In the third grade we strive to help students become more independent, responsible and, of course, more knowledgeable. (Leader in Me Habit One: We want to teach them to “Be Proactive!”) Along the way, we hope the students have some fun, collect some good memories, feel good about themselves and their learning, and are HAPPY!
Our Reading program encompasses several approaches: teacher modeling of oral reading, guided reading, independent reading, explicit instruction of reading skills, vocabulary strategies, and interdisciplinary reading and writing. We read occasionally from a basal reader as is done in the first and second grade programs at our school, but we also begin reading bigger novels and doing more interdisciplinary theme units in the third grade. As the reader becomes more adept in his/her reading skills at this age, novels allow for more in-depth character and plot analysis and opportunities for related research and projects. When we read novels, students will have a copy of the selection that they “check out” from our classroom library. The Accelerated Reading program gives the children an opportunity to keep track of their outside reading as well as to read at their "comfort zone." One of our favorite novels in the third grade is usually Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This wonderful story ties in so well with many of our topics in social studies and, as such, allows for integrated reading/social studies units. We also read Stuart Little and Tale of Despereaux in the third grade in an integrated math/art/reading unit. We read Haiku Hike and enjoy a week-long outdoor education unit incorporating reading, writing, technology, and art. Our third grade reading students enjoy starring in the play Vacation to Mars in another integrated lesson, this time reading/science. Reader’s Theater is another favorite of our third grade students. In regards to reading, our goal in third grade is to inspire a love for the written word and create enthusiastic, lifetime readers!
The Language Arts program is a comprehensive study of grammar, mechanics, usage, and vocabulary practice. The broad scope of skills and range of difficulty provided in digital and print materials enable us to precisely target what each student needs. The skills are used in daily speaking and writing. Multisensory language concepts are used when parts of speech are studied. As lessons are learned, they are applied to writing projects. IXL and Storybird are examples of websites used in ELA that allow them to work at their own pace. Students use IXL to review and practice a variety of individual skills. Storybird offers the opportunity to create poetry and stories that can be shared with other students or published and purchased by friends and family. Lessons and activities are often integrated into units of study in science or social studies. These are just a few ways that we can reach the students in as many ways as possible.
The Spelling program is based on the Words Their Way program. It provides interactive, hands-on instruction for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling. The program provides systematic, explicit, and sequenced instruction based on assessment results. Groups are created with a pretest in August. However, groups can change depending on individual progress on periodic tests. It has been a joy to see the excitement in their faces when they truly understand the rules and reasoning behind the spelling or pronunciation of a new word. Nonsense words also provide proof of understanding. Personal spelling lists, Spelling City activities, and spiral reviews are used on a regular basis. *ELA is a combination of spelling, English, and language arts.
The Math program provides the student with an opportunity to learn math through involvement, understanding, practice, and application. We begin the year with place value and a review of addition and subtraction. We then begin working on the two big areas of mastery for the third grader: multiplication and division. The third grader will also be introduced to "real" multiplication (several digits times one and two digits) and "real" division (a number containing several digits divided by a one digit divisor). Fairly thorough (for third grade, that is) introductions to geometry and fractions are given, and continued work on measurement, graphing, numeration, time, and money are also part of the third grade math program. Math is so much more than the computation of numbers. We give students many opportunities to develop logical and creative thinking skills while solving math-related problems. We also provide opportunities for cooperative and educational games, the use of manipulatives, and real-life applications in mathematics lessons. Our goal here is to have students deepen their understanding of mathematics concepts as opposed to merely memorizing facts and algorithms. Lastly, the beauty of Math and the spirit of Art combine so naturally that we create several Art/Math projects each year! It is our hope that students in third grade make strides in their ability to manipulate numbers and in thinking mathematically and logically. Above all, we hope the anxieties so often associated with this area of study are replaced with a LOVE and APPRECIATION of the MATHS!
The Social Studies program includes weekly lessons in Daily Geography. We begin the year with a study of global and local communities. Geography is enhanced with online maps, GPS devices, interactive sites, and Google Earth. We then turn to early communities of America...Mesa Verde, Jamestown, and San Francisco. Native Americans tribes are studied in great detail…even the local Attakapas! The students are given a chance to “show what they know” during our annual trip to the Native American exhibits at the Houston Museum of National Science. Some of the activities/projects that bring the subject matter to life are Kachina masks, letters to friends in Haiti, Anasazi pottery, and the GEO Bee. We hope that the students come away from third grade with some knowledge of the world around them and will never think that history is only a bunch of dates to be memorized!
Science is EXCITING! Our Science curriculum covers life science, physical science, earth science, environmental science, and health science. These areas are explored by the learning of factual information in a discussion-type environment and through hands-on experiments and projects that allow the student to see science at work in our world. Third grade students take an active role on our campus by managing sustainable gardens and monitoring the seedlings for the LSU Coastal Roots Program. We will also involve ourselves with environmental issues that pertain to our community! Leader in Me Habits: “Think Win Win” and “Synergize.” Some favorite units of study include the solar system, ecosystems, rocks & minerals, and plants and their functions. We also travel to The Houston Museum of Natural Science for an exciting "outer space" field trip via the Challenger Learning Center. Grade Science is super-exciting!!
To round out the program the students are challenged to become physically healthy in Physical Education, and to acquire an appreciation of the fine arts in the areas of Music and Art. The ever-changing world of Technology is presented in the "state-of-the-art" Computer Lab and students regularly visit our Library to further their reading development. Third grade students also have the opportunity to develop a working knowledge of the Spanish language. Enrichment programs offered at EDS are second to none!