Third graders are immersed in the world of Virginia history. They learn to think critically, lead by example, and approach problem solving in a creative and innovative way.
The curriculum begins with an in-depth study of the three language groups of American Indians in Virginia prior to English settlement and goes all the way up through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Role play, creative writing, and hands on projects are used to reinforce the curriculum, and non-fiction materials are used to conduct research to support our in-class experiences. The students take part in many adventures throughout the year including trips to Jamestown, Montpelier, Historic Fredericksburg and the Civil War Hospital in Gordonsville. Third graders learn by experience as they dress as colonists and celebrate Colonial Christmas in Virginia complete with games, food and crafts from the period. They eat hardtack as the Civil War soldiers would have and defend their right to vote as a former slave during reconstruction or a woman during the suffrage movement.
The language arts curriculum includes reading, grammar, written composition, spelling, vocabulary, oral communication, and handwriting. Students read books from several different genres of literature including: realistic fiction, historical fiction, biography, non-fiction, mystery and fantasy. They learn strategies appropriate to their needs and respond thoughtfully to what they have read in small reading groups based on their skill level. The writing program is comprised of response to literature, letter writing, creative writing, and expository writing. Third graders learn all about the author’s process as they write, edit, and ultimately publish their own class book. Past titles include What’s Up, USA? and And then what happened, Grymes Memorial School? a history of Grymes which was written for the School’s sixtieth anniversary celebration.
The Third Grade Investigations in Number, Data and Space program is designed to support students to make sense of math and learn that they can be mathematical thinkers. Students are encouraged to focus on computational fluency with whole numbers. Third graders conduct extensive investigations of rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data, early algebra and the connections between these investigations through the use of manipulatives and games. This curriculum engages a range of learners in understanding concepts with the underlying belief that all students have ideas about numbers, shapes, measurements, patterns, and data.
Third grade science is a look into the, animal kingdom, weather, trees, and conservation. Students learn about animal classification, life cycles, habitats and adaptations in invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, with a special focus on jellyfish and bats. They learn how to measure the weather with thermometers, anemometers, wind vanes and wind socks, barometers, weather maps. As they study trees, the class learns to identify different species, features and function of leaves, stems, trunks and twigs. They learn how to measure height and girth of trees and about their reproductive structures, cones and other fruits. In the spring, third graders study water conservation. They learn where fresh water occurs, how land use affects water bodies, the causes and effects of erosion, and impacts on the Chesapeake Bay.