Welcome Third Graders
Our Religion lessons are enriched by the Blest Are We series. Students continue in their Catholic faith formation, studying the Seven Sacraments, our Church community, and its leaders. Through the lens of the Golden Rule, students examine how we interact in our classrooms, school, families, and communities. The students all participate in an interdisciplinary Family Life unit. In this unit, students learn about family relationships, with an emphasis on Catholic values and virtues and the consequences of our choices. Students attend weekly Mass and also have an opportunity to plan and lead a school wide mass and/or prayer Service. Every day, Third Graders participate in prayer and religious instruction. The Religion curriculum is presented through a combination of readings from the Bible, stories and from textbooks. The Third Graders also explore the liturgical seasons and the teachings of Jesus.
In Third Grade, students read and comprehend a wide variety of grade-level literature, including fables, folktales, myths, as well as poetry and drama. They deepen their understanding of the elements of narrative text. Theme is added to the story elements students already know, which enhances their comprehension and appreciation of stories. Students learn to identify and comprehend basic plots of fairy tales, myths, folktales, legends, and fables from diverse cultures. Students generate and respond to essential questions about a text and explicitly refer to information in the text to answer questions.
As students are expected to read more informational text in Language Arts and other content areas, comprehension becomes increasingly important. Students learn to identify the main idea and supporting details of informational texts and to recall the major points in a text. They demonstrate their understanding of text by asking questions about what they have read. Another way students demonstrate their understanding is to use information found in the text as a basis for their answers. Grades K-5 utilize the strategies of Writing Workshop by Lucy Caulkins and the Step Up To Writing Program. Students are able to extend their writing to other subjects if instruction in writing is purposefully connected to other academic areas and then incorporated into specific writing tasks. Students write opinion pieces and informational/explanatory texts in addition to narratives. They write routinely over both short (a single sitting, a day or two) and long (several days with time for research and revision) time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking and Listening
The connections across the language arts domains (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) have particular significance for developing students’ speaking and listening skills. Students use the comprehension skills and strategies they learn from reading literature and informational texts to comprehend what a speaker has said. Their oral presentations reflect the organizational structures of both what they have read and their own writing. They learn to use the same English-language conventions for speaking in complete, grammatically correct sentences that they use in their writing. In Third Grade, students are expected to write and speak with a command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage appropriate to their grade level. Students learn about subject-verb agreement, the proper use of verb tenses, and the correct use of pronouns and adjectives. They demonstrate their knowledge in their writing and speaking. They learn new rules for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
Third Graders begin to have an understanding of the relationship between multiplication and division. They fluently multiply and divide (within 100) and use simple multiplication and division to solve word problems. They understand division as an unknown factor problem and use the inverse relationship between multiplication and division to compute and check results. Students apply their knowledge and skills with the four operations to solve word problems. The students extend their understanding of place value to include numbers with four digits. They round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100, a critical prerequisite for working estimation problems. The students develop an understanding of fractions as numbers. They use visual models to represent fractions as parts of a whole. They also use visual models and a number line to represent, explain, and compare unit fractions. Students measure lengths (using a ruler), liquid volume (using standard units), and the area of plane figures (by counting unit squares). Students demonstrate an understanding of fractions as they measure lengths by using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Students compare common geometric shapes based on common attributes. Students also relate their work with fractions to geometry as they partition shapes into parts with equal areas and represent each part as a unit fraction of the whole.
During Third Grade, students further develop the important skills of making careful, replicable, and validated observations. They conduct research, read about new topics, and learn more about the important role of technology in the sciences. Students in grade three further develop their understanding of the structure of matter and forces of interaction. They study the properties of light and learn how light affects the perception of direction, shadow, and color. They extend their knowledge of ecology by learning about different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands, and the types of organisms adapted to live in each. They learn that objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns. The class also has an opportunity to participate in the annual school Science Fair.
Students begin their Third Grade studies with the natural landscape. Students study the American Indians who lived in the local region with great depth. Third Grade students continue preparing to become active and responsible citizens of their communities, California, and the United States. Students focus on developing and understanding citizenship, civic engagement, the basic structure of government, and the lives of famous national and local Americans who took risks to secure freedoms. Through stories and the celebration of local and national holidays, students learn the meaning of holidays, landmarks, and the symbols that provide continuity and a sense of community across time. The U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are reintroduced.
As Third Graders begin to learn about their community, they become more curious about themselves and about others. Their study of the arts leads them to gain knowledge about many different subjects. For example, excited by a walking trip through the community, they draw pictures representing landmark buildings. There is a weekly music class taught by the school music teacher and two annual music concerts.