Students in the Third Grade are known for their enthusiasm and an infectious belief that they are capable of anything. This attitude allows them to run a school coffee sale, create dynamic science projects, enjoy field trips and build elaborate sets to showcase their understanding of a topic. Their interest in the larger world allows them to study countries and share their knowledge with the class. They are even able to take on challenges such as creating a “Bard Bash,” which culminates in a performance of a Shakespearean play.
As they transition from enthusiastic eight-year-olds to nine-year-olds, some social changes begin to occur. Students often become highly competitive, self aware and impatient. They can be critical and individualistic. As these social changes occur, the Third grade classroom becomes a refuge for the nine-year-old. Third graders are encouraged to work things out with their peers and practice kindness in the classroom. As third graders explore the boundaries with social graces and become more self aware, character education becomes a priority of the classroom. This is a year when we begin to tackle issues of bullying as it links to self-awareness, self-image, and competitiveness.
Third grade capitalizes on the initial exuberance of the eight-year-old by encouraging group activities and conducting regular group meetings. As the eight-year-old develops some of the well known characteristics of nine-year-olds, they are able to meet these new challenges in an environment where every voice counts. They feel safe to sometimes play with language and act out social concerns. Eight-year-olds love to push themselves to the limit and explore the world at large. As such, the Third grade class can oftentimes be found having class outside or eating their lunches in the courtyard on a sunny day.
Because of their strong foundation in Language Arts in the previous years, students in Third Grade are challenged to develop and hone their literacy skills to a very high standard. The children’s love of reading is nurtured. Students are provided with a variety of reading experiences, including partner reading, whole-group lessons, guided reading, and other strategies to help them grow as readers. Students are exposed to a broad variety of both fiction and non-fiction, and are supported in developing a comfort with each. The curriculum requires students to read with a purpose, to gather information, to organize their thoughts for classroom discussion, and to write essays and reports. Third Graders will be given time for independent reading to develop fluency and to apply the skills and strategies they have learned. Students are required to read for 20 minutes per evening. Students are also engaged in a spelling curriculum that is designed to lead students toward mastery of essential spelling skills. Spelling patterns are taught throughout the week based on structural similarities and predictable spelling patterns. Weekly spelling lists are individualized based on words that the student and teacher have created together. In language, the students will learn more about punctuation, parts of speech, sentence structure, and grammar. Students will continue to develop their voice as writers through special writing assignments, creative writing, and journal prompts. A major focus of writing in Third Grade is the focus on writing with an author’s voice and focusing on conventions. Finally, it is in the Third Grade that students learn how to write in cursive.
- Reading Strategies (Summarize, Predict, Inferences, Sequence of Events, Cause and Effect, Author’s Viewpoint, Evaluate, and Categorize and Classify)
- Reading Themes: Adventure Stories, Celebrating Traditions, Incredible Stories, Animal Habitats, Biographies, Voyagers, Smart Solutions
- Poetry (Shakespeare and Sonnets)
- Milestone Project: Shakespeare Birthday Celebration and International Postcard Project
- Double Consonants
- Types of sentences
- Complete paragraphs
- Expository and persuasive essay writing
- Journal Writing
- Business Letter
- Country Reports
- Diary of an Immigrant
- End of Year Reflection
Additional Activities Include:
- Literature Circles
- Bard Bash
- Research and produce a power point presentation
- Identify and describe a variety of genres (folktales, realistic fiction, poetry, biography and non-fiction)
- Identify and describe characters’ thoughts, story theme, main ideas, and lesson or moral from story
- Able to use informational texts, such as textbooks, dictionaries, and magazines
- Write a narrative piece using personification, setting, and character traits
Milestone Project #1 – Shakespeare Birthday Celebration
Third Graders embark on a year-long learning experience about William Shakespeare. During the first trimester, students begin to learn about the magic of Shakespearean theater by reading a book from the Magic Tree House titled Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osbourne. Through the literature circle format, students formulate questions about Shakespeare and garner knowledge about Elizabethan England. Students also participate in an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s sonnets and write sonnets of their own during our Poetry Unit.
During the second trimester, the Third Graders research Shakespeare’s life. In literature circle groups, students participate in a detailed study of a specific play. Each group works with a teacher and several Sixth Grade Shakespeare buddies to read and discuss a different play, while making important connections and defining new words found in the text. Once completed, each group creates a picture book that will be shared with the First and Second Grade classes prior to the Bard Bash.
During the third trimester, students use their knowledge of Shakespeare and Elizabethan England to plan a Shakespeare birthday celebration called the “Bard Bash,” similar to a Renaissance Fair. They plan various activities and entertainment, including a performance of a selected Shakespeare play. The entire school enjoys this magical trip back to the Elizabethan era.
Third Graders are active mathematicians and gain greater proficiency and ease with basic addition and subtraction, while building on this knowledge base to secure their understanding of regrouping and explore multiplication and division. The class begins the year with a thorough investigation of multiplication, learning different strategies, games and activities to help them memorize their multiplication tables. They also explore the concept of fractions, and become more skilled at working with fractions in different forms. Using these new strategies and skills, students apply their conceptual thinking to solve more complex problems. These more sophisticated skills and strategies support an exploration of a wider scope of concepts, including 2-dimension and 3-dimension geometry, measurement, probability and data collection.
- Place Value
- Data Analysis
- Clocks & Calendar
- Drawing & molding geometric shapes
- Measurement scavenger hunts
- Measuring length, capacity, weight & temperature
- Writing & solving word problems
- Mad Minute drills
- Creating Math Board Games
In Third Grade, the focus of science instruction shifts to the classroom as a laboratory. Students begin to undertake the study of increasingly abstract scientific concepts. Students work like scientists as they learn how to ask questions designed to gain knowledge and understanding, and learn how to follow lab procedures, how to record data, and how to extrapolate information from that data. Using information from their laboratory observations, from their textbook and from teacher-created materials, students take on increasingly complex topics that take them out of the realm of what they see in the world around them to an exploration of the forces behind the visual world, such as water cycles and forms of energy. Health is also integrated into the science curriculum with topics ranging from community health, to physical health, to emotional health. Students participate in sophisticated discussions and collaborative exercises to achieve their learning goals.
- Earth Science (Landforms, Resources and Atmosphere)
- Solar System
- Forces and Energy
- Life Sciences (Plants, Animals and Food Chains)
- Classifying Animals (Vertebrates and Invertebrates)
- Nature Cycles (Water cycle and cloud formation)
- Exploration with Laboratory Tools (Balance Scale, Thermometers, Measuring Cups and Magnets)
- Making predictions about matter changes and carry out investigations with solids, liquids and gases.
- Determine weight and volume
- Draw and Labels diagrams of energy transfer
- Compare and contrast the effects of gradual and rapid ecosystem changes
- Science Fair
Third Grade students begin the year learning about the US government and what it means to be a good citizen. They also review map skills and learn how to find latitude and longitude in preparation for their study of countries. Students expand their knowledge of the United States gained in Second Grade and begin to study different countries throughout the world. Just as in the previous year, students will collect postcards, but this time from a much broader base – anywhere in the world! During the third trimester, students study immigration. Students learn the reasons why and where people immigrated to the US in the past and present. Students study the conditions surrounding the move to the US and what life was like when immigrants arrived here.
- Classroom Community
- Study of Seven Continents
- Cultures & Countries
- International Postcard Project
- Country Reports
- PowerPoint Presentations
Milestone Project #2 – International Postcard Project
In Third Grade, students become more aware of the global community through the collection of postcards from around the world. As the postcards arrive, students locate the country on a world map and put the postcards on a bar graph that is hanging in the classroom. On a weekly basis, students use the Microsoft Excel program to graph the number of postcards received.
While anticipating the arrival of new and different postcards, students learn about the different continents during Social Studies classes. They use atlases to find information about major cities, landmarks and major industries. Students are also encouraged to participate in the weekly challenge activity, which is to correctly label a blank map of the continent being studied.
At the completion of the postcard collection, each student chooses a country to study. Students research information on the country’s landmarks, holidays, religion, food, clothing and other important facts. They use the internet and various internet and periodical resources to conduct their research. The project culminates in the creation of a PowerPoint presentation, during which students present newly-learned facts to peers and family members.
Third Grade students expand their capabilities by using a more broad range of art materials including collage, paint, plaster molds, papier-mâché and clay. They are able to identify how an even wider variety of artists and cultures utilize materials to create art. Third Graders look at the bronze sculptures of Edgar Degas, and the Artist Dedication Plates and collage work of Faith Ringgold, just to name a few. Students are required to include symbolism in their artwork and to explain its meaning, including designing symbols of protection for their African Granary Door project. Through critique, students identify aspects of artwork they like and explain their preferences. In their critiques, students also are expected to give each other suggestions for ways to improve their art. As they mature as artists, Third Grade students enjoy an even broader sense of fluency and flexibility to make artistic choices and relish the opportunities to explain these choices.
- Collage “quilt square”
- Granary Doors
- Shakespeare Sculptures
- Castle Sculptures for Bard Bash
- Empty Bowls
- Dish for an Artist
- Faith Ringgold
- African Granary Doors
- George Segal
- Judy Chicago
- Collage, embellishment
- Paper Mache
- Sculpture, armature
In Third Grade Community Time, students explore the theme of Heritage and Cultural Background. The Tanenbaum Center for Inter-Religious Understanding Curriculum: Building Blocks of Democracy is used with students. The year begins with a focus on home and important places that form our identities. As the year progresses students look at immigration and how it affects families and creates the melting pot that is the United States of America. Students discuss the importance of tolerance and participate in cooperative games to better understand ways in which communities need to work together. During the annual Empty Bowls celebration at All Saints, Third Graders look at international hunger facts in order to understand the impact of hunger on the global community. As a culminating project, each student delves into their heritage through the study of an ancestor of their choice and representing them in a symbolic portrait.
- Unity & Diversity
- Christmas Challenge
- Empty Bowls
- Family History
- Writing Home Poems
- Creating a Home Collage
- Creating All About Me books
- Ancestor Artwork
- Family Artifacts
Third Graders enjoy a rich assortment of curriculum-related field trips. These trips provide students with the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom walls. They are able to explore the local community, as well as take advantage of the cultural richness of NYC and the surrounding areas.
- Tenement Museum
- Ellis Island
- Literature Plays
- Flat Rock Brook Nature Center
- Botanical Gardens
- Franklin Mineral Museum
- Sandy Hook
- American Museum of Natural History – Planetarium
- Liberty Science Center
- Hoboken Walking Tour with Hoboken Museum
- Hoboken Homeless Shelter
- United Nations
Curriculum/Elementary Program: Next Page Fourth Grade