Industrious and full of ideas, students in Grade 3 like to explain concepts and engage in group activities. The Grade 3 program is designed to nurture and capitalize on students' natural enthusiasm for learning. Based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), the curriculum provides a framework for inquiry-based learning that focuses on the development of the whole child, both in the classroom and in the world outside.
The Grade 3 language arts curriculum helps students to write with greater clarity and read with deeper understanding. Students identify and apply strategies for comprehension and vocabulary development using Scholastic Guided Reading groups and shared inquiry in the Junior Great Books program. Elements and topics of fiction and nonfiction are explored. Students study word patterns through the Words Their Way program which enhances both reading and writing. Within the Six Trait Writing program, Grade 3 writers learn to expand word choice, adjust sentence structure for fluency, edit for proper conventions and grammar, and identify audience to develop voice. Writing opportunities include paragraphs within the modes of descriptive, narrative, and expository writing.
The Grade 3 social studies curriculum is integrated within the units of inquiry in the PYP and cultivates individual learners to build necessary skills to become global learners and thinkers. Third graders focus on the concepts of communication and expression through music; world geography, climates, and major landforms; human nature, ethics and responsibility in sharing the planet; ancient civilizations and societal organization; natural disasters and their impact on communities and relations; and decision making and consequences. The program nurtures skills acquisition and creativity by challenging students with diverse resources, open-ended projects, and high-level yet age-appropriate reading materials.
The Grade 3 math program provides a framework in which students develop foundational skills and conceptual understanding. Using the Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach, third graders focus on number sense, problem solving, and a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Lessons are introduced and presented through a three-part stage, moving from concrete to pictorial and then the abstract. Grade 3 mathematicians build on their problem-solving skills and strategies; use models to solve real-world problems involving the four operations; make and interpret data from bar graphs; identify fractions of a set; find angles and identify lines; and understand area and perimeter of figures. A priority is also placed on fact fluency of addition and multiplication. This rigorous math program engages students through relevant, hands-on, concept-building lessons and games.
Grade 3 art lessons provide imaginative outlets and opportunities for creative expression, cultural exploration and experimentation with a variety of artistic techniques. Students continue to learn and build upon the basic elements and principles of design taught in Grade 2 including line, shape, color, texture, value, perspective and form. Students engage with a variety of media, create their own sketchbook and work on projects integrated into the curriculum, for example northwest animal masks, spiders in the style of artist Eric Carle and the color theory of Leonardo da Vinci.
Grade 3 students continue their focus on keyboarding, increasing both speed and accuracy when typing, and using computers and iPads as important learning tools. Students use a variety of applications and begin to make decisions on the appropriate way to communicate information via technology. They use word processing, presentation, spreadsheet and drawing software, interact with multiple programs simultaneously, and begin to use digital cameras to insert graphics into their projects. Students begin to use search engines and practice basic troubleshooting procedures, solving routine hardware and software problems without the assistance of a teacher.
Teachers recognize students’ unique learning styles and assist them in reaching their full potential by helping them develop strategies for success. Learning resources are also available from Learning Specialists, who provide both extra challenges and extra support with specific skill work as necessary. Social/emotional resources are also available from the Lower School Counselor, who offers parent education; meets with teachers, individual students, small groups and entire classes; and provides the social/emotional support that helps children feel secure, successful and happy.
Grade 3 visits the library once a week for stories, books and library activities. During group story time, students listen to adventures of irrepressible Swede Pippi Longstocking as well as complete units on different genres of literature. Students also begin identifying and using print resources for use in classroom work. Throughout the year, third graders continue taking computer quizzes on books they read, independently browsing by sight and card catalog, and discovering new favorite authors, series and subjects.
Grade 3 musicians build their note reading skills in their recorder unit. Ear training, sight singing, and performance skills are also stressed throughout the year. Students continue to learn written music notation through reading, playing and singing as well as listening and writing. Students practice performance skills, often as soloists or in small groups. Composition, improvisation, dancing and movement are integral parts of the program. Orff instruments are used in Kindergarten - Grade 5.
Grade 3 students transition from fundamental movement skills to learning sport-specific skills through sequential and progressive age-appropriate activities and games. Fitness is an inherent aspect of the program. Cooperative and concentration activities and games, self-esteem builders, and activities and games that integrate other subject areas are all incorporated into the curriculum.
The Grade 3 science study is integrated within the units of inquiry in the PYP; inquiry-based lessons engage students in discovering science concepts and in applying science process skills. Scientific method is practiced through the individual student POE experiments (Predict, Observe, Explain).
Grade 3 scientists explore elements of sound and the anatomy of the ear; weather, climate, geography, and landforms on earth; animal adaptations and human interactions with animal habitats; ancient civilizations, their inventions and engineering practices; and natural disasters and emergency management systems throughout the world. Our integrated science units and learning occur in the science lab, technology lab, and in the classroom.
Grade 3 students have Spanish class every day. They practice the language in pairs, small groups and whole class activities and are introduced to various study skills, such as the use of note cards, mnemonics and paired associations, to help them remember and use Spanish vocabulary.
Grade 3 students swim the width of the pool to learn or refine specific skill techniques and swim the length of the pool to build muscle strength and endurance. Games such as water volleyball and wet ball (a junior version of water polo) inspire confidence and joy in the water. Students experiment with snorkeling and spend time learning and practicing various water safety and breathing skills. After-school swim clubs are offered for Kindergarten - Grade 5.