Professional Development

Curriculum » Ideal School Curriculum

Ideal Third Grade Curriculum

Share This Article: On Twitter On Facebook Print





As the child enters third grade we find he/she is moving away from a home oriented background towards one more influenced by peers.  Basic skills have improved and it is now time to present new techniques to further artistic growth in the child.



  • Be able to compare colors by darkness and lightness or hue and recognize tertiary colors.



  • Be able to express design elements of space, color, value, and texture.
  • Learn to recognize that balance, proportion, variety are part of a pleasing design.


Life Form:

  • Learn guidelines for placement of features and body.
  • Learn to emphasize details on the head and action of the figure.


Still Life:

  • Locate the center of interest in a composition.
  • Recognize what middle ground is and learn about overlapping.



  • Learn that color and texture change with distance.
  • Understand the ideas of:  what’s behind, in front, beyond, and over.



  • Learn tempera painting by starting with big shapes of color and then adding details.
  • Learn watercolor painting by using wet on wet and dry brush techniques.
  • Use a good composition by filling in the paper and experimenting with shapes and lines.
  • Experiment with tools, other than a brush in painting (e.g. sponge, sticks, finger, feathers, etc.).
  • Use watercolor and tempera paints with other media.
  • Learn to mix their own tempera and acrylic paints and use of brushes in watercolor and India ink painting.
  • Learn shades, tones, and values of colors and their visual impact emotionally on a painting.
  • Be exposed to different painting styles of different artists.



  • Introduced to mono-printings and heat transfer method.
  • Learn various ways of printing using crayons, stencils, textures, styrofoam, fruits and vegetables, erasers, string, leaves, glue, and found objects.
  • Learn how an artist signs and titles their prints.
  • Be introduced to relief prints and etchings.


Fiber Arts:

  • Will construct a loom out of cardboard for weaving and use yarn and found materials.
  • Demonstrate batik techniques on cloth.
  • Learn to make simple puppets from paper bags, and them more complex mediums, such as: socks, clay, and paper mache.
  • Students will explore weaving techniques of pulling thread, tying knots, open work areas, and adding materials to the weaving.



  • Learn to thread needle and make simple stitches (e.g. running, cross, chain, and French knot.)
  • Use muslin, other fabrics, or plastic mesh in stitchery.
  • Experiment with use of yarn, embroidery floss, or other thread or wire for stitchery.



  • Learn to use different materials to form a sculpture (e.g. paper, styrofoam, clay, tin, wood, paper mache, and found objects).
  • Learn to assemble sculpture by cutting, bending, folding, tearing, piercing, overlapping, and balancing pieces.
  • Learn proper use of tools in hand building with clay and cleaning-up procedures.



  • Identify collages with variations of textures, colors, and shapes.
  • Learn to make a montage.
  • Learn to make a collage using found objects, paper, labels, and natural objects.



  • Learn how pastels are made.
  • Employ a nub of paper to blend pastel colors together.
  • Use pastels with other media (crayon, watercolor, ink, charcoal).



  • Be introduced to simple jewelry construction using string, beads, pasta, buttons, paper, and natural materials.
  • Be aware of types of jewelry made in different cultures and times of history.
  • Experiment with jewelry construction using clay, paper mache, leather, wire, bread dough, plastic, and fabric.



  • Discover illuminated lettering in medieval times and use of color in lettering.
  • Design a poster using lettering styles of their own.
  • Contrast different lettering used in advertising in today’s world.


The third grade curriculum reflects the school's philosophy to educate students to become contributing members of both school and community. Teachers guide students' learning so that basic organizational and intellectual skills are learned in an atmosphere that fosters positive attitudes toward school, and develops a sense of personal self-worth. Students actively participate in the academic process of learning to write, read, observe, listen, and communicate effectively. Students acquire knowledge through inquiry and personal discovery. Teachers recognize the importance of this transitional year as one in which students move from relatively concrete literal thinking to more abstract levels of logic, reasoning, and higher-order thinking.


The study of English language and literacy at the third grade level integrate writing, reading, public speaking, and listening skills into science, social studies, the fine arts, and technology. Reading strategies enable students to increase their literal and analytical comprehension of more formal reading material, such as chapter books, reports, creative writing, and creating an ABC dictionary. Reading and writing with fluency and expression are important as well as public speaking and listening skills.

A. Writing instruction at the third grade level is the study of written language using the writing process to express basic facts and ideas. Daily oral language activities increase students' awareness of grammatical, mechanical, and rhetorical skills as they participate in writing tasks.

1. Generate topics of personal interest, factual information, science, social studies, math, and literature.
2. Reintroduce sentence formation and structure.
3. Introduce subject and predicate.
4. Help students develop writing skills through journal letter writing and compositions.
5. Provide daily board work and sentences containing errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc. and direct students to make corrections on paper and discuss their reasons for the revisions.
6. Guide students in writing analogies.
7. Help students put sentences together to make a paragraph.
8. Review kinds of sentences, giving examples and modeling good sentence structure.
9. Review nouns and action verbs.
10. Introduce pronouns, adjectives, and "other" verbs.
11. Reintroduce cursive writing and review lower case letters.
12. Focus on upper case, cursive letters.

B. Spelling instruction at the third grade level helps students master spelling rules.

1. Establish strategies for spelling new words.
2. Validate and extend the developmental stages of spelling.
3. Determine the types of spelling errors that are most common with third graders.
4. Use words that are "fun" and common to students' vocabulary.
5. Apply spelling strategies in a different context using different example words.
6. Expose students to spelling certain words from various areas of the curriculum.
7. Create lists of "problem" words; i.e., "their, there, and they're".
8. Focus on root words when adding prefixes and suffixes.
9. Review basic spelling rules when adding -ed, -ing, etc.

C. Reading instruction at the third grade level is literature-based, emphasizing good reading habits that encourage daily reading for pleasure, reading aloud and sharing what they have read and learned. Opportunities within the reading curriculum encourage students to be active and avid readers. As students increase their ability to read fluently, they are able to analyze specific situations, draw conclusions, interpret authors' words, and establish clues on how to "unlock" new words.

Reading instruction enhances students' "library of knowledge" and familiarizes them with well-known authors. Vocabulary skills are stressed so students learn rapidly to increase their word knowledge and content comprehension. These skills allow students to think about how to "read between the lines".

1. Develop students' dictionary skills.
2. Help students to identify themes and main ideas in literature.
3. Discuss settings in which a story takes place.
4. Guide students to make connections among reading, thinking, and writing processes.
5. Discuss how personal experiences relate to literature.
6. Read aloud to students daily.
7. Have students read aloud to and with other students.
8. Provide opportunities for students to self-assess their reading.
9. Lead oral discussions with students and encourage conversations.

D. The study of grammar at the third grade level develops students' ability to observe and correct the use of periods, question marks, verbs, exclamations, commas, and quotation marks.

1. Demonstrate use of commas used to set off a name, between city and state, after a greeting, after closing, and between compound sentence parts.
2. Model spellings of homonyms, plural endings, and verb endings.
3. Review capitalization of first word in sentences, proper nouns, first word of greeting, first word of closing, and abbreviations.

E. Oral communication instruction at the third grade level is the study of oral speaking and listening to others. Lessons are extended and reinforced with audio-visual resources so that higher level thinking skills can be stimulated and meaningful conversations can be held among students and teachers.

1. Practice oral reading with students to prepare them to speak in front of others.
2. Organize class meetings to prepare for assemblies and to discuss classroom procedures, problems, personal experiences, etc.
3. Have students participate in weekly assemblies and other presentations.
4. Model poetry reading based on reading poems aloud to students.


The study of mathematics at the third grade level is the study of basic operations of whole numbers and the introduction of fractions, measurement, and geometry. Problem solving for everyday situations is stressed as students engage in hands-on activities, establishing links between past experiences and explorations of new concepts. A variety of strategies are used for problem solving situations. Students are encouraged to try a variety of forms (diagrams, pictures, and patterns) to solve problems. The guess and check method is used and the process of elimination develops.

Students share mathematical ideas through discussions, cooperative learning, and working with a partner, as well as collaborating with others in small groups. Practice is achieved through games, constant review, and the use of calculators for problem solving. An emphasis is placed on the knowledge that, in the real world, numbers convey different information essential to understanding how the world works. Teachers accommodate students' different learning styles, and establish personal and professional links between school and home to foster home-school continuity and effective work habits.

A. The study of analyzing and displaying data at the third grade level demonstrates to students how to get results by using visual methods and/or calculators.

1. Reintroduce range, mean, and mode and how to calculate averages.
2. Review bar graphs, charts, and the use of rows, columns, and tallying.
3. Introduce line graphs, circle graphs, and stem and leaf plots.
4. Provide experience in using a calculator to analyze data and compute statistics.

B. The study of adding and subtracting whole numbers at the third grade level:

1. Review the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction using fact and number families.
2. Review adding and subtracting multiples of 10-100.
3. Review frames and arrows.
4. Provide practice in setting up and solving an addition or subtraction equation with a missing value.
5. Review and assess students' facility in addition and subtraction of two and three digit numbers.
6. Introduce multi-step problem solving.
7. Introduce estimated sums and differences for multi-digit numbers.
8. Introduce skip counting by 3s, 4s, and 6s.
9. Develop and identify number patterns and rules.
10. Master basic addition and subtraction facts.

C. The study of estimation, measurement and the concept of equivalency at the third grade level

1. Review equivalencies among varying units of measure.
2. Introduce measurements greater than a whole number using rulers and tape measures; i.e., 1¼ inches.
3. Review perimeter of basic polygons.
4. Extend area beyond "tiling", eventually introducing length and width.
5. Introduce estimating circumference of a circle.
6. Review units of length, weight, capacity and their equivalence, both metric and customary.
7. Guide students in reading and interpreting various types of graphs.
8. Introduce and explore the volume of geometric solids.
9. Introduce angle measurement in degrees.
10. Introduce ordered pairs on a grid.
11. Review time to the minute and how to calculate elapsed time and compare differences.
12. Review reading temperatures and calculating increases and decreases, including negatives.

D. The study of linear measurement at the third grade level:

1. Compute area and perimeter in feet, yards, and inches.
2. Introduce abbreviations for linear metric measures - cm, m, dm, and km.
3. Review spans as a non-standard form of measurement - fingers, arm, foot, etc.
4. Use rulers, graph paper, and grids to chart measurement.
5. Introduce ideas of volume.
6. Students measure with units of weight, such as gram and pound.
7. Introduce the idea of frequency distributions related to weight and volume.

E. The study of multiplication and division at the third grade level:

1. Review skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, and how it is associated with multiplication.
2. Develop and master multiplication basic facts 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10.
3. Introduce multiplication facts of 3 through 12.
4. Introduce basic division facts.
5. Introduce division as inverse of multiplication.
6. Introduce prime and composite numbers.
7. Review arrays, diagrams and models.
8. Reintroduce number stories.
9. Work with division word problems and games.
10. Demonstrate factors as divisors and quotients.
11. Extend the square number facts to products through 12 x 12.
12. Establish routines for memorizing multiplication and division facts.
13. Introduce and practice writing models containing parentheses.
14. Extend the basic multiplication and division facts to problems in which one of the numbers is a multiple of 10, 100, or 1,000.
15. Introduce estimating products of one digit numbers by dollar and cent amounts.
16. Provide practice in problem solving.

F. The study of place value at the third grade level (whole numbers and decimals):

1. Review place value of whole numbers through five digits.
2. Review expanded form through six digits.
3. Review reading, writing, comparing, and ordering whole numbers through five digits.
4. Introduce reading, writing, comparing, and ordering whole numbers through nine digits.
5. Introduce how large numbers are used in real life.
6. Introduce base 10 blocks to demonstrate decimal places by tenths and hundredths.

G. The study of geometry at the third grade level:

1. Review two- and three-dimensional shapes.
2. Model segments, rays, and lines.
3. Introduce drawing and naming with letters of segments, rays, and lines.
4. Explore relations among two or more segments, rays, and lines: intersecting, parallel, forming angles, and segments as sides of polygons.
5. Model triangles, quadrilaterals, and polygons focusing on common and unique characteristics.
6. Review congruency and symmetry.

H. The study of fractions at the third grade level:

1. Review how to use fractions to name parts of a region or collection of objects.
2. Explore situations involving equal parts through number stories.
3. Explore equal fractions using concrete materials.
4. Generate sets of equal fractions using regions.
5. Define fraction names for quantities greater than the number one.
6. Extend students' experience with word problems.
7. Introduce equivalency and comparison of fractions and decimals.
8. Introduce equivalent fractions.
9. Introduce simplifying fractions.

I. The study of probability at the third grade level:

1. Introduce vocabulary associated with the study of probability.
2. Compare outcomes of experiences and events, showing what chance can mean.
3. Introduce equally likely, and not equally likely outcomes.
4. Introduce predicting outcomes of a chance situation on the basis of survey results.
5. Introduce surveys and graphing, guiding students to read and write examples.
6. Prepare experiments that demonstrate the notion of chance and probability.
7. Use experimental data to predict outcomes.


The study of science at the third grade level combines the study of earth sciences, particularly rocks and minerals, and the study of astronomy with aspects of natural history, biology, and how living things grow and change. The study of the human body includes a brief study of physical energy. The effects of physics on the earth provide a challenge to students to see themselves as part of a universe that contains extraordinary diversity.

A. The study of "Earth Beneath Your Feet" at the third grade level is the study of rocks, erosion, volcanoes, and the earth's crust.

1. Introduce changes of the earth's surface.
2. Discover rocks worn down by wind, water, chemicals, and temperature.
3. Guide students through an investigation of erosion.
4. Introduce landforms, such as shifts in the earth and volcanoes.
5. Compare and contrast variations in composition of earth's crust.
6. Define and identify layers of the earth.
7. Lead students in identifying minerals by exploratory site visits.
8. Provide opportunities to classify rocks by formation.

B. The study of "Pushes and Pulls" at the third grade level is the study of forces, motion, and simple machines. Students explore forces that cause an object to move.

1. Measure with spring scale.
2. Compare and contrast balanced and unbalanced states.
3. Define and describe friction.
4. Describe a change of force, distance, and direction of motion.
5. Define and describe gravity.
6. Define and describe pressure.
7. Define and describe motion as a process of changing position or place.
8. Explain change in position.
9. Students determine speed and distance.
10. Define and describe inertia.
11. Introduce basic simple machines including lever, screw, wedge, wheel and axle, pulley, and incline plane.
12. Demonstrate and discuss changes in force, distance, or direction of motion

C. The study of "Living Things Grow and Change" at the third grade level is the study of living things from cells to systems. Students learn characteristics of cells and the human body. Nutrition is defined and discussed.

1. Identify requirements necessary for life.
2. Students compare and contrast characteristics of living vs. non-living.
3. Compare and contrast growth, maturation, reproduction, and death.
4. Identify producers or consumers.
5. Define cells and describe how cells change over time.
6. Investigate fossil records that illustrate organic evolution.
7. Define, describe, and identify the digestive and circulatory systems.
8. Define, describe, and identify the respiratory system.
9. Define, describe, and identify the skeletal system.
10. Name parts of the food pyramid.

D. The study of the "System in the Sky" at the third grade level is the study of astronomy relating to the earth, sun, and moon as part of the solar system and Milky Way galaxy.

1. Investigate interrelationship among the earth, sun, and moon.
2. Promote recognition of the sun as the principal source of earth's energy.
3. Demonstrate tilt of earth on axis and why seasons occur.
4. Demonstrate revolution around sun and solar eclipse.
5. Demonstrate phases of moon and lunar eclipse.
6. Identify earth as part of solar system and as part of the Milky Way galaxy.
7. Identify astronomers and study astronomical objects.


The study of social studies at the third grade level introduces students to responsible citizenship. Students investigate, explore, and gain personal perspective on how the city of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded, built, and developed into a major city. Students examine current events in Painesville and Cleveland, Ohio and learn how U.S. cities grow.

The study of social studies and history reflects on ancient and modern cities in Egypt and China, and introduces students to world history and "far away" places. The effects of world interactions, as well as city and rural life are studied. Teachers illustrate economic, geographic, ecological, and historical differences among past and present cultures and ancient and modern times. Teachers introduce students to geography, climate, resources, local features, and advanced map and globe skills related to Egypt, Africa, and China.

A. The study of Cleveland, Ohio, as students' "home city", at the third grade level develops students' interest in discovering the early history of the city, and examining local features that make Cleveland a unique "home town".

1. Discuss and describe the early settlement founded by Moses Cleveland (1778), and the Connecticut Company, and its impact on Midwest development.
2. Use Public Square as a model of change over two hundred years.
3. Portray the significance of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River as important water resources to a new settlement - transportation, irrigation, cooking, cleaning, settling families, creating work, travelling, living and growing food, etc.
4. Discuss regional traits, Cleveland, Lake Erie, Lake County and local government, and examine Ohio cultural studies. Introduce Painesville as the county seat of Lake County.

B. The study of an ancient and modern city in Egypt and the African continent at the third grade level develops students' knowledge of similarities and differences in origins, commerce, heritage, and culture of Egyptian cities, such as Cairo.

1. Study the map locations of the Nile River, Delta, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Cairo, Sahara Desert, Upper and Lower Egypt, and the Suez Canal.
2. Compare and contrast ancient and modern day Cairo.
3. Introduce hieroglyphics, communication, and language.
4. Introduce pyramids and the use of labor and location.
5. Define terms, such as navigation, irrigation, pharaoh, etc.
6. Discuss achievements, such as shipbuilding, language, mathematics, advanced irrigation, and the impact on our culture yesterday and today.
7. Introduce pharaohs and politics of the region versus United States politics and the role of government.
8. Discuss impact of transportation and travel, stressing the importance of water.

C. The study of Peking, an ancient city in China, at the third grade level develops students' ability to perform research in areas of interest; i.e., Great Wall of China, Chinese New Year, and Mt. Everest.

1. Arrange a field trip to visit Cleveland's China Garden.
2. Discuss symbolism of flags and other cultural icons.
3. Introduce calligraphy and demonstrate methods of ideographing characters.
4. Introduce maps of the Yellow River, Yanzee River, Great Wall, Grand Canal, and Mt. Everest to study with students.
5. Introduce civilizations including dynasties, Imperial Palace, etc.
6. Discuss contributions of Asian and Middle Eastern inventions still used today, including the abacus, papermaking, and printing from wooden blocks.
7. Prepare for doing research on ancient animals - yak, crone, and panda.
8. Compare Peking to modern day Beijing according to economic conditions in each time period.




I.   Social Skills

            Team work - examples:  Soccer, floor hockey games with proper number of players and rules


II.  Fitness

            8 - 10 minutes of a warm up and exercises.  Add a new exercise at the beginning of each term


III.  Manipulative

             Reception and Propulsion Games

       Examples:  Yarn ball toss in groups of 5 with 2 balls, trapping the ball with inside of foot


IV.  Sporting Activities

             Floor hockey, soccer, basketball and softball - show some sort of development in the use of                           equipment


V.  Rhythmics

            Basic square dance moves developed




Ask Dr. Susan