Lynne Harrington, fourth grade teacher at Rock Canyon Elementary, has integrated a independent study time during her students’ language arts period.

Instead of working in centers, where she found that her students were limited to a time frame to complete writing and reading assignments, she believes that the students should be able to choose what they want to work on and for as long as they need. This time allows the students to work on a variety of assignments such as reading a book, worksheet activities, Mountain Language, Mountain Math, writing in their language arts notebook, working on their Chromebook for spelling and many other things. All of the assignments are due every Friday, which helps the students to begin to establish life-long time management skills.

This independent study time begins after their visit to the school library.This week the students practiced context clues to determine unfamiliar words in their readings. Fourth graders can also participate in book clubs during this time, where they share insights and probing questions from their reading.

Harrington has been teaching in Utah for 13 years and in California for 20 prior to that. She completed most of her schooling for her Bachelors at Cal State Long Beach and her Masters at Walden University. Centers weren’t working as well as they could’ve so she transitioned the class this year. She loves that the independent study time allows her students to make their own choices, while still integrating their language arts curriculum and teaching the students life-long skills.

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