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Lower School Curriculum


Overview of Lower School (Grades 1–4) The Lower School curriculum reflects high academic standards, and our faculty is dedicated to giving each student the opportunity to discover his or her physical, creative, social, and academic strengths. Because social and academic skills are inextricably linked, we strive to create a respectful, safe atmosphere where students can explore interests, take responsible risks, and develop academic skills and knowledge. Dedicated faculty members work together in our state-of-the-art facility to create an engaging curriculum, rich with opportunities for deeper thinking as students develop key twenty-first-century skills: communication, cosmopolitanism, collaboration, character, creativity, and critical thinking. Students benefit from:  Our developmentally appropriate, coherently sequenced, and integrated curriculum in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, world language, fine arts, physical education & wellness, and library and education technology.  A commitment to developing important Habits of Mind, critical thinking and creative problem solving, collaboration and communications skills, and curiosity and imagination.  Our Responsive Classroom® teaching philosophy which stands apart from other public and private school programs with its emphasis on a positive social and emotional environment as the foundation for academic excellence.  A faculty who understands brain and child development and works collaboratively to engage students in a variety of learning experiences that encourage making connections, building understanding, and taking ownership of learning.  A commitment to experiential learning where students’ learning is enriched with field trips to Lake Forest Open Lands, the theater, the symphony, and historic sites.  A compassionate school environment that values personal responsibility, diversity, and openness to different points of view.

Teaching Philosophy Knowing the students we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is of utmost importance to us. We also believe in the importance of getting to know their families. We value the input of parents as the child’s first teacher, beginning with intake conferences prior to the start of school when parents share their knowledge of and hopes and dreams for their child. Two important beliefs are at the heart of our teaching philosophy: first, the social curriculum is inextricably linked with the academic curriculum; and, second, how students learn is as important as what students learn. Lower School faculty shares a commitment to the following teaching and learning practices: RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM®






Responsive Classroom® techniques foster a welcoming, accepting, safe, and nurturing environment for learning. Teachers promote ways of thinking and behaving that develop self-discipline and strong character.

Teachers focus on each individual student’s learning style and make adjustments as needed to provide support or additional challenge. Students enjoy opportunities to engage in hands-on activities and role-play experiences that help them understand abstract ideas.

The curriculum emphasizes academic work that requires Ideas are introduced in the context of central unifying concepts or critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration and has themes to help students recognize and remember connections in real-world applications. what they are learning in different disciplines. Lower School Curriculum Guide


Lower School Curriculum


Responsive Classroom® Approach The Lower School faculty utilizes Responsive Classroom® techniques to create a welcoming, accepting, safe, and nurturing environment. In classrooms where caring communities are created and in which children are valued for where they are on the continuum of learning, students are prepared to face challenges intentionally designed to stretch their thinking and help them develop confidence in what they can accomplish. As students grow and mature, they take increasing responsibility for their own learning, for setting goals, and for evaluating their learning style. By fourth grade, students lead their fall and spring parent conferences, using portfolios to explain their progress, strengths, and challenges.

Community Meeting

Stop by at 8:15 on a Wednesday morning to experience a Lower School Community Meeting, a time when students in senior kindergarten through fourth grade come together for approximately twenty minutes. The meetings are designed to:

 build community through the sharing of common values and experiences.  provide an opportunity for students to present examples of their accomplishments and work in all disciplines.  celebrate birthdays and reward qualities we value (i.e., persistence, risk-taking, sportsmanship, respect, teamwork, dedication to high-quality work).  share musical and movement selections. These meetings also provide the opportunity to remind students about important Habits of Mind and shared values that are an integral part of the LFCDS experience, including the value of “filling each other’s buckets.”

Children must have multiple opportunities to learn and practice in order to be successful academically and socially. Since the greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction, various social settings (e.g., one-to-one conferences, small groups, whole class, and team experiences) provide opportunities for learning cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

Inherent in the Responsive Classroom® approach is shared ownership of the classroom community and choice. The year begins with cooperative creation of classroom rules based on students’ hopes and dreams for the year and the classroom atmosphere necessary to accomplish them. Guidelines for behavior are shared with teachers of “specials” such as Every Lower School Have You Filled a Bucket Today? speaks to art, music, science, and classroom begins the the power of our words and actions in making one another physical education & feel good about and respected for who we are as individuals. day with a Morning wellness so expectations The premise is that each of us carries an invisible bucket that Meeting. News and represents our mental and emotional self. The ways we interact are consistent throughout Announcements are with others affect whether one another’s buckets are empty or the day. Students are read by the children as overflowing with positive energy at the end of the day. taught to resolve conflict they arrive, building Students learn about the ways they can be bucket fillers as well with words and to offer excitement about as bucket dippers. Students come to understand that by filling amends for any hurt the day’s events and someone else’s bucket, they are also filling their own. they may have caused. engaging the students in Teachers use logical consequences for infractions and a meaningful question of the day designed to enhance are proactive about dealing with social cruelty. Students learning and sometimes just to have fun. During the feel heard and safe and understand that these situations sharing that follows, students practice essential skills, are part of growing up. such as learning to share concisely; actively listening with empathy and understanding; asking increasingly complex questions; and making connections with what they hear. The meeting ends with a fun, bonding activity. Lower School Curriculum Guide

Because we know that choice is highly motivating, the faculty creates opportunities each week when students determine what they will read, write about, or 3

Lower School Curriculum


explore as well as how they will go about learning and demonstrating understanding. Students become more engaged, productive, persistent, and excited about learning and sharing their knowledge when they have choices. They are also more likely to think deeply and creatively.

Research indicates that the Responsive Classroom® approach provides a more positive school experience for both students and faculty, improves the social skills of students, increases academic achievement, and leads to more high-quality instruction.

Nutrition and Manners

Lunch is included in tuition and, since LFCDS focuses on the whole child, mealtime is structured as an opportunity for children to learn and practice gratitude, good manners, polite conversation, and healthy eating habits.

 Lunches are served family style with six or seven students assigned to a table with an adult or fourth-grade supervisor. Fourth-grade students may sit at self-managed Honor Tables.  OrganicLife provides healthy hot selections, an extensive salad bar, and a sandwich bar daily. Fresh fruit is served four or five times a week for dessert. On one or two days a sweet dessert is offered in addition to the fruit. A water pitcher is on each table, and milk is also available.  Each child has a job to accomplish so that tables are respectfully cleared, cleaned, and prepared for the next lunch.  A music selection is played during which the lunchroom is silent and the focus is on eating.  On occasion, world language immersion tables provide an enriching, authentic, and fun experience for students. They are supervised by world language staff and bilingual volunteer parents.  Parents are welcome at lunch both as visitors and as volunteer table supervisors.

Habits of Mind Habits of Mind are behaviors or dispositions that we believe provide a strong foundation for success in school and in life. Across curricular areas, faculty members discuss their application and provide regular opportunities for students to apply them. For example:

 First-grade students take responsible risks using challenging playground equipment.  For our early childhood students, gathering data through the senses and persisting are part of the fabric of their day.  During a fourth-grade mathematics class,  In science class, students question and pose a teacher encourages metacognition as problems as they create "fair tests" and make students prepare to share a variety of ways to solve inferences from the results. a problem.  Throughout the Lower School, students practice  A world language teacher asks students to strive for listening with empathy and understanding, accuracy when pronouncing new vocabulary. managing impulsivity, responding with wonder and awe, and finding humor as a community  Third-grade students think and communicate with during daily Morning Meetings. clarity and precision as they write essays.  Students learn to think interdependently, be  Second-grade students think flexibly in visual creative, use their imaginations, and be innovative art class as they determine the materials and during a myriad of small- and large-group problem perspective to complete their project. solving situations across the disciplines.

Lower School Curriculum Guide


Lower School Curriculum


Authentic Work of the Disciplines At LFCDS, we emphasize authentic learning experiences—ones that reflect critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and real-world applications. In order to prepare students for a

university education, a meaningful career, and life in general, we work to develop students’ deep understanding of content and issues and ask them to demonstrate their new learning, not just recite it. The authentic work of real-world learning experiences enables students to develop important lifelong skills and to view The LFCDS House System their education as relevant and connected to Four large flags in the school atrium represent four “Houses” or groups the larger world. within the School. LFCDS has developed the House System to foster connections within the school community. The objective is to bring together the Upper and Lower School students, faculty, and staff for organized fun that enhances each member’s sense of belonging and builds tradition.

 The four houses are named for significant leaders in the School’s history (Bell, Mason, and Farwell) and a founder of the first private day school in America (Alcott). Each house has a signature color.  Students in grades one and five, two and six, three and seven, and four and eight are paired as house buddies.  The House System provides students with enjoyable leadership and mentoring opportunities in a setting outside the classroom.  School spirit is enhanced through friendly House events throughout the year, ending with Field Day activities.  Building connections and developing lasting relationships among faculty, staff, and all students from first through eighth grade, ultimately creates a stronger sense of responsibility for the well-being of each member of the community.

So what does this look like at LFCDS? Second-grade students analyze literature and design open-ended questions to pose to their book clubs. The reduction of carbon footprints on our earth is the focus of fourth-grade students as they develop individual action plans. First-grade students conduct a videotaped oral history with one of their grandparents or special neighborhood friends. Preschool students use cloth napkins for snacks and grow vegetables in their school garden beds. Following student-designed research, third-grade students contribute articles to an online children’s encyclopedia. Learning experiences like these offer intellectual challenge, build work habits of persistence, metacognition, and accuracy, and engage students in the kinds of creative and critical thinking that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Differentiation Differentiation is the process of matching instruction to varied students and their interests and needs. It is a cornerstone of high-quality teaching and learning and a practice that pervades LFCDS. We pride ourselves on our ability to deeply know our students as learners and to think outside of the box when it comes to approaching their learning in the most appropriate and effective ways. This is responsive education. Students who exhibit academic talent may participate in a

Lower School Curriculum Guide

Knights of the Round Table mathematics think tank experience, read and discuss Junior Great Book classics, and assume editor responsibilities for the Lower School newspaper. Those children who require additional support may receive in-class individual and small-group assistance or instruction offered through our Learning Services department. Ongoing assessment enables us to efficiently and flexibly encourage our students’ interests and to meet their academic and developmental needs.


Lower School Curriculum


Experiential Learning What child wouldn’t want to become a toy designer, a pioneer in the 1850s, a travel journalist making a crosscountry trek, a Chinese dragon parade manager or a member of royalty in medieval England? Experiential learning occurs when students investigate and gain understanding through their play. An excellent instructional strategy to engage the whole child— cognitively, socially and emotionally, physically, and

creatively—experiential learning allows students to learn by doing: creating, constructing, planning, solving problems, and collaborating. LFCDS teachers carefully craft experiential, hands-on learning activities that will tap students’ interest and engagement and then allow for divergent thinking, open-ended responses, student choice, and rich understanding. Joyful play and academic rigor can occur simultaneously!


The Lower School theme is LFCDS ROCKS! This stands for: Lake Forest Country Day students Respect Others, Community, Knowledge, and Self.  Senior kindergarten students and new members to the School community are welcomed during Community Meetings with a gift of two rocks.  One rock taken from the School property represents the uniqueness of each student, faculty, and staff member as well as the importance of rich diversity to a healthy and vibrant School community. Each individual also receives an identical, polished green (School color) one engraved with LFCDS ROCKS. It represents the significance of shared values and the high standards for behavior that allow for a rigorous learning environment.  A catchy cheer is shared to make the theme fun and memorable. Signs in classrooms provide a visual reminder of our commitment to respecting each other, our community, our learning environment, and ourselves.

Unifying Concepts Unifying concepts provide a structure for organizing and making meaning of the knowledge and information that students learn throughout the school day. Research supports this notion: facts and ideas become usable understandings for children when they are linked to central themes or concepts. Knowing how students learn best, we developed preschool through eighth-grade social studies and science curricula around unifying concepts that build upon and connect to each other. For example, the relationships concept that grounds the preschool social studies curriculum is enhanced by the study of animal-environment

Lower School Curriculum Guide

relationships in junior kindergarten; by the contentious relationships between European settlers and native peoples studied in third grade; and by the relationship between individual and government in eighth-grade American history. At the same time, each grade level represents a new layer of unifying concept that enriches and broadens students’ understanding of it and its application in varied contexts. Unifying concepts are integral to ensuring that students make connections within and across disciplines and topics and, as a result, comprehend their learning experiences more deeply.


GRADE 3 Curriculum

of their skills. Reenactments in social studies reflect the more elaborate fantasy play of which third-grade Our energetic third-grade students are primed for students are capable. The amount of collaborative a year of exciting changes. The first is their move to work increases, and guidance is provided for how that classrooms on the second floor of the Lower School looks, sounds, and feels. This is the age when students wing, which symbolizes the increase in expectations begin to emerge as leaders; develop the language and for independence, collaboration, and application of the thinking skills to more clearly formulate and express foundational skills they have gained in earlier years. their viewpoints; and By the end of third demonstrate the greater grade, students social acumen to vary become self-assured, their coping skills in independent thinkers challenging situations. who are able to It is also a time when solve problems with they are vulnerable to creative strategies, Research and become an historical figure frustration when faced in the LFCDS Wax Museum. set goals, and present with difficult tasks their thinking with Reenact life in a nineteenth-century in areas of personal increasing clarity one-room school house for four days. weakness. Faculty and precision. They Trade handmade items at a traditional members are aware of know when to use Fur Trading Rendezvous. scaffolding assignments their own resources Travel overnight to the living history and providing support and when to seek 1836 village at Connor Prairie. and a sense of security for adult help. The late Construct well-researched and developed essays, each student. bloomers often catch including animal adaptation reports. up during the thirdIn third grade, Forge relationships in the school community grade year and may students practice through House events with seventh-grade buddies. even surpass the early combining skills and Study diversity of prairie plants and plant talkers and readers. strategies to read adaptation at the Lake Forest Open Lands. fluently with meaning Third-grade Build, test, and modify the throwing and purpose. They are students are very distance of student-designed and exposed to different aware of where student-engineered catapults. types of texts to which they fit in the class, they apply a variety of physically, creatively, comprehension skills, socially, and including knowledge of text structures, vocabulary, academically. The practice of skills and time for play and the world. Reading and writing occur across the in the earlier years have fostered skills and athleticism. disciplines, and stories and reports are increasingly They look forward to daily physical education & more detailed as well as persuasive, informative, and/or wellness classes and recess. Students are encouraged entertaining. Comprehension skills in listening are also to remain physically active; to practice the skills fostered as it is essential that students are able to answer required for traditional team sports; and to exhibit the questions about and infer information from what has sportsmanship and effort required to be an excellent been heard or read. We value the development of a athlete and team player. Our strong fine arts program child’s language and literacy skills as the groundwork is integrated with other disciplines and provides for academic learning and achievement. Likewise, the opportunities for greater sophistication and application

The Third-Grade Experience at LFCDS

Highlights of the Third-Grade Experience

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3 early foundation that has been laid in mathematics is evident as they apply their conceptual knowledge to larger numbers and more sophisticated concepts related to place value, including fractions and decimals, geometry, and patterns and algebraic thinking. They apply a variety of problem-solving techniques and estimate to check the validity of their answers. We emphasize clear communication of their thinking, using appropriate mathematics vocabulary, and we encourage and validate the variety of ways a problem can be solved. At LFCDS, we focus on respect and on what it means to be part of a community. Each classroom develops its own group agreement about standards for behavior. They have many opportunities to cooperate and collaborate with classmates during group work, and the skills and behaviors required for successful team work are discussed and practiced. Our faculty meets with small groups of students to discuss the ins and outs of their social lives in preparation for what we know is a bumpy road for early adolescents. Third-grade students regularly attend and participate in weekly Lower School Community Meetings. They enjoy scheduled events or hallway exchanges with their seventh-grade buddies, friends they made in first grade through our House System (a tradition of pairing Lower and Upper School classes that began during the 2009–2010 school year). They also treasure special relationships developed through monthly activities with their senior kindergarten buddies. The opportunity for being nurtured and nurturing is an appropriate one for this maturing group.


Third-grade students follow a six-day academic schedule:  Language arts (i.e., reading, writing, and word study): two hours each day  Social studies: three times a week for forty-five minutes  Mathematics: one hour each day; differentiation is based on the needs of the group and needs of each individual  French: three times per cycle for twenty-five minutes Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3

Overview  Physical education & wellness : thirty minutes each day  Science and music: twice in a six-day cycle for forty to forty-five minutes  Visual art classes: twice in a six-day cycle for fifty-five to sixty minutes. Each day begins with a Morning Meeting. Students greet one another, get to know each other better through sharing, engage in an activity, and read the daily message. The message regularly contains a question that is designed to activate prior learning, practice a test-taking skill, promote verbal reasoning, ask an opinion, or make connections with a current study. Each morning, students take a short break for a snack, and faculty members provide “brain breaks.” Because we value fresh air, play, and the skills gained through unstructured activities, a twenty-five to thirtyminute recess occurs each afternoon.


 Students have a planner in which homework is recorded. They benefit from recording their out-of-school events and family commitments on a calendar. In addition, students complete long-term projects that require planning ahead and dividing it into smaller tasks over time.  Parents are expected to sign their child’s planner each night after checking to be certain homework is completed neatly and accurately. Having a parent nearby to answer questions is still helpful for some students; however, this is the year when they should take responsibility for completing most homework assignments independently. Choosing the time to complete homework empowers students and lessens the need for parental nagging.  In third grade, students should spend approximately one hour on homework. •• There are designated word study sorts to complete and activities to promote fact fluency. •• A mathematics assignment is given on Mondays and Wednesdays, and occasionally there will be a writing or social studies task to be worked on at home. 8

Grade 3

Overview •• Reading to or with a child daily is expected as it promotes reading as an important lifelong habit and builds vocabulary and background knowledge critical to comprehension.

Standardized Assessments  Three times a year the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System is administered to gauge student progress in reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.  Each October our third-grade students take the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP4) online standardized test prepared by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Parents who are familiar with the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT), which is administered in public schools, may be unfamiliar with ERB testing and question why we do not use the ISAT. First, according to the Rules of the Illinois School Code under 1.30 State Assessment, the ISAT is only given to public school districts in the state. Second, the ERB, founded in 1927, is one of the most respected standardized testing services used in 47 states and 52 countries by college preparatory schools that aspire to high standards. Area independent schools, including the Latin School of Chicago, Francis

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3

W. Parker School, North Shore Country Day School, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Avery Coonley School, and the British School of Chicago use ERB tests, as do selected topperforming suburban schools, such as New Trier High School. Since ISAT and ERB tests scores are not directly comparable, we report student achievement relative to independent schools nationally rather than relative to local public schools. Historically, LFCDS students have performed at high levels.  The CTP4 is a rigorous battery of assessments designed to collect information about students’ achievement in auditory comprehension, reading comprehension, word analysis, writing mechanics, and mathematics. At the third-grade level all tests except for reading comprehension are read aloud. Parent reports provide information about whether a child’s results exceed or meet grade-level benchmarks or are characterized as developing at this time. The tests provide an introduction to testing online, and results inform instruction for individual students and curricular decisions.


Grade 3

Language Arts

Language Arts Overview The Lower School language arts curriculum provides a framework for teaching and learning that is studentcentered, rigorous, and individualized. Divided into three instructional blocks of reading, writing, and word study, the language arts program enables students to become strong readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and researchers who can think and investigate in critical and creative ways. Students read and write in a variety of genres.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following language arts skills:

Reading Foundational Skills  Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.  Decode multisyllable words.  Read grade-appropriate high-frequency words.  Read on-level text with purpose and understanding.  Read on-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.  Select just-right books for independent reading.

Reading Literature  Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.  Recount stories, including traditional tales from diverse cultures, and determine the central message, lesson, or moral. Explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.  Describe characters in a story (e.g., traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text.  Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).

Reading Informational Text  Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.  Determine the main idea of a text. Recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.  Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases.

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Language Arts  Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).  Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).  Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Writing  Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.  Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.  Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.  Produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.  Use technology to produce and publish writing (i.e., using keyboarding skills), as well as to interact and collaborate with others.  Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.  Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources. Take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.  Write routinely over extended time frames (i.e., time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (i.e., a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.  Write cursive handwriting with proper form, size, and slant.

Speaking and Listening  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (i.e., one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.  Listen attentively to others.  Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented.  Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details while speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

Language  Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general as well as their functions in particular sentences.  Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.  Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.  Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.  Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.  Form and use possessives.  Apply spelling patterns and skill lessons to everyday writing.  Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3


Mathematics Overview The Lower School mathematics curriculum aligns with National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Common Core State Standards and combines computation, reasoning, and problem-solving skills in a format that ties mathematics to students’ lives. Each year students are challenged with multilevel problems to analyze the structure of questions and discover effective strategies to solve them. Traditional methods of learning quantitative skills are blended with engaging projects to help students enjoy using mathematics for a lifetime. In the 2013–2014 school year, the Singapore program Math in Focus will be implemented in senior kindergarten through fourth grade. Excellent supplementary materials and technology will be used to enrich and differentiate instruction. We are committed to providing students with a strong conceptual background that lays the groundwork for success in the future; procedural understandings and fact fluency that engender confidence and precision; the ability to clearly communicate one’s thinking with models, both orally and in writing, using mathematical terminology; and the motivation to persevere when problem solving.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following mathematics skills:

Operations and Algebraic Thinking  Interpret products of whole numbers (e.g., 5 x 7 is the total number of objects in five groups of seven objects).  Interpret whole-number quotients (e.g., 56 / 8 is the number of objects in each share when 56 objects are grouped into equal shares of eight objects each).  Use multiplication and division to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities.  Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation.  Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.  Demonstrate fluency with multiplication and division facts through 100.  Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems and assess the reasonableness of answers with mental computation and estimation strategies.  Identify arithmetic patterns and explain them using properties of operations [e.g., 73 x 4 is equal to (70 x 4) + (3 x 4)].

Number and Operations in Base Ten  Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.  Fluently add and subtract within 1,000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.  Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10–90, using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.

Number and Operations with Fractions  Develop understanding of fractions as numbers.  Understand a fraction as the quantity formed by one part when a whole is partitioned into equal parts.  Represent fractions on a number line diagram. Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Mathematics  Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions.  Express whole numbers as fractions. Recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers.  Compare two fractions.

Measurement and Data  Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure elapsed time intervals in minutes.  Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes.  Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams, kilograms, and liters.  Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units.  Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories.  Solve one- and two-step problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.  Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot.  Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures and understand concepts of area measurement.  Measure areas by counting unit squares.  Relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition.  Recognize perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguish between linear and area measures.  Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons.

Geometry  Understand that shapes in different categories may share attributes.  Partition shapes into parts with equal areas and express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole.

Mathematical Problem-Solving Practices (embedded within each content strand above)  Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.  Reason abstractly and quantitatively (i.e., attend to the meaning of quantities; know and flexibly use different properties of operations).  Construct logical arguments and evaluate the reasoning of others.  Model with mathematics (e.g., write equations, draw a picture, make a table).  Use appropriate tools strategically (e.g., pencil and paper, protractor, ruler, calculator).  Attend to precision (e.g., specify units of measure, calculate accurately, label answers, attend to the context of the problem).  Look for and make use of structure (i.e., discern patterns, recognize and use properties of operations).

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Social Studies

Social Studies Overview An integrated study of the social sciences forms the basis for the Lower School social studies curriculum. Unifying themes develop throughout the grades from preschool through eighth grade, allowing students to build on the mastered skills and the lenses through which they have experienced the social studies content. With emphasis on higher-level thinking skills that include chronological sequencing, comprehension, analysis, and decision making, the social studies program offers students the chance to pursue independent inquiry, participate in hands-on, active lessons and projects, and investigate real-world problems. Through social studies lessons, students develop their capacities to make thoughtful, informed decisions. For participating citizens in our culturally diverse nation and global world, these skills and understandings are essential. The unifying theme for third grade is adaptation. Students begin the year studying the origin and establishment of the Plymouth colony as a model for analyzing other early colonies. Past and contemporary Native American cultures offer another context for students to understand adaptation. An authentic threeday reenactment of pioneer schooling, including a field trip to The Grove in Glenview for hands-on, period activities, starts a final investigation of the fur trade and settlers’ westward expansion. Their studies culminate with a trip to the living history museum at Connor Prairie.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following social studies skills:

Culture  Describe similarities and differences in the ways different groups of people meet similar needs and concerns.  Demonstrate how holding different values and beliefs can contribute or pose obstacles to understanding between people and groups

Time, Continuity, and Change  Use sources such as artifacts, documents, and stories to develop an understanding of the past and begin to see how knowledge of the past can inform decisions about actions on issues of importance today.

People, Places, and Environments  Use map elements to inform study of people, places, and environments, both past and present.

Individual, Groups, and Institutions  Describe interactions between and among individuals, groups, and institutions.

Power, Authority, and Governance  Analyze and evaluate conditions, actions, and motivations that contribute to conflict and cooperation among groups.

Production, Distribution, and Consumption  Evaluate different methods for allocating scarce goods and services. Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Social Studies, Science Science, Technology, and Society  Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.  Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources. Take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

Civic Ideals and Practices  Practice civic participation by addressing issues (e.g., in the classroom, school, community, nation, and world).

Science Overview The Lower School science curriculum includes three units of study per year at each grade level that address the three strands of science—physical science, life science, and earth/space science. In a hands-on, inquiry-based setting, students pose questions, explore hypotheses, and form conclusions. Students further their scientific understanding through learning that is relevant to real-life experiences and through spiraling unifying themes from senior kindergarten through eighth grade. Third-grade students develop understandings around the theme of systems and relationships. As they study animal and plant relationships, force and motion, and land and water interactions, they hypothesize, test, and explore how the parts of a system work together.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following science skills:

Questions  Pose thoughtful questions about the world.

Observation  Observe, describe, and record relationships within systems.  Recognize the need to observe, record, and measure.  Use numbers to represent a physical quantity.  Observe, describe, and record the properties of living and non-living things.  Observe, describe, and record change over time.

Communication  Construct precise scientific drawings or representations of events.  Record written predictions, observations, and results in a journal and on record sheets, class charts, graphs, and brainstorming lists.  Synthesize classroom discussion and offer meaningful contributions.  Use models as a means of talking about what might happen if one element is changed.

Comparison  Make detailed comparisons.  Compare conditions over time. Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Science, World Language Comprehension  Identify the main topic, focus, and key details of a scientific or technical text.  Read on-level informational text with purpose and understanding.  Participate in research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report).

Inquiry Design  Recognize that data is collected by scientists and engineers in investigations.  Explain fair test.  Record observations (e.g., drawing, writing, measurement).  Identify factors that vary in the situation under study.  Tabulate and represent evidence in a graphical form and look for patterns.  Interpret simple data represented graphically (e.g., pie charts, simple graphs).  Design and implement a fair-test experiment. Create models.  Analyze and draw logical conclusions from results.  Make a claim or argument and support it with evidence.

Scientific Instruments  Use simple tools such as rulers, centimeter cubes, push-pull meters, spring scales, and simple machines to measure the required data.

World Language Overview LFCDS offers Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French in the ECC and Lower School. These languages were selected in order to expose our students to a variety of important world cultures and better equip them to meet the challenges of global citizenship. Our design is based on current brain research and best practices in elementary world language education. Adhering to the national standards for the teaching of world languages, we aim to prepare our students to view the world from broader perspectives, compare and contrast languages and cultures, and appreciate the importance of communication in international communities. The benefits of this model lead beyond language learning into the discovery of diverse cultural worlds where these languages are spoken.

The Early Childhood and Lower School curriculum sequence is: Spanish: Preschool and Junior Kindergarten Spanish is the most prominent second language in the United States. Often young children have already had some exposure to Spanish expressions and culture. The two-year study of Spanish provides a foundation in Spanish which will also set the stage for the learning of other languages with different sounds and syntax.

Mandarin Chinese: Senior Kindergarten and Grade 1 Chinese represents the fastest growing Eastern language and may be the most important business language outside of English in the twenty-first century. In addition, brain research shows benefits from the study of pictographic and tonal languages, which naturally develop simultaneous use of multiple areas of the brain, Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

World Language, Fine Arts

enhancing student learning of other subjects. The two-year study of Chinese enriches our senior kindergarten and first-grade cultural studies, especially our first-grade social studies unit on China.

French: Grades 2 and 3 French is an official language in thirty-three countries spread throughout five continents. While learning French, students discover the influence of French on the English language. This awareness deepens their knowledge of our own language as they explore the multitude of French words the English language has absorbed. The two-year study further enriches the third-grade social studies unit on the French voyageurs.

Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French: Grade 4 Fourth-grade students have the opportunity to revisit or become familiar with Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French. In our global world today, some knowledge of the sound system and basics of each language is critical for a well-rounded education. In addition, an opportunity to compare all three languages over the course of a year allows students, with the support of parents and teachers, to make an informed choice about which single language to study in Upper School. Having experienced all three languages also complements the fourth-grade immigration unit and their culminating study of global warming.

Grade-Level Expectations

The approach in third grade remains similar to that of the first year of French in grade two, with a gradual emphasis on more advanced reading skills and the introduction of rhymes, stories, and dialogues. Third-grade students will work to master the following French skills:  Deepen their knowledge of French history and geography, focusing particularly on the French revolution and geographical regions.  Discover the French influence in the New World with Jacques Cartier and the Voyageurs and begin to identify many of the French words used in the English language.  Use and recognize vocabulary related to: the house, its rooms and furniture; family and pets; farm animals; meals and specific dishes; shops and the town, numbers to sixty-nine; and how to tell time.  Use language tools in order to build sentences: systematic study of definite and indefinite articles with their gender, prepositions, the position of the adjective, and negative sentences.  Become comfortable with retelling stories, reciting simple rhymes, and entering into dialogues.  Develop a greater awareness and appreciation of the French culture, and by comparison, gain an appreciation of their own and other cultures as well.

Fine Arts Overview Education in the arts is an inseparable part of the education of the whole child. Children learn to express and interpret ideas through observation and analysis of these art forms. They learn creative modes of problem solving and in doing so develop an array of expressive, analytical, and developmental tools which can be applied to every human situation. Students understand the influences of the arts in their power to create and to reflect cultures, both past and present, thus enabling them to make informed judgments about cultural products and issues. They also develop attributes such as self-discipline, perseverance, and collaborative skills. Experiences in the arts develop each child’s imagination and sense of personal fulfillment.

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Fine Arts, Information Literacy

General Music

The three main components of the Lower School general music program at each grade level are music literacy, performance, and music listening and analysis. Students learn proper performance etiquette (i.e., posture, facial expression, and singing technique) and audience etiquette (i.e., active listening, predicting appropriate responses based on genre and venue).

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following general music skills:  Identify melodic contour and shape as well as intervallic relationships within a melody.  Interpret and apply musical symbols when sight-reading simple four-and eight-measure melodies.  Play different melodies and types of harmony on xylophones.  Execute and conduct rhythmic patterns in simple and compound meters.  Develop vocal independence in the singing voice.  Sing and perform patriotic songs, popular styles of American music, and classical forms in unison and two-part harmony.  Interpret steady beat through waltzing with a partner  Analyze well-known music, lives of, and influences on the musical output of several well-known classical composers including: Beethoven, Copland, Mozart, Schubert, and Gershwin.  Analyze and compare genres of music that focus on storytelling including ballet and opera.

Visual Arts

The three main components of the Lower School art program at each grade level include: art production, art literacy and criticism, and art history.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following general visual arts skills:  Participate in discussions about art and artists (i.e., Anasazi pottery, Max Ernst ).  Demonstrate an understanding of the elements and principles of design (i.e., line, shape, and pattern).  Draw multiple objects from observation.  Demonstrate an understanding of basic perspective (i.e., foreground, middle ground, background).  Create functional and artistic objects from clay and sculpture media.

Information Literacy Overview Library visits and classes are designed to develop two aspects of students' intellectual lives: familiarity with and enthusiasm for literature, both fiction and nonfiction; and the ability to locate, access, and utilize information for the production of original work.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following information literacy skills:  Consider new and classic literature and nonfiction of interest at appropriate levels.  Understand and use the Dewey system of organization and other tools for independent library use.  Become familiar with appropriate and useful online resources for research.  Begin using effective Internet search techniques. Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Education Technology, Physical Education & Wellness

Education Technology Overview Competence in education technology is requisite for everyday work and personal life endeavors. To prepare students for a high-tech and global world, the educational technology program provides integrated instruction to effectively and responsibly access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information. Third-grade students use the computer to complete class projects, employing a variety of software programs.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following education technology skills:  Use the planning software Inspiration, social studies software Oregon Trail, and Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint.  Access the Internet for research projects and explore and evaluate information resources including multimedia and encyclopedias.  Begin keyboarding and type at eight words per minute with 90% accuracy using the web-based program Typing Pal.  Successfully store and access documents on the LFCDS server.

Physical Education & Wellness Overview The mission of the physical education & wellness program is to help students develop a lasting appreciation for physical activity and acquire the skills, strategies, and knowledge that lay the foundation for a lifetime of wellbeing through athletics. Teachers strive to inspire a commitment to health-related fitness and positive lifestyle choices regardless of athletic ability. Our goals are to enhance students’ ability to lead, work together as a team, participate fairly with sportsmanship, and develop respect for peers. We encourage active participation from all students.

Grade-Level Expectations

In third grade, students work to master the following physical education & wellness skills:  Demonstrate physical competency and good body control in age-appropriate locomotor, nonlocomotor, and manipulative skills.  Demonstrate physical competency in age-appropriate manipulative skills (i.e., hand dribble, foot dribble, striking with a body part or ball, underhand or overhand throw).  Catch an object while moving, such as a football pass on the run.  Demonstrate knowledge of various directional and pacing terms.  Demonstrate an understanding of class rules, safety procedures, and the safe use of equipment.  Engage in physical activities on a daily basis that increase heart rate and develop an understanding of warm-up and cool-down activities.  Identify positive behaviors that promote good health and set health-related individual fitness goals.  Participate cooperatively in a variety of independent, small- and whole-group physical activities. Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3


Grade 3

Physical Education & Wellness, Resources for Parents  Develop an understanding of cooperative strategies for team activities.  Explore feelings associated with failure and success and demonstrate good sportsmanship.  Identify healthy life-style practices (i.e., nutritious foods, sleep, physical activity).  Identify potential risks associated with physical activities.  Follow the LFCDS PE/Wellness Code of Conduct.

Resources for Parents We are confident that third grade will be a terrific experience not only for your child but for your family. Beginning with intake conferences with your child’s teacher, an informational coffee in early September, and grade-level social events, there will be many opportunities to establish important connections. As the school year progresses, there will also be several ways for you to volunteer—for classroom activities and field trips, lunch supervision, and in a variety of capacities through the Parent Association and the Auction. We encourage you to join other parents for coffee and conversation on Tuesday mornings at 8:15 a.m. in the Parent Relations Office next door to the Onwentsia Lower School Office. Also, we welcome you to join the Lower School students in the Green Bay Atrium on Wednesday mornings at 8:15 a.m. for Community Meeting. Take a moment to visit in the Parent Association Office as you enter the Green Bay Atrium from the Lower School. The Panther Portal (, as well as the external website (, provides a wealth of information:  Parent Downloads, Forms, and Links: This area on the Portal is filled with a variety of helpful information (i.e., online directories and class lists, downloadable medical forms, information on the school dress program, and more).  Curriculum Review Information: Each year a representative task force of faculty examines and revises a specific disciplinary area of study. This Portal page outlines our curriculum development framework and offers a venue for you to share constructive feedback.  Enrichment Activities/Resources: At LFCDS, we believe that summer is an opportune time to balance learning with a bit of leisure. This page provides information about required summer work, book lists for particular grade levels, mathematics and science challenges, and parent resources.  WordPress Blogs: Many classrooms have a WordPress blog set up, which gives a fun glimpse into the classroom. These are also available on the Panther Portal.  Parent Association Information: This tab provides information about ways to get involved in the LFCDS Parent Association and the numerous events they help coordinate. We believe social media is a timely way to tell the story of Lake Forest Country Day School, and to that end, the School has a Facebook account and a Twitter account that we encourage you to “Like” and “Follow”! Simply search for “Lake Forest Country Day School” on Facebook and follow @LFCountryDay on Twitter. We have a strict social media policy and never post individual student names or information on these channels. You will discover snippets of all of the great things happening at LFCDS on a day-to-day basis! Your room parents are available to answer questions and help you get involved, and you are welcome to stop by the Lower School Office anytime. Questions? Please contact the office of the Head of Lower School at (847) 615-6188.

Lower School Curriculum Guide — Grade 3 Rev. July 2013


LFCDS Grade 3 Curriculum  

Lower School overview and curriculum information for Grade 3 at Lake Forest Country Day School, a premier independent private school for age...

LFCDS Grade 3 Curriculum  

Lower School overview and curriculum information for Grade 3 at Lake Forest Country Day School, a premier independent private school for age...