In third grade, students are encouraged to learn to the best of their abilities while being taught to the National Common Core standards and the standards of the Archdiocese of Seattle. This is a transition year in which students are guided toward more independence, and where they take ownership of their learning. In all disciplines, students will be competent and independent readers, listeners and viewers, fluent and effective writers, speakers and illustrators.
Third grade at St. Joseph School is an exciting place to learn. When you walk in the door of one of our classrooms, you will see a variety of differentiated teaching methods that are geared to the individual learner. At any time there may be small groups working together, hands-on activities, whole group instruction using the Smart Board, or children working independently on the computers. It is a time for students to begin to assume responsibility for their education and become life long learners.
The third grade team encourage behaviors that support learning. These behaviors are organized around descriptions of cooperative workers, quality workers and self-directed learners. Families can play an important role in helping teach and reinforce these behaviors at home: Be respectful of all, respect all property, allow others to speak, be heard and to learn.
We use a variety of tools to assess student progress. We report student progress six times a year: three mid-trimester reports, and three end-of-trimester report. This year, these will be accessed through the on-ling program Power School. Another way of updating parents on student progress is through twice yearly student-involved conferences.
In the fall, students take MAP assessments, which are used to drive instruction throughout the year. Teachers are, of course, available for individual conferences as well.
We teach the 6-traits of writing and the 5-step writing process: pre-write (brainstorming), rough draft, revise, edit, and publish. Third graders are expected to answer questions in complete sentences. They will learn about the types of sentences, how to write a paragraph, and how to write a research report.
Each classroom is equipped with an interactive white board, several computers, a digital camera, and a document camera for teaching. Using these tool allows students to participate more actively in the learning process. Students also use online resources such as IXL (Math) and Spelling City.
Two of the most notable field trips include trips to Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Pike Place Market.
Salmon Project: The salmon project is aimed toward teaching students about the importance of environmental awareness in the salmon’s habitat. Salmon have an incredible journey during their life cycle and this journey ranges for thousands of miles. We need to keep the salmon habitat healthy for the salmon to complete their journey. St. Joseph School receives eggs at the “eyed up” stage and third graders and kindergartners help to raise the eggs to the “fry” stage. Once the salmon have developed to the fry stage, we release the small salmon into Issaquah Creek. We hope that our efforts help to continue the salmons’ life cycle for many years into the future.
Pike Place Market: St. Joseph third graders have been visiting Pike Place Market for more than 15 years. This trip is a wonderful part of our Social Studies curriculum. It explores the concepts of how communities grow and change, producers and consumers and the history of Seattle in an exciting hands-on manner. We travel to the Market for a tour that includes a bit of history, a dash of commerce and a whole lot of fun. This springtime trip is a great highlight in our school year.
Third grade also visits the UW Planetarium and the Seattle Children's Theater.