Social and Personal Growth
During 3rd grade, students continue to work on being part of a larger community with rules, in which they can make their own decisions, respect the rights and opinions of others, build self-confidence while understanding the importance of rules and authority, and work and play cooperatively in a safe learning environment. They continue to learn more about the world around them and how their family, home, and school are a part of it. And they continue to take on more responsibility, act more independently, and understand better that their actions have consequences.
Approach to Learning: Work Habits, Work Time, and Content Studies
Underlying the learning activities at Peck Slip is a spiraling learning process in which children imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, work with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences—all of which leads them to imagine new ideas and new projects. In doing so, they develop and refine their abilities to think creatively and work collaboratively. To participate fully in this process, students develop a positive approach to learning.
To focus and provide a context for their activities, the 3rd grade class participates in two content studies. Students go on field trips, record observations, create non-fiction materials, and apply what they’ve learned. We believe that learning in all subjects is enriched by its connection to a central topic.
In 3rd grade, students build important reading skills. They decode more complex words, and focus on reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. They think and talk about what they read in a variety of articles, books, and other texts. They describe characters in stories and how their actions contribute to events, and determine and recount the central message of the story. They read informational texts and answer questions about what they’ve learned, referring to information from words and illustrations to support their answers. Students read (and are read to in) a variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and discuss their reading with partners and in both small and large groups.
In 3rd grade, students continue to work on a variety of opinion, informative and explanatory texts, and narrative writing. They pay more attention to organizing information, developing ideas, and supporting their ideas with facts, details, and reasons. They write stories with dialogue and descriptions of characters’ actions, thoughts, and feelings; they gather information from books and articles to build understanding of a topic; and they write research or opinion papers over extended periods of time. During writing workshop, they are exposed to models of writing, and are then given the time to write independently and the opportunity to share their work with their classmates. Content studies are a major resource for their work. They continue to use the writing process—planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing—to pace and structure their work.
Word Study (Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary)
Our word study program develops and teaches independence and confidence in writing and speaking. 3rd grade students make regular use of capitalization and punctuation conventions for sentences. They use learned spelling patterns when writing words, and study frequently occurring irregular words. They use verb tenses to convey a sense of time, and frequently occurring adjectives, conjunctions and prepositions to add detail to their writing and create compound sentences. They continue to expand their vocabulary through using clues to the meaning of unknown words and distinguishing shades of meaning among similar terms. They consult reference materials, included beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spelling.
In 3rd grade, there are four critical areas of focus in mathematics:
1. Students develop an understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100.
2. They develop an understanding of fractions, especially fractions with the numerator 1 (unit fractions).
3. They develop an understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area.
4. They also describe and analyze two-dimensional shapes by examining their sides and angles.
Students continue to explore mathematical ideas through a variety of games and hands-on tools. They work independently and with partners to solve problems and explain their thinking. In math, fluency means demonstrating accuracy, flexibility, and efficiency.