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3rd Grade

Third grade is a pivotal year for elementary school children. The third grade standards place increasing emphasis on independent, thoughtful work.

Students are now reading to learn information. The pace of learning is faster because students are preparing for their first big tests - the Virginia Standard of Learning Assessments or SOLs!

Third graders have tests in all 4 core areas - Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies. The SOL tests rely on knowledge from the previous grades. Chesterfield County's core values are emphasized as a way of achieving these goals. Beulah Elementary prides itself in having high academic standards for our students. Students will be given the standard grades instead of the E, S, M, and N from the earlier years.

To be successful in third grade, students must listen and participate in their learning in the classroom. They must also study and do their homework at home. Our third grade team of teachers is committed to the success of every child. We work diligently to keep in contact with parents to provide information about ways to help your child, classroom expectations, and information about the subjects we are studying.

We look forward to making a difference in the life of your child.

The third grade reading curriculum focuses on seven centralized areas of instruction throughout the course of the school year. We begin by teaching students to predict using titles and pictures in the pre-reading stage. Students learn to summarize after reading a passage or story by determining the main idea, supporting details, and drawing conclusions. We determine the importance in a story by establishing the major events within a story. Students will learn how toclarify text or words that are not understood when reading. We teach students to ask a variety of questions while reading to teach them to better understand the text. Students will also learn how to make connections to the stories that they read with other text, themselves, and the world. We teach students to visualize by creating pictures in their heads based on text read. Finally, we learn aboutmaking inferences which requires students to combine what they are reading with what they already know to gain personal knowledge.

Students will learn test taking strategies to help prepare them to answer questions for the SOL test. We begin these test taking strategy skills in early spring during our push-in or small group reading instruction. Classroom teachers also review these strategies during their whole group reading lessons. In order to improve your students reading ability, it is important that they are in school every day to learn the necessary skills to be successful. Nightly reading with your child will also improve their reading ability.

Word Study
Word Study is not just spelling of words; it is phonics, vocabulary and spelling instruction. Students study patterns of words, Examples: - short vowels sounds, consonant blends and long vowels sounds. Students are active participants while sorting words. Students are given weekly assessments on their group of words, did they know the correct sort (group) to put them in and the spelling. There are different stages that the students go through that build on one another. It is a developmental format that is use in Chesterfield County for K-5.

In the third grade, writing transitions to developing stories with multiple paragraphs. Focus is on using precise words to develop a clear picture in the reader's mind. Also, we learn about staying on topic, expressing emotion through our "voice", creating a strong flowing piece with pleasant rhythm. We continue to stress the importance of using proper punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and spelling. Not, only do we spend time in Writing Workshop, but we also use this time to teach grammar skills that are important. We cover such topics as: homophones, contractions, synonyms, antonyms, prefix, suffixes, and abbreviations.

In third grade, we start by reviewing place value with students and build on to what they've learned in K-2nd grade. The student will be able to read, write, round, and compare numbers to the hundred thousands place. We build on their graphing knowledge with bar graphs and pictographs, and introduce line plots. Students will learn to add and subtract estimated numbers to the thousands place. It is very important that they have already mastered addition and subtraction with and without regrouping by 2nd grade. We also focus on multiplication and division concepts and facts through the twelves tables, and use double digit by single digit multiplication as well. We cover measurement in length, weight, time (to the nearest minute), volume, temperature, area, and perimeter of figures. Our Geometry unit identifies and compares plane and solid figures, and teaches students to identify corners, edges, and faces of these solid figures. Students will identify and compare congruent and noncongruent figures and learn the difference between points, lines, line segments, rays, and angles. We will continue and build upon their learning of patterns - both number and figure patterns. They will learn to identify the commutative and identity property in addition and multiplication number sentences.

Third graders love scientific discovery! Our students are naturally curious about their world so our science curriculum enhances their ability to gather information, observe and record what they see. Our standards focus on the six simple machines, energy and the basic understanding of matter. We explore the animal kingdom by learning about how aquatic and terrestrial animals have physical and behavioral adaptations to be able to survive in their environments. We continue to explore the many patterns in our natural world, such as the water cycle, day and night, seasons, moon cycles, and tides. We gain a greater understanding of how humans impact animal habitats when we use our natural resources. We dig into the different types of soil. We investigate the need to conserve soil and all of our precious natural resources for future generations.

The vocabulary for science can be challenging. Students need to review their study guides and flashcards to help remember them. Students are always encouraged to talk about the concepts at home, explore additional information on the web and try fun experiments at home to expand their scientific investigations!

Social Studies
During our year, we cover many topics. We begin by discussing the rights and responsibilities of citizens and our government. As historians, we do an in-depth study of the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Mali. We discuss their location in the world, government, and how they lived. We also spend time learning about the explorers that discovered and colonized the United States. This returns us to discussing the diversity of our population and the many contributions of historical figures that shape the world we have today. Students have a study guide and a set of flashcards for each unit of study. It is very important that they study the cards nightly to ensure a passing grade on the test. They will also need to be able to identify places we discuss on world maps. Our SOL test is a cumulative test. That means the student will be tested on curriculum from kindergarten through 3rd grades.