Term II

3rd Grade

Third graders are busy in math the second term, covering three units in their book.  Unit 4 focuses on multiplication and division number stories.  This is a continuation of the work done in second grade with an emphasis on memorizing the multiplication and division facts.  Third graders are expected to have mastered most of the facts by the end of the school year.  Emphasis in Unit 5 is on place value: working with whole numbers through millions and decimals through thousandths.  Unit 6, geometry, is perhaps the most challenging unit of the term.  Students investigate two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes and learn about such concepts as symmetry and congruence.

In social studies, the grade level theme of communities continues to develop.  In the early part of the second term third graders continue to develop map skills and learn about early American communities such as Jamestown and Plymouth.  In the next unit of study third graders use time lines, intermediate directions, and primary sources to find out more about how cities grow and change, how new communities are built, and how and why people in America might have wanted to move west to explore the frontier.  One of the culminating projects in the second term of social studies is the planning and creation of covered wagons designed to make the journey across the Oregon Trail.

In the second term third graders complete a unit on Imagination in Open Court Reading.  Within this unit, students read several genres of writing - all relating to the overall theme of imagination and expanding how they see their world. The imagination unit introduces students to the kind of abstract thinking and language that they are beginning to become developmentally ready to grasp. The students read several fiction stories, learn new spelling and grammar rules, and learn to write descriptive paragraphs. They also spend time near the end of the second term reading and reporting on tall tales, learning about exaggeration, similes, tone and the elements of problem/solution in tall tales.  This work supports third graders as they write a tall tale of their own for Writers Guild.

By the close of the second term of the year, students have completed the Handwriting Without Tears program. After the students learn the cursive lower case alphabet, they are expected to complete all of their assignments in cursive for the remainder of the year.

Art

During the second term, third grade students learn about form. This includes a study of Henry Moore and methods for planning and creating a sculpture. Interaction between two people is the subject. Lessons on the proportions of the body and glazing are included. Next a construction is made using toothpicks and peas. These are drawn as the students learn about two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. Color and color mixing is the next unit. The color wheel is reproduced.  A study of Picasso follows this unit. The Three Musicians  is the inspiration for a cubist painting. The students use primary colors and learn to make shades with black. Weaving is the next unit of study. A round paper plate weaving is made and incorporated into a large picture. The students learn how artists get original ideas using their imaginations. Composition and design are important in these lessons. From here we begin a unit on self portraits and facial proportions.

Computer

The cornerstone of the third grade computer curriculum is the goal of improved keyboarding skills.  The software program, Typing Instructor, allows students to develop proper hand position while increasing speed and accuracy.  The keyboarding shortcuts of cut, copy, and paste are used for editing the documents, and students learn to format a document before and after they have typed it.  The computer curriculum also provides momentum for classroom activities that include the use of computers.

Library

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually, in January, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published the previous year.  The 3rd graders examine the winners from the Caldecott illustrious seventy-plus year history.  Students also read the strong contenders vying for the current year’s award and have their very own mock elections.  Will our esteemed 3rd graders agree with the Caldecott committee?  Some years they do, and some years they do not.

Library

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually, in January, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published the previous year.  The 3rd graders examine the winners from the Caldecott illustrious seventy-plus year history.  Students also read the strong contenders vying for the current year’s award and have their very own mock elections.  Will our esteemed 3rd graders agree with the Caldecott committee?  Some years they do, and some years they do not.

Music

The third graders begin the second term in music by showing their leadership at the Holiday Concert in December.  They are learning to sing partner and 3-part songs.  An exciting part of the third grade music class is the addition of the group recorder lessons.  Recorder playing takes coordination and knowledge of the musical elements.  The music history focus is on an in-depth study of the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven.  (Recommended listening:  Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies)

PE

During the second trimester, the third grade curriculum focuses on basketball, gymnastics and floor hockey.  Basketball skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting prepare the students for games and game-like activities that enhance their accuracy and performance.  During gymnastics students practice turns, balancing moves, jumps, and a variety of tumbling skills.  These are introduced and demonstrated by the teachers and experienced students.  Students proceed at their own rates since comfort levels vary widely from student to student.  Original individual and small group routines encompassing the skills taught are created and demonstrated.  Floor hockey skills are introduced at this level, and students are given the opportunity to demonstrate those skills why playing the game.

Science

This second term brings the beginning of the physical science curriculum for the third grade students.  The first unit within this curriculum introduced Lego Robotics.  Organization, cooperation, and experimentation are consistent themes throughout this unit as studentds begin learning the names and functions of the Lego components they will use.  Using “trial and error” students  observe how these various parts such as axels, gears, and motors interact each other and then improve upon their designs by testing the different cars and machines that they build.  Students rely on each other and themselves as they tackle such concepts as friction, momentum, and velocity during this fun and exciting unit!

Spanish

During second term, after completing the class calendar, third grade Spanish students focus on the celebration of la Navidad/las Posadas and la casa (the house). Using vocabulary from three story time books, The Piñata Maker, Too Many Tamales, and N is for Navidad, students complete several SMARTBoard activities to reinforce the vocabulary associated with these celebrations. For the unit on la casa, students focus primarily on vocabulary from story time books, Harry el perrito sucio (Harry the Dirty Dog) and La casa adormecida (The Napping House). Students design an illustration from Harry el perrito sucio and answer the question ¿Dónde se ensució Harry? (Where did Harry get dirty?). For the next project, students personalize illustrations of the objects from La casa adormecida and then use these images to help produce sentences detailing parts of the story. Students continue to warm up for class with songs and chants and expand their repertoire to include Cinco muñecos de nieve (Five Snowmen), Vamos a cantar (Let’s sing), El burrito enfermo (The Sick Little Donkey).