Thoughtful, Thinking Third Graders!!
At St. Mary’s School in Kickapoo, Third Graders move upstairs with the “big kids”. The first week of school, Mrs. Martin asks the students what they want to learn in 3rd Grade. Many answer multiplication, more science, the history of our country, and so on (there are as many answers as students). Mrs. Martin uses their answers as a guide for planning many lessons throughout the school year, but she also has an overall plan for her Third Grade class.
Third Grade is the first year that students are included in the preparation of the liturgy for the Tuesday and Friday student masses. This can be a prayful experience for all, and at first some are shy or nervous about using the microphone in front of the entire congregation. By the end of the year, most have had a speaking part and seem more relaxed and willing to participate. It is an excellent opportunity to begin a ministry of sharing words from the Bible, as well as speaking in a large group setting.
After spending the last 3-4 years learning HOW to read, the students will begin to learn “how to read to learn”. This is done primarily through Science and Social Studies lessons. The children work with partners and in small groups to discover how to use our textbooks to learn more and study for chapter tests. T-notes and using study guides are introduced in these subject areas. To continue the advancement of the reading levels and reading skills, they do 2 or 3 literature studies, where they all read the same novel. Daily/weekly the students read books at their own level (determined by the Scholastic Reading Inventory Assessment) and take Scholastic Reading Counts computer tests that go with the books they are reading. The plus is that the students are allowed to choose the books they want to read and they are all reading at their own level.
In Math the main focus is on place value, multiplication, fractions and problem solving with division, Algebra, Geometry, estimation, and data chart skills being introduced. Place value surprises many, especially when we move into the hundred, thousands and the millions. Multiplication seems difficult at first, until they realize that they are just adding over and over. “Working with Fractions” becomes more than just recognition, but actually comparing and adding and subtracting them. Problem Solving is included in all skills areas and by the second semester the students are solving problems most morning before prayers.
Writing paragraphs is a huge part of the Third Grade curriculum. Mrs. Martin is always amazed at how students begin the year writing a few sentences and end the year writing 3 – 5 paragraphs. They start out using the Four Square Writing Process and work on parts of speech and punctuation in conjunction with paragraph writing skills. They write almost daily in class, but students are required to do two “at home” writing assignments. One is about their patron or favorite saint and the other is a report on an animal for which they create a “habitat” that is exhibited in the hallway during Catholic Schools Week.
Third Grade has an open door policy – parents are asked to let the office know you would like to visit and you are very welcome. They try to stick to their daily schedule, but are flexible enough to capture those teachable moments. Third Grade is the first stepping stone to getting ready for the junior high setting.
Weekly Classroom Schedule – under construction due to Iowa Basics Skills Test – look for updates in early October
8:00 – 8:10 Prayers, Pledge of Allegiance, Announcements, Attendance
8:15 –9:00 Religion
9:05 – 10:10 Math
10:15 – 10:45 Recess
10:50 – 11:55 Language Arts
12:00 – 12:45 Lunch and Recess
12:45 – 1:15 Silent Reading
1:20 –1:50 Reading Skills
1:55 – 2:55 Science, Social Studies, or Writing
3:00 – 3:10 Planner Time, Prayers and Prepare to Leave
Tuesday & Friday Mass 8:00 – 8:40
Tuesday PE 11:20 – 11:50
Art 2:15 – 2:45
Wednesday Library 12:50 – 1:20
Thursday Fr. Dondanville 9:00 – 9:30
Computers 11:25 – 11:55
Friday Music 2:00 – 2:30