Religion – In third grade we focus on what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We learn more about the sacraments and the mysteries of the rosary. We review the prayers that were learned in previous years, and learn the Apostles’ Creed. We also learn about the Four Marks of the Church and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Participating in all of the responses during Mass is a strong focus, as well. Including God in our decision-making is vital to living a good moral life, so we often discuss what would Jesus do?
Reading – Using the Wonders reading series as well as several novels, we build upon the foundational skills learned in preschool through second grade. In a typical week, students will read, discuss, and respond to several stories all tied together with a common theme. Lessons address phonics, word attack skills, comprehension, and fluency, with the goal of not only becoming a better reader, but to enjoy reading. Students will conference regularly with the teacher to talk about the books they are reading independently. A favorite all-class novel we read is Charlotte’s Web.
Language Arts & Writing – Third graders build upon their knowledge of the structure of our English language to become better writers. A quick review of grammar and other language skills is part of our daily morning routine. Some grammar and language lessons are taught as stand-alone lessons, while others are taught in conjunction with our Wonders reading series. Students write daily for a variety of purposes, including journals, stories, written responses to questions, informational paragraphs, etc. Speaking and listening skills are practiced and reinforced, as well
Spelling – Weekly spelling lists focus on particular skills based on phonics or word structure. Students take pretests to determine which lists of words they will be tested on at the end of the week. Practicing the words at home is considered part of the students’ daily homework. A variety of activities are used throughout the week to learn the spelling words and to apply the skills to spelling other words. The goal is not to just memorize the words for the tests, but to truly understand the spelling rules so they can apply those rules when spelling unfamiliar words. Students take their spelling tests on tablets using the program Spelling City.
Math – Third grade is the year of learning multiplication! We begin the year with adding and subtracting “big” numbers to make sure those basic skills are solid. Other third grade math units include: customary and metric measurement (length, weight, volume, and temperature); money (including counting change); telling time to the nearest minute and determining elapsed time; data and graphing; fractions, and an introduction to division and to simple decimals. Memorization of all the basic math facts (+, -, x, ÷) is essential for making the more advanced skills easier to learn.
Science – Our third grade curriculum includes exciting experiences learning about plants and animals (traits, adaptations, and life cycles); energy and forces; health; human body systems; and the basics of electricity and magnetism. Students also get the opportunity to explore a science concept of particular interest to them by taking a turn as the Scientist of the Week! Each student prepares a science experiment to demonstrate and explain to the class.
Social Studies – We review what students learned about communities in second grade and delve deeper into the specifics of some of our Fox Valley communities and other northeast Wisconsin communities, including geography, economy, government, and history. We also broaden our horizons by locating, comparing, and contrasting other communities in the United States and around the world. Students identify the Midwestern states, the Great Lakes, and significant rivers in the United States. They also learn more about the history of our country, including Native Americans, Pilgrims, and the beginning of our country’s government. A field trip to Hearthstone Historic House and the History Museum at the Castle is a favorite part of our third grade year.