Third Grade

Third grade is a year of new beginnings. Students experience increased responsibility in different forms:  They have planners in which they must write assignments; perform jobs for chapel service each morning; remain in school for a longer day; and they use computers to complete assignments. In social studies, they explore themes in geography and culture. Studying human origins, they investigate early human migration, tools, and social structures. Additionally, they study early civilizations of North and Central America, including a field trip to a Native American village to deepen their understanding of some of these cultures. To conclude their year, each student studies one of the 50 states day, which culminates with the States Museum project and States Tasting Day, where they sample foods from around the country. In math, they continue with computation skills, model building, and more complex problem-solving. The primary focus is on the new topic areas of multiplication, division, and fractions. Reading class focuses on teaching students to read literature and nonfiction more closely and to respond to their reading in discussion and writing. In Writing Workshop, students continue to use the writing process to author a variety of both narrative and expository texts. Music and visual art in third grade are connected with the social studies curriculum. Science continues to build in its complexity as students study, among other subjects, physics and the atmosphere.

List of 10 items.

  • Reading/Language Arts

    Third graders explore a variety of genres including historical fiction, mysteries, nonfiction, and the hero’s journey. They read and compare several books within a genre, looking for patterns and deeper meanings. Our hope is that each reader finds a book or series that is hard to put down. A major goal is for third graders to make observations about a character or story and back them up with text evidence. Students read independently, with partners, and in book clubs, often using sticky notes to mark important passages to share during discussions. They also write responses in their readers’ notebooks. By reading books with the eye of a writer, students improve reading comprehension and writing skills. Writing Workshop closely follows the genre study in Reading Workshop. While reading nonfiction, third graders write nonfiction reports, with a clear main idea and supporting details. After reading fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, students write their own fairy tale twists. In addition, they write personal narratives, expository pieces, persuasive writing, and poetry. Students gather ideas, write first drafts, revise, edit, and publish several pieces throughout the year. They work one-on-one with the teacher and in peer-editing groups to revise and edit their work. Students learn to incorporate feedback into their final drafts, and learn to provide constructive feedback to peers.   The study of grammar and punctuation is an important part of the writing process. Third graders continue to work on conventional spelling and building vocabulary by focusing their word study on syllables, prefixes, suffixes, and base words. Cursive handwriting and keyboarding are introduced. 
  • Math

    In third grade, students develop a deeper understanding of math topics such as multi-digit addition and subtraction, data graphing, and 2-D geometry. They begin their study of multiplication, division, and fractions. Students use manipulatives and solve real-world problems. A primary focus is solving more complex, open-ended problems that require higher-order thinking skills. As students’ fluency in these concepts build, they apply them by working through and solving open-ended questions. Math discussions play a larger role in the math classroom, with students refining their ability to communicate their math understanding and strategy use. Teachers and students use visual models, such as open number lines, areas models and arrays, ratio tables, and base 10 area pieces, to support students’ movement to understanding increasingly abstract representation in mathematics.
  • Social Studies

    "Discovery learning” in third grade social studies is guided by the themes of geography and culture. Using resources like the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, students study many aspects of early humans, such as migration, tools, and social structures. They focus mainly on the early civilizations of North and Central America. They take a field trip to a Native American village and the Museum of the American Indian to deepen their understanding of some of these cultures. Each third grader ends the year with the study of one of the 50 states, examining geography, natural resources, jobs/products, landmarks, and historical figures. They use their research to teach others about their state as part of the States Museum project. This unit culminates in States Tasting Day where all third graders sample food from across the United States.

  • Science

    In third grade, students begin to create larger and more complicated experiments. As they study force and motion, students create a roller coaster to test Newton’s laws. Observing differences among the experiments, students draw conclusions about the impact of different elements of the coaster on the motion of the car. When students study planetary science, the unit culminates in their designing and creating their own space rover; students apply the knowledge they have about other planets' climate, topography, and atmosphere to construct a machine that can collect information to send back to Earth.
  • Spanish

    Third graders continue to be engaged in meaningful and playful communicative activities. Through partnered activities, students build their oral and aural skills by applying their understandings of vocabulary and grammar to conducting conversations around certain topics. Focusing on understanding the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries, particularly those of Central America and Mexico, students learn the alphabet and practice spelling in Spanish.  They increase their ability to count in Spanish and learn how to talk about the weather, their clothing, and foods. While studying these topics, the class is taught in the target language, helping students further develop their language skills.
  • Art

    In the Lower School, the art curriculum enables students to gain confidence, knowledge, experience, and appreciation for a wide variety of art ideas and materials. Throughout their experiences in art class, students are introduced to a sequential program which emphasizes process while exposing them to the elements of art. Media covered include drawing, painting, ceramics, collage, sculpture, and printmaking. As students develop as artists, teachers emphasize the development of personal expression, imagination, curiosity, and careful observation. Students apply these concepts and techniques while making connections, problem solving, and developing self-confidence and their personal artistic voice.
  • Music

    The Third Grade music program is devoted to instilling a joyful sense of music and music making in every child.  The goal is to develop students’ aesthetic sensibilities by increasing musical understanding through activities involving performing, listening, and creating.  Third graders sing three and four part canons, partner songs, and ostinato part songs to delve into the world of choral harmonies.  They also begin to sing together as a chorus, learning healthy vocal technique including posture, breathing, and tone placement as well as developing the skills needed for music reading.  The Third Grade Chorus performs at the annual Lower School Winter Concert.  More class activities include creating rhythmic ostinatos on the drums, playing canons on the xylophones, and creating an original class canon.  As part of our spring program featuring American folk songs, third graders enjoy performing the Virginia Reel. 
  • Physical Education

    In the Lower School, students are introduced to basic loco-motor skills and activities that develop hand-eye and hand-foot coordination, spatial awareness, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Each year builds on the skills, games, and experiences from the previous year. Going beyond the games and activities, teachers process the experiences with students individually and in groups, asking questions like, “Can a self-win also be a team win?” and “What does it mean to be a good sport?” In the lower grades, students learn the mental and physical foundations that will help them succeed in later experiences on and off the field of play. 
  • Library & Technology

    Third graders participate in author studies, identify relationships between fiction and nonfiction literature and real life. They begin to use the online catalog to locate books of choice using the Dewey Decimal System. Students begin formal keyboarding instruction using classroom tablets. In addition, through projects and assignments, they create and publish their work using Office products. 
  • Life Skills

    As part of our commitment to the whole child, Norwood School’s Health and Well-Being program introduces students to age-appropriate information about human physiological and emotional development that will help them lead happy, healthy lives from early childhood through adolescence and beyond. Depending on the grade and topic, coordinated instruction occurs in homeroom, science, advisory, life skills and/or physical education classes. Topics include nutrition and fitness, personal safety, hygiene, puberty, the reproductive system and reproduction, decision-making, stress management, interpersonal skills, social media, peer pressure, and peer relationships. The Health and Well-Being program for older students also includes substance abuse prevention. At all ages, the program establishes skills and strategies for lifelong well-being and promotes caring for the well-being of others. Throughout the program, teachers emphasize the important role students’ own family members play in guiding goal-setting, problem-solving and decision-making.
A Week in the Life of a Norwood Third Grader

Each morning starts with a community gathering to focus on the value of the month and to prepare for the day ahead. Third graders then enjoy a balanced schedule combining reading, language arts, library, PE, math, science, composition, recess, Spanish, music, chorus, and art.
 

Homeroom Teachers

List of 3 members.

  • Dana Gaither 

    Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
    Argosy University - Ed.S.
    Central Michigan University - M.A.
    Claflin University - B.S.
  • Bianca Rolon 

    Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
    Yale University - B.A.
  • Terri Woodard 

    Third Grade Homeroom Teacher
    University of California - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.T.

Highlights

  • States Tasting Day
  • Native American Research Project
  • Native American Museum
  • Spring Musical
  • NIH Children’s Inn Project
  • Chapel Bell Ringers and Candle Lighters
  • Pledge of Allegiance Leaders
  • Toys for Tots Donations and Card Making
  • Trip to Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
  • Trip to St. Mary's City and Evening Bonfire on Campus
  • Pre-K Buddies
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.