In Third grade, a child’s awareness of self grows stronger, signaling an exciting new stage of cognitive growth, evident in their increasing mastery of academic skills. This sharpened sense of individuality can also manifest in new worries, fears, and a more critical nature. Third graders want to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind what was once taken for granted and so may engage in persistent questioning and challenging of those in authority, whether in regards to a rule, a fact, or questions of a more philosophical nature. As they achieve more fluency in reading, children utilize this new tool to acquire their own information and begin the process of organizing and interpreting this information in written form. Third graders are increasingly able to apply the concepts and skills they have gathered in new and challenging ways.
School Day: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 4:30 p.m.
A balanced approach is most effective in children’s reading and writing development.
For reading, writing, and phonics, teachers use Reader's and Writer's Workshop curricula, developed at Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
Below are key elements of our rich and balanced language arts program:
Reader’s Workshop – Third Graders have mastered 'learning to read' and enter the exciting realm of 'reading to learn.’ Able to read fiction and non-fiction, students are engaging with more complex texts. In Reader's Workshop, teachers start with a minilesson where a particular reading skill or strategy is explicitly taught. Then the children go off and read, with teachers coming to them to confer. Children read “just right” books and try the strategies learned in the lesson. Reader’s Workshop provides children with feelings of success and competence while reading.
Young readers need opportunities to read high-interest, accessible books of their own choosing. Our classroom libraries in the upper grades contain over 600 leveled books, all organized into collections, shelves, and bins based on level, genre, topic. Our libraries meet all learners’ needs, both for students reading at, above, and below the benchmark.
Book Clubs - Book clubs provide a structure for meaningful and purposeful conversations about the books they are reading. When in book clubs, students meet regularly to talk about a book they are reading together and study author moves. Students carry out their work independently, assigning roles to various members and using the coaching and suggestions from the teacher.
Writer’s Workshop - In the Third grade, students write personal narratives with increased attention to the revision process. They learn The Art of Information Writing, by writing their first chapter books on topics on which they have firsthand knowledge: dogs, ice hockey, the State Forest. In their persuasive writing unit called Changing the World: Persuasive Speeches, Petitions, and Editorials third-graders use their newfound research abilities to gather and organize information to persuade people about causes the children believe matter: stopping bullying, composting, saving seals. And then building off their Norse Mythology unit in Social Studies, students engage in Fairy Tale Writing, using familiar myths and tales to explore fiction writing techniques.
Every writing session starts with a minilesson where a particular skill or strategy is taught. Then the children go off and write, with teachers coming to them to confer. Writers learn to use the writing process: rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Writing is taught with direct, explicit instruction including spelling conventions and the skills of proficient writing. Writing across genres gives children practice with different authorial voices. At the end of each unit, authors edit their work for publication and are celebrated at publishing parties.
Listening and Speaking - Through classroom discussions, teachers actively utilize the social dynamic of the classroom to develop each student’s ability to express thoughts, feelings, and needs respectfully and effectively. Through a variety of literature, students are introduced to the concept of 'windows and mirrors' to children through the varied texts. Windows allow you to view someone else’s experience and mirrors allow you reflect on your own culture. Both resources help build one’s identity and develop empathy and understanding.
Spanish - Through weekly Spanish classes, children continue to build Spanish vocabulary and develop conversational Spanish skills. They continue to learn about culture through both fiction and non-fiction books.
Reading Support - When students are not meeting the literacy benchmarks that they developmentally could meet, the Head Teacher makes a referral to the Reading Support Teacher. Our Reading Support Teacher is trained in the Institute for Multi-Sensory Institution Orton Gillingham Reading Approach. The Reading Support Teacher meets frequently with students either one-on-one or in small groups using an explicit, sequential, systematic, and multi-sensory approach used to teach literacy. The support program breaks reading and writing into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, then builds on these skills over time. The Teacher will also meet with children for reading fluency and writing support as needed.
Third graders integrate their growing mastery of basic arithmetic facts and knowledge of the number system to solve more complex equations. As they deal with greater quantities, they come to recognize the purpose of multiplication and division as efficient strategies. Third graders delve into the multi-step procedures of multi-digit multiplication and division. At Nantucket Lighthouse School, we use Bridges in Mathematics developed by The Math Learning Center to guide our study of mathematics.
Third graders focus on multiplication, fractions, and area. Throughout the year, students multiply numbers from 0 to 10 with fluency; multiply with numbers greater than 10; add and subtract with numbers to 1,000; work with unit fractions and add and subtract fractions; and explore division.
Norse Mythology; researching and report writing and oral presentation.
As children grow out of an egocentric orientation, they can begin to consider other perspectives. As such, a fiery interest arises as to what is fair. Third graders consider twofold concepts, such as ‘long ago’ and ‘far away.’ The study of myths, historical fiction, and biographies of historical figures serve to instruct and inspire.
Investigating animals and plants and the concept of a habitat; mapping; local geology and geography; recording observations of nature; gardening of vegetables and herbs, seed saving, composting, and recycling.
Third graders are discovering the world in new ways and are eager to uncover how things work. This natural curiosity is channeled in the study of creatures and their natural habitats. Through observation and research, children learn about the characteristics and needs of diverse creatures and plants and their shared habitats. They learn about geology and the formation of our island, including the environmental challenges Nantucket faces.
Weekly Physical Education classes include exercising gross motor skills through running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing, throwing, and catching. There is an emphasis on collaborative games and good sportspersonship.
Third graders learn more songs from popular and folk traditions as well as more complex musical games and activities. They start to accompany short rhymes and songs with simple “orchestrations,” which use different instruments, each playing different parts. Towards the end of the year, students learn about “rounds,” where they learn about independent singing and singing in harmony. They also have an introduction to keyboards at the end of the year so that in the upper grades, students are familiar with the layout of the instrument and can dive right in with simple accompaniments for songs and musical games.