During third grade, students show true growth in academics. Third grade teachers capitalize on this time with students to help them reach their full potential. The STJES Success Traits are incorporated into the third grade curriculum, and opportunities are created to reinforce these traits and foster a student’s character growth.
Courses of Study
Third grade reading begins with fiction and nonfiction selections from the Scholastic Reading Program. Reading units are frequently integrated with social studies and science projects. Such units give students the opportunity to apply information learned in a variety of experiences. Trade book novels are used to enhance and integrate various areas of the curriculum. Historical fiction: Stone Fox and Meet Addy to extend discussions in American History. Non-fiction books about planets are used for a major research project in science. To enhance reading and comprehension, read alouds are incorporated into activities. Read-Aloud books are chosen based on student interest, exposure to specific genres, relationship to class units, and reinforcement of Success Traits and everyday values.
Language Arts (Grammar, Writing and Spelling)
Third grade students learn Grammar skills two or three times per week and reinforced through daily practice. Grammar mastery is assessed through quizzes, independent skill practice, and written products.
Daily writing skills focus on sentence and paragraph construction, story elements (character, setting, story problem, story solution), and the writing process (brainstorming, research, rough draft, edit, final draft). Students keep a personal journal for reflective writing and other class assignments. There are several essay assignments during the school year. Students work with the Media Tech teacher to learn how to use the computer as an effective research and writing tool. In addition, Third grade students continue to build their cursive skills using the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Program. Students apply these skills in daily writing activities. As the year progresses, formal handwriting lessons are reduced, and cursive is used in final writing assignments and spelling.
Third grade students use Wordly Wise 3000 in third grade. The program is structured around weekly vocabulary lists that incorporate grammar, word study, phonics, reading comprehension, and other language skills. Students are required to learn both the spelling and the definition of each word on the vocabulary list and to apply correct spelling in dictated sentences on the Friday test. Additional words may be added from class units of study, trade book vocabulary, and science units.
Students learn and develop their math skills using the Savvas Math program. The curriculum consists of lessons in operations and algebra, numbers and computation, and higher level critical thinking and applications. All students are expected to have mastered their multiplication and division up to 10 by December, in anticipation of the multiplication and division units.
Students are able to organize and use data to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. By applying their understanding of weather related hazards, students are able to make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of such hazards. Students examine the similarities and differences of organisms' life cycles. An understanding that organisms have different inherited traits, and that the environment can also affect the traits that an organism develops is acquired by students at this level. In addition, students are able to construct an explanation using evidence for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing. Students study the types of organisms that lived long ago and learn about the nature of their environments. Third graders begin to appreciate the idea that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die. Students are able to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object and the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. They are then able to apply their understanding of magnetic interactions to devise a simple design problem that can be solved with magnets.
The third grade offers supplemental science units in addition to their S.T.E.M. science classes that they have three times a week. Third grade supplemental units include: Insects and Arachnids, Our Solar System, and Tropical Rainforests & Conservation and have traditional projects and assessments at the end of the unit.
Third graders collaborate on many class-wide projects involving the studies of the world and cultures around us. These include Community, Maps, the 50 states, and early American history. Each year, the students participate in the International Festival. One week is devoted to the study of a country. The selection of a country is made on a three-year cycle. During this time, children are immersed in the study of the selected country, with all classroom activities, literature, and projects centering on that country.
In third grade, students focus on introducing them to read and understand how Spanish works in short and long sentences. In order to do it, students work with a textbook and a workbook where they concise and clear explanations of the basic grammar structure. Exercises and games are tools used to review and improve their vocabulary and spelling skills. Students also learn about the culture of Nicaragua, Paraguay, México, and Costa Rica. Videos are used to give the students a deeper understanding of their traditions, customs, activities, and history of these Spanish-speaking nations.
During third grade, students will develop an age-appropriate understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations, building on their previous years’ experiences. By the end of third grade, we expect St. John’s students to be able to work independently in all programs that we use throughout the year. Third Graders continue their study of Google Docs and are also introduced to Google Slides. Students begin exploring online databases for research purposes and information fluency. There is an emphasis on critical thinking, decision making, digital citizenship, creativity, communication and collaboration as students become more fluent technology users.
In third grade, weekly library visits continue to include Read Aloud time though now the emphasis is on longer fiction works by noted and often award-winning authors. Time is also spent on extension activities and how to locate materials using the Dewey Decimal System. Book Talks are used to generate interest and motivation in different reading materials. In conjunction with classroom studies, biographies are used to teach our Traits of Success.
Third Grade artists continue to develop skills in drawing, painting, sculpting, and crafting with more emphasis on technical detailing including proportion, the elements of art, shading, and realistic drawing. Process demonstrations, group work, and verbal check-ins are given to students to assist in their understanding of project guidelines and the artistic processes. Third Grade artists are given more independence with their work, time management skills, and material use in the art room.
In Lower School, students explore four key areas of development: music performance, music literacy, music appreciation, and classroom and global connections. Students sing, dance, and play instruments in their performances, and acquire and apply music literacy skills through development of musical vocabulary. They listen and respond to music from a variety of cultural and historical sources as well as make connections between music, their world, and the greater global community through their singing, dancing, listening, and playing. Students have many opportunities to connect to and demonstrate the Traits of Success particularly Courage, Persistence, Positive Attitude, and Attentiveness as they study and perform music.
Lower school religion continues to be a hands-on and tactile learning experience in Grade 3. Children move, sing, act, write, create and most importantly enjoy their time learning about God. Students study Old Testament stories from the Pentateuch and Historic books. They perform the Christmas Skit: “The Real Story of Christmas: God Gives Us His Son!” after which they do a written reflection on the experience. They study Jesus’ public ministry as a teacher and healer and after celebrating Easter they learn about the sacraments, focusing on Baptism and Holy Eucharist.
The third grade Physical Education program provides opportunities for the students to experience a wide variety of activities. These activities aid in developing motor ability, fitness, sportsmanship, teamwork and fundamental sports skills. The program exposes students to a variety of activities that are both competitive and non-competitive in nature.
The third grade program lays the groundwork for the development of skills that enable our students to safely and successfully participate in individual and team sports throughout their lifetimes. Fitness games encourage the children to challenge themselves and introduce them to the health components of fitness. The traits for success are reinforced during a variety of cross-curricular and global offerings.