Third grade will be a new adventure for me this fall. I had the choice to go back to 5th, take on 4th or try my hand at third grade. Fourth grade didn't really interest me. I thought about going back to fifth since I was somewhat familiar with the curriculum and expectations. But, I kept hearing all the teacher voices echoing in my head about how much fun third grade and third graders are to teach. The one statement which kept "talking" the loudest was, "Third grade is the promise land." So, after a few more T-charts and sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons, my decision was to take on third grade and all the potential enjoyment it has to offer.
One of my biggest reasons for going to 3rd is the fact most of my professional books and resources span K-3. One of my biggest questions is where does 3rd grade fit on a spectrum of elementary years? I come from the era where Ohio teachers were certified to teach elementary grades 1-8 and Kindergarten with an endorsement. Currently the certification is broken down into K-3 and 4-9. I don't know the specifics for each and have heard the grade bands are changing again. But, I do understand K-3 is considered early childhood.
I always believed third grade to be a primary grade. However, the more research I do, it seems to be a gray area grade level with some feeling it is still part of a primary experience and others feeling it is the entrance to intermediate. My newest outlook on third grade sees it as being a transitional year. A year where a bridge is being built to get these kiddos transitioned from primary to intermediate. I'm feeling like third grade might be "the promise land," but also quite magical, too.
So, this week I intend to work on creating my vision for my third grade students and their families. I'll be going back into my resources from The Responsive Classroom, digging through the RC website and Chip Wood's blog. Here's a link back to a RC resource, http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/sites/default/files/ET3intro.pdf - cross fingers it gets to me before leaving on vaca!
I'm looking for feedback from any third grade teachers - especially ones who have taught third in addition to other grades. What have you enjoyed the most, what has puzzled you, what are the sticky spots encountered along the way?