Children take giant steps forward in third grade. They still read, write, and do math, of course, but the way they do these things starts to shift. Students move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” and from “learning to write” to “writing to communicate.” My job as their teacher is to guide them closely, but also move them towards another goal: working independently.
After three years of being “little” in kindergarten through second grade, third graders are now among the “big” kids. Third grade is a time of significant growth as students find themselves standing more firmly than ever in the world of school. The curriculum is more challenging in third grade. Students will advance unevenly at times, but the goal in third grade is to differentiate to meet the needs of all students.
Third graders are asked to respond in writing in almost every subject, even math, so they get a lot of practice expressing their thoughts and ideas. They will write book reports and even learn to do research papers.
In social studies, students focus on communities within the United States and around the world. They study geography, use in-depth map skills, and learn about economics and money.
Reading becomes integral to every other subject in third grade and will continue to be so through college and beyond. By the end of the year, third graders are expected to read lessons and chapters on their own and to be ready to discuss them in class. In third-grade math students cross the bridge from simple computation to more complex skills. Students will memorize multiplication and division facts, laying a firm foundation for concepts taught in fourth grade.
Third grade science can be divided into two broad categories: science processes and science concepts. As we study basic concepts in science, we also focus on the “how” of the process of science: gathering evidence, taking measurements, constructing models, and connecting data to explain form and function.
Third grade is a great year for having fun while learning. There is always something exciting happening in our classroom.
Mary Berendt, third grade teacher
The fourth grade classroom at Grace is inviting, stimulating, and exciting, a kaleidoscope of color, ideas, and information. It excites the imagination and invites children with different backgrounds and learning styles to grow and flourish.
Learning centers and bulletin boards reinforce and enrich the material covered in class. There are quiet areas for reading and writing and space for small groups to work together. Students also work in resource centers that challenge and develop higher levels of thinking and creativity.
Fourth grade students are encouraged to explore and share their special gifts and talents, and they are supported as they work to improve in areas of weakness. This is accomplished with large and small group learning experiences, peer tutoring, and individualized instruction. Students share what they learn through oral reports, projects, and presentations.
Fourth grade students learn to solve conflicts in non-violent ways. Time is set aside to discuss social and spiritual issues. Children are listened to, nurtured and supported as they are challenged to grow and learn.
Whether it’s regular instruction in math, reading, social studies, or science, or special units on other cultures and types of literature, there is always something interesting going on in fourth grade. Fourth grade is a rewarding year as students learn to be responsible and take ownership of their work and progress.
Corinne McKenna, fourth grade teacher