Overview: Grade Three
- LANGUAGE ARTS
- CHARACTER EDUCATION
- HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY
Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening
Language and literacy development are essential for learning. The TAS standards and benchmarks for language arts outline what students will know and be able to do in language arts at each grade level. We use a balanced literacy approach to deliver developmentally appropriate and engaging instruction. Our program includes:
Talk Strategies: strategies to help children articulate ideas and deepen their thinking in all content areas
Reading Workshop: strategy-based instruction to develop the skills and habits of proficient readers
Writing Workshop: clear, sequenced instruction that teaches students to turn their ideas into powerful written messages across genres and for a variety of purposes
Interactive Read Aloud: a time for students to engage with literature and grow ideas
Word Study: explicit instruction where students develop phonics, spelling, and vocabulary skills
Grammar: standards-based instruction that helps children develop proficiency in their use of English grammar, orally and in writing
We honor the developmental nature of language and literacy development by differentiating instructional strategies and materials.
Grade 3 is an important transitional year for your child. As readers and writers, students will work with greater independence and with more demanding materials; they will read harder chapter books and write in notebooks for the first time. We have designed a series of standards-based units that, while challenging, will create lifelong enthusiasm for reading and writing. These units are:
- Building a Reading Life
- Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures
- Character Studies
- Solving the Mystery Before the Detective
- Test Reading as a Genre Study (Test Prep)
- Research Clubs
- Creating True Stories
- The Art of Informational Writing
- Opinion Writing
- Once Upon a Time: Writing Fairy Tales
- Responding to a Prompt (Test Prep)
- Information Writing: Reading, Research, and Writing in the Content Areas
Character education is woven into every subject area and every classroom. Teachers reinforce the TAS values of honesty, respect, responsibility, kindness, and courage through classroom discussions, reading appropriate literature, songs, and role-playing. By modeling and reinforcing the values, we hope that all students develop good habits and demonstrate the values in what they say and do every day.
The lower school counselor, in addition to supporting individual children and parents, teaches a guidance lesson in the classroom once in every ten-day cycle. Lessons are designed to help children strengthen their social skills and better understand the role of emotions in life. Children learn problem solving and conflict resolution skills appropriate for their grade level.
The mathematics curriculum has two major components: Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content. The Standards for Mathematical Practice define what it means to be a mathematical thinker and are addressed at all grade levels of the Lower School. Students will be able to:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
- Model with mathematics
- Use appropriate tools strategically
- Attend to precision
- Look for and make use of structure
- Look for patterns
The Standards for Mathematical Content are the topics addressed at each grade level. Emphasis is placed on a balance of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application. Grade three topics include:
- Properties of Multiplication and Division and Solving Problems with Units of 2-5 and 10
- Place Value and Problem Solving with Units of Measure
- Multiplication and Division with Units of 0, 1, 6-9, and Multiples of 10
- Multiplication and Area
- Fractions as Numbers on the Number Line
- Collecting and Displaying Data
- Geometry and Measurement Word Problems
The major resource for the lower school mathematics program is Eureka Math. Parents can access information about the program at http://greatminds.net/maps/math/home. A strategic approach allows for academic rigor while still meeting the needs of all students.
The lower school Mandarin program is committed to developing students’ Chinese language proficiency and deepening their appreciation for Chinese culture.
There are two tracks in the program based on students’ language proficiency levels. Different courses offered in both tracks are designed to meet students’ abilities and needs. In Grade 3, introductory, bridging, grade level, and grade level advanced courses are offered.
The Mandarin Learner Track is for students who study Mandarin as a second language. The goal is to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency as a tool for meeting age-appropriate functional and informational needs. As the students gain oral skills, they begin to read and write, which sets them on a course for more advanced Mandarin language study. Students in the Learner Track use Pinyin, a Romanization system, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
The Mandarin Heritage Track is for students whose first language or strong additional language is Mandarin. The goal is to develop and enhance students’ overall language proficiency while focusing on reading and writing to build a solid foundation in literacy skills. Students in the Heritage Track use Zhuyin, Bopomofo Phonetic Symbols, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
Highly engaging and developmentally appropriate, Grade 3 Science provides an enriching experience for all young scientists and engineers. Processes, skills and concepts of science are embedded within the context of real life scenarios and hands-on engineering design challenges. The Engineering is Elementary program serves as the core resource.
In Grade 3, students engage in the following units of study:
This unit begins with an investigation into, "What is Technology?" Through this, students discover that technology can be an object, process, or a system. They also build key understandings of how each piece of technology has a function and a purpose to help us solve problems. Students learn that engineers design technologies and experience the steps of the engineering design process - Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve – as they tackle a design challenge.
Students are then introduced to the field of bioengineering and the ways bioengineers utilize their knowledge of nature, biology, and the basic needs of organisms when designing technologies. Through a series of hands-on activities, students begin to understand and engage in the thought processes behind bioengineering and are introduced to some possible applications. The unit culminates with students applying the steps of the engineering design process as they create, test and improve a model membrane for an imaginary pet frog that simulates the properties of real membranes in live organisms.
Engineering: Solar Ovens
In this unit, students discover that there are further considerations to function and purpose when designing technologies, specifically, the ever-increasing need for "green engineering." Students learn that all materials have a life cycle that can be used to assess the material's environmental impact. They are also introduced to the concepts of thermal insulators and thermal conductors. They test different materials and analyze results to find the best insulators. They are then challenged to apply these principles to design, create, test and improve a solar oven that is both functional and "green."
HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
We believe that the purpose of social studies is to cultivate global citizens by ensuring our students have knowledge of history, governmental systems, economics, culture, geography, and religion. Our social studies program is designed to ensure that students have the necessary tools and understanding to become effective problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and decision-makers in an ever-changing, interconnected world. Grade three students focus on:
Culture in our Community
- What sorts of things shape a culture?
- How have different cultures contributed to our community?
- Students will look at the basics of unity and diversity by comparing different cultures with their own.
- What is an indigenous culture?
- How does environment shape/affect the daily life of indigenous groups?
- How do indigenous cultures and the colonizing culture interact?
Music students sing, play pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments, dance, do creative movement, improvise, and learn to read and write music. We use experiences with language, body percussion, instruments, and movement to help students develop their musical skills and understanding.
Each quarter we work on developing three specific drama skills through a selection of fun theater games: cooperation/collaboration, physical expression, speech, vocal expression, concentration, imagination, stage skills, characterization, listening, timing, trust, and self-discipline. In addition, at various times in the year, we will use themes from homeroom classes, rhymes, songs, fairy tales, folk tales, myths, poetry, or inspiration from music and literature to develop short drama projects. These pieces may be shared in the form of audio recordings, video, informal in-class presentations, and public performances.
In Grade 3 Physical Education, the students study units in the areas of manipulative, movement, fitness, aquatics, and personal/social development. Manipulative involves the development of skills in throwing, catching, striking, kicking and dribbling such as continuously dribbling a ball using the hands or feet without losing control and catching a ball at different levels. Movement involves the development of skills in spatial awareness, locomotor, non-locomotor and rhythms/dance such as performing a rhythmic activity with a friend and jumping and turning in the air before landing. Fitness involves both the study of concepts and skills. Aquatics is a swim development program based on individual needs. Personal and social development is a reflection of the TAS values in action through physical education. The focus of the lower school program is age appropriate, carefully sequenced skill development in a spirit of cooperation.
The art curriculum lays foundational skills through exploration, discovery, creativity, and amazement in visual media by teaching art history, art production, art criticism, and aesthetics at a developmentally appropriate level. The program is carefully sequenced to ensure each year builds on the previous year’s skill development and knowledge. At each level the foundational skills of basic drawing techniques, color mixing, principles of design, and critiques are built upon, while integrating STEAM concepts. Learning a design process with these basic art skills gives students the tools, experience, and confidence to develop and present their creative ideas. In addition to drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics, a variety of other media and concepts are explored throughout the year.
Information technology in grade three is integrated with the classroom curriculum. Teachers work with the IT Coordinator to develop integrated lessons that use relevant technology to enhance the learning experience. Digital citizenship skills and keyboarding skills are taught in grade three.
Engineering is Elementary (EiE) teaches the students the engineering design process which involves defining a problem, generating ideas, selecting a solution, making the item, evaluating it, and presenting the results. Our EiE unit this year is:
Grade three students extend their study of robotics using the LEGO Education WeDo Construction Sets. The students focus on planning, developing and programming a robot prototype that will correctly execute a designated task.