Third Grade Curriculum
The Judaic Studies program at The Hebrew Academy fosters excitement, love and security in the child’s identity as a Jew. It provides for the required skills, understanding and knowledge of how and why to live as a productive Jewish citizen in our society.
In order to strive towards these objectives, the curriculum is designed with specifications tailored and individualized for The Hebrew Academy students. The detailed comprehensive curriculum is revised and updated each year to meet current needs, the advancement and growth of individual classes, and the unique strengths of its teachers.
The following represents a summary outline of the Judaic Studies curricula for grade 3.
Chumash in third grade covers the stories of Yitzchok's sons, Yaakov and Esauv in Parshas Toldot, the establishment of the Twelve Tribes through Yaakov in VaYeitzei, and the dramatic encounter of Yaakov and his brother Esauv in Parshas VaYishlach. Students in third grade are aware of the stories from Parsha review in previous years. Emphasis will be placed on comprehension, translation and insights. Students will learn to read and understand passages on their own with occasional help from their teacher.
Rashi commentary is officially introduced in third grade. This year they will learn how to read rashi script, and study selected Rashi passages. A greater appreciation and understanding of the Chumash will be achieved through the study of Rashi.
Hebrew Language Arts in the third grade builds on the foundations previously set. The informal methods of learning a language such as “immersion:” or ”Ulpan” will be continued. Students will be encouraged to speak in Hebrew in the classroom.
Formal language instruction will be increased. Grammar, sentence structure and correct usage will be taught through charts and analyses, and practiced through a multitude of workbook exercises and teacher prepared materials selected and designed for the particular class. Reading fluency and comprehension, writing and composition, vocabulary, and spelling will be further emphasized and advanced.
Hebrew language will be studied with an emphasis on comprehension (oral and written) and conversation. Students will read and understand simple stories form the HaMikra-ah Sheli text (Yonai). Grammar and usage will be taught and reinforced through the Yesodot HaLashon text (Yonai). Teacher selected and created materials will supplement these texts. Oral and written practice will take place in class and through homework assignments, thus ensuring that students internalize the grammatical principles and vocabulary they have been taught. Hebrew will be taught as a modern, living language with connections made to the biblical Hebrew of our Chumash study.
The weekly Torah Portion will be introduced each week on Monday. Students will learn the name of the Parsha and its major themes. The third grade students will be part of the school “Parsha program”. Students will be responsible for a certain number of questions each week for which they will be tested. An opportunity to be listed on the Parsha Honor Roll accompanies each quiz. Through the Parsha Program each student will develop a foundation of knowledge of each Parsha, which will be reviewed and added to each subsequent year.
In third grade, children will become aware and familiar with formal congregational services. They will learn the chants as they are conducted in the Synagogue. This is done in order to give the opportunity to our students to lead the services in their own synagogues.
The students will learn the structure of the Siddur, how the services are grouped and how a selection of prayers constitute a particular service; which recitation is central to the service and which may be considered peripheral.
In addition to the “Geography of the Siddur” as described in the preceding paragraph and the proper chants, emphasis will be placed on translation, such as regular blessings, the first paragraph of the Shema and a few paragraphs n the Shmoneh Esray. Other prayers will be taught by themes, such as the morning Torah blessings, the Shmoneh Esray as a whole and the Birkat Hamazon. Children will also learn the names and locations of a variety of prayers and when they are recited. An objective in the latter area is to be able to find the place in the Siddur without being told the page.
Oral reading practice to ensure proper reading fluency will be part of each class session as well as part of nightly homework. As prayers from our Siddur are added to our daily T’fillah they will be practiced and discussed in the class. Students will gain an appreciation for T’fillah. They will understand that our prayers are directed to Hashem and that in addition to request; our prayers include recitations and expressions of gratitude.
As previously learned traditions and practices will be reviewed in third grade, some will be studied in greater depth and new ideas, customs and concepts will be introduced. Knowledge of the holidays and routine Jewish customs and traditions will be reinforced. In addition, students will learn that sacred to the Jewish faith are its values, such as caring for and helping one another, sensitivity towards others, respect for parents and elders, and the importance of sharing our blessings with those in need.
Third graders will learn to identify Jewish objects in the synagogue and home. They will learn how and why many of them are used.
The Havdalah service (a prayer recited on Saturday night which formally separates the weekday form the Shabbat) is already being taught. The children will learn the proper chant and customs accompanying the service. Upon demonstrating fluency, each child will receive a Havdalah candle for home use.
For each holiday, students will learn why we celebrate the holiday and how we celebrate the holiday. The prayers associated with each holiday will be practiced in class and recited in our daily T’fillah. The story, important personalities and foods associated with each holiday will be reviewed and discussed in class. Students will gain an appreciation for our holidays and an understanding of the Jewish calendar and the cycle of the Jewish year.
Jewish Social Studies:
In third grade, learning about the Jewish People is designed to stimulate the children to want to know more about their identity as Jews. In addition to the foundations of our people as related in the Chumash, third graders will be introduced to selected major Jewish heroes from Joshua through the present day. These will be taught in the form of stories as well as teacher-prepared materials.
The third grade team of teachers works together to meet the needs of all the students. To ensure the optimum academic growth of all third graders, we plan curriculum based instruction, implement flexible teaching, and provide differentiated instruction. Third grade is a key year for the students at The Hebrew Academy. It is a link between primary and upper elementary grades – a bridge that leads from academic basics into higher level thinking, problem solving, study strategies, and goal setting. The third grade program at our school makes this transition smooth and exciting while introducing a variety of new concepts, skills, expectations and responsibilities. We work on cursive handwriting, multiplication and division, reading comprehension and various writing styles. All students keep Reading Logs, and they read every night. Participation in the Accelerated Reader Program will be encouraged to instill a commitment to the practice of reading. Relevant hands on activities are conducted throughout the scholl year to foster an interest in school. Our thematic approach to learning integrates all subject areas, incorporates field trips and meaningful experiences that support our goal of reaching each child's educational needs. We strive to make our academic year productive and engaging to ensure that our students become self motivated, proud, and respectful students.
By third grade our students have the ability to perform many academic tasks. They can read, write, discuss, take tests, do a variety of mathematics processes and solve problems. They are quite well adjusted to school. Third graders look forward to known routines and make transitions easily.
The social world in third grade is very important to them, and they like to make plans to play with each other. Fine motor control has evolved so that they can refine their handwriting and work more carefully in art. Many are capable readers, mathematicians and writers. They can work more independently because they have greater self-discipline, motivation and stronger academic abilities.
Third graders can be cooperative with each other and their teachers. They enjoy learning about the natural world and the environment, ecosystems, animals, and earth science. They often enjoy taking on different roles in dramatic play. As concrete thinkers, they like doing research and learning about how things work and go together.
Throughout the year third graders learn the art "basics" by actively using materials such as pastels, clay, paint and construction paper. We encourage them to extend art into their regular classroom assignments, including Judaic Studies and holidays. Third graders learn to draw self-portraits, and also create miniature tree houses using recycled materials.
Third graders practice navigating the Internet by doing teacher-designed scavenger hunts. The class comes to the Mac lab regularly once a week and additional times as appropriate for class computer projects. Students practice word processing skills and import graphics. They work with programs like Type to Learn for keyboarding, Factory, and Thinking Things 2 and 3, which teach problem solving. For the zoo unit students make a multimedia slide show with Kid Pix and a drawing of the animal that they have researched. The drawings are transferred to T-shirts that they wear on the trip to the Bronx Zoo. Students also create short multimedia presentations using HyperStudio.
In Grade Three most students are able, and expected, to read independently for pleasure and for information. They need support and review, but usually have enough decoding skills to tackle difficult, new words and meanings on their own. Students read fiction, fantasy and factual material. Books read may include The Chocolate Touch, Cricket in Times Square, and The Courage of Sarah Noble. They may read independently or with a partner, depending on the assignment. They learn to consider different elements of a story, summarize events, predict outcomes, and describe personalities of the characters. They sequence events using a graphic organizer.
Our students record their work in Reading Response Journals. D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) is an important part of their language arts program. Third graders complete monthly book projects including general reports, a biography, and a book on a Jewish theme. Teachers regularly read out loud to students, and there are frequent "reading challenges" to promote reading for pleasure. They learn to link ideas smoothly from sentence to sentence, use transitional phrases, use commas and apostrophes, capitalize and punctuate sentences, and use a rubric to self-assess their writing. They work with Addison Wesley's Everyday Spelling program and begin cursive writing.
Third graders can be expected to be active, interested mathematicians. They now have a grasp of elementary arithmetic including addition, subtraction, early division, and multiplication. Most will still be committing their facts to memory. They use the Addison Wesly math book. Third graders also do hands-on, manipulative math activities, plus mental math and critical thinking activities. Math activity centers change often, including Guesstimation Jar, and Stumper. There is a strong emphasis on becoming skilled at basic computation as well as effective problem solving. They do division by one-digit numbers, learn multiplication facts to 12, and add and subtract four-digit numbers with regrouping. Both remedial and enrichment programs are available when needed.
Third grade works with fractions, geometry, estimation and measurement. Simple data collection lays the foundation for later work in statistics and probability. Third graders are guided to develop problem-solving strategies. They learn place value to the millions, relate decimals to money, learn to estimate and round off, and identify plane and solid figures. They begin measuring area in square units. The goal is to make mathematics come alive, be useful and enjoyable.
Third graders take PE twice a week, in addition to daily recess. The program is designed around acquiring skills, fitness and agility, rather than win-lose competitive games. For example, third graders learn dribbling, shooting and passing skills in preparation for soccer, softball and basketball. Besides developing skills and preparing for traditional games, many other activities take place. These include offense and defense games that sharpen reflexes and teach strategy and teamwork. Cooperative activities enjoyed by third graders include whiffleball, tumbling, ropes work and Capture the Flag. Third graders learn strategies to strengthen teamwork, with an emphasis on cooperation.
Science is taught formally at least twice a week to third graders. Students explore a variety of science topics on an emergent basis. One of the central units of the year involves animals, a topic in which third graders are naturally interested. This gives them rich opportunities to learn how to ask scientific questions about animal habitats, what they eat, and about their social groups. Third graders study two other science units. The study of plants and trees teaches them to identify types of trees and leaves, and they learn how plants grow. Each child plants a narcissus bulb and maintains a growth journal as well as a booklet of leaf rubbings. Weather introduces third graders to the work of meteorologists. Students learn to read a weather map and predict what will happen according to the information they gather. They learn the difference between high and low-pressure systems, find out what the jet stream is and build a scientific vocabulary including words such as barometer, anemometer, meteorologist, and other weather-related terms. Interesting current scientific happenings of interest are brought to students’ attention and discussed in class.
Beginning with the arrival of Columbus and early Pilgrim settlers, our social studies journey includes Native American people of the Woodlands, Plains and Southwest regions of the United States. Their study emphasizes learning about the development of communities. The unit focuses on animals in different geographic regions. These skills, as well as their understanding of habitat, are used when they write individual reports about animals. Research skills are emphasized. Third graders study maps and geography, learn about the community of New City, and take a tour of key points of interest.