INTRODUCTION:

Parents of third and fourth grade students often describe these as the years their children “blossom.”   The teachers see all past experiences the students have had at Cascadia coalesce.  Third and fourth grade students grow into a new mental awareness and utilize their growing knowledge to think about their thinking, to conceptualize, to evaluate their own understanding, and to continue to develop their integration and application skills.

CORE SUBJECTS:

In the third grade, the focus is to attain mastery of math skills which are now at the fourth grade level.  The students are ready to tackle long multiplication, long division, fractions, and decimals.  Students work to complete 100-problem timed tests correctly in three minutes or less.  Skills are applied in daily problem solving practice where students explain the methods selected to solve the single and multi-step problems.  The most exciting math is to work successfully through “Peak Problems” which require several steps to complete.  The third grade teacher guides the students as they learn how to logically break a Peak Problem apart into all its steps.  After drafting the steps, the final “Peak Problem” is produced as a word document.  Charts are included to show how each step leads to the solution.  An example Peak Problem:  Joan was helping her parents weed the garden.  She noticed that no matter how tall the pea vines, their leaves started one foot from the ground.  Above that point, there was one leaf every four inches.  The three vines in the garden were five, seven, and eight feet tall.  How many leaves are there altogether?

In third grade, students make great gains in the skill of composition.  They grow in their ability to grasp and apply finer skills in planning content and how to better structure their writing.  They learn to enrich and enliven their composition by adding action, drama, details and detailed descriptions. Students include personification and similes.  They learn techniques to bring their writing to life:  (“I raced to the entry, screeched to a halt, took a big breath hoping to calm my racing heart, and opened the door)…and  (As my eyes met the clock, a deep sigh of relief floated from my lips as I slumped wearily on the couch.)  Students follow all the steps in the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading and publishing.  They finish their creation as a word document.

SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCES:

In the afternoon, the third and fourth grade students work together in Social Studies and Sciences.  As topics and concepts are studied, students learn to determine what is important and give evidence.  Students learn how to outline information and demonstrate understanding in written Comprehension and reports.  They work together on projects and create power point presentations.  In the third and fourth grade, significant attention is given to the skill of working purposely, productively, and respectfully in a group. Within a two year cycle, students focus on United States geography, United States history, life science, earth science, physical science, and space.  The students are engaged in work at the fourth and fifth grade level.

ENRICHING SUBJECTS:

Third grade are engaged in enriching activities.  Enrichment classes combine third and fourth grade students in performing arts class and art class.  Art class is 90 minutes long to allow for more complex drawing experiences. Performing arts is unique to our third and fourth grade students.  Each year, from January through March, the students work with our performing arts instructor, Mrs. Scollick, to create and perform a musical.  (Recent musicals:  Hatsheput Queen of Denial and Little Red Riding Hood,) This project is exciting and demanding.  The students incorporate singing, dancing, and acting.  Working together for three months preparing to perform, builds teamwork and respect.  The students are proud to perform for parents at the All-School-Concert.   In their French class, students review work introduced in second grade.  They become more proficient using the verb “to be” and “to have.”  They become more skilled in applying grammar skills of agreement with subjects, adjectives, and nouns.  Students read and write answers in the positive and negative.  They learn number skills to 1,000,000 and how to tell and write time.  Vocabulary is expanded to include action verbs.  In soccer, third grade students have their own soccer coach to accommodate their growing physical abilities.