Back to School: Featured Lessons – Grades 3-5

However you might be kicking off the 2020 school year – in person, hybrid, or virtual – we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some relevant content for you. Check out some of our back to school lessons, a character education lesson, and a staff favorite, too!

Back to School

Back to School: Elementary

Grade(s): 2, 3, 4, 5

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

Looking for a great Back to School unit that helps transition students back into the classroom, builds relationships, and kicks off a great year?

In this unit, students learn about their classmates, share about their summers, explore their new classroom, set goals, and share about themselves. You can choose to either complete the whole unit or just sections.

What Makes a Model Student?

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

Use this critical thinking activity to have students decide which qualities make a model student. It can help students to think about how they can improve their own attitudes and behaviors in class over the coming year.

Students answer questions about and discuss some of the qualities of a model student and then rank them according to which are the most important. Students drag and drop a curated list of qualities to rank their choices and use reasoning skills to justify their decisions. They can then compare to the class average.

What Makes a Great Teacher?

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

Use this critical thinking activity to have students consider what they think makes a great teacher and why. It can help you to guide your own practice with a class and focus on what they are looking for from you over the coming year.

Students answers questions about and discuss some of the qualities of a great teacher and then rank them according to which are the most important to them. Students drag and drop a curated list of qualities to rank their choices and use reasoning skills to justify their decisions. They can then compare to the class average.

Goal Setting

Grade(s): 3, 4

Subject(s): ELA

We all know goal setting is important, which is why it is important for the students to learn and appreciate goal setting in order to be set up for success throughout the school year, quarter, week or even day. In this activity, students learn about goals and why they are important.

Once students have an understanding of what goal setting means and why it is important they will have the opportunity to set their own goals and to track them throughout the school year.

Character Education

Character Education – Trustworthiness

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5, 6

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

This lesson is a great addition to the Character Counts program and the 6 Pillars of Character Success. This lesson focuses on the first character trait: Trustworthiness. This lesson could be used to start that series, or be taught in isolation.

Students will be asked to reflect on their personal character traits as well as evaluate those of others. They will complete a self-assessment and watch a student-made video on Trustworthiness. The video is followed by a rich set of discussion questions to really help students understand and connect with the concept of Trustworthiness.

The lesson closes with students choosing one of the suggested group projects. This will really allow students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in this lesson. Enjoy!

Staff Favorite

Dream Vacation

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5, 6

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies

Using a budget of $15,000, students create their dream vacation in this real world cross-curricular project. This project will require them to do internet research, allocate resources, calculate the cost of the trip, convert currencies, and learn the geography and climate of a new area.

Core areas of reading, writing, and speaking and listening are covered, as well as calculations and presenting information in graphs and maps. Elements of geography and history can also be included.

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