Sierra School

sierra School

Third Grade Program

In third grade, Sierra students are thrilled with the world, happy to be with friends, and curious about everything. By the end of the third grade each student will have a more advanced use of the English language, including grammar, writing, and reading skills. In mathematics students will learn the basic multiplication facts, the division process, have an understanding of fractions and decimals, explore algebraic and geometric methods and improve their problem solving skills.

Language Arts (includes Reading, Spelling and Writing)

Our language arts program is a comprehensive, whole language approach to learning. Several components make up our program that is designed to refine decoding, grammar, comprehension, literary, and writing skills. On a regular basis, the individual needs of a student are assessed. The assessment results in an individualized reading plan, as each student is unique. Students continue to develop their comprehension skills and strategies, information and study skills, decoding, writing, grammar usage and mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and speaking skills. Their comprehension skills and strategies are expanded by categorizing and classifying information, identifying the sequence of events, making inferences, drawing conclusions, and making generalizations. Information and study skills are developed by identifying the parts of the book, taking notes, using reference materials and multimedia resources, and learning the technique of skimming and scanning materials to improve their rate of reading. The student’s writing skills continue to be developed by more complex independent, shared, and coached writing activities which include more advanced punctuation and varying sentence types. Grammar usage and mechanics are developed by understanding the different parts of a sentence and sentence structure. Vocabulary and spelling are developed with the use of dictionaries, word families, and our Scott Foresman Spelling program. The students continue to develop their speaking skills with group discussions, an introduction to nonverbal communication skills, and giving a persuasive speech. The third grader will be exposed to a variety of culturally diverse literature, poetry, fictional stories, and mythology. Instruction takes place on an individual, small group, and whole-class basis. Houghton Mifflin’s text is used for the Language Arts program.


In third grade, students are deepening their knowledge of basic facts and understanding of conceptual mathematics. Using the Scott Foresman curriculum as a basis for our program, we ensure that each student progresses at his or her ability. By the end of the third grade, the student will have thorough knowledge of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Students will be able to use number sense to identify ordinal numbers, Roman numerals, and locate positive and negative numbers on a number line. In addition, students will recognize and compare fractions to 1/10. Students will add, subtract, multiply and divide amounts of money. The third grader will also use linear measurement, weight(mass), capacity(volume), temperature, and time accurately. Students continue to develop an understanding of mathematic operations, geometry, measurement, algebra, data analysis and probability, and mathematical processes. They develop a positive attitude towards math by incorporating activities which introduce math concepts into their daily activities. If a student masters the concepts, he or she is encouraged to work ahead while being instructed by the teacher. Our small group and individual instruction helps the student succeed within his or her own potential.

Social Studies

We believe that the goal of a balanced elementary social studies program is to prepare students to participate in society with the knowledge and skills that enable them to be actively and constructively involved. Sierra has selected Houghton Mifflin to help us with this goal. Ten themes are covered in the text: The Places We Live, Our Land and Resources, Old and New Communities, Communities in History, Newcomers Settle, People from Many Places, Being an Active Citizen, Our Government, Economics Every Day, and Communities and Trade. Students continue to develop an understanding of citizenship, history, geography, economics, and culture through literature, illustrated narratives, activities and assessments. They expand their understanding of citizenship by identifying the characteristics of a democracy and how leaders are elected into a democracy. Their history knowledge is expanded by identifying how buildings and other landmarks reflect a community’s past as well as identifying the effects transportation and population have on the environment. An understanding of geography is developed by identifying the physical processes that shape environments and the varying landforms and geographic features. Their understanding of economics is expanded by appreciating the relationship between price, supply and demand as well as the relationship between workers and customers. The student’s understanding of culture is developed by identifying how cultural influences affect historic events and one’s values, beliefs and attitudes. Our students thrive in their social studies experience through discussions, stories, drama, art, and music.


Scott Foresman is our chosen curriculum for the third grade. Our program captivates students and makes them eager to learn. Our effective style of instruction requires hands-on instruction and observation. Students continue to develop their understanding of physical and life sciences through the use of visual resources, literature, and teacher directed experiments. The students develop an understanding of life and earth sciences by exploring plants, animals, water, weather, rocks, soils, changes on earth, and natural resources. They expand on their understanding of physical science by exploring matter, its properties and changes, forces and motion, energy and sound. They explore space and technology by understanding the patterns in the sky and the solar system. Using the scientific method, the class performs science experiments which develop conceptual understanding. The third grader’s interest in science comes to life through hands on experience and small group instruction.


Enrichment activities bring balance to the curriculum and help students become well-rounded individuals. Children will sing songs both familiar and new to them to help develop their sense of pitch. Movement is also introduced to help children with coordination skills. Music and drama are great tools for helping children to build self-esteem. Students are exposed to the concepts of music, the family of instruments, the beginning written forms of music, and the components of the orchestra through practice and the continued exposure to important composers and musicians. Each month, students learn about a famous composer or musician, including artists such as, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Gershwin, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, John Philip Sousa, and Aaron Copeland. Students continue their exposure to the concepts of music, become familiar with the brass instruments, further their knowledge of the written forms of music, the components of the orchestra and become familiar with the child-friendly biographical profiles of the composers through practice and the exposure to important composers. They continue to develop a positive attitude for music through the active participation of singing, clapping rhythms, playing instruments, and listening to a wide range of music. Students also love to participate in the Sierra choir. Each semester students present a program for parents, friends, and teachers.

Visual Arts

In third grade, students continue to develop an appreciation for the fine arts. Students continue their exposure to the elements of making and appreciating art by developing their knowledge of the use of light, space (the difference between two-dimensional and three dimensional shapes), and how the elements of art work together through observations, discussion, and modeling. Each month the third grader studies a famous artist such as Jan Vermeer, Jean Millet, Pieter Bruegel, Henri Matisse, and Edvard Munch. Painting, drawing, collage, and clay sculptures are examples of projects that provide students with opportunities to express their ideas and emotions.


Students expand their understanding of Spanish and the Hispanic culture through speaking, grammar, writing, listening, music, stories, videos, and games. They continue to develop an understanding and vocabulary which is expanded to include numbers through 200, nouns, articles, school, classes, schedules, seasons, weather, likes and dislikes, verbs, activities throughout the year, dates, feelings, asking and giving age, tú and usted, giving an opinion, the family, clothes , adjectives, places and things, the home and Hispanic holidays. The students attend Spanish twice a week for 45 minute sessions.

Physical Education (PE)

Students continue to develop an understanding of physical activity, team sports, and sportsmanship through a variety of individual and group activities, games and organized sports. The students develop coordination, grace and control along with a sense of fair play and cooperation. They are provided opportunities in planning, organizing and leading sports activities


Students continue to develop their typing skills by utilizing the Disney Interactive Software, and reinforce their reading and math skills through the use of specific classroom software. In addition they develop an understanding of technology and it’s usefulness in the classroom through individual activities and programs.

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