Grade Three Curriculum

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 3When the third graders return to school in September, they are ready to get to work, to use their hands and are eager to participate. Vigorous movement is a part of everything they do!

Each year students review and strengthen skills learned in previous years. In third grade, stories about farming and nature, as well as the Hebrew scriptures form the background for the language arts curriculum. Cursive writing is introduced and grammar studies begin. The ideas behind nouns, verbs and adjectives can be illustrated through the stories within the curriculum. The four basic sentences are introduced, as well as basic paragraph construction with indentation and punctuation. Written work is created independently as well as together as a class with the teacher writing on the board and the students copying into their books.

Morning activities continue to include poetry and speech exercises and recitation. Reading groups continue and teachers choose readers that are appropriate to each child’s level. Classroom libraries are stocked with a range of reading books and children may bring books from home or their local libraries. The children begin to read chapter books that augment the curriculum. Teachers also read with each child individually during the year to assess their progress.

The children are told stories from the Hebrew Bible and write passages in their main lesson books that reflect the story content. They begin to compose their own writings based on the story content.

The four main parts of speech and punctuation are either introduced or further explored and developed in this year. Cursive writing is introduced in the third grade year and is used widely with writing assignments. The students are also given vivid descriptions of various types of shelters. These descriptions are often accompanied by stories and details of the particular people and culture they are from. These stories and descriptions provide opportunities for developing language skills.

Throughout the school year, the teacher introduces poems that are inspired by the main lesson content, festivals or seasons. The children learn to recite the poems from memory and movement is often part of the recitation.

Third grade is the year of practical math. The children begin to build on the skills they have acquired during the past two years. They are expected to know the times tables by heart, although children who are struggling may use a multiplication chart. Long division and multiple digit multiplication begin this year, and place value is continued up to the millions. Through an imaginative story, the concept of “standard of measure” is learned. The children begin to use linear, liquid and solid measure through a building project, through baking and through weighing objects. They learn to tell time first through observation, and then by the clock. Money is introduced and the children practice making change.

Daily mental math continues using rhythmic physical movement with clapping songs, bean bags and rhythm sticks to practice multiplication tables.

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 3NATURAL SCIENCE
The students are introduced to farming and house building and learn about various dwellings from several cultures. Teachers may choose to create a building project for the students to take part in. Each year the third grade class attends a weeklong farm trip during which they immerse themselves intensively in the experience of farming.

The study of house building is presented as a multicultural cultural survey to show how global citizens utilize the materials available in each part of the world to build dwellings appropriate for the climate and environment that surround them. The study of farming further emphasizes how humans are affected by climate and weather. It instills the importance of the earth’s natural rhythms and strengthens the children’s connection to the earth by allowing them to partake first hand in the archetypal actions of reaping and sowing.

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 3HISTORY
The stories of the Hebrew Scriptures draw together the cultural and metaphorical history of Western humanity, weaving together the mythic and historical cultures into one fabric that is age appropriate for the students. The biographies of biblical characters are imbued with the same elements (flawed genius overreaching striving, a strong leader’s capacity for causing good or harm to his people) that the children will Experience later on in their study of both classical and modern historical figures. It also introduces the cultures of Egypt and Babylon from the perspective of the Israelites. When these cultures are studied again in fifth grade, it will be from the perspective of the Egyptians and Babylonians. The fluidity called upon to examine a culture from two opposite perspectives is sowing the seeds for comprehending the history of humankind.

Art is an integral part of each area of focus. The children explore the curriculum through drawing, painting, sculpture, movement and music. They draw pictures that are based on the main lesson content in their books and are instructed in new methods of drawing. The teacher continues to guide the children in exploring color moods and relationships along with how to bring more form into their painting. Building and shelter, farming or Hebrew legends often provide the theme for a painting session.

Form drawing is practiced each week or in a block. The children continue to draw running forms, symmetry forms and forms with strong shape gestures. They begin to work with metamorphic forms and forms based on geometrical shapes.

Single chain crochet is further developed in third grade to include double crochet and crochet in the round. An appreciation for natural materials is fostered through the use of natural and plant dyed fibers.

Folk songs from different cultures are brought to accompany many areas of the curriculum through recorder and singing. Teachers introduce the soprano recorder, the full C major scale and singing in rounds. Children in the third grade chose a stringed instrument and take weekly private lessons and twice weekly strings classes.