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TOWER HILL SCHOOL Lower School Curriculum Guide 2012-2013 Third Grade Third grade provides a supportive and stimulating environment in which students can strengthen and develop both their academic and social skills. Third grade offers a wide range of activities and experiences that foster independence and fortify and build upon the foundation of knowledge that students have acquired thus far in Lower School. Embedded within our third grade language arts, math, social studies, and character education programs, is a core skill set that aids students in their ability to think, listen, problem solve, and effectively communicate with the world around them. Reading

Third grade reading instruction builds upon the literacy skills and strategies introduced in earlier years. Students continue to expand vocabulary through word study and context. Readers at this grade level readily apply word recognition skills and comprehension strategies as they negotiate text. Students seek understanding of the text at the literal and inferential level. Literary analysis, including characterization, author’s purpose and style of writing, point of view, is introduced. Students demonstrate their ability to communicate ideas and understanding of the text through written responses and further develop their expressive writing skills. Units of study in the reading program, including biographies of artists and the Iditarod Race, integrate social studies topics with the reading curriculum. Daily recreational reading from a wide variety of genre is encouraged. Book projects, reports and presentations allow students to share interpretations of texts read independently in a creative manner.

Language Arts Third grade language arts class encompasses reading, writing, handwriting, spelling, listening and speaking skills. Our language arts program provides opportunities for students to read, discuss, and reflect upon a wide range of literary genre. Students practice their creative writing as well as learn to write to inform and persuade. The writing workshop approach enables students to create, publish and present their written expressions. Spelling, phonics, and vocabulary are taught in both large and small group settings, via the word study approach. Through the Handwriting Without Tears program, third graders learn cursive handwriting skills, which are practiced throughout the year. Mathematics

Our third grade mathematics program focuses on mastery of basic facts and operations in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on geometry, fractions and decimals. Our primary goals include the development of problemsolving strategies and the acquisition of basic computational skills. In third grade, students communicate their mathematical thinking and problem solving through interactive Smartboard activities, and by utilizing technology-based programs such as First in Math.

Lower School Curriculum – Third Grade – 2012-2013


Social Studies Third grade social studies instruction focuses on North American geography, highlighting the states, capitals, and regions of the United States, the Canadian provinces and Mexico. Third graders enjoy an in depth study of Alaska with an emphasis on the Iditarod dogsled race, a pinnacle in our third grade social studies program. Field trips and special guest school visits throughout the year reinforce the overall curricular goals. Character Education Character education is embedded in every aspect of third grade. Students are encouraged to develop and act on their core values and have their actions reflect the Lower School Code of Conduct at all times. Science

“Ooblek!” This word instills excitement during the beginning of the third grade year. The children get their hands slimy and messy, trying to decide if Ooblek (from a favorite Dr. Seuss’s book, Bartholomew and the Ooblek) is a solid or a liquid. The fun is all part of the unit, Mystery Potions and Powders. This unit encourages independent work as the children conduct tests on mystery substances to determine what they are. The children love the autonomy of this unit! After winter break, the students explore the wonders of the Arctic Tundra. This theme is in conjunction with their classroom study of the Iditarod. Next, the children investigate native birds, with a special focus on the study of Owls.


Third grade Spanish units include: Let's Look at Our House!, What Are the Rooms in Our House?, What's in Our House? (furniture), Let's Count to Seventy, Doing the Chores, Let's Play in the House, (entertainment objects), What Can We Do in the Winter?, What Do You Want to Eat?, When Do We Eat?, What Do You Like? and various topics corresponding with grade level classroom curriculum.

Visual Arts

Third graders become more independent thinkers and are encouraged to make solid art decisions while executing their work. More choices are given about possible directions for their artwork. Painting techniques become more complex and involved. Printmaking is introduced as a way to make multiples. Clay is used as a drawing medium and embellished with more 3-D materials. Layering of artwork is encouraged. The third graders study many artists in their reading groups and thus learn a great deal in this grade about a variety of art forms. When possible, a trip will be taken to the Brandywine Art Museum to look at the work of the Wyeths.

Woodworking As part of the Tower Hill Arts curriculum, the third grade woodworking program is designed to allow students to explore the wonderful versatility of this medium. In the studio, they are taught shop safety, responsibility, and both modern and traditional woodworking methods. They learn the care and use of a variety of hand tools and construct multiple wooden projects throughout this half-year course. Music

Students explore the elements of music, developing an understanding of basic musical notation, and experience a variety of cultures through singing games and dance. Music vocabulary words and famous composers' works are incorporated into daily activities. Orff instruments, recorders and keyboards are used to enhance musical activities. Emphasis in the third grade is placed on developing the students’ ability to read basic musical notation on the treble clef staff. Students manipulate more advanced fingering on the recorders while playing solo and in groups. Chorus: On alternating years, Grades 3 and 4 prepare and perform a musical for the lower school student body, parents and other invited guests. Musical performances are showcased throughout the year during our town meetings as well as on Grandparents' Day.

Lower School Curriculum – Third Grade – 2012-2013



Technology in the third grade will find the children reinforcing previous skills from earlier grades. Third grade will continue to use their Tower Hill School login, Google Documents and Type to Learn, and to employ the Internet in a safe way. New skills that the children will acquire are publishing and presentation skills.


Through library classes, the third-grade students review library responsibilities and manners. The children are exposed to more types of fiction and non-fiction books; they also learn the parts of a book (title page, table of contents, and index). Included in the curriculum are encyclopedia lessons on volume selection, arrangement of articles, guidewords, scope, index, and crossreferences. The third grade students are introduced to the OPAC (On-line Public Access Catalog) with emphasis on subject, title, and author searching as well as the Dewey Decimal System of classification. Activities involve reference books and technology resources.

Physical Education With a solid skill base firmly established we find it more productive to teach the boys and girls separately beginning in third grade. We have equal expectations for both groups in terms of physical performance. Co – educational activities are presented at least twice a week. As our children have mastered the proper form for basic motor skills we can focus on how to manipulate objects in a variety of ways, refine eye-hand and eye-foot coordination. This development occurs through participation in low organized games and small group activities. In addition to skill and character development, we will also present specific principals and concepts which include basis offensive and defensive strategies. At this age winning becomes extremely important, so we will continue to emphasize teamwork, sportsmanship, and provide our students with the tools and the support necessary to resolve conflict. We continue our focus on personal fitness with our weekly fitness walk. Our students take great pride in earning their “ feet ” as a marker for miles achieved.