The Hartsbrook School

Third Grade

3rdSederDevelopmental Picture of the Third Grade Student

“Shades of the prison-house begin to close on the growing boy,” writes Wordsworth in his “Immortality Ode.” In the third grade, the eight or nine-year-old child begins to feel a sense of apartness from the universe, questioning every certainty that was once taken for granted. Third-graders are like Adam and Eve, cast out of paradise and forced to make their way in an uncertain world. They are like Moses, wandering the desert and struggling to shoulder the heavy burden of the commandments.

With this keen sense of separateness, the third-grader is hungry to understand where she comes from and how the world works. The curriculum answers these questions with the practical human activities of preparing food, clothing and shelter and measuring time and the seasons and also with the moral answers found in Old Testament stories.

Highlights of the Curriculum

In Language Arts, children learn the Old Testament stories, beginning with the creation myth to the birth of Moses and the flight from Egypt to the Battle of Jericho. There is daily work on telling, retelling, and interpreting these biblical stories, as well as daily recitations of poems, verses, and speech exercises. Grammar focuses on naming and learning the parts of speech, on understanding the differences between doing, naming, and describing words. Reading is done with special attention to phonics, especially to the sound of vowels and in combination. There is practice reading aloud in large and small groups as well as individually, using printed readers and library books. Children learn how to spell, practicing words from main lesson content as well as the 125 most frequently used words. Cursive writing is introduced.

Mathematics is devoted to the study of time, to learning the measurements of the months, days of the week, hours, minutes, and seconds. Ancient ways of telling time with the sundial, hourglass, and water clock are contrasted with modern methods of time telling. The concept of linear measurement is explored, contrasting the ancient forms of measurement—such as the digit, hand, span, and cubit—with more modern forms. The inch, foot, yard, mile and metric system are explored, as are the forms of dry and liquid measurement such as the bushel, peck, quart, pint, cup, gallon, etc. Weighing and measuring are also introduced, with special focus on the difference between the ounce, pound, and ton. Place value is reviewed through computations with money, with an understanding of denominations and coins. Work with measurement is applied to practical work related to house building and farming, as well as storing produce, grains, flour, and milk.

There is daily practice in mental arithmetic: with carrying larger numbers in addition and borrowing larger numbers in subtraction. There is continued work in manipulating and memorizing the multiplication tables. Multiplication in columnar form with a single-digit multiplier is introduced and practiced. Simple division is practiced.

In Practical Arts classes, the student learns about the farming year and raising animals as well as cultivating crops. Fibers and clothing are presented, as children comprehend the differences between wool, cotton, silk, linen, and hemp. Shelters and house building are also introduced with an emphasis on native shelters in woodlands, deserts, grasslands, and the Arctic.

Subjects Studied

Language Arts Students continue to explore the rich world of the English language and gain increasing skill in sentence construction. Poems and other literature is memorized and recited orally and a class play is produced.
Mathematics Math continues to be experienced through movement and mental math journeys as well as on paper. Measurement of time, weight and space is introduced.
World Languages Students are exposed to the contrasting world languages cultures of Spanish and German through oral instruction which includes story, songs and games. Written creation of content in main lesson books begins.
Movement Students continue to move each day during the more active component of main lesson. There are also two recesses each day on our lower school playground and two periods of Games classes each week.
Eurythmy Eurythmy continues 2 times/week. More complicated patterns and coordination exercises are taught.
Handwork Students continue with crochet and begin to learn simple sewing stitches.
Music The students sing with their class teacher each day and learn how to play the recorder. Instruction in violin or cello is introduced.
Art Students continue with watercolor painting, beeswax modeling, form drawing and crayon drawing.