RIDGEWOOD AVENUE SCHOOL
Glen Ridge School District
THIRD GRADE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK PARENT BULLETINDear Parents and Guardians,
At Ridgewood Avenue School we strive to deliver a curriculum that challenges every child while building a solid foundation for future success. Our staff and administrative team work together with students and parents to develop a positive school environment where an exciting place is found for students to learn and grow.
Our students not only receive instruction in the core academic subjects, Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, but they also experience an extensive related arts curriculum that includes Art, Music, Physical Education, Media Skills, World Languages, Synergistics, Technology, Guidance and Health. Each subject area curriculum is reviewed and revised on a five year rotation plan.
Our dedicated highly qualified staff is committed to the goal of academic success and student personal growth. Instruction is delivered with consideration of the various learning styles amongst the students. Technology and character education are integrated in the lessons. We offer numerous enrichment opportunities through assemblies, field trips, clubs, band, chorus and after school courses.
We will continue to work hard to provide a safe and supportive environment that enhances a joy of learning for all of our students.
Michael Donovan, Principal
Language Arts is an integral component of the third grade curriculum. Reading, writing, grammar, phonics, speaking, and listening are developed, then maintained, throughout all curricular areas. Within the language arts curriculum, students will develop skills in comprehension, vocabulary, predicting, sequencing, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, making inferences, investigating cause and effect, analyzing character, identifying story elements, and identifying main ideas and details. The current edition of the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill: Won
ders Language Arts program has been adapted into the curriculum. This literature-based program offers a variety of genres. Third graders are exposed to multicultural stories, various forms of fiction and non-fiction, plays, and poetry. Units relating to various areas of the curriculum are also incorporated. Novel studies are incorporated into reading instruction throughout the year and students are encouraged to read independently and be prepared to complete reader responses.
While enhancing writing skills, third graders will learn to communicate thoughts, opinions, and facts through several different forms. Friendly letters, book reports, essay questions, summaries, and journal responses offer opportunities for the students to generate ideas and transform them into quality written work. Additional writing activities encourage students to write for a variety of purposes such as to persuade, inform, record, or entertain. With most writing activities, the writing process is implemented and the six traits of good writing are developed. Many elements of the Lucy Calkins' Writer's Workshop model are incorporated into writing instruction, especially the use of a writer's notebook and the emphasis on revision strategies. Cursive writing is also introduced at this grade level.
Third grade is the time when independence and responsibility are keys to a child's progress. The development of listening skills increases the child's ability to become an independent learner. Children listen critically to a variety of speakers, and listen to obtain information or for enjoyment purposes. When participating as the speaker, students are encouraged to speak clearly with eye contact and an expressive voice. Our students are given opportunities to speak for a variety of purposes and audiences. Language skills appropriate to all grade levels will be integrated into the curriculum.
Third graders continue their exploration of mathematical concepts through the newest edition of the Everyday Mathematics program. This program builds on students' prior mathematical experiences and ideas. Hands-on activities, cooperative learning through partner and group activities, practice through games, and on-going review are key elements to the success of the program. Students are introduced to a concept then share their thinking with peers through class and small group discussion. Concepts are reinforced through games, projects, and independent practice. Parents are encouraged to become involved with the student on Home Links pages. The Student Reference Book is a useful tool for children and parents.
At this level, Everyday Mathematics revisits adding and subtracting of whole numbers, linear concepts, multiplication, division, and place value, geometry, fractions, and measurement. These concepts, which previously have been explored with concrete materials or pictorial representations, are now presented through oral descriptions and symbolic representations. Children learn to choose models that are most appropriate. These skills are applied to realistic situations helping to enhance students' understanding. Special emphasis is placed on applications in science and social studies as the students learn to expand their mathematical abilities and incorporate math into their daily routines.
In preparation for standardized testing, additional problem solving skills are reinforced. Complex story problems require students to rewrite the problem in their own words, use pictures and/or number models to solve, and then explain the process they used in finding the answer. Pupils are encouraged to write clear and concise explanations and to use critical thinking skills to solve the multi-task problem.
The third grade social studies curriculum focuses on the theme of communities. The third graders will study the three different types of communities: urban, suburban, and rural. Strands of history, economics, government, citizenship, culture and geography will be incorporated into their study of these various national and global communities. The Pearson program will be used to develop these concepts.
Reading in the content area is supported with literature throughout this program. Citizenship skills are taught using real-life examples to enable students to discover the importance of patriotism and democratic ideals. Map skills are integrated throughout the theme, as well as interpreting and reading graphs, timelines, and charts.
Mystery Science is a hands-on program that leads the students in the doing of science and engineering. Online science lessons are easy to use and have outstanding content and helps to make the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and supports Common Core. Film footage, animations, and other illustrations with voice over instruction help children to explore science concepts while bringing in real life applications. A variety of activities along with discussion and interaction engage student interest as they help them think through scientific concepts, learn practical applications, and begin to apply the scientific method. Each lesson starts by posing a question commonly asked by kids, like "Do plants eat dirt?" or "Why are so many toys made out of plastic?" A series of short videos and prompts then guides a class discussion, followed by an experiment that can be done as a class. Lessons cover a wide range of topics, including light and sound, biodiversity, engineering, and the water cycle. The goal is to create better thinkers by helping children to find answers to their most common questions about the world.
Appreciation for the printed word is a priority at the Ridgewood Avenue School library. Reading as a pleasurable pastime is encouraged. During class, stories, poems, and essays are read and discussed. The value of reading magazines and newspapers is also emphasized.
Additionally, the librarian provides instruction for all grades in research and computer skills. It is also an “open library” in that teachers and students may use the resources within whenever necessary. Students are scheduled for library for at least one period in every six-day cycle.
Starting in the third grade, students begin developing their research skills. They use dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, and atlases. Gradually, they become more comfortable with finding answers on their own. By the time they are sixth graders, students should be quite comfortable using print sources as well as databases and the Internet.
At all levels, emphasis is placed on the accuracy and reliability of information sources. Information literacy grows significantly during students' years at Ridgewood Avenue School.
Physical education is part of a school-based program that promotes social, emotional, and physical well-being. The purpose of physical education is to develop and enhance gross motor skills, social and life skills, and the learner's thinking and problem solving skills.
Third grade physical education encompasses teaching students the skills that foster participation in physical activities throughout life. Students will learn and apply movement concepts, health related fitness concepts, as well as social concepts. These skills and concepts are taught through a variety of activities and units including dance and movement, individual and team sports, and integration of other discipline areas such as health, geography, mathematics and science.
Health education is part of a school-based program that provides information to foster student skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will result in lifelong healthful decision-making. Health education promotes student physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Through a variety of activities and lessons students gain information on consumer health, mental and emotional health, illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, physical health, and social health. Decision-making and refusal skills are also reinforced in third grade health.
The third grade world language curriculum begins with greetings, courtesy words, the Spanish alphabet, classroom commands, classroom objects, and the beginning numbers. Next, students learn the days of the week, months of the year, color words, and ways to explain the school environment. After this, youngsters will be introduced to some food vocabulary words and how to express likes and dislikes. In addition, family vocabulary is taught.
Students are also introduced to the Spanish-speaking people of the world. Classes locate each of the twenty Spanish-speaking areas on the world map and make passports to use each time a culture lesson is taught. Classes next “visit” Mexico for the “Day of the Dead,” and Puerto Rico to get to know Roberto Clemente, in addition to learning about other Spanish countries and their customs.
Classes meet two times in a six-day cycle with a teacher who comes into their classroom. A grade for world languages will appear on each child's report card. Effective communication in Spanish is the primary goal. Language is taught mainly in the target language. Pictures, stuffed animals, gestures, acting, and music help to convey meaning and reduce or eliminate the necessity for direct translation. Homework is a written reinforcement of language concepts taught in class. Periodic assignments are given to determine the students' level of comprehension.
The music program opens new and exciting doors to all of our third graders. There are two different avenues of musical studies students at this grade level may take. First is a continuation of the general studies. Students will participate in a number of kinesthetic, auditory, and vocal skills in an effort to better understand and appreciate music. (topics/recorders?)
The chorus is a performing group open to all students in Grades 3 through 6. This group meets before school twice a week and performs in two main concerts during the year. The chorus will also have several other performances over the duration of the school year.
As youngsters enter the third grade, they embark upon an ambitious and exciting year in art class. Students acquire knowledge of skills that will increase an aesthetic awareness in the visual arts. At the same time, they develop and define design through the use of perceptual, intellectual, and technological skills in the utilization of the art elements and media. Students develop a working knowledge of the elements of art criticism based on aesthetic criteria. As art students, the third graders are taught to identify and describe various art forms from different historical and contemporary periods and cultures. An appreciation and recognition of the impact of the visual arts in daily life is gained as well.