|Third Grade Curriculum|
Students are assessed in math and broken into groups that best meet their learning needs. The math curriculum is designed to encourage higher-level thinking strategies and give students a meaningful way to use arithmetic skills. Students learn to communicate and think mathematically through problem-solving activities. They learn to use math in real-life situations and to look at the different ways to solve a math problem. In other words, the focus is on the process, rather than only obtaining a solution.
work at their own level and their own pace. The math curriculum used is third grade is published by The Critical Thinking Company: Math Reasoning D, Math Detective, and What Would You Do? Book 1. They also
study fractions, graph reading, patterns, symmetry, geometry and problem
solving. By the end of third grade,
students should be fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and
In third grade, students focus on the scientific
method: question, hypothesis,
experiment, data collection, and conclusion. Emphasis is placed on asking questions and testing to draw
conclusions. Topic areas include
matter, atoms, elements, energy, and electricity. We study the properties of matter, including density,
viscosity, mass, and phases of matter. We study atomic parts and build atom models. We learn about different ways that energy can be produced; wind,
water, solar, fossil fuels and nuclear resources. Students are taught how to prepare and present a science
Students study different
genres of literature, such as science fiction, historical fiction, tall tales,
biographies, mysteries, myths, and poetry. They learn to identify the characteristics of the different
genres through discussion and written responses. Students are encouraged to identify the types of books they
enjoy, to explain and articulate their responses to books, and to understand
and evaluate their personal connection to literature. They practice reading comprehension using the reciprocal
method, in which they must be able to question, summarize, clarify, and make
predictions in their reading. Students also practice fluency through reading aloud. We encourage students to practice
reading orally and silently at home every night.
Focus is on the writing process (brainstorming, writing, sharing, revising, editing, and publishing) and writing genres. Students are involved in different writing projects that may include writing fiction, letters, poetry, biography, myths, and news articles. Each child keeps a journal. In their journals students may write stories, poems, letters, thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. The emphasis is on self-expression, creativity, and freedom of choice.
In Grammar we focus on the parts of speech,
punctuation, and paragraph building. The mechanics are reinforced in their grammar and language workbooks as
well as in their final copies of writing projects. Handwriting and cursive are practiced using Evan Moor
contemporary cursive workbooks.
Various activities are used to help develop manual dexterity and fine
Students give oral
presentations in several subject areas. Speaking skills are reinforced in group discussions, problem solving,
and responding to questions. Students learn to speak clearly at an appropriate volume and are taught
to focus on their topic. By
learning to organize their thoughts they develop confidence in their ability to
speak in front of a group. Students also participate in a poetry café and 2-3 drama production to
help develop their public speaking skills.
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
Students study California history and geography. Topics include early civilizations, natives of California, Spanish Missions, Mexican California, westward expansion, the gold rush, pioneer life, and statehood. Integrated into these topics are historical fiction, geography, map skills, writing, and creative projects. We take field trips that support our studies including a visit to a California Mission, Museum of Art and History. Hands on projects include drawing life-size natives, building a mission as a class out of clay and making a state book.
Spanish vocabulary and grammar are introduced and then reinforced through conversation, games, and music. Students are encouraged to read books in Spanish. The curriculum focuses on time, numbers, days, months, seasons, and weather.
All students have weekly classes in art, drama, music and physical education.
Third Grade Weekly Class Schedule
Michael Matthews earned a Masters Degree in Education and his Teaching Credential from UCSC. He has a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Brown University. Since 2004 Michael has been a 3rd and 5th grade teacher at the Watsonville Charter School of the Arts. Prior to working in the classroom Michael was an outdoor educator and music teacher for four years in the Bay area.