In third grade, in reading, students work on developing fluency and expression, reading comprehension, and making inferences beyond the text. They also learn to engage in literature discussions. In writing, third graders expand skills to include paragraphing, dialogue development, revising for elaboration, and making informed decisions about the organization of writing. Third graders add to their writing repertoire by writing nonfiction books, and exploring a topic of choice. Students also continue to develop spelling and grammar skills and learn to write cursive.
Using Comprehensible Input, present in both TPR/TPRS (Total Physical Response/Storytelling), third-grade students practice more complex verbal responses and acquire expanded vocabulary through reading, character creation, and storytelling. Third-grade Spanish learning consists of increased reading practice in Spanish with the addition of their first Spanish novel. Instruction leads students through a guided reading of the book “Edi el Elefante”. Students also continue to practice simple writing in Spanish. Reading comprehension is assessed through both verbal and written responses to comprehension questions.
Third graders in PE are encouraged to embrace challenges and learn from their experiences while developing skills of teamwork, communication, and a sense of fair play. They learn to leap and jump and differentiate between sprinting and running. Students practice transitioning from one locomotor skill to another and balancing and transferring weight from feet to hands. They develop the ability to dribble a ball with their hands and feet at a slow to moderate jogging speed, and they learn to strike a ball with their hands and feet using a mature pattern. Third-grade students also learn how to perform intermediate jump rope skills with both long and short ropes.
The Lower School library curriculum encourages students to be information literate, to become independent learners, and to engage in social responsibility. They read; are read to; make connections between the class curriculum and library resources; share their stories; learn to be inclusive and open-minded through an array of literature; and find joy in reading. Third graders continue author studies, learn about database research, Common Sense Media, online citizenship, and read biographies.
In third-grade social studies, students learn about history and activism in the Bay Area and beyond. Students explore Huchiun/Oakland's history, centered around its Ohlone roots. Also within the Bay Area, students read and listen to the family stories of Chinese Americans who were detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station. To learn about history and activism beyond the Bay Area, students read and write about the ways free and enslaved Black abolitionists fought for their own and the freedom of others. Lastly, students learn the stories of activists who are fighting for equity for people of all races, genders, religions, and abilities.
Students in third grade at this level will develop a foundation in the essentials of the Mandarin language. This may embody tones, pinyin, and strokes orders of Chinese characters. The first few units focus on listening and responding to the teacher's questions in short simple sentences. As students progress through this level, they gradually increase their ability to comprehend and speak by using common courtesy expressions, target vocabulary, and simple sentences. At the end of third grade, students are able to ask and answer simple questions in complete sentences. Students also explore cultural topics and gain an understanding of the pictographic evolution of Chinese characters.
Third grade students build from their DBi work in second grade to go deeper into the designing, building, and design thinking in the DBi Lab. They explore the connections between design and building with sentence structures (fasteners and conjunctions, for example). Students work in the DBi Lab ten times throughout the year.
Third graders learn about and explore oral histories, and specifically focus on the stories and lessons of the elderly in our broader community as part of their service learning focus. Students visit the Altenheim Senior Housing, just down the street from Redwood Day, to meet with, interview, and exchange stories with various residents.
In third grade, students work on addition and subtraction up to 10,000, multiplication and division facts and algorithms, two-step word problems using all four operations, comparing fractions, studying shapes and angles through comparisons and classifications.
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums and study artists from diverse backgrounds. Instruction is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that all children are artists and that growth comes from continuous practice, experimentation, and reflection. Third graders explore the world of dragons with clay dragon sculptures and dragon eye pendants, study the mesmerizing portraits of Kehinde Wiley, and collaborate to create a parade for Chinese New Year.
Third-grade music emphasizes creating, performing, and expression. Each lesson explores rhythm, melody, harmony, and form. Students read, write, and perform simple rhythmic patterns such as ostinati, and begin to identify pitches through solfege and Curwen hand signs. Third graders study rhythm, beat, and rhythmic values through stick notation which is used to compose rhythm combinations; they perform rhythmic patterns while maintaining a steady beat in 4/4 meter.
In third grade, units of study include water and climate, structures of life, simple machines, and magnets. Third-grade scientists also study and explore water wheel engineering, crayfish and human structure and functions, six simple machines, and simple machine engineering through the course of the year.
In third grade, students are introduced to laptops (in the classroom), trackpad navigation, and saving to a remote location. The emphasis is on moving from direct step-by-step instruction to independent learning using different resources, including: written instructions, video demonstrations, and collaboration. Students begin using GoogleDrive, both Documents and Slides, learning early “cloud” skills and basic formatting.
In split classes, third-grade students in Garden to Table keep our plants and habitats healthy and learn alternative uses for their products, such as dying and building. They actively participate and engage in the cycle of planting, nurturing, and harvesting varieties of plants (including edibles) and utilize their knife skills and flavor know-how to cook recipes based on social studies learning.