In Language Arts, the foundation is the use of literacy tools: decoding, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, figurative language, and other literary elements. These are applied in oral language, listening, reading, and writing (utilizing printing and cursive handwriting, after the latter is learned). Sentence and paragraph structure, as well as writing conventions, are introduced and practiced in the four types of paragraphs: narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. Oral and reading comprehension is emphasized, with students having opportunities to listen to literature being read aloud, to read aloud to a partner, to use Readers’ Theatre or plays, as well as in whole-class reading. Student read both assigned and self-selected literature. They then broaden their study by reading, analyzing, and sometimes even producing themselves the many different genres of literature classified as fiction (stories, fairy tales, fables, folk tales/tall tales, legends/ myths, realistic fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, plays and poetry) and non-fiction (journals, magazines, biographies and autobiographies).
Based on the principles of a communicative heritage language, the TaL AM program emphasizes Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people. TaL AM is internationally recognized for success and based on the concept that the best learning environment for children is one in which knowledge is acquired through a variety of activities using each of the five senses. In addition to textbooks, students will use music, games and visual aids to learn conversational Hebrew and to develop a keen understanding of Jewish concepts and values. For more information regarding the Tal AM program check out their website: www.talam.org
The Tal Am Hebrew program for 3rd grade includes a year-long book that focuses on what is good in school, and what is good in the home, and offers a wonderful array of child-friendly vocabulary that allows for each student to connect to what the students in the virtual classroom are learning and experiencing. There are workbooks for each holiday, as well as a workbook for the weekly Torah portion. As we have time on Fridays, we will also enjoy learning from the materials that are specific to Shabbat. The curriculum is set up so that when we are learning about a holiday and using holiday materials, we will “pause” our work in the year-long materials, so as to not overwhelm ourselves.
Students will learn to:
SJCS’s mathematics program strives to develop the basic concepts and skills that are used by students in their daily lives. The curriculum, aligned to NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards, requires students to refine problem-solving skills through accurate conceptual and procedural knowledge and their practical applications. Mathematical reasoning is expanded through oral and written discussion to problems across the disciplines, particularly in science and social studies.
The core set of curricular materials for the majority of students is Everyday Mathematics (EDM). This program is specifically designed to provide a spiraling curriculum that revisits topics at increasing levels of depth. Enrichment and enhancement activities are provided within the core materials. In addition, at all grade levels, teachers supplement curricular materials to provide challenges as well as reinforcement of important skills and concepts. Alternative approaches offered by Everyday Mathematics allow for individual learning needs. The following is a list of the various topics covered in third grade EDM:
Understanding the concept of multiplication and division using single digit numbers are an important part of 3rd grade math. In addition, students learn how to find equivalent fractions and how to convert improper fractions into mixed numbers and vice versa. Within the classroom, math groups are very fluid and may change after each unit to allow for differentiated instruction to meet specific student needs.
The “language of math” is analyzed and incorporated throughout this curriculum, and the “Problem of the Week” is given as homework to analyze and apply math concepts using multiple strategies, as well as to support the communication of mathematical ideas.
In 3rd grade Social Studies, the students’ understanding of community first begins while in the classroom, and is stressed during weekly class meetings and the school’s culture of Dereh Eretz. This will provide them with a foundation to study other communities and cultures. Vocabulary, map skills, and geography will be part of this foundation to ensure full comprehension. Our first area of discovery will be Seattle, followed by Ancient Greece. A visit to Pike Place Market is planned at the end of our Seattle unit. Integrating Language Arts and Social Studies, students in Nitzanim will also be receiving ( weekly) Time For Kids news magazine, (monthly) TFK: Go Places magazine, as well as having the opportunity to complete a passport, with a visa for each country they visited, from the places they have read about online at http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/.
During the first part of the year, students will focus their studies on the Birkot HaShahar, the morning blessings. Emphasis will be placed on the concepts of order in the world and organizing one’s day. Students will explore the basic physical level in addition to the deeper moral and social issues. When this unit is completed, we will begin our study of the Sh’ma and the b’rahot (blessings) that follow. We will take a close look at where the Sh’ma fits into each t’fillah service and learn about the history and value of this significant prayer in our liturgy.
An in-depth study of the holidays is structured around the Jewish holiday cycle. Students learn the historical background, rituals, Hebrew terms, b’rahot (blessings), and customs relating to the Jewish holidays. Stories, discussions, related texts, simulated celebrations, and creative activities will be integrated into our curriculum. We will integrate general studies skills such as literature circles, math analysis and science observations as appropriate. In addition, each student in Nitzanim will have the opportunity to research an assigned topic relating to Shabbat observance to present during their special Kabbalat Shabbat here at school.
with HaMorah Brooke Einstein Science Lab Teacher
Research has shown that the best way for children to learn important science concepts is to actively construct ideas through their own investigations. In the science lab, this means making observations, asking questions, testing ideas, recording results, comparing data, building concepts and explanations.
Students explore core scientific concepts in the science lab. All students work on being keen observers. This means that they use their senses to observe what they are learning. They look – noticing changes, colors, shapes, and behaviors. They touch – observing the temperature and feeling for texture and consistency. They smell – noticing differences between the materials and noting if there is an odor. They listen – noting how the sound relates to the materials. Then, they use their words to describe what they are observing by writing in their science journals and having discussions with other scientists. Students have been learning how important it is for scientists to record data and their observations in organized ways, using tables, anecdotes and illustrations. They make predictions based on prior knowledge and then compare the results to their predictions. Students learn that scientists use models in order to observe something that cannot be easily seen. In the lab lessons, they learn how to conduct fair tests. This means knowing which variables remain the same (controlled) and which variables are changed (manipulated).
All first through fifth grade students have science classes in the Lab on the third floor, at some point during the school year. Below is the unit taught this fall in third grade:
Most children have picked up a rock or mineral to show their parents or friends. They often collect and sort them. They are fascinated with the colors, sizes and textures of rocks and minerals they find as well as of those they see in museums and rock shops. This natural interest, coupled with the variety of rocks and minerals, leads many children to wonder what these earth materials are made of and how they are formed.
Rocks and Minerals is a 16-lesson unit in which students investigate rocks and minerals to answer these and other questions. Students explore the similarities and differences among rocks; they also study how rocks and minerals are both similar and different. They conduct several tests on minerals and develop a systematic way to record their observations. Finally, students apply the information they have collected to identify the minerals they have been studying by name. These activities introduce students to the way geologists study rocks and minerals. They also help students develop and apply process skills in observing, describing, and recording.
The Torah unit consists of an in-depth study of the last four parshiot (portions) of the book of B’reshit. These chapters encompass the stories of Joseph. While studying this text, students will learn to identify characters, themes, main events and key Hebrew roots within a Biblical text. Students will use this basic knowledge of the text to study and develop commentary and midrashim (interpretations and stories) relating to the text. In addition to studying the Joseph text, students will also participate in discussions and activities relating to the weekly Torah portion.
Listening and Appreciation
Creative Expression & Movement
Third Grade students are welcomed into the Art Room every Wednesday, alternating mornings and afternoons, where we will explore many types of artwork and media. Please help your child to remember that art is messy and to choose clothing that can get dirty. Smocks are available, but students don’t always choose to wear them. Art is fun, of course, but it’s also hard work, and students sometimes get frustrated. Learning new things can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it’s a positive sign that children are actively engaged in the classroom. Below is a general outline of areas covered in Art over the course of 3rd grade. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. with any questions or concerns. I will be at SJCS on Mondays and Wednesdays during the 2013–14 school year. In case you’re wondering where I am the other days, I am at McDonald International School interning other days of the week as part of pursuing my MAT at SPU for visual art instruction.
Media and Skills
Art Appreciation and Reflection
The Creative Process and Creative Expression
The class library is available for students to use. We have a comprehensive selection of both fiction and non-fiction books. The children are invited to select and check out two books each. In the classroom, we have a file-card holder where they list the books they’ve checked out under their first name. We ask that the books be cared for and returned to school, where they cross off their name when done reading. If the book is lost, the student is responsible for replacing the book.
In addition, our students have started visiting the SJCS school library, and will do so weekly for a half-hour period. All of the units in the school library curriculum are guided by three main goals:
The students will complete these units with haMorah Brooke.
Review and Expand: Book care, shelf markers, library sections, and more challenging alphabetizing. To start the year off right, we also read aloud a fun book such as “The Top Ten Ways to Ruin the First Day of School” by Ken Derby.
Individual Differences: This unit incorporates the values of dereh eretz and honoring diversity in oneself and others, with more academic library learning. Students learn about literary and illustration techniques by reading aloud and discussing picture books about individual differences. For example, we discuss how authors and illustrators use very different approaches to communicate the “moral of the story.” We look at the devices that authors and illustrators use to keep the reader engaged in the story. Students also discuss the ways that the stories relate to themselves and their lives.
Parts of a Book: After a brief review, this section moves on to include title page, copyright, publisher, glossary, index, table of contents, and how to identify call numbers for all sections of the library.
References and resources: This includes how to use the dictionary, encyclopedia, and atlas. We also discuss how to generate topics to research.
Finding Books: After a brief review of cover and sections, we move on to title, keywords, card catalogue and the public library online.
Health Education plays a key role in the development of the whole child. Students will develop movement skills, the ability to work as part of a team, overall fitness, and build character. This year the curriculum will emphasize cooperative games, team sports, health and fitness, and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect through positive language and sportsmanship. By incorporating music and engaging activities, the program encourages students to be healthy and active, and fosters lifelong appreciation of fitness.
Students will start each session by entering the gym and sitting in their assigned role spots. At this time there will be a review of previous skills learned as well as an introduction of new skills that the class will be using in the day’s activity. Some of the units we will cover this year include soccer, various takes on dodge ball, softball, handball, gaga, basketball, volleyball, and cricket. PE class will conclude by students returning to their role spots where I will wrap up the day’s lesson. In addition, students in grades second through fifth will have fitness days once a week. These days will focus more on activities designated to increase the students’ overall fitness level rather than their skill level.
Dress Code: Running shoes and clothing that is comfortable for physical activity are a must. Look through your child’s wardrobe for a couple of t-shirts that can get dirty and sweaty and dedicate them to PE. Footwear such as boots and flip-flops are inappropriate. Remember to dress for PE on the right day. There is a handy reminder below.
Second–Fifth Grade: This group of students will become more aware of personal wellness and fitness levels. They begin to take ownership of their activities and set goals. Students will examine how they can improve on chosen activities through technique and effort. Students begin learning games with more complex rules and strategies. Team spirit and Dereh Eretz are fostered through cooperative games and kind play. Second and third grade have PE together on Tuesday and Thursday.
General Studies homework will be given out on Monday, with components due on Wednesday, Friday, and Monday. Nitzanim students will also receive Hebrew/Judaic homework twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Tuesday homework will be due on Wednesday or Thursday, while Thursday homework will be due on Friday or Monday. In any given week, you will decide what works best for your family. However, please help your child to note the due dates and allow for time to complete each assignment with care.
We will use the following criteria when grading homework and other assignments:
It is important to remember that third grade is a time of establishing independent work and study habits. If your child is unable to complete a homework assignment independently, that is valuable information for us to have.
Special projects will have a specific grading sheet that will give the categories to be evaluated along with brief explanations so that students will know what is expected of them, and have the information they need to do their best.
We want to work closely with parents to ensure your student’s success at SJCS. To facilitate clear and consistent communication, we hope that parents will:
Of course, as teachers we have certain expectations of our students. We will help them learn the class routines during the first weeks of school. They have democratically decided upon the classroom rules, which are already posted in our room. They will move cards if constant reminders are needed to follow these rules, and earn ‘smileys’ for working well together as a group during our classroom time or with Art, Library, Music, or Science specialists. Shekels or dollars will be given for individual work, which can be redeemed for items in our class store once the smiley chart has been filled (usually 3-4 times a year).