Third grade is a year in which students begin to gain independence as they move into a program that requires them to apply known skills as they gain knowledge and understanding. They can follow both oral and written directions accurately. They can fluently express their thoughts verbally and increasingly in writing. They learn to read and write in cursive, which to them is a rite of passage to the adult world.
Students in third grade learn how to organize their time. They use a planner to keep track of their homework, which for the first time includes a combination of daily, weekly, and monthly assignments.
They learn new skills that give them confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. They live what they learn. They become archaeologists. They experience the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. They finger spell as Helen Keller. They reenact the War for Empire (The French and Indian War). They learn what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes and to see a different point of view.
Developmentally, students at this age begin to move from thinking literally and concretely to thinking abstractly. In reading, students can draw conclusions and make inferences about the stories they read. In math, students can estimate, compare, and analyze numbers as they solve higher level multi-step problems.
In third grade, the girls are exploring the give and take involved in a good friendship. This can lead to new friendships and new play patterns.
The core subjects in third grade are language arts, math, and social studies. Other subjects are taught by specialist teachers. Girls are taught through direct instruction, working in small groups, large groups, and individually at various times. Students collaborate on projects which help them develop a deeper understanding of the topic. They are encouraged to express themselves and their opinions verbally and in writing. There are many opportunities for the girls to begin to develop leadership skills.