Looking for fresh ideas for what to teach in March?
Here are ideas you’ll want to add to your unit plans.
Here are some important events in March that you’ll want to be sure to add to your calendar:
- March is Women’s History Month
- The first week of the month is “Write a Letter of Appreciation” week
- Read Across America Day is March 2
- March 4 is National Grammar Day
- National Proofreading Day is March 8
- March 14 is Pi Day (not just for math!)
- St. Patrick’s Day is March 17
- March 18 – 24 is Shakespeare Week
- World Storytelling Day is March 20
- March 21 is World Poetry Day
- Pencil Day is March 30 (here’s a cool video about pencils!)
If you’re facing standardized testing this month, you are probably deep into writing and reading skills. That doesn’t mean you can squeeze in just a little of some other ELA activities.
Some to try this month…
Journal prompts are a great way to warm your class up to writing and reading. You can use fun monthly prompts or you can use random ones from a journal jar.
If your students will be tested on writing, focus the activity of the prompt. For example, students can focus on using transitions, precise word choice, or sentence structure. You can make that a requirement or challenge to the prompt.
?If you need fun journal prompts that celebrate the quirky and interesting holidays of March, I have a digital journal and print journal that you can use each day of the month to get your students writing.
Revising and editing skills are often part of standardized testing. But those are also excellent skills for students to practice on their own writing.
Rather than asking students to offer editing or revising skills to a random piece of text, have them practice these skills with their own writing.
This is an easy mini lesson to add to your writing workshop.
Writing Folders provide a great tool for students to collect and analyze their own writing as well as other texts.
Add mentor texts. No matter how much practice your students get in editing other texts, they should also be able to identify transitions, sentence structure, comma usage, and word choice in other texts.
You probably already have mentor texts that your students can use — a short story, essay, or narrative text. The beauty is that your students already understand the text…so you can dive back in to analyze the writing structure.
Whether or not you are preparing for standardized testing, keep your students reading!
Use book clubs or set a reading challenge — even read aloud to your students to keep them interested in a variety of texts.
Don’t be afraid to go back to texts you may have used earlier in the year to reinforce practice with summarizing, making inferences, finding connections, comparing and contrasting, or looking for theme.
Once students read and understand a text, you can go back to it repeatedly to teach skills. You’ll get your money out of all the time you spent reading A Wrinkle in Time or analyzing Call of the Wild.
Create your own mentor texts by using the reading selections your students have enjoyed earlier in the school year. Look for a few texts that will help your students understand the differences in genre and writing structure.
Teaching Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills always seem to fall to the bottom of the list when it comes to prioritizing what we want our students to be working on.
If you’ve been working on expository, persuasive, or argument writing, have your students turn their essays into a short speech. An “elevator” speech is a fun and quick way for students to focus on the important elements of their writing.
The theme for this month could be “use mentor texts!”
The advantage of this time in the school year is that your students have read and written many texts! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to find texts your students can use to identify, analyze, and incorporate different grammar concepts.
You want your students to practice using commas after introductory elements. Once they understand what this looks like, send them on a scavenger hunt to find them in a mentor text. Have them pull those sentences out of the text for their mentor sentences.
If you can record and save those sentences in a document, share them with your students.
Next, have your students go on a scavenger hunt for those same kinds of sentences in their essays, journal prompt responses, writing notebooks or other texts that they may have created. What if they don’t have any of those sentences? Ask students to revise a sentence or two to include that concept.
If you are collecting work for a writing portfolio, why not use it? Even if you aren’t, ask your students to examine their own writing – bell ringers, journals, whatever. Ask them to analyze their own writing.
Don’t forget to go back periodically and review/remind students of what they’ve learned. This will reinforce the concept, allow them to practice it, and create intention in their writing.
Because March is Women’s History month, it’s a natural spot to encourage students to explore the life of a woman in history.
Encourage students to build background information by exploring a variety of resources. My current favorite binge podcast is The History Chicks. Each episode features the life and accomplishments of a different woman. One of the best features of the podcast is that they review “media” that they used for their research. This is a great resource for teachers looking for age appropriate biographies or texts for background information.
This month also includes St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day, and Pencil Day — awesome opportunities for students to do some quick research projects.
Reading to start looking at next month? Find teaching inspiration for April here!