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Year 3 essentials!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Keep Smiling!, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    I am moving to Year 3 in September and was wondering if any Year 3 teachers could tell me what the essentials in their classroom are? I'm starting to think about what displays people have and any must have resources? I'm moving from UKS2 and a bit worried about what I'll need.
    I'm also trying to find pencil pots to put in the middle of each table but having no luck. I wanted something to store coloured pencils, rulers, pencil sharpeners etc in to stop the children having to give these out but can't find any so any suggestions welcome!
    Many thanks!
  2. Good luck in Year 3....
    I moved from Year 5 to Year 3 so I know how you feel. In terms of practical things, I use the following:
    - little blue books which I call "have a go word books" - my TA puts A,B,C etc on the top of each page in it. When they can't spell a word, they find the right letter, "have a go" and then I write the correction in next to it, or tick it if they've got it right.
    - Year 2 High Frequency word lists - laminated for those who struggle with spelling which they can have on their table when writing.
    - displays of VCOP
    - a display of question openers - Who, Where, Why, What and How which I refer to often across many subjects
    - a good system for taking books home - they often need training on this.
    In terms of teaching, there seems to be a big focus on teaching them how to generate their own questions, innovating known stories, comparing and contrasting, learning sentence openers and using because to write longer sentences and also justify their thoughts and opinions.
    But that's just me.
    You may find it quite frustrating at first - from Year 5 to children who have just left year 2 was quite a shock for me. I started by doing things like giving a lesson introduction then sending them off with 3 instructions and them not having a clue what to do. I've found I have to break down every little step in that first term. e.g. Ok now go to your tables. Now draw a margin. Now.... etc. Just simplify everything! Especially to begin with!
    Hope some of this helps. I teach in inner city london, not sure whether all of this would be relevant if we were talking about a class without EAL etc.
    Feel free to email me if I can help you in any other way blagartist@hotmail.com
    Good luck!
    p.s. they love sending a toy home and a diary to write about it etc
  3. Waterfin

    Waterfin New commenter

    Hi. We have those cutlery holder things that are divided into 4 separate compartments to store things on the table as the neatly hold pencils etc upright and you can use the different sections for different things. They are available for a couple of pounds each in places like tesco or wilko's.
    Word of warning....if you leave a pencil sharpener on the tables in those boxes you will soon run out of pencils as some kids love sharpening them to death.[​IMG]
  4. Also, if your school do the optional sats at the end of the year, or you want to get used to them doing tests then I strongly recommend the mental maths tests you can download in one easy go on this website - http://www.schoolslinks.co.uk/ - they are pitched for each year group and they work well as a maths mental starter every now and again.
  5. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    Thank you so much for your replies! Blagartist, I probably will take you up on your offer, I've got lots of questions! I'm also moving from year 5 and am worried about what they will be able to do. I'm used to the children being able to read lots and usually did some sort of writing in most lessons and am worried how long it will take them to do this and if I'll be able to think of other ways around it! It's only my second year so I still question myself a lot!!
    I love the have a go books, a great idea! Do you seat your children in ability groups? I did last year and was going to this year but read another thread where they said mixed ability groups are better?
    Keep the suggestions coming!
  6. Hey,
    I am going into year 5 in september and I wondered if you could give me some advice about essential things to have in a year 5 classroom?? I feeling very nervous that I will baby them too much!
  7. Oh and in the year 3 class I worked with the children were seated in different ability groups for numeracy and literacy and then sat in talk partners (which were mixed ability and changed every 2 or 3 weeks) for everything else. I found this very useful for differentiating but then asking chidlren to work in mixed ability for other tasks!
  8. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    In terms of displays, I had a VCOP and maths display permanently up and then 2 topic displays of the childrens' work which changed each term. I also had a Spanish display and our class rules (which the children came up with at the beginning of the year) up.
    I gave each child a job e.g. Literacy monitor and found that they all loved the responsibility. I also found practical resources extrememly useful. Lots of multi link, counters etc helped explain more difficult concepts and also helped my lower ability groups.
    That's all I can think of at the mo but if you have any specific questions ask away!
  9. Hi Keepsmiling
    Glad it was useful.... reading your other posts I'd say you can do all of that stuff with Year 3 as well. I also had a VCOP display but obviously with the focus being on moving from level 2 to 3 (lots of work on time connectives, because, capitals, full stops, commas, exclamation marks, adverbs).
    My year 3 classes have also enjoyed having jobs - and it works well as a brain break in between activities. I gave them each a tidying/sorting job.
    You mentioned about including a lot of writing in your lessons. Year 3 should be able to handle that too - just bear in mind that during the first half term or so, they produce a lot less work than you'll be used to! In the first couple of weeks, I normally just set work that involves them writing 2-3 sentences per task with lots of modelling. They will soon zip along though. In terms of grouping them - do what works for you.
    I think the main thing to remember is what I said before about breaking instructions down. Just one step at a time, stopping them after completing title and date to remind them of task or then give them instructions for task etc.

  10. Thanks Keep Smiling!

    What table names did you use, I don't want to use anything they'd find too babyish? I'm having the same problem with reward systems, thinking of using a raffle ticket system but thinking about what prizes upper KS2 would like, for my yr 3s i bought glittery pencils, novelty rubbers etc but would year 5 find these prizes too young?
    My year 3s loved the raffle ticket system, they were so proud of themselves when they got them and put their ticket into the box! And on a Friday when I chose the name out of the box they were as good as gold waiting in suspense!!!
  11. Do the children have trays at their tables? My advice, after 3 years in year 3, is to give each child a pencil, ruler, whiteboard, laminated number square, number fan, rubber etc that they keep in their trays. I label the pencil, whiteboard pen, ruler and whiteboard. Believe me, this is a bit onerous (I label everything in front of the TV) but it saves so much hassle later on as you have a classroom free of the, "She's taken my pencil!" arguments and the children like to have ownership of their things. In addition, I use flowerpots for coloured pencils that are labelled with table names/number. They are not stored on the tables but elsewhere in the room and monitors distribute them when they're being used. The ONLY thing the children have on each table is one pencil sharpener. The type that collects the sharpenings. Clear tables with lots of space and free of clutter, rattling, banging and arguments.
  12. Mixed ability base tables and then into ability groups for the relevant lessons. I do a lot of English in mixed ability too for the speaking and listening opportunities.

    Later in the year I also fiddle with the groups a little so they are not strictly ability-based. Some kids have been in the same groups all the way through school and it perks them up to see some different faces next to them in the group. Just manage it carefully.
  13. Agree with so much here. Remember the 'learning loss' they will have experienced over the summer. They will return as year 2 children like rabbits in the headlights. Walk them through everything they have to do a step at a time and stop tasks after a short time, bring the children to the carpet and have them share their work so far. Make this standard practice and then the 'lazy' kids get used to the idea that they may have to share some work and it helps those that are not 'getting it' to pick up from those that are what they have to do. Share a few examples and then send them back for time to complete.

    Personally I hate VCOP displays unless they are fresh, dynamic and referred to in every lesson. I worked as a supply teacher in my first year in teaching and saw so many tired, dusty VCOP displays that had gone up in the first term and been overlooked by the children and the teacher ever since.

    PS. Change the kids' base tables and carpet place every new term.
  14. I totally agree with the advice to break instructions up into small steps. I taught Y3 for the first time last year and I think I expected too much of them to start with. I soon learnt to break everything up into small, simple instructions e.g. All turn to the first page of your maths book. Everyone copy the date and learning intention (wait until everyone's done it), now all get a ruler. All draw a margin (and demonstrate or you end up with all sorts!). Teaching them how to set out their books was the biggest problem in September, mainly because I expected them to understand quicker than they did.

    This year I had mine in ability groups for maths and literacy, and their 'normal' seats were literacy seats, In previous years I had mixed ability seats for everything else, but there were some children in this class who couldn't remember 3 different seats. In September I will be having totally mixed places for everything other than maths and literacy (although some literacy I will still do in mixed seats). This is because I have a lot of children that can't/mustn't sit next to other children for behaviour reasons and the only way I can keep them apart is to have mixed ability as much as possible.
  15. Hello all,
    I was new to Year 3 last year and although I only came down from Y4 the difference is noticeable! I also work in a Juniors so our Year 3s are really new to the school and that was difficult - I forgot they didn't know where the office was or where the Year 5 classrooms were and even at the end of the year I was still asking for volunteers who "absolutely know where all the classrooms are" (our school is/was (new build this sept fingers crossed) a higgle de piggeldy arrange of old buildings.)
    Whatwe must remember for Year 3 is that they're only 7! I forget this sometimes and want to treat them like older children and say things that totally woosh over their heads and I had to keep explaining every piece of interesting vocabulary I used (which gets tiring quickly!) I also expected too much from them and really the advice in this thread is sound - small chunks, 2 or 3 sentences to begin with, working up.
    At 7 they're still babies so enjoy reading them picture books, finishing work with a drawing, finding helping you give out work or books the most fun in their day and the constant news of "my brother's sisters girlfriends sister is having a baby!"
    P.S Arrange show and tell weekly or 2-weekly otherwise they'll just keep bringing stuff in and it drove me mad!

  16. elegia

    elegia New commenter

    I can't stress this enough. During my NQT I taughtY 3/4, and underestimated the importance of honing the presentation skills. By the end of the year I still had Y3s who couldn't seem to write an LO quickly or neatly. So my second year (Y4) I spent considerable time going through presentational admin step by step (LOs, tables etc). By the first half term they were well up to speed... By Summer they could not only draw a three column table independently, but they could usually tell me what the headings should be too. I imagine if I spend time doing this with Y3, they'll pick it up just as well.

    I'm a bit terrified about having a sole Y3 class. They're so young! I'm struggling to work out the organisational side. I've always done ability tables for maths/ lit and mixed for foundation and science, but behavioural issues is going to make this hard to manage. Does anyone have advice for managing mixed ability groups for core subjects?
  17. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    Thank you so much for all this brilliant advice! I've been away for a few days and just got back and found all your replies!
    I've definitely taken on board the advice about not expecting too muc - I'll try to remember this when September comes! I'm going to stick with ability groups for maths and literacy and then mixed groups for their home/topic places.
    I'm off shopping this week to buy some bits for my classroom, it's very sad that I'm excited by this! I would love to have carpet time with my class but the space right in front of the whiteboard is near the door so not in the greatest place. I was used to having carpet time on my placements and even did the main input on the carpet with a Year 5 class but I'm not sure this will be possible. But I'm worried that if they're all at their tables then they'll fidget, get distracted by others as they're only young. Any ideas?
  18. baileysonice

    baileysonice New commenter

    Hi all, this is really useful for me too as I'll be starting as an NQT with a class of 35 year 3s! Have to admit to being terrified about managing behaviour of so many pupils. I'm doing a job share until end of March (it's maternity cover) so will also have to liaise with the other teacher. I'll be teaching 3 days and she'll do other 2 days. Any advice on managing large classes and/or job shares?
  19. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    How do you manage Guided Reading in Year 3? I have to admit I didn't do it as much as I would have liked last year and really want to improve this year. Would the groups you weren't with work independently without you or did they constantly interrupt you?
  20. I found guided reading fine this year. The children had a carousel of tasks which they worked around each day of the week. I spent 10 mins on Monday explaining each task in detail, but they generally didnt change too much from week to week. The children were good at understanding they needed to work in silence and we usually managed 15 mins - not much longer though! They said at the end of the year that they enjoyed being able to just go and get on with a task independently.

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