Before my third grade literacy team met to plan for this new unit, I outlined the research I had found on the unit so far. I listed materials, anchor charts (which can be found in my blog post Test Prep Unit Anchor Charts), technology, and main ideas from our resource books. I have a 1st year teacher (who was my student teacher last year) and a teacher new to third grade via kindergarten. I think it was helpful for them to have this information in front of them. It cut down on them being overwhelmed (I think).
I found the following guide online that is used in New York. I trust curriculum guides and lesson ideas from NY because I was trained in balanced literacy from the Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project. I add in the North Carolina standards and the Common Core State Standards so that my students get all of the necessary and appropriate instruction.
The following pages in the guide were especially helpful when planning our unit. We reviewed the teaching points grid and crossed off the ones that we felt were not necessary for our instruction. Some of them we combined to streamline the unit. Some of them are more appropriate for small group lessons.
The Lucy Calkins A Curricular Plan for the Reading Workshop Grade 3 presents a Test Prep Unit framework. I created Smart Board slides using the guiding questions for the genres found within this unit on pages 118-130. I also created games using the ideas on pages 130-134 (I will post more about these later so you can see them in action). Page 116 provides a very useful layout of how to incorporate whole class, partner, small group, and independent practice of reading strategies during the unit.
After we chose our teaching points, we recorded everything on a calendar. We found passages that matched the teaching points. We pulled a variety of genres to copy so students would have Just Right books from the classroom library in addition to passages that were at and slightly above their levels. We created a Reading Passport for students to fill out as a way of keeping track of the genres they read (this will be a later post...check back at the end of the week). We planned out small groups to pull based on past data and conference notes. We planned out partner and small group activities for students to do from the Florida Center for Reading Research (click on FCRR in the labels column to the left).
The book below has some interactive reading strategies that I am going to use with small groups of students. I plan on using them with at- or above-level students who need a new way to use their strategies. There is a coding list that I think these students will enjoy using as a way of road-mapping their passages to show their thinking (also found in the Lucy Calkins curriculum guide on pages 121-122). It does explain that a few codes go a long way, so do not teach the entire list.
Since this is a new unit for me, I will post what I change and add throughout the month I am teaching.