What a privilege to be able to weave God’s truths into all we teach throughout the day! Whether it’s a devotional time together in the morning, or pausing in the middle of a science lesson on biomes to reflect on the creative majesty of God, teachers make time for Biblical integration. In third grade, our Bible curriculum focuses on God’s characteristics and what it means to be created in God’s image. The curriculum emphasizes both who we are and our identity in relationship to God; it includes a study of Ephesians as well as several units on Old Testament individuals such as Adam and Eve, Moses, Joseph, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In third grade, the Language Arts are comprised of: Spelling, Vocabulary, Literature, Grammar, Reading, and Writing. These subjects are integrated whenever possible and take center stage in a third grader’s day. Because third graders still show a genuine enthusiasm for learning, and they are taking great cognitive leaps in the areas of reading skills such as inference and prediction, this is the year we introduce chapter books to our Language Arts program. From the children’s classic, , to the hilarious backdrop of , students read well-written, captivating books that fuel their imaginations and interest in independent reading. Selections from the popular Junior Great Booksamp;#8217; foundation are also a part of the third grade literature program. Combine the literature component with further lessons in formal spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and writing programs, and students are well on their way to a solid foundation in the Language Arts. By the end of third grade, students read fluently with expression, write three-point paragraphs free from typical grammar errors, and begin a time-proven vocabulary program aimed at strengthening word understanding within context. We accomplish all of this using the teaching methods of dictation, mimicry, memorization, chants, rhymes, and songs.
Core to any elementary student’s education is a solid grasp of math. Trinity is often asked why we continue to emphasize the memorization of basic math facts and terms, and our simple answer is this: no matter the subject, students to learn the basic vocabulary, terminology and “tools” of the subject before we require them to use these tools in a context of more complicated problems in the future. So, in math, we devote class time to mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Of course, that is not all we do! We explore polygons, graphing, coordinate planes, problem solving strategies, and more. Led by teachers who understand the diverse learning needs of their students, third graders sit, stand, jump, talk, write and quietly contemplate their way through third grade math.
Third grade geography focuses on the United States. As a culminating activity each spring, third grade students present “State Facts,” a rapid-fire, choral presentation that is impressive in terms of the sheer amount of information the students have acquired. Students bring props, display emerging rhetoric skills, and delight the crowd. History continues its chronological approach as third graders explore the Middle Ages; a highlight of this unit is the “Medieval Feast Day” when students dress up and engage in game playing, dancing, singing and feasting. Following their medieval studies, students study the early explorers and colonial life.
Third grade focuses on the life sciences, specifically the areas of plants and animals. From classification systems to life cycles, biomes, and ecosystems, students explore the basic tenets of life science. One of the lower school’s foundational science principles is that science ought to be hands-on and fun. In third grade, hands-on fun includes a field trip to Falls Dam to learn more about habitats (and throw a fishing line in the water!), create personal terrariums using recycled materials, and take responsibility for tending the lower school garden. These experiences (and many more) help make science come alive in the third grade classroom.
Third grade students attend Art class once a week for formal instruction. By studying great works and artists of the past, students explore what is visually “true, good, and beautiful.” Using Art history as the back drop, students learn about: intermediate colors, organic, geometric and free line, contrast of warm and cool colors, as well as texture. Third graders paint, draw, explore printmaking, and create three-dimensional paper mache structures in a classroom atmosphere of warmth and joy. Beginning in third grade, our experienced Art teacher offers after-school enrichment classes designed to enhance students’ art experiences in the lower school. Classes offered include drawing, painting, clay, paper mâché, printmaking or fiber arts.
Formal music instruction is offered twice a week under the direction of an experienced, Kodaly-certified Music teacher. Lessons are filled with purposeful singing, dancing, games, and rhymes; stop outside the lower school music room on any given day and you are sure to hear jubilant giggles and laughter. Understanding that students should be exposed to all that is truly good and beautiful, students learn about brilliant composers and time-proven hymns, as well as rhythm, melody, major and minor scales, the reading and writing of music, and performance preparation. Students participate in Christmas and Spring Music concerts, and in third grade, students may try out for the Trinity Academy Children’s Chorus. See distinctives below for more details about this unique opportunity.
Formal physical education class is offered once a week. Our dynamic and loving PE teacher creates a grace-filled environment where each child’s athletic gains are acknowledged and celebrated. Character education is an important part of the PE curriculum, and time is given at the end of each PE class period to discuss the role that good sportsmanship and Christ-like behavior played during that day’s session. Physical fitness goals include exposure to a wide variety of skills, including: soccer, flag football, floor hockey, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, wiffle ball, Frisbee, track and field, and more! Additionally, each Fall and Spring, students are invited to participate in an after-school running club that fosters lifetime fitness habits.