In third grade, students begin to come into their own as scholars and citizens of the school. On stage, in class discussion, and playing in spaces like the garden that serves as third grade’s ‘back porch,” students find that they each have something unique to contribute to the school community.
Third grade teachers know their students’ worlds are expanding, and they find age appropriate ways to connect their classroom learning with the communities in which they live. The year-long study of New England’s indigenous people and European colonization includes material that is reflected in the geography and history of many students’ lives. The essential theme “What you see depends on where you stand” helps students identify the different perspectives in these stories, and begin to sort out how New England history has impacted their own personal stories.
Homework provides another very tangible connection between classroom life and home life. While students might have brought home assignments occasionally during first and second grade, homework becomes an ongoing expectation during third grade. Deadlines and organizational challenges provide another way for students to understand their own learning profiles, and class time is set aside so that students can compare notes on what does and does not work for them.
Gordon’s formal health and wellness curriculum begins in third grade, providing yet another connection between students' personal lives and their classroom work.
Third grade is a big year for performing arts. Many students are eager to begin third grade because it is the first year when they can finally join the cast of the annual third and fourth grade musical, and every student in the grade begins participating in the weekly third and fourth grade chorus as a supplement to their weekly music class.
In third grade, students get to experience the beloved buddy program from the other side, returning to Early Childhood to serve as older buddies for Nursery and Preschool students on a series of activities throughout the year.