Third Grade Curriculum
Our third grade curriculum increases students’ independence and knowledge across subject areas. Third grade students transition classes for math, social studies and science. Subject area specialists enhance student learning through increased opportunities for deeper thinking lead by cross curricular units, collaborative learning, group projects and student lead presentations. Computer literacy is a strong component of the third grade curriculum as we introduce keyboarding within the classroom to all third grade students with multiple opportunities for them to use their device to research, write and demonstrate their learning.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Foreign Language
- Performing Arts
- Physical Education
The Language Arts program utilizes a balanced approach to literacy. Within the Language Arts block are the components of reading workshop, writing workshop, and vocabulary study. Believing that the Language Arts skills, strategies, and craft should be taught in an authentic setting, our program supports bringing strong literacy instruction into the content areas.
Our approach to reading instruction enables children to build and hone skills they need to succeed in becoming powerful independent readers. Explicit reading strategies are taught in a mini lesson format, followed by both small group and individual instruction. We assess each child individually in order to determine his/her instructional reading level at various times throughout the year to provide continued differentiated instruction. Genre book libraries are organized in each classroom and children choose texts at their “just right” level, which they keep and read independently both at home and school.
Our students will learn to understand texts on the deepest levels, moving beyond the basic understanding of plot to be able to analyze a variety of materials—in listening to texts as they are read, reading in groups and with partners, and reading independently. The development of good listening skills parallels and reinforces the development of good reading skills. Students learn to draw on a wide variety of strategies to understand a range of texts, both fiction and nonfiction.
- Students learn to use context clues to determine the meaning of multi-syllabic words or unfamiliar vocabulary.
- Students learn to use explicit information to identify the main idea or primary purpose of a text or part of a text, enabling them to use the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how” of a text to contribute to a deeper understanding.
- Students learn to use implicit information from a passage to make inferences about the emotions and motivations of characters in order to understand the ways characters change throughout higher level texts.
- Students learn to draw connections from other texts and real life in order to understand texts better.
- Students learn how to synthesize explicit and implicit information to make predictions, draw conclusions, and analyze texts.
- Students begin to evaluate characters and texts.
Third graders teachers have a firm commitment to the value of reading aloud to students. Our goal is to use novels, above grade level, to “broaden the scope” of understanding. Reading aloud helps students build background knowledge, increase vocabulary, make more meaningful connections to thoughts and ideas as well as associate reading with pleasure (Bank Street College of Education). “Research indicates that motivation, interest, and engagement are often advanced when teachers read aloud to students (Albright and Ariail)."
Not only does reading aloud have benefits educationally, but also emotionally. Through a character’s fictional or real-life experiences, students learn strategies for dealing with social situations and conflicts; this can only increase their self-confidence. “Research indicates that motivation, interest, and engagement are often advanced when teachers read aloud to students (Albright and Ariail).” Most importantly, reading aloud gives students fond memories of their experiences, and creates a greater love for the written word.
In the writing workshop, our students learn to observe their lives and the world around them, and to collect, draft, revise, edit, and publish well-crafted narrative and expository pieces. In addition, they are exposed to fine literature and poetry throughout each day that can be used as mentor texts for both reading and writing.
As students begin to develop more comprehensive paragraphs and become more comfortable with the stages of the writing process, the ability to organize complex information and recognize the multiple purposes and audiences for writing becomes increasingly important.
Students learn to integrate their developing facility with English grammar and usage with a growing understanding of writing and the writing process.
- Students learn how to effectively combine two or more sentences into logical compound sentences.
- Students will learn to recognize and develop thesis statements, topic sentences and conclusions. They will begin to utilize effective transitions between ideas, sentences and paragraphs as well as effectively and logically sequence information in their writing.
- Students learn how to choose effective and relevant details to support a given idea or thesis.
- Students begin to learn how to effectively use literary language when appropriate.
- Students learn to recognize the role of the audience. They will understand that there are different purposes for a piece writing in order to help determine the kind of information that needs to be included and the appropriate style and tone of the piece
- Students will continue to develop a foundational understanding of language conventions and mechanics that is essential as students move from writing sentences to composing paragraphs. Students will also grow their understanding of sentence structure and language conventions.
- Students will learn to recognize correct and incorrect capitalization, capitalization of proper nouns, the first word of a sentence, as well as titles and forms of address.
- Students will learn to recognize the correct and incorrect use of the comma, correct use of the apostrophe in contractions and possessives, proper punctuation for dialogue and letter writing, as well as correct end punctuation.
- Students learn to apply rules of English diction and grammar by following specific rules. Rules taught include correct pronoun use, including pronoun-antecedent agreement, and correct verb form and tense, including subject-verb agreement. Students will also learn rules of correct and effective expression at the sentence level, and rules of sentence boundaries, including avoiding run-ons and fragments.
Reading with understanding and writing with precision requires an extensive vocabulary. In third grade, students utilize the WordMasters program. WordMasters is a nationwide vocabulary competition for grades 3-8. The competition is based on understanding and completing analogical relationships. The early introduction of this higher-level skill will benefit students, and assist with an understanding of the many facets of a word.
In third grade, the objective of our mathematics program is to develop thinking skills, build proficiency, and produce confidence, while promoting a love of mathematics. Students engage in mathematical thinking through experimentation, investigation, questioning, and problem-solving. There is increasing emphasis on familiarizing and utilizing standard algorithms and using correct terminology. Math activities in third grade foster increasing competence in place value with large numbers, addition and subtraction with regrouping, geometry, multiplication and division, data analysis, measurement, as well as further developing their understanding of fractions and decimals. Throughout the year students practice basic math facts to improve automatic recall. We expect the students to end the year with a firm grasp of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Pearson’s enVisionMATH, technology, including XtraMath and iXL, and a variety of other quality resources are used to enhance their depth of knowledge.
Mathematical skills taught in third grade will include:
Number Sense and Operations with Whole Numbers
- Use place value, including how to read, write, and compare whole numbers to the millions place
- Write six-digit numbers in standard, expanded, and word form
- Use models to represent, order, compare, and perform whole number operations
- Add and subtract up to nine-digit whole numbers with and without exchanging
- Multiply and divide multi-digit numbers
- Know the language of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and understand the relationship between the operations
- Use estimation to solve problems including all four operations
- Understand the properties of addition and multiplication including the identity, commutative, associative, distributive, and zero property of multiplication
- Multiply and divide by multiples of 10
- Solve single and multi-step real-life problems involving number operations
Number Sense and Operations with Fractions and Decimals
- Use models and number lines to identify, compare and represent the order of fractions and decimals
- Recognize the relationship between fractions and decimals
- Add and subtract decimals to hundredths and fractions with like denominators
- Multiply fractions of a set
- Solve real-life problems involving fractions and decimals
Geometry and Spatial Sense
- Use basic geometric language to describe and name shapes and solids
- Find perimeter and area of closed figures
- Understand the basic properties of figures, including closure, number of sides, faces, vertices, and angles
- Characterize lines as intersecting, perpendicular, or parallel
- Identify relationships between figures and images under transformations including translation, reflection, and rotation
- Identify lines of symmetry and the effects of combining, subdividing, and changing basic shapes
- Identify congruent and similar figures
- Classify triangles by sides and angles
- Know the approximate size of customary and metric units to measure length, weight, and capacity
- Convert measurements within the same system
- Measure the perimeter and area of regular and irregular polygons
- Solve real-life problems involving coins, elapsed time, calendars, temperature, weight or distance.
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
- Read and interpret various types of tables, including tally charts and line plots, and simple graphs, including bar, line, circle, and pictographs
- Calculate mean, median, mode, and range from a given set of data
- Introduce the concept of probability
Patterns, Functions, and Pre-Algebra
- Recognize a wide variety of patterns and the rules that explain them
- Solve one-step algebraic equations including all four operations
- Select number sentences to represent problem situations
Third grade science focuses on exploring the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world. We use the Discovery Science as a resource for units of study in physical, earth and life sciences. Our students are immersed in the nature of science and inquiry, and they are encouraged to unlock the big ideas in science and literacy. Non-fiction reading skills are taught through science content. Students learn to gather information from texts and online resources, and incorporate that knowledge into their overall understanding of content.
Our science curriculum emphasizes the process skills of science by using a leveled, hands-on inquiry approach. The students begin with guided inquiry and move on to open-ended inquiry. Students learn that science is a way of knowing and is empirically based and consistent with evidence. Students also learn that science knowledge is subject to change when new evidence presents itself and is inherently a creative process. STEM education is integral to our science curriculum, and STEM units are embedded throughout the year.
Third grade units include:
- Matter: What are some properties of matter?
- Solar energy: What are some ways that energy can be changed from one form to another?
- Mechanical energy: How do simple machines help us move objects?
- Plant and animal adaptations in the Florida ecosystem: How are plants and animals well-suited to live in their environments?
- Objects in the sky: What roles do forces play in the patterns and stability of the solar system?
- Lego Robotics: What is engineering? How can people work together to create better designs?
Our primary objective is to develop the knowledge, skills, and civic values students need to become active and reflective citizens in the United States and world today. Skills include sequencing, critical thinking, making inferences, extracting main ideas and critical information, working in cooperative learning groups, inquiry-based learning and activities, reading for meaning, context clues, summarizing, oral presentations, utilizing graphic organizers and other thinking maps, and much more. Our units trace the critical events in the development and history of Florida, including Florida’s waterways, Native Americans of Florida, Florida’s famous explorers, Florida’s land boom, Florida’s animals, Florida’s economy, and famous Floridians.
This program is intended to develop listening comprehension and verbal skills in young children. Total Physical Response (TPR) Storytelling is an instructional strategy developed by Blaine Ray, which is based on Stephen D. Krashen and Tracy D. Terrell’s work in developing The Natural Approach and James Asher’s work in developing Total Physical Response. The goal of both of these strategies is to allow students to learn a second language in much the same manner as they learned their first language—through the senses and comprehensible sensory input. TPR Storytelling provides students with the following:
- Active language learning which is meaningful and context-driven.
- TPR (Total Physical Response) cues which allow for immediate comprehension.
- Appealing stories rich in comprehensible input which is easy to internalize.
- Multiple opportunities to prove comprehension and to feel successful.
- Long-term retention of language.
Students will be able to tell short stories using the vocabulary learned, and as the year progresses their enhanced comprehension will allow them to add more details to their short stories. Students will also continue refining their pronunciation and knowledge in the language.
Students review previously learned vocabulary by writing descriptions of their homes, what they like to do, their family, meals, school life, etc. This introduces sentence structure, modifying nouns and gender agreement.
Spanish instruction is often differentiated in order to meet the needs of our students.
The third grade Visual Arts program is based on a framework that allows students to investigate, create, and critique artwork in meaningful ways. The program is designed in a way that allows students to gain enduring understandings that are transferable to other disciplines and areas of their lives.
Students learn how to assess their own work, as well as the work of others, by using problem-solving and decision-making skills. As part of the program, students are introduced to a variety of skills, techniques and processes, allowing them to strengthen their ability to remember, process, and sequence information. Through practice with different media, art students learn to manage, master, and refine simple and then more complex skills and techniques. The program provides a balance between guided instruction, where students learn to master a skill, and independent practice, where students apply new skills and techniques in creative ways and learn to become innovative thinkers.
As part of the appreciation of specific art forms and building respect for the creative process, it is important for students to understand the organizational structure of art. Specifically, the elements of art and principles of design are investigated to provide a foundation for creativity. By looking at the work of famous artists and artists from other cultures, students gain an understanding of how the arts document historical and cultural trends and foster an appreciation for differences between our culture and other cultures. In alignment with the focus on technology and citizenship at CSN, the arts program allows students to learn about careers related to the arts and employ the skills necessary for success as citizens, workers, and leaders and that positively impact local and global economies.
Big ideas covered in third grade art include:
- Critical Thinking and Reflection
- Skills, Techniques, and Processes
- Organizational Structure
- Historical and Global Connections
- Innovation, Technology and the Future
With those ideas in mind, the students will learn about and/or implement:
Use of warm and cool colors
Color mixing and color theory
Use of art-related vocabulary (line, texture, space, color, shape, pattern, balance, value, form, unity, symbols, movement, unity, rhythm, movement, emphasis, depth, contrast, balance, negative space, positive space)
Working as part of a team to collaborate on art projects
Artist appreciation include: Picasso, Klee, Hundertwasser
Clay construction using slab method and glazing
Use measurement and symmetry to complete half of a face by using value, shading, highlight to create more realistic portraits
Learning how to critique others by using constructive criticism.
Technology integration as a way to communicate ideas about artwork (artists' statements).
Students in third grade will choose between Chorus and Strings for their music course.
In Chorus we begin exploring choral singing. Each class begins with solidifying musical fundamentals with a theory and ear training lesson, followed by basic vocal technique exercises. We then move into learning and rehearsing our performance repertoire, reading from printed choral octavo as well as by rote. The class culminates with two end-of-semester performances. Chorus classes meet twice each week.
Third grade strings class is a second year class for students electing to continue to learn violin, viola, or cello. Students continue with reinforcement of the basic positions, read more advanced music, harder rhythms and ear training. Third grade beginners electing to join this class are strongly urged to study privately and must commit to extra practicing at home to catch up to the class. The class performs twice a year at school for parents, family members, friends and for fellow students. Students are required to rent or buy an instrument to take this class. CSN provides assistance and information for the rental process.
The physical education program provides a variety of learning experiences by offering an array of age-appropriate activities aligned with the NASPE standards. The goal of the physical education program is to help each student reach his or her optimal physical, mental, emotional, and social development.
Proficiency in movement skills is developed through a variety of activities in which the emphasis is on experimentation, discovery, practice, and decision-making about enjoyable activities. Physical activity will provide opportunities for self-expression, social interaction, enjoyment, challenge and fun. As a result of active participation, students will begin to actively pursue lifelong physical activities that meet their needs. The more activities students are exposed to and experience, the greater chance they will discover activities of high interest and better the chance of remaining active throughout their lifetime.
The physical education activities can vary widely from basic locomotor movements such as walking, running, skipping hopping, jumping, leaping, galloping and sliding, to non-locomotor movements such as bending, swinging, turning, twisting, pushing, pulling, chasing, and tagging. Manipulative activities such as throwing, catching, kicking and striking are also introduced. Emphasis is placed on having a positive experience.
Third grade students begin to apply the basic skills acquired in previous years to game-like situations. They learn the etiquette of participation and learn to resolve conflicts during games and sports in acceptable ways. Students begin to participate in athletic challenges, such as the mile run and other physical fitness tests.
The ever-increasing impact of technology on teaching and learning is an important consideration in education at all grade levels in the Lower School. Our curriculum encompasses the use of a wide range of digital tools, media and learning environments for teaching, learning and assessing. Technology provides opportunities for the transformation of teaching and learning and enables students to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize and be responsible for their own learning and actions. Through the use of technology, learners develop and apply strategies for critical and creative thinking, engage in inquiry, make connections, and apply new understandings and skills in different contexts.
In third grade the students will learn:
Basic Computer Literacy Skills: review key computer hardware and peripherals, learn the proper use of the mouse, learn appropriate use of the computer and lab equipment, navigate within the operating system environment to locate programs, open, exit, and maximize the size of programs as they appear on the screen, open and save a file, print a file from within a program, and work with two programs simultaneously.
Keyboarding Skills: learn, identify and properly use the major function keys of the computer including the space bar, enter key, back space key, control (ctrl) key, alternate (alt) key, delete (del) key, and shift keys, learn proper key strokes, utilize proper touch-typing techniques, use proper finger positioning and techniques that coincide with touch-typing.
Word Processing: learn about the blinking cursor and how to move within the body of a document to type text into a document, utilize the backspace and delete keys to correct text errors, highlight text using the mouse, format text including: font sizes, font style, bold, underline and italics, learn about grammar and spelling error prompts, learn new formatting skills such as changing font color and font alignment, select a word by double-clicking on it rather than highlighting, right-click spelling correction, learn keyboard keys Tab and Caps Lock.
Creativity Programs: use programs to create and present their learning including iPad apps, iMovie, PowerPoint, and Keynote.
Telecommunications: use the school email programs, email and Internet safety including:
- Understand viruses and opening email from unknown individuals.
- Comprehend the concept of “inappropriate” email.
- Learn procedures for handling pop-up windows
Internet Research: learn appropriate Internet usage to comprehend the layout of a browser and focus on key areas such as the back button, address bar, home button, etc. to conduct simple Internet searches, learn to find images, locate, isolate, and save pictures use a search engine to find and collect information from the Internet
The third grade digital citizenship curriculum is designed to teach students:
- The differences between personal and private information.
- To be aware of the kind of information we share when registering on a website.
- How sharing private information online can lead to identity theft.
- To understand that they should stay safe online by choosing websites that are good for them to visit, and avoid sites that are not appropriate for them.
- To learn that the information they put online leaves a digital footprint or “trail.” This trail can be big or small, helpful or hurtful, depending on how they manage it.
- That people sometimes act like bullies when they are online.
- To understand what cyber-bullying means and what they can do when they encounter it.
- To understand that keyword searching is an effective way to locate information on the Internet. They learn how to select keywords to produce the best search results.
- Students discuss criteria for rating informational websites and apply it to an assigned site. Students learn that all websites are not equally good sources of information.
- The way search engines, like Google and Yahoo, work to render a results page.
- How using more keywords can help narrow a search
- What plagiarism is, both offline and online.
- How providing a citation is one way to give credit and show respect for the ideas of others.
- The difference between using a direct quote in our research vs. putting others’ ideas in our own words - and why we need to give credit either way.
- The components of a MLA style citation.