The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Lower School

Grade Three

Grade Three

Students enter the Lower School in grade three, and they begin the journey of understanding who they are as learners and what it means to be a successful student at Fay. Students begin each day in homeroom groupings, which are created to support the learning and personal welfare of each child. Language arts, math, and social studies learning takes place in homeroom classes, while students meet with specialists for science, world language, music, art, physical education, wellness, digital literacy, and library. Students participate in a lively academic program that includes direct instruction, class discussions, investigations, and projects. Instructional routines and practices in grade three are aligned with the developmental, cognitive, and emotional strengths and needs of each particular group of third graders.

List of 12 items.

  • Mathematics

    The goal of Lower School mathematics is to encourage and support students as they develop number sense, computational fluency and efficiency, strategies for problem solving, and a beginning understanding of the connectedness of mathematical topics and procedures. The curriculum offers opportunities for self-discovery and exploration of concepts and personal strategies as well as exploring and understanding traditional algorithms. Students work with visual models at every level to make sense of abstract concepts.

    Grade three expands upon the goals and objectives of grade two mathematics with a continued focus on the conceptual and procedural understanding of whole number operations with a concentrated study of multiplication. The curriculum encourages students to think critically, question, and analyze, asking more than a recall of basic facts. Students learn to represent and explain their thinking using pictures, numbers, and words. Students continue to develop and extend mathematical proficiency in the following areas: number and operations, fractions, measurement, geometry, data analysis and probability, and algebraic thinking.

    Students who successfully complete the grade three mathematics program will be able to demonstrate fundamental understanding of topics in the following categories:
    Number and Operations
    • Reading and writing numbers using base ten materials, number names, and expanded form
    • Decomposing numbers to reason and calculate numerically
    • Using and applying concrete materials to re-grouping strategies for subtraction
    • Using place value concepts to perform multi-digit addition and subtraction
    • Solving addition and subtraction story problems
    • Connecting addition to multiplication
    • Multiplying one-digit numbers
    • Applying properties of operations as multiplication and division strategies (Commutative, Associative, and Distributive)
    Fractions, Decimals, Percents
    • Developing an understanding of fractions as numbers and quantities
    • Relating visual representations of basic fractions to division (1/2, 1/3, 1/4)
    • Measuring and reporting elapsed time
    • Telling and writing time to the nearest minute
    • Recognizing and understanding concepts of area as related to multiplication and addition
    • Measuring to the nearest, whole, half, and quarter inch
    • Measuring and comparing mass using standard units of mass
    • Showing multiplication from a geometric perspective
    • Solving real-world and mathematical problems involving perimeter and area
    • Exploring geometric attributes of polygons and classifying quadrilaterals
    Data Analysis & Probability
    • Analyzing statistical data as represented in bar graphs, line graphs, picture graphs,line plots, and circle graphs
    • Creating graphs using varied scales
    Algebraic Thinking
    • Identifying, writing, and repeating growth patterns on a hundreds grid
    • Connecting multiplication equations to concrete objects or images
    • Demonstrating understanding of patterns and multiples
  • Reading

    In a classroom environment rich with books, third graders read in guided and independent settings. Students read independently each day from books at their designated reading levels, choosing from a range of genres including fantasy, mystery, realistic fiction, biography, and poetry. To improve comprehension, students apply strategies that include prediction, connection, visualization, questioning, and summarizing. Teachers conduct one-on-one conferences with students to monitor individual progress and set individual goals. In teacher-guided reading groups, students practice reading out loud, ask and answer questions, and learn how to discuss literature. Students are responsible for a number of independent reading projects throughout the year, including discussions, reading logs, journals, and small partner projects.
  • Writing

    The Lower School writing program encourages students to develop an understanding of and appreciation for creative writing, expository writing, and poetry, and to communicate effectively through writing and speech. Students learn the drafting process, where they develop strategies for organizing their thoughts, crafting, revising and discussing their work in student/teacher conferences, and presenting completed assignments to the class. Throughout the curriculum, process writing and grammar study, as well as direct instruction on organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions, ensure mastery of skills. The third grade word study program lays the foundation for further success in reading and writing through lessons on parts of speech, types of nouns, syllable types, and action verbs, as well as through introduction of more sophisticated vocabulary words. 

    Third graders are introduced to public speaking throughout the year in carefully scaffolded assignments, culminating in each student writing and preparing a speech that they present to the Lower School community. Students carefully craft their speeches with the support of their teachers and begin their study of the art of rhetoric and persuasion.
  • Social Studies

    Social studies in grade three focuses on the study of the geography and culture of the United States. Students study how the five themes of geography apply to the study of the United States of America and how the cultures and histories of each region are different. Students develop their understanding of the themes with studies of maps, atlases, and informational texts, as well as through a geographic study of the regions of the United States.

    Students who successfully complete the grade three social studies program will be able to:
    • Understand and utilize maps and globes
    • Recognize the major physical features of the world, such as oceans and continents
    • Read and interpret a variety of informational resources, such as charts and graphs
    • Apply the Five Themes to new topics
    • Show a beginning understanding of the research process
  • Science

    The Lower School science practices have been adopted from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and directly build upon skills and material covered in Primary School. Students who demonstrate success in Lower School science courses will be able to:
    • Ask clarifying and extending questions
    • Apply the scientific process to creative real-world projects
    • Create and follow a written plan for an investigation
    • Understand how to gather, organize, and explain data
    • Predict the outcome of an investigation and analyze the results
    • Collaborate effectively to complete investigations and solve problems
    • Use evidence from real-world observations to demonstrate conceptual understanding
    • Communicate concepts and observations through writing and drawing
    During the year, third graders engage in a study of magnetism, where they experience and learn how to articulate the properties and uses of magnets. Students use Makey Makeys to investigate and demonstrate properties of particles and electrons. During their study of ecosystems and habitats, students explore the biological interdependence and the structures of living things. Students participate in a design thinking challenge related to endangered species in which they identify the current habitat of an endangered animal, assess how its habitat might change in the future, and generate three strategies to help the species thrive again. Using systems and models, students examine our solar system and learn about each planet’s environment as compared to Earth.
  • Digital Literacy

    Digital Literacy provides students with key technology skills that they need to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Students learn how to leverage technology to achieve their goals; they also learn how to be responsible digital citizens by using technology in safe, legal and ethical ways. Digital Literacy focuses on using technology as a tool for productivity, with a focus on critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. The curriculum is based on the International Society for Technology in Education Student Standards. 
    Each Lower School student has access to a Chromebook for use in all classes throughout the day, and students use a range of Google Education tools, including Gmail, Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, Jamboard, and Keep. Students also participate in activities that utilize tools including Seesaw, Adobe Spark, Common Sense Media, and a range of coding and keyboarding practice applications.
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    Third graders select one language–French or Spanish–to learn during their time in Lower School. Fay’s Lower School French and Spanish program is based on F.L.E.S. (Foreign Language in the Elementary School). The F.L.E.S. methodologies are based on the developmental progression of first language acquisition, which involves the active use of and exposure to the language being learned. The learning style is hands-on and activity-based with textual support. Listening and speaking skills are emphasized through interactive activities such as games, choral repetition, TPR (Total Physical Response), acting out dialogues, and music. Through the use of Francophone and Hispanic children’s literature, students develop basic reading and writing skills. The study of culture continues to be a highlight of the program, as it allows the students to learn and appreciate French and Spanish speaking communities. The students are encouraged to use French or Spanish to express basic ideas and to participate in brief conversations. Throughout the Lower School program, students develop and expand the four language skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

    At the beginning of grade three, students participate in a thorough review of the lessons taught in prior years. New lessons address themes relating to everyday life and encourage interpersonal communication in the target language. Group activities, skits, music, and theme-based projects help students become more comfortable speaking the language and applying what they have learned. The program focuses on the development of listening and speaking skills, and by the end of the year, it is expected that students are able to communicate more comfortably in their chosen world language.

  • Music

    The Lower School music program is based on the educational philosophy of Zoltán Kodály and incorporates other methods, including Orff and Dalcroze. Children acquire musical skills and appreciation through singing, speaking, listening, games, movement, music reading and writing, improvisation, composition, and playing instruments. Students also perform in school concerts and plays. Students are exposed to a repertoire of music from folk songs and world music to classical music. As music is a language of emotion, the music curriculum supports Fay’s core value of Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit by educating the child’s emotional intelligence.

    Music goals in grade three include review of all grade two concepts as well as identification of the absolute pitch names on the treble staff; understanding of the do pentatonic scale; understanding of movable do (do = G, F or C); understanding of sixteenth note/eighth note combinations, and identifying tones below do (the extended do pentatonic scale). Third grade students also begin to study soprano recorder.
  • Art

    In grade three, the fruits of developing eye-hand coordination begin to appear in students’ work on a more sophisticated level. Students have more control over the media and can incorporate more detail into their work. They begin to explore the art history timeline as they look at cave art, Egyptian art, Greek and Roman art, African art, and Native American art.

    Students who successfully complete the third grade art program will be able to:
    • Use media and tools appropriately
    • Understand the role of art in history
    • Respect the space of other students
    • Care for their materials and maintain a clean workspace
  • Drama

    Drama is a year-long course in which third graders explore creative ways to express themselves through storytelling. Through units including puppetry and pantomime, students use their voices and bodies to portray emotions and characters and expand their creativity by using a range of strategies to tell a story. As students collaborate with their peers, they develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and self-confidence.

  • Physical Education

    The goal of grade three P.E. is to encourage a lifelong appreciation for physical fitness, health, and sport. Students continue the developmental sequence for movement, exploration, cooperation, cardiovascular fitness, and sportsmanship. Teachers assess each student and give an effort grade every two weeks, which is based upon each child’s daily level of effort and attentiveness.

    Students change into physical education attire at the beginning of each class. They begin with warm-ups and stretching exercises, where they practice basic motor skills such as running, skipping, hopping, jumping, sliding, galloping, throwing, catching, striking, and kicking. Students learn about team sports, in which teamwork, cooperation, sportsmanship, and skill development are an important part of the program. Games and activities in this grade are more structured and competitive by the end of the year to prepare students for fourth grade P.E. There is a strong emphasis placed on the rules, skills, strategies, and expectations of all sports.
  • Wellness

    Learning about yourself and the ways you relate to others is the focus of Wellness education in the Lower School. In grade three, classes address a number of important topics such as advocating for one’s needs, expressing emotions appropriately, resolving conflicts, mindfulness, and accepting others’ differences. Classes are structured, safe, and consistent environments where students can develop communication skills, self control, and interpersonal problem solving skills.
main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201