. You might ask your class to collect some specific recyclable items at home for one week and bring them to school the following Monday. Allow them to think of ways they might reuse the items in the classroom. For example, they might use pizza boxes to store art projects, egg cartons for sorting small desk supplies, empty cans for crayons, pens or pencils, and newspapers to protect art table surfaces.
Everybody Likes To Eat
Research easy, quick, healthy, snack recipes that don't require hot cooking surfaces. Ask each child to bring in one ingredient per month. Prepare the snacks as a class and incorporate lessons on healthy living and food types, such as carbohydrates, proteins and sugars into the activity. You might make granola bars, snack mixes or no-bake cookies. These also are good activities for teaching kids about safety and sanitation practices associated with food preparation. Always be sensitive to student food allergies and work within those parameters.
Ring Around The Rosie
Third-grade students often enjoy games, jingles, songs, traditions and group activities. Incorporate social studies lessons on the history and background of familiar children's games into your curriculum and allow students to play the games at the end of class. Some games and action-oriented jingles have historical roots, such as "Blindman's Bluff" which originally was played in Greece more than 2,000 years ago, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. "Red Rover" can be traced back to 18th Century American sea vessels, according to The Play and Playground Encyclopedia. Games might require outdoor or gymnasium space, so make sure those areas are available when you need them.
"Where For Art Thou, Romeo"
Help students write, direct and act out their own plays, comedies or dramas. Most have favorite TV shows, video games, books and movie characters, so they have resources to draw from. You also might encourage them to bring in props and costumes or build small sets to complement their productions. Allow smaller groups of students to present their plays in front of the whole class. This activity encourages creativity and allows students to practice public speaking in an environment that's safe and comfortable. You also can modify the activity by allowing students to write and present songs or poetry.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.