Curriculum Overview



As part of our reading program, we do Reader's Workshop where students have an opportunity to practice comprehension strategies and develop fluency by reading books independently at their reading level.  Students also read books in guided reading groups and Book Clubs where they formulate questions and discuss books.  The majority of students claim this is their favorite time of day!  


Our fall writing project is Minnesota biomes.  Students learn about three major biomes and study descriptive language that uses words to paint a picture.  This includes similes, metaphors, and personification.  Using what they learn about Minnesota biomes, they choose their favorite biome and write a description of the plant and animal life that could be found there.  An illustration accompanies this piece of writing.

On the first day of school, we begin writing in our Writer's notebook.  Throughout the year, students gather seeds and entries based on observations, experiences, conversations, etc.  In January, students pick a seed and write a personal narrative that is also illustrated.  This is our winter writing project. 

Our spring writing project is literary nonfiction.  Students research a Minnesota animal and use that animal as the main character in a story.  Everything that occurs in the story is realistic inlcuding the behavior of the animal.  There is also an illustration that accompanies this story.


In addition to Foss kits in Science, which include Moon, Sun, Stars, Physics of Sound, Matter and Energy, and Structures of Life (plants and crayfish), we do activities that help students become more aware of the natural world and environment.   Throughout the year, we focus on activities that increase our observational skills because these skills are so important to everyday learning.  We keep nature journals to record weekly observations and sketches of nature at nearby Minnehaha Creek and Lake Hiawatha.  We do activities from Project Wild and study topics each month that give us more information about our natural world.   The book Last Child in the Woods  by Richard Louv inspired me to make sure that my students do not suffer from "Nature Deficit Disorder".   One of my major goals is to connect children with nature. 


An area that most students need continued practice is memorizing basic facts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.   In addition to the websites listed on this page, there are a number of websites that are located under Third Grade math websites on the Northrop webpage for Students that will are a fun way to practice.  I also notice students lacking a solid understanding of place value, telling time, and money.  There are games on this site as well that help practice these concepts.