Third Grade Curriculum
Students in grade three begin the process shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Discussions and conversations about texts become an exploration to think critically, clarify thoughts, solve problems, make connections to the world, collaborate ideas, draw conclusions, infer, predict, and prove points. The Reading and Writing Project from Teachers’ College at Columbia University supports children reading a variety of genres. This allows students “personal choice” in selecting reading materials. Through the enriching writing component, connections are made as the writing process encourages students to write to inform, explain, clarify, develop, persuade, describe, reason and think creatively. Organization of a piece of writing is essential to writing for meaning while students learn to write for a purpose and to an audience. Students begin the process of using research independently in their understanding and writing, editing, collaborating, as well as demonstrating presentation skills, which will also build self-confidence. All language arts skills are incorporated in the content areas. Cursive writing continues to be practiced through activities and meaningful writing. The Independent Reading Assessment is the tool used to provide data on students’ comprehension of whole books to target specific areas for continued development to progress to more difficult reading levels. Students are continually integrating reading strategies throughout all curricular areas to build critical thinking and comprehension skills.
In grade three, the program continues to build and strengthen core standards and practices while maintaining and mastering skills. Real-world examples are used to teach higher-order and critical thinking skills. Content area subjects are integrated with the mathematics learning through daily routines, cooperative and partner learning, practice through activities and games, ongoing review, sharing ideas through discussion, and the home-and-school partnership. Learning is connected to existing knowledge. Revisiting and revising concepts and skills through lessons assists in retaining and mastering content. Differentiation, multi-level teaching, provides strategies to support all learners. Assessment practices include both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments provide information about students’ current knowledge and abilities that can be used in planning and providing instruction. Summative assessments measure student growth and achievement and provide information needed to assign grades and evaluate students’ performance. Key learning occurs in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, place value, problem-solving, time, money, measurement, graphing, geometry, algebra, and fractions.
In grade three, student scientists practice inquiry strategies through the development of the scientific method. Students focus learning through questioning, predicting, problem-solving, evaluating, writing, and communicating. Lessons of investigation and learning include the topics: Structures of Life, Environmental Awareness, Balance and Motion, and Simple Machines.
Students learn how our past expands and widens through research and technology awareness. Students begin the use of primary and secondary sources for learning. Map skills explore grids, symbols, and landforms. Government study includes the branches of government and the responsibilities of each, noting individual responsibilities of citizenship, and what it means to respect the law. Our rights and freedoms are explored through the study of national holidays and highlighted by current events. Interdisciplinary study, using reading, writing, research, science, and technology, is included in the following topics: Economics, Patriotic Symbols, Law Related Education and Biographies/Jewish Heroes.
Third graders begin to acquire text skills that enable them to study a selection of stories from the Torah. The teacher uses the Standards and Benchmarks model, created at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Melton Research for Jewish Education. Students are exposed to the original Biblical text to build their familiarity with its structure at which point receive their own Tanakh (Bible) with a personal inscription from their parents. Through the use of discussions, art and experiential methodologies, the teacher helps students to understand the Biblical text and its meaning. Students often study and complete activities with a chevruta (partner) with the partner changing on a weekly basis. Activities encourage students to apply their learning to their lives as Jews. Units of study include Cain and Abel, Noah, Lech Lecha as well as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Students learn about the origins and background of the holidays and practice skills related to holiday customs and mitzvot. Third graders’ understanding of the lessons of the holidays and the connections between these lessons and their lives deepen as they experience the cycle of the Jewish calendar.
Third graders increase their comfort expressing themselves verbally and in writing. They read and comprehend texts in present and past tense using strategies for figuring out the meaning of new words. They apply grammar concepts learned in class as they write paragraphs, poems, and dialogues. They express ideas and opinions in group discussions and ask questions to clarify content and meaning. Our program includes Tal Am Bet, a book series oriented to the daily life and concerns of Jewish children of this age, as well as stories from a variety of sources.