Grade 3

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Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers. Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature. Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal. We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

 

Mandarin Chinese 3

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In third grade, students will be officially introduced to both simplified and traditional Chinese characters about their structures and meanings as an introduction to literacy. In third grade, students also start practicing asking and answering yes/no and WH questions to form short conversations. Students will be expected to recall vocabulary learned in the past through regular quizzes, individual projects, games, etc. They will participate in authentic conversation about ordering food at a Chinese restaurant during their field trip in May. 

 

Writing Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal writing assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.

Writing 3

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Writer's Workshop

Writer's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in writing. Writer's Workshop focuses on the teaching of writing strategies. The purpose of Writer's Workshop is to foster a love of writing. Students develop an ability to write confidently in many forms for a variety of audiences and purposes. 

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of writing, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

Writing Mini-Lessons

The writing mini-lessons provide opportunities to demonstrate specific writing tools, concepts and techniques for the whole class. Examples of writing or modeling of writing may be used for the students to see how writer's make decisions and work towards specific goals or ideas. Different types of writing may be modeled, such as expository, narrative, poetry, etc. or a lesson on a skill such as adding supporting details, using editing marks, using quotation marks, or writing a paragraph. Mini-lessons are intended to be brief (5-10 minutes) and be applicable for all the writers in the classroom. Students then have the opportunity to use the information in their own writing during independent writing time.

Guided Writing

Guided writing goups can be used to help develop a specific area of writing for a small group or writers who are working on the same skill or strategy. Students who would benefit from some additional time working on some aspect of writing would be invited to join a teacher to practice the writing tool or technique they need. Guided writing groups are often short term and the groups are flexible and changing, forming with whatever individuals need the same specific support at a given time.

Independent Writing

Independent writing is the heart of the writing workhshop, and is a time when the students apply what they have learned in the mini-lesson or guided writing group. The students work on self-selected writing topics, or topics related to a specific project. During this time, some students may be working quietly on a draft with headphones to focus their thoughts on their writing, some students may be conferring with partners or a teacher, some may be meeting in a guided reading group, some may be revising an almost finished piece, and some may be preparing a piece for publication. This part of the writing workshop is the longest, as it is the time when the students are practicing their skills as writers.

Writer's Circles

Writer's circles vary in size and purpose. The whole class may meet together for a large writer's circle, or they may be made up of a few students. During these times, the students may be sharing a draft in progress to get feedback and ideas on where to go next with it. At other times, students may be sharing their published pieces with one another and share compliments and specific aspects of the writing they enjoyed.

Writing Conferences

Writing conferences happen during the independent writing time. A student and teacher will meet one-to-one to discuss a work in progress, or look over a piece that's ready to publish. This is an opportunity for the teacher to talk with the student about the writing process, ask questions, and provide feedback, not only about the conventions (spelling, punctuation, etc.) but the elements of writing taught in the mini-lesson such as developing and organizing ideas,story elements, etc. It is also a chance to assess the writer's strengths and develop goals for the next steps in developing as a writer.

Reading Continuum

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Literacy Statement

An effective literacy program offers a balance of challenge and support while building children’s confidence in their emerging abilities as readers and writers.  Our goal is to develop fluent, capable readers who enjoy the process and learn from it, drawing from a diverse array of literature.  Helping students become writers who can express their ideas cogently, clearly, and creatively is another important goal.  We view reading and writing as a developmental process and understand that a child’s progress is seldom even or linear. It is common, for example, that a student’s leap ahead in learning is followed by a consolidating phase or an apparent plateau. We also find that students cannot be easily placed in a single category along the learning continuum. As such, our instruction is guided by regular formal and informal reading assessments.

While no two developmental journeys are identical, students often exhibit a range of skills and understandings. The following reading/writing continuum describes the basic path to literacy in the Beginning and Lower Schools.
 

Reading 3

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Reader's Workshop

Reader's workshop emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and text. It provides differentiated instruction in reading. Reader's Workshop focuses on the teaching of reading strategies. The purpose of Reader's Workshop is to foster independence among readers.  

In the classroom this looks like a mini lesson devoted to one aspect of reading, followed by guided practice where the teacher works with groups of kids, and time for students to practice the skills independently.

Specific components of this grade level are described below.

 

Read Aloud

During read alouds in the classroom, a variety of books are chosen, such as chapter books, picture books, non-fiction texts, poetry, etc. One of the primary goals of the read alouds is to provide modeling of fluent and expressive reading while allowing the students to access texts that they are not able to read independently yet. The teacher is able to model thinking and comprehension strategies while the students are able to contribute their thinking about the text and practice reading comprehension strategies. Read aloud texts are selected for particular purposes and are often used to elicit responses and encourage discussions. Sometimes they are just to enjoy a good book.

 

Shared Reading

Shared reading in third grade is not used very often. When it is, it is used as a tool to practice reading fluency. Partners might share a poem for two voices, or a small group may share a text for a reader's theater activity in which the students take on character roles and practice reading with fluency and expression.

 

Guided Reading 

Guided reading brings together a small group of students who are similar enough in their reading development that they can be taught together for a period of time. A particular text is selected that provides opportunities for them to expand their processing powers. Students will work on reading comprehension strategies as well as working with words (e.g., contractions, syllables, proper nouns, etc.). Short texts are often chosen to provide multiple text experiences, and longer chapter books that relate to social studies content may also be used to integrate different aspects of the curriculum.

 

Independent Reading

Independent reading time is an opportunity for students to develop and practice habits of effective readers. Students learn to exercise choice as readers and develop favorite books, types of books, genres, topics and authors. Students also create a habit of spending a significant amount of time reading. Students are given time in class to read independently and are expected to read at home on a daily basis. Students are learning to choose books that are “just right,” meaning they are at an independent reading level and are of interest to the reader. Students may be introduced to books by book talks given by the teacher, learn about books shared by other students, and may have books assigned to them by the teacher to help them expand their reading experiences. During independent reading time, the teacher is available to confer with individuals or teach small reading groups.

 

Literature Circles

Literature circles are an opportunity for students to share their thinking about a book. Discussions may occur during guided reading sessions, or may be connected with independent reading activities. Read alouds are an opportunity to develop reading discussion skills with the whole class so the students can implement them during small group literature circles. During discussions, students develop their own thinking about books while sharing and listening to others’ thinking. Students are often asked to read with something in mind, such as to think about questions they would like to ask, or to look for particular features of an author’s writing or elements of literature. Students develop proficiency with thinking deeper about the understanding of the text, and thinking beyond the text itself. They search for evidence within the text to back up their ideas and answers. Discussions are a rich opportunity to learn more about books from many different perspectives.

 

Reading Conferences

Individual reading conferences take place during independent work. The teacher is able to make check in on some aspect of the independent work which is typically based on a mini-lesson that was presented on a given reading concept, skill or strategy. During a reading conference, the teacher will listen to the student read orally and have a brief conversation about the book. At the beginning of the year, conferences will include an assessment to determine independent and instructional reading levels for guided reading groups and for helping students select books to read independently. Reading conferences allow the teacher to gain information about the student’s understanding and fluency which is then able to inform instruction.

 

 

 

 

Music 3

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The third grade music program is based on the Orff-Shulwerk model of music education. Experiences in speech, movement, dance, song, instrumental work, listening, improvisation, and critiquing lead to the development of increasingly sophisticated skills and concepts through the child’s experiences as performer, composer, critic, and listener. This structure for learning music has at its roots active participation by all. The literature for Schulwerk comes from Music for Children as the foundation for instructional sequence.
For students to be fully engaged in the music program in the Lower School, they need to participate in ensemble through instrumental work, singing, drama, dance, creative movement and improvisation. Through these experiences students develop an increased understanding of the elements of music. It is the blending of all of these areas that creates an increasingly sophisticated ensemble experience for students. Experiences in the first curriculum maintain an experiential focus. Experiences in the second – fourth grade curriculums maintain an experiential and conceptual focus.

Core to the curriculum is music which is drawn from a world perspective. Exposure to music from many cultures gives students a window into the understanding of how music reflects the lives and values of other people. Through music, participants harmonize into a single expression which facilitates relationships and strengthens community. 

Library 3

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We offer a warm and welcoming environment to serve the developmental needs of third graders and their families. We foster love of language and development of reading skill. We are partners with the family and encourage use of library resources for pleasure reading at home. We provide advice and counsel to parents as each child moves along a unique developmental path to independent reading.

As students gain skill as independent readers, we provide reader’s advisory and support for “just right” reading. During storytime, the librarians highlight the joy of sharing books together. With guidance, students examine the powers of imagination, the importance of laughter, and the impact on the reader of the choices made by illustrators and authors. We develop students’ awareness of the elements of fiction, text features in all generes, and teach strategies for searching and previewing non-fiction. We present multicultural perspectives and encourage geographical curiousity. Students make connections to themselves, other books, and the world.