Grade 3 Curriculum
In grade three the child passes through their 9th and into their 10th year. This is a significant time in the developmental life of the students as they begin to experience a sense of separation from the younger childhood years in which they has been more intimately connected to their surrounding world. The students often struggle to find a balance between who they are becoming and who they have been.
As they become more aware of their individuality and of the world, the curriculum supports their striving by providing practical opportunities on living and surviving day to day, such as farming and gardening. The class is responsible for the school’s vegetable garden and supports the care of the school grounds. Students also experience and work on an operating farm on their first overnight trip as a class, build a large scale project outdoors and do regular cooking and baking. The students learn about textiles, natural fibres and clothing. In these ways they learn the arts and skills of living in the bigger world they are now discovering.
The language arts curriculum revolves around the Old Testament stories of the Hebrew people and their struggles in finding their place in the world and with their god. The students are introduced to grammar, sentence forming and punctuation as they begin their own first compositional work. There are weekly reading classes and they move from printing to cursive writing.
The experience of measuring during the building project and in baking and cooking leads into measurement studies in math class. The students measure the world around them, first in imperial form and eventually in the metric system. Time, weight and money are also introduced. The other major subjects in math are long division and multiplication, and carrying and borrowing with addition and subtraction. The rhythmical learning of multiplication tables continues.
Subject lessons for grade three include German, French, handwork, music, gardening and movement. Many students begin learning cello or violin in private lessons at the school.
The grade three class participates in the Michaelmas play. Their class play is often based on a creation story from the Old Testament.
- Shortened circle time but increasing complexity of speech work with rhythm, poetry, song, pronunciation, enunciation
- Retelling more independently, class play may have a few individual parts
- Writing is based on stories from the Old Testament and material from other main lesson blocks
- Cursive introduced or furthered
- Vocabulary emphasized, spelling rules introduced, weekly reading classes, reading aloud, teacher/student reading along, teacher identifies reading challenges, communicated to parents by February conferences
- Continue sentence structure and punctuation; precursors to formal grammar (‘naming words”) to introduce basic parts of speech
- Children compose in groups or individually some of the time, emphasis on correct spelling,
- Sorting alphabetically
- Recite time tables 1-12 in chorus and individually
- Place value to 4 places if not covered
- Carry larger numbers across columns in addition
- Carry numbers across columns in multiplication
- Taking from next column in subtraction
- Estimating/Measurement (linear, liquid, weight and time); metric can be introduced here or grade 5
- Introduction to money in a practical sense
- Introduction to long division
Grade 3 students study farming and gardening. Through story, observation and practical activities such as composting and planting /harvesting the school garden, the students experience first-hand how the farmer and gardener work with the elements of nature.
The Old Testament stories are told throughout the year. They give images that have played an important part in Western culture and provide the experience of a framework that clearly defines what is right and wrong.
French & German
In Grades 1, 2 and 3 the foreign language teacher works strongly with the element of imitation. The French/German language is introduced through group recitation, singing, verses, finger games, movement, dances, and circle games. The content is understood through gestures, props and imitation and deals with weather, festivals, colors, numbers, parts of the body and clothing.
In Grade 3 we work with the seasons, animals, the days of the week, house building, trades and farming.
Much of the material is learned by heart and learning is very much a group activity. Individual children will gradually start speaking on their own as it reflects their comfort level with the new language. In the early Grades the emphasis is on having the children experience the sounds, gestures and mood of the foreign language.
At the second half of the year, Grade three moves from the pentatonic recorder to diatonic recorder. Throughout the year, they sing many songs of the seasons in unison and rounds, which the children learn by ear and rote. The children use and create actions to go along with the story within the song. This gives the children opportunities to develop rhythm, and keeps them moving.
The main Lesson teacher takes the class for one movement class per week, along with a nature walk for two periods a week. Starting in Grade 2 and continuing until Grade 4 the students participate in two 45 minute periods of ‘movement” classes a week with the Movement Teacher. The classes are held outside unless the weather is extreme then the classroom is used. Activities and games are chosen that strengthen the students sense of movement in space, their sense of balance and their sense of others around them. Consideration is given to activities that engage their gross motor muscles in a coordinated way, and balancing games that improve fine motor movements. Each class consists of bean bag or ball work, a running/tag game, then a group/circle game, and skipping. In addition, Audrey McAllister’s Zoo Exercises are incorporated into the lesson depending on the needs of the students.
The presentation of activities and games in these grades is made vivid and alive with appropriate images, poems or even a story. A ‘walk through’ of the game is completed before the real play begins. Weaving nature, the seasons, animals, and fairy-tale themes in this way into the activities engages the students’ imagination and helps to keep them involved.
- Access for free drawing with coloured beeswax crayons
- The teacher models reverence for the task which the children imitate
- The children are given the three primary colours with which to paint, out of which they will experience the secondary colours
- Have an art class once per week with their class teacher doing wet-on-wet painting reflecting the subject matter of the main lesson.
- The creation of main lesson books with beeswax crayons and/or coloured pencil crayons.
Practical Arts: Handwork
Build on crochet techniques learned in second grade and work in crocheted rounds – hat; work supports 9-year change with individual patterns and healthy challenge; decision making and problem solving skills are strengthened (need to make decisions on forms); builds effort and perseverance (may even need to start again).
Practical Arts: Gardening/Cooking
Along with their Main Lesson work, the students of grade three had a weekly double period of either gardening or cooking. In the Fall, they gather and save as much seed as they could. The children experience the complete cycle: from seed saving, to planting, to nurturing the plants, and then to preparation for consumption.
Starting in the fall they begin in the flower beds around the school; weeding, trimming, moving plants, maintaining shrubs, dead-heading flowers and seed saving. The vegetable garden is inherited after the grade 4’s finish their harvest in late October.
Skills such as chopping, sautéing, boiling, peeling, and stirring are all developed. In the Spring when the weather permits the outdoor gardening begins. Soil preparation, composting, planting, weeding, and watering are all part of the program.
Students may go to a constructions site, an apple orchard to make pies or applesauce afterwards. In the Spring, they might go to a sugar bush to see how maple syrup is made. In the Spring, they will have their first overnight experience at a working farm for two to three days.