In addition to basic phonics, word recognition skills, oral reading with expression, and understanding words in context, numerous reading skills are taught through a variety of literary genres. Skill development in third grade encompasses reading comprehension, summarizing ideas, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, sequencing events, and listening critically. The Scott Foresman basal reader is combined with individual novel studies that include, My Father’s Dragon, Stone Fox, The Whipping Boy, The Wish Giver, and James and the Giant Peach. Vocabulary is taught through a program called Wordly Wise.
The parts of speech, the rules of capitalization and punctuation, and proper usage are emphasized in grammar. Students practice writing complete sentences with dependent and independent clauses, strong paragraphs with topic sentences and supporting ideas, letters, stories, and summary book reports.
Students have many opportunities to practice their public speaking skills through oral presentations on a variety of topics, book reports, and in memorizing and reciting poems.
Our social studies curriculum guides students to develop skills in critical thinking, good study habits, map reading, values, and interpreting non-fiction information. The aim is to have students become informed, active, caring, decision makers. Students study the three main geographic regions of the United States, different Native American tribes that live in these regions, the early settlers on the east coast, and the pioneers who went west.
The third grade science curriculum is broken down into three main areas: Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. In Life Science, students become familiar with the food pyramid, how organisms are affected by their environment, environmental problems and solutions, the evolution of plants and animals, and marine science. In Earth Science, students study the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and how objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns. In Physical Science students learn about sources of energy, states of matter, atoms and molecules, and how light is reflected. Third grade students use the scientific method to ask meaningful questions, conduct investigations, and draw conclusions based on evidence.
The third grade year begins with a review of addition and subtraction facts and then moves on to mastery of multiplication and division facts. Number sense and place value of whole numbers is also reviewed. Algebraic concepts such as using symbols, writing equations and choosing the correct operations to solve them, and using arithmetic properties to represent, describe, simplify and solve problems are taught. In addition, students learn to understand the relationship between whole numbers, simple fractions, and decimals. They learn to select and use appropriate units and measurement tools, describe and compare plane and solid geometric figures, conduct simple probability experiments, and read, interpret, and draw different types of graphs. The math curriculum also includes lessons on time, money, and measurement. Reasoning strategies and problem solving skills are taught throughout the year. (Below, third graders explore two and three dimensional shapes and create their own geodesic domes.)
Students in third grade are taught cursive handwriting and are expected to use it in all their written work the second half of the year.
There are several field trips planned during the year. In the past these have included visits to the Thousand Oaks Public Library, the Griffith Park Observatory, the Long Beach Aquarium, the Santa Barbara Museum, the Getty Museum, Heal the Bay Beach Program, Interpretive Outreach programs, and the Southwest Museum.