Grade 3 Curriculum
Students experience a shortened circle time but increasing complexity of speech work with rhythm, poetry, song, pronunciation, enunciation. They will retell more independently and class play may have a few individual parts. Writing is based on stories from the Old Testament and material from other main lesson block, and it is in grade 3 that cursive is introduced or furthered. Student vocabulary is emphasized, along with spelling rules, weekly reading classes and reading aloud exercises being introduced. Teacher/student reading along exercises take place in grade 3, with the teacher identifying reading challenges and communicating to parents by February conferences. Students will 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, with an emphasis on correct spelling and sorting alphabetically.
Students will recite their time tables 1-12 in chorus and individually and place value to 4 places if not covered. They will carry larger numbers across columns in addition and also carry numbers across columns in multiplication. They start taking from next column in subtraction and are introduced to estimating/measurement (linear, liquid, weight and time); metric can be introduced here or at grade 5.
Students will also be introduced to money in a practical sense and 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 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.
Students have access to free drawing with coloured beeswax crayons and 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 also experience the secondary colours. Students have an art class once per week with their class teacher doing wet-on-wet painting and reflecting the subject matter of the main lesson. They will then create main lesson books with beeswax crayons and/or coloured pencil crayons, before form is gradually introduced.
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.