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 many good memories, feel good about themselves and smile a lot!
Our Reading program encompasses several approaches: guided reading, independent reading, explicit instruction of reading skills, explicit instruction of vocabulary strategies, and interdisciplinary reading and writing. We begin reading longer 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, longer novels allow for a more in-depth character and plot analysis and for increased opportunities for related research and projects. The Accelerated Reading program gives the children opportunities to track independent reading. A couple of our favorite novels in the third grade are The Tale Of Despereaux and Because Of Winn Dixie, two award-winning books by Newbery-award winning author Kate diCamillo. Our third grade reading students enjoy starring in the play Vacation To Mars in an interdisciplinary unit between reading and science. Reader’s Theater is always a favorite of our third grade students. In regard 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. Multi-sensory language concepts are used when parts of speech are studied and basic sentences are diagrammed. These are just a few ways that we can reach the students in as many ways as possible. Lessons and activities are often integrated into units of study in science or social studies. The Spelling program is centered around 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 reason behind the spelling or pronunciation of a new word. Nonsense words also provide proof of understanding. Spelling City and other interactive sites are used weekly.
*ELA is a combination of spelling, English, and language arts. An ELA notebook is kept for independent work on vocabulary, Greek and Latin roots, personal spelling, and more.
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 is to have students deepen their understanding of mathematics concepts as opposed to just having them (only) memorizing facts and algorithms. Lastly, the beauty of Math and the spirit of Art combine so naturally that we create several Art/Mat projects each year!
The Social Studies program includes weekly lessons in Daily Geography. Geography is enhanced with online maps, apps, interactive sites, and Google Earth. Units of study include First Americans, local Native American tribes, Poverty Point, the Louisiana Purchase, explorers, westward expansion, and local city history. 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 weaving, letters to friends in Haiti, Anasazi pottery, country projects, 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 by helping with sustainable gardens and learning about local environmental issues. Leader in Me Habits: “Think Win Win” and “Synergize.” Some favorite units of study include space, ecosystems, force and motion, rocks & minerals, matter, 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. 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!