The third grade literacy curriculum is literature-based and encourages children to read from a variety of materials to enhance their interests and abilities. Students are allowed time each day to explore literature. Reading is reinforced through the incorporation of thematic units, genre studies, whole-class reading, guided reading, book clubs, literature circles, Readers' Theater, and independent reading.
The third grade literacy program combines listening, speaking, reading, and writing into meaningful language experiences. Comprehension skills are taught through the reading of chapter books and short stories using the Imagine It program. The Shurley English program allows children to practice their grammar skills daily with song. Phonics, spelling and grammar are emphasized in the context of reading and writing, as well as through direct and intentional skills instruction. Students combine skills practice with technology through weekly center games on computer tablets.
Because writing fosters creativity, aids language development, and sharpens communication skills, students are allowed and encouraged to write often each day during Writer's Workshop. This third grade program is a time when children explore and complete all stages of the writing process. The Writer's Workshop includes mini lessons, independent writing time, conferences, and sharing. Lessons in grammar and spelling are also incorporated. During Writer's Workshop, students study a variety of different genres including poetry, memoir, nonfiction, fiction, personal narrative, and biography.
Third grade phonics and spelling instruction reinforces concepts covered in previous grades. Students are exposed to a variety of multi-level activities to help them become fluent decoders and spellers. Practice of spelling rules occurs daily through structured lessons, center activities, and the reinforcement of spelling strategies while reading and writing.
Third graders begin cursive handwriting at the start of the school year. Students learn traditional cursive writing, beginning with correct stroke
formation. After each correct stroke is learned, students form the
corresponding lowercase and capital letters. Students receive handwriting instruction and practice on a daily basis.
The foundation of our K-4 mathematics program is Math in
Focus, a curriculum focused on problem solving through real-world and hands-on
experiences.Students are taught to
think critically about math by moving through a sequence of concrete
(manipulatives) to pictorial (bar models) to abstract (formulas/algorithms)
learning.To achieve mastery, students
will learn the “why” behind each mathematical concept before learning the
“how”.The ability to apply knowledge to
routine as well as non-routine math problems is an integral part of
demonstrating mastery of math concepts.
In grades 2-4, math classes are departmentalized and taught
according to ability.Through on-going
assessments and the support of a math specialist/resource teacher, teachers are
able to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of each individual
student.Academic support and enrichment
are both part of the daily math experience in the lower school.
At Wesleyan, we believe success in math cannot be achieved
without mastery of math facts, therefore each grade level has its own math fact
mastery expectations. Research shows students who are able to recall math facts
quickly free up working memory that can then be devoted to more difficult
Third graders work in the science lab for two 45-minute periods and one 30-minute period per week. Students complete in-depth units covering the human body, earth science, physical science and life science.
The human body unit focuses on the respiratory, skeletal and cardiovascular systems. In the earth science unit, students study the solar system, moon phases and rotation of the earth. The life science unit focuses on animal classification and includes a special project where the students observe the life cycle of a butterfly. The largest focus in third grade is on the physical sciences unit, in which students study energy, work, force, gravity, electricity, magnetism, electromagnets, simple machines, light, and sound.
All science study units are reinforced with hands-on activities where investigative skills are practiced. In addition, the science program is designed to increase computer proficiency, enforce consistent study habits, improve organizational skills, and improve literacy skills for expository texts.