The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Academics
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 and social studies learning takes place in homeroom classes, while students meet with specialists for mathematics, science, foreign language, music, art, physical education, 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.

Download: Grade Three Course Overview
 

List of 11 items.

  • Reading

    In a classroom environment rich with literary materials, grade three students participate in a wide variety of reading experiences in guided and independent settings. Students read independently each day from books at their designated reading levels, choosing from a range of genres including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. To improve comprehension, students apply grade-level and reading-level 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. Guided reading groups are conducted where students practice oral reading skills, ask and answer questions, and learn how to have a book discussion. Students read in a variety of genres and are responsible for a number of independent reading projects throughout the year, which include discussions, reading logs, journals, and small partner projects. Enrichment activities are also an integral part of the reading curriculum.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade three reading program will be able to:
    • Read and listen for pleasure
    • Read for comprehension (literal and inferential)
    • Apply and expand a well-developed vocabulary
    • Read orally, demonstrating accurate pronunciation, fluency, and phrasing
    • Demonstrate an awareness of imagery and other literary devices
    • Demonstrate an understanding of story elements, including plot, character, and setting
    • Interact with text, reading critically, creatively, and reflectively
  • Writing

    The Lower School writing program encourages students to develop an understanding of and appreciation for creative and expository writing, poetry, and drama, and to communicate effectively through written and spoken language. Students complete assignments through a multi-step process known as the writing workshop, where they develop strategies for organizing their thoughts, revising and discussing their work in student/teacher conferences, and presenting completed assignments to the class.
     
    Throughout the curriculum, process writing and grammar study are designed to be parallel and interconnected methods of ensuring mastery of skills. Using the 6+1 Traits of Writing (ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation), students work through the various stages of the writing process, from writing simply to get ideas down on paper, to later and final drafts of publishable writing. From the earliest stages of writing drafts that can be read aloud, revision focused on these specific traits guides students as they work.
     
    Third graders are introduced to public speaking as each student writes and prepares a speech that he or she presents to the Lower School community. Students carefully craft their speeches with the support of their teachers; students also explore and practice public speaking skills prior to their presentation.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade three writing program will be able to:
    • Prewrite, draft, revise/conference, edit/proof, and publish
    • Understand sentence structure, including the identification of four types of sentences, run-on sentences and sentence fragments, punctuation, and capitalization
    • Structure paragraphs with an introduction, supporting details, and conclusion
    • Use dialogue with punctuation and quotation marks
    • Engage in public speaking, including speech writing and oral presentation
    • Write various forms of poetry
    • Write in various prose genres
    Word Study
     
    The third grade spelling curriculum emphasizes mastery of frequently used writing words through gameplay using the Words Their Way word study program.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade three word study program will be able to:
    • Demonstrate spelling skills, including dictionary use, knowledge of plurals, homonyms, contractions, possessives, compounds, and suffixes
  • Digital Literacy

    The goal of the digital literacy program is to provide students with the library and technology skills they need to be successful in their current and future classes.
     
    Students learn library and technology skills in designated digital literacy classes; these skills are also an integral part of the reading, English, science, social studies and math curricula. Students leave the Lower School having explored a variety of library resources and technologies they may use both in school and at home. Whenever students use the Internet, they learn how to be safe online and become familiar with the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.
     
    Students have access to computers in the library and in the PC and Mac labs, as well as a mobile lab of networked, wireless laptop computers that can be wheeled into any classroom.
     
    Resources
    Lower School students use a variety of library and technology resources and tools that may vary from year to year but primarily include:
    • Nonfiction books
    • Reference works
    • Online encyclopedias and magazine databases
    • Dictionaries, almanacs, and atlases
    • Word processing software
    • Graphic organizing software
    • Presentation software
    • Web browsers
    • Keyboarding software
    • Email
    • Lower School Links at http://library.fayschool.org
     
    Third graders learn to use the library’s web site to locate print and online information independently as well as study the organization of the library. Third graders also build information literacy and technology skills, such as taking good notes and citing sources in their classroom projects. Students further their keyboarding skills and learn how to use the Fay network for saving, retrieving, and printing files.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade three digital literacy program will be able to:
    • Use the library and its resources on a regular basis to find a book to read for pleasure or to search for information
    • Access a variety of research sources and technology tools including books, websites, subscription databases, word processing software, presentation software and communication software
    • Demonstrate the importance of citing all research sources and use information and technology ethically
  • 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. Visual models are used at every level to provide concrete examples 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 continue to develop and extend mathematical proficiency in the following areas: number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade three mathematics program will be able to:
    • Exhibit and apply an understanding of mathematical concepts, representations, operations and relationships
    • Carry out mathematical procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems
    • Reason logically, explain, and reflect on the validity of results
    • Sustain attention and engagement while solving problems and completing tasks
    • Communicate and justify mathematical thinking orally and in writing
  • Social Studies

    Social studies in grade three focuses on geography. Students learn the “Five Themes” of geography: location, place, region, human-environment interaction, and movement. These themes provide a basis for understanding the world around them as students to explore not only where something is but also begin to answer the questions of what, why, how, and who. Students develop their understanding of the themes with studies of maps, atlases, and informational texts, as well as through a geographic study of Massachusetts and 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
    • Recognize and apply the Five Themes to new topics
    • Begin to develop an 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 (2012) 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

    Third graders start the year with a study of magnetism, where they experience and learn how to articulate the properties and uses of magnets. Magnetic levitation is an area of focus as the students design and test MagLev train models. 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.
     
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    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 are exposed to 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; 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
  • 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 proper 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.