In third grade, students make big changes socially, emotionally, academically, and physically. They begin to take a greater role in their own learning, and to see that learning extends beyond the classroom walls. It’s a time when we help them take responsibility for their words and actions, and that they have consequences, good and bad.
As teachers and parents, it is our job to provide clear structure and expectations so 3rd graders feel successful. Children this age often need adult help and encouragement to know their limits and work through the steps to their goal.
In 3rd grade, students study art from the Middle Ages, including the art of manuscript illumination. Several units tie directly to the general and Jewish studies curriculum, including Israel studies, Black History month, Kabbalat Torah and the Bayland units. Students complete several projects that continue to develop their drawing and painting skills, clay work, and mixed media.
For children who do NOT have significant exposure to Hebrew outside the classroom, we use the language to help them develop a connection to Israel, to Jews around the world, and to Jewish texts and liturgy.
The 3rd grade theme is behatzlacha – good luck and doing a task successfully. With this as the underlying focus, we work with students to help them become proficient in reading, reading comprehension, oral comprehension and expression, and writing. In the process, we:
We continue to implement the “Tal-Am” program, a unique curriculum of Hebrew language arts. The program was developed based on years of research on the principles of language development and learning patterns, and creates a visual and oral Hebrew environment in the classroom. Using interactive posters, CDs, library books, games, and mediums for dramatization, students develop their Hebrew and heritage literacy in a gradual and spiraled process, building new ideas and concepts on top of an expanding foundation of knowledge. The curriculum offers a variety of stories, Jewish sources, songs, recitations, and plays that are age-appropriate and that aim to develop the child and his/her Jewish identity.
To help with reading comprehension, 3rd grader read from the book Simanim Baderech. They learn vocabulary, word structure, how to make sentences, and even put together a dictionary. We also do a project called “My Neighborhood,” which is guided reading designed to help students strengthen their language skills together. And we encourage students to read at home to strengthen their language and word acquisition.
Talmud Torah (text study)
Continuing where 2nd grade studies leave off, 3rd graders focus on desert life for the Jews. They learn not only by reading text, but through numerous hands-on activities. For example, they make mana and study the concepts of miracles. They have “Desert Day” in concert with general studies that focuses on desert flora and fauna. Students learn about Bedouins and their culture and practices. And they receive their Torahs in a Kabbalat Torah celebrated through music and dance.
In 3rd grade, students have prayer buddies, where younger children are paired with older ones to help them work together to learn and understand the sacred words. Students also participate in the school’s weekly rituals of Monday Havdalah, Thursday Tefillah, and Friday Kabalat Shabbat. And, they learn about synagogues – how did they come to exist, what makes them holy places, and the roles they play in Jewish life. Students pick a synagogue anywhere in the world and build models to share. They also travel to San Francisco on a field trip to tour historic synagogues to better understand their history and meaning.
Third graders learn about the holidays through history and archeology to give them an understanding both of their importance in Jewish life and their relationship to the world in which the Jewish people were living when established. For example, at Hanukkah, students delve into who the Maccabees were as well as the history of the Romans they were fighting. Each holiday unit culminates in a hands-on project to bring learning to life. For example, 3st graders make their own hanukkiot to use during Hanukkah.
Mitzvot (commandments and value concepts)
Tzedakah (giving justly), ma’achil re’evim (feeding the hungry), bikur cholim (visiting the sick), and hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) are a few of the mitzvot students focus on during the year. They participate in Hausner’s community service days and activities. Other times, they bring these mitzvot to life at home with their families. With each mitzvah students explore, they learn the textual basis for the commandment and Rabbinic commentary that helps put the value into action.
Students learn about Israel through stories, photographs, family history, the patterns of everyday life, and holidays. For example, special lessons are taught around Yom HaAtzmaout so that 3rd graders understand what that day means to Israelis. They also participate in school events and celebrations focused on important dates for Israel and its history.
In addition to the San Francisco synagogue tour, 3rd graders take a fall field trip to a local park to help clean a stream. Done in conjunction with 3rd grade general studies, the trip helps students understand the importance of their environment and the impact they have on nature, while doing a mitzvah in the process.
Activities are designed not only to help students develop a love of reading, but to emphasize higher-level thinking such as personal and textual connections, character development, reading comprehension, word choice, and author’s purpose. Using the Reading Workshop model, teachers guide students to look deeper into character traits, comparing characters to one another, and discovering how these ideas build a story arc. Students discuss and question their readings in small groups, with partners, with the entire class, and even one-on-one with teachers. When reading nonfiction, students will learn to use the text’s organization to help them glean important information.
Read Alouds are an integral part of reading in third grade. As part of Reading Workshop, we use Read Alouds to model skills and practice with the students. We also model reading practices visualization, summarization, text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. To help them in this process, we read several books aloud in class, including “chapter” books and a variety of picture books.
Third grade writing takes many forms, including formal informational and persuasive paragraphs, responses to literature, reflections on experiences and explanations of solutions to math problems. All are designed to help students strengthen their abilities to generate ideas and organize their thoughts. The writing process includes brainstorming, drafting, receiving and responding to feedback, revising and adding content, editing writing for conventions, and hand writing or typing final drafts. We focus on writing a good paragraph with a clear main idea and supporting details.
Math in Focus, the American Version of Singapore Math, provides the basis for our math curriculum. The program supports the students in understanding why and how math works, rather than just encouraging students to memorize a formula. We encourage multiple learning modalities, including white boards, manipulatives, partner work, small groups and individual practice.
The key areas of focus in 3rd grade include:
Adding and subtracting whole numbers
Measurement and data
Multiplication including an introduction to double-digit multiplication
Division, including an introduction to long division
Place value up to 1,000,000
To challenge students with additional math exercises, we offer enrichment that comes from Math in Focus, as well as Math Puzzlers – extensions of day-to-day class work that challenge students to do more. Students work on these puzzlers both independently and in small groups after completing their daily work.
In addition, we work closely with learners who need additional support, as well as those who want to extend their mathematical knowledge and thinking. We pose low-floor, high-ceiling questions and problems that students work on both independently and in groups.
In 3rd grade, students begin to learn about music history and how its impact has shaped the musical world. They learn to identify music by time period, i.e. Renaissance music vs. Romantic opera. Students express themselves using constructive criticism and positive reviews of different styles, using the musical knowledge they’ve learned in previous grades. They also continue to work on reading more complex music, preparing them to learn beginning recorder in 4th grade.
Students in 2nd through 8th grade can join Hausner’s choir program. Meeting twice a week for 25 minutes during lunch or snack break, students practice in preparation for two performances a year, one before Winter Break and one before Summer Break. There may also be additional performances, as needed, i.e. Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day. Class includes singing voice warm-ups, learning fun pop tunes to sing for fellow students, and choreography to go along with the tunes. Students with all ability levels are welcome to join in this fun activity!
Students focus on strategies and skills that are used in a number of sports, such as the difference between offense and defense, spacing needs for offense and defense, and distinguishing between punting and kicking. To help with this development, students participate in a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball, bowling, soccer, street hockey, and volleyball.
In 3rd grade, students focus on the theme “continuity and change.” Topics covered include Black American history and then a focus on the Bay Area. We look at what makes our area special, including the local environment, history, features and issues our community is facing.
In the course of study, students answer two key questions: How do environments and their resources shape people’s’ lifestyles, habits, traditions, and values?; and How does the world consist of interacting communities and diverse cultures?
In 3rd grade, students participate in hands-on activities that stimulate their curiosity and encourage them to be interested in science. We also connect the dots between how science and what they learn in social studies intersect so that they begin to understand how our world works. We delve into how scientists work, practicing the systematic ways that they collect, record, interpret, and analyze information to understand the world around them. We learn to predict and understand patterns and systems that help us understand the physical and natural world. And we examine the impact humans have on the planet, and what we can do to change some of the negative effects. In the process, we explore:
In 3rd grade, students use technology to develop and share their understanding of the content they study. Students also continue to learn about how technology works and the fundamentals of computer programming (on both iPads and desktop computers), as well as word processing, Internet searching, keyboarding, and graphics abilities.
Students will understand how to use technology to communicate with a variety of audiences in a range of media. From documents, to movies to interactive programs, students will experience the power of creating their own digital media.
Third graders technology classes include: