The Open Court Reading Series and trade books are used extensively in third grade. Students predict, clarify, summarize, and evaluate literature. Additional resources are used for individualized reading enrichment. The spelling program targets high frequency vocabulary, spelling rules and curriculum based words. Third graders compete in a national competition that involves students using higher-level thinking skills to solve analogies. Students become familiar with the definitions, parts of speech, and relationships, and apply this knowledge to challenging analogies. The Writing Process is used when penning expository pieces, poetry, research reports, and creative works. Children are encouraged to view writing as a process, from brainstorming to the final draft. All third grade classes use the wireless computer lab for word processing.
Math is ubiquitous, therefore math is woven into the fabric of the daily experience in third grade. We use two math series, combining third grade and fourth curriculum. A variety of cooperative learning and problem-solving activities serve as integral parts of the math program, and students are evaluated by their classroom participation, collaboration and traditional paper pencil assessments. Teachers regularly assess the needs of each student and supplement with enrichment or remedial materials. Establishing a love for learning, especially math, is important at Moravian, so we embrace creative approaches to teaching this important subject.
Science studies focus on the human body systems, animal science, physical science, and ocean life. In addition to text studies, the students spend time in the lab with a variety of hands-on experiments. For example, through collaborative activities, students become acutely aware of forces and motion, animal structure and function, ecosystems, and surviving in the environment. Students really begin to understand the complexities of life and the close relationship between living organisms and their environment. Of course, related apps and pertinent videos are also put to use.
The history of Pennsylvania is the main theme of the third grade social studies program. Our timeline begins with geographical features, the earliest people of Pennsylvania, the colonists, and development of our state through present day. Map and globe skills are also a part of the curriculum. Current events and other pertinent issues are addressed as students read and discuss articles in the Time For Kids magazine. Field trips are educationally relevant and extremely integral in providing enrichment to bridge the disciplines. Teachers discuss experiences with students orally and follow-up with related written pieces or projects. Some major outings include: Greenkill Environmental Education Center (overnight), Peace Valley Nature Center, Meesing Nature Center, Martin Guitar, Harrisburg State Capitol and State Museum, and the Quiet Valley Historical Farm.
In third grade, students begin creating more detail-oriented projects that encourage planning and a careful step-by-step use of the design process. Students are challenged to pull inspiration from the professional art realm, as well as the world around them to create original ideas that integrate the elements and principles of design into well thought out, carefully designed imagery.
Third graders are interested in all genres of literature, yet weekly lessons this year take a closer look at fiction and Dewey topics. Students also spend more time learning about the various ways to use the Destiny online catalog. Location skills are expanded as they become more independent library users.
In third grade, music class meets twice per week and includes the introduction of music history lessons. Music theory, aural skills, ear training activities all meld together to offer a well-round, exciting musical experience. Music reading is stressed to develop further musical growth as they learn to play the recorder this year. A unit on Instruments of the Orchestra is covered. This beginning instrumental experience prepares them for starting a wind instrument in forth grade if they wish.
Third grade students attend PE three times per week; this is a year for the culmination of all skills learned in previous years. Cooperative games and activities are more challenging, requiring students to problem solve together and utilize more trial and error techniques to solve these challenges. Continuing to review critical elements of specific skills is important. Lead-up games are used to practice skills in sports like situations, which may lead to participation in sports in the future. Newcomb, a throwing and catching lead-up game similar to volleyball, is introduced in third grade to practice proper critical elements of throwing and catching, tracking and hand-eye coordination. Proper social aspects of participation in games or sports are emphasized, as are discussions on the importance of maintaining healthy levels of fitness, regularly physical activity, and proper nutrition. Certain lead-up games are changed to make them more challenging, causing students to use proper techniques of skills.
In third grade, students have Spanish class every day for 15 minutes. Curriculum content continues to expand as students develop phonetic understanding used to read and write in Spanish. They maintain counting to one hundred, using the alphabet, spelling Spanish words, describing the weather and using the calendar, identifying parts of the body, rooms in a house, family members, classroom items, and their work with grammar begins. With their native-speaking teacher, children also sing songs, play games, color pictures, watch videos, and engage in lessons that are delivered in the target language, Spanish. Culture is embedded into the daily learning as our teacher offers exposure to food, dance, and traditions.