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Short Class Periods and Notebooking


The other night I meet with a group of third grade teachers who are notebooking this year. They noted that this year they only have 30 minutes a day to teach science. In reality that time is reduced to 20-25 minutes when you factor in transition and settle time. The students do go to a science lab once a week, which helps, but the question was, "How do you structure your class to notebook with such a limited amount of time?"

My suggestion was to break up the lesson so that one day you would teach the lesson whole group (so covering that LH side) and then the next day you would do a short review and then the independent work on the RH side (or it might be a lab you do with the information the day before). Doing it this way you would cover two lessons a week. Friday would be a quiz, make up or video day. I looked at the standards and indicators and it could be done (it would be tight but possible).

My week might look like this....

Monday - Introduction of landforms. Create a flip chart for the lesson.

Tuesday - Review (see how many landforms your children can remember from the day before). Make a foldable where students have to draw and label examples of each landform.

Wednesday - Review landforms again. Introduce Earth's water features with a flip chart lesson, use the textbook.

Thursday - Review landforms and add in water features. Students make a second foldable (possible using blue paper) where they draw and label examples and characteristics of water features.

Friday - Mix and match quiz. Finish foldables if not done. If done - draw a poster for the classroom of one of the land forms and one of a water feature. (you could also play vocabulary bingo after the quiz instead).

In this structure you would really have to stay on top of your students who struggle getting started (or they will never finish). I would move those children to a table group, where I would sit and refocus/help children as needed. It would also mean that you would need to be hyper organized for the lesson...all material glued in before hand by you or a parent volunteer, all supplies at the ready, etc.

The third grader teachers at my school decided to teach science and social studies in four and a half week blocks in order to give them more time to teach science. They have the reverse problem. They would need to double up the lessons in order to cover the standards. I am curious to see how that plays out this year and how they manage their notebooking. I'll post once I get a better idea of how it works for them.

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