Third grade is truly a rite of passage into the upper-elementary program. Students are given more opportunities to develop their independence and to make certain choices in areas of study. Third graders are expected to take responsibility for their actions. They have the opportunity to experience all of the third grade teachers and other specialists in various subject areas throughout the week. This allows for exposure to different perspectives and various teaching styles. Students are placed in reading and math classes that adequately meet their individual learning needs. Third grade requires more rigorous study than the earlier grades, yet remains enjoyable and rewarding.
Students in grades 1-5 use the Building on the Rock curriculum from Summit Ministries. Third graders focus on the theme of image-bearing and building a relationship of harmony with God, others and self. Key Biblical truths include: God creating us in His image, as image-bearers we are crowned with glory and honor, sin mars our personal harmony and ability to bear God’s image, and through Christ we can be restored in harmony with ourselves and bear His image more completely. Weekly elementary chapels also help instill a desire for worship and Christian leadership. Old Testament stories are taught to show Godly examples through men and women of faith.
Third graders move from guided reading instruction to a more advanced approach using class chapter books. Various genres of literature are studied, including a balanced combination of fiction and non-fiction selections. Literature units are designed to meet the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and allow for curriculum integration of other subjects. Students are evaluated quarterly using the STAR assessment program. Reading progress is tracked for teachers and parents to see. Students are encouraged to take Accelerated Reader tests on a regular basis. Weekly visits to the school’s library keep students well supplied with good books. Third grade students are placed in reading classes that are designed to meet their individual learning needs.
The Wright Group’s Fluency First curriculum is based upon The Fluency Development Lesson, which was highly researched by Drs. Timothy Rasinski and Nancy Padak of Kent State University. Daily lessons use simple and brief reading selections that students practice multiple times before performing for their peers. Teachers assess students based upon reading rate, accuracy, expression, volume, clarity, eye contact and gestures. A total of 5 formal assessments are conducted each year. Vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and word recognition skills are the focus of this entertaining and motivating program.
The Houghton Mifflin English curriculum is used to teach basic grammar. Good sentences versus run-on sentences are explored in depth. Parts of speech are reinforced as well as using punctuation correctly. Editing skills are honed during weekly exercises. Mastery of the basic grammar skills is expected by the end of 3rd grade. The Houghton Mifflin educational website provides teachers, parents and students additional resources to extend each lesson.
Students in third grade work with a writing specialist several times per week using the Write More curriculum. Direct instruction in the writing process helps students when writing across the curriculum. Third graders learn different story elements that good writers use. They gain experience in composing various genres such as personal narratives, descriptions, persuasion, compare/contrast and informational text. Journal writing is also a major part of the curriculum.
The Houghton Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary series utilizes daily activities to reinforce concepts such as short and long vowels, consonant patterns and other spelling patterns. Tests are given weekly.
The Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions Common Core 2013 curriculum provides an excellent balance between computation skills and analysis. Students are expected not only to derive answers, but to justify them as well. Math Expressions focuses on Math Talk, Quick Practice, Student Leaders, Building Concepts and Helping Community. Third grade students learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide. They are introduced to higher-level thinking using real-world story problems that require multiple steps. Hands-on manipulatives help students understand concepts more fully.
The Scott Foresman 2008 Diamond Edition curriculum focuses on life, physical and earth science. Students experience science with a science specialist who loves to share from a Christian perspective. Aha Science! from Learning.com is a supplemental curriculum that is also used. It is web based and highly interactive. Technology is heavily integrated into this class. Labs, projects and hands-on activities help make science a favorite among the third grade students.
The Harcourt Social Studies 2010 curriculum was adopted for third grade in 2010. The focus of this study is communities. Students take an in-depth look at various communities throughout history and today. A unit on government is also included. Map and globe skills are scattered throughout the text. Critical thinking and higher-level reading skills make this curriculum thought-provoking and challenging.
Third graders at Northland may choose between general music class OR orchestra and attend three times a week for 45 minutes per class. In general music class, students participate in many different types of games through which musical concepts such as the pentatonic scale, rhythm notes including dotted rhythms, and sightreading are taught. At Christmas, students are given the opportunity to audition for roles in a Christmas musical. Western Day brings lots of fun with traditional square dancing! Third graders also participate in a spring musical. Composers are studied during the end of the year Music Memory unit.
*Third grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Northland Honor Choir. Honor Choir meets before school two days a week. Participation in Honor Choir is optional. Auditions are usually not required but will be used if needed.
This program is conducted by the Northland high school orchestra teacher using the Suzuki method. Students may choose between the violin, viola, cello or bass. Students learn to play by ear and progress to actually reading music by the end of the year. Students are given the opportunity to perform at the annual Christmas concert and at the Community Open House. Additional off-campus community service performances are offered. An instrument rental fee applies. Purchase of music books is required as well. Students who participate in orchestra class do not attend regular music classes.
Art is integrated into the regular classroom curriculum. Bible crafts and seasonal art projects allow students to be creative on a weekly basis. Students enjoy making Christmas crafts during the holiday season. Special projects include Rodeo Art drawings for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The elementary Physical Education program was developed by SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and is taught by two highly-qualified coaches who have many years of teaching and coaching experience. P.E. classes are designed to develop skills that enhance learning in the classroom. All students participate in 30 minutes of P.E. daily. Classes are taught in the school’s gymnasium and are highly structured in nature. Our belief is that daily physical activity is essential for good health and well-being. Third grade students continue to hone large-motor and fine-motor skills through various games and activities.
In third grade, students become more adept at keyboarding and using the Microsoft Office suite. Access to Smart Boards, iPads, and projectors enhance the learning experience.