Third Grade


Third Graders will develop higher levels of skills and confidence that allow them to read more challenging literature and articles. Interests they develop on their own and through class activities involving different topics will encourage them to do more independent reading. They will receive continued support with reading through individual reading with their teacher and other adults and through small group reading experiences and literature circles.

Third Graders can read independently and use comprehension strategies and skills as they read.

Third Graders now have enough skills to understand what they are reading and to deal with many challenging new words they need to read. They know how to use the surrounding words and sentences as clues to figure out the new word’s meaning, and they know the sounds of enough letters that they can sound out many words.

Third Graders will read and write using a variety of genres.

Third Graders will learn to identify what type of story they are reading. They will become more comfortable with the various forms of literature by reading and writing their own tales, legends, and fables.

Third Graders will respond to reading through writing and discussion.

Third Graders discuss characters and events from their readings and relate those characters and events to other reading or learning experiences and to their personal experiences. They will deepen their involvement in reading by extending stories they have read or by using information or ideas in reports or presentations. They will learn to look for similes (using like or as to compare: “her hair was as shiny as a new copper penny”) and metaphors (comparing two unlike things without using like or as (“My daddy is a big cuddly bear.”)

Third Graders will learn to plan their writing by creating plans such as story maps before they write. A story map lists the main characters, the events that will happen, and where and when everything takes place in their stories. After their story maps are ready, they use each event in their lists to create the paragraphs in their narratives (writings).

Third Graders will see their writing develop through revision and editing.

Third Graders will experience the excitement and frustration of making their writing say what they want it to say. By thinking about their purpose for writing and their audience, they will begin to write with more direction. To allow their ideas to grow, they will often write more than one draft.

After completing a story, Third Graders will go back and check their work for spelling errors; periods at the end of sentences; missed commas and question marks; capital letters at the beginning of sentences, names, months, days and places; quotation marks around dialogue; and the correct verb tenses.

Third Graders learn new words and ideas.

Third Graders will identify the meanings of new words and build their vocabularies through many direct language experiences in reading and writing and through direct instruction. New ideas and concepts they find in reading will become more valuable to them when they discuss their reading with classmates and explore it further through writing.


Cornerstone uses Primary Mathematics, a progressive curriculum that presents concepts in a spiral manner. This means that concepts are presented over multiple years so that students are given several exposures to skills before they are expected to master them.

Primary Mathematics

Primary Mathematics (Standard Edition) is a complete program based on the highly successful Primary Mathematics series from Singapore. The program is designed to equip students with a strong foundation in math by focusing on mathematical understanding. Topics are covered in depth and taught to mastery. Instruction and activities help students develop logical thinking and critical lifelong problem-solving skills.

Pedagogical Approach and Methodology

Primary Mathematics approached teaching by focusing on a Concrete~Pictorial~Abstract approach. This approach enables students to encounter math in a meaningful way and translate skills from the concrete to the abstract. This approach allows students to understand mathematical concepts before learning the “rules” or formulaic expressions.

First, students encounter the mathematical concepts through the use of manipulatives. Then students move on to the pictorial stage in which pictures are used to model problems. Once students are familiar with the ideas taught, they progress to a more advanced or abstract stage in which only numbers, notation and symbols are used.

Developmental Continuum

Primary Mathematics (Standards Edition) is aligned with the standards adopted by the California Board of Education. Material is presented in a logical sequence throughout the grades and mastery of the material is expected before moving to the next level.

Grade 3 Continuum

  • Numbers to 10,000
  • Number Patterns
  • Thousands, Hundreds, Tens and Ones
  • Rounding Numbers

Addition and Subtraction

  • Mental Calculation
  • Sum and Difference
  • Estimation
  • Word Problems
  • Adding Ones, Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands
  • Subtracting Ones, Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands
  • Two-Step Word Problems

Multiplication and Division

  • Looking Back
  • More Word Problems
  • Multiplying Ones, Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands
  • Quotient and Remainder
  • Dividing Hundreds, Tens, and Ones

Multiplication Tables of 6, 7, 8, and 9

  • Multiplying and Dividing by 6
  • Multiplying and Dividing by 7
  • Multiplying and Dividing by 8
  • Multiplying and Dividing by 9
  • More Multiplication and Division

Data Analysis 

  • Presenting Data
  • Probability


  • Meters and Centimeters
  • Kilometers
  • Yards, Feet, and Inches
  • Miles


  • Kilograms and Grams
  • Word Problems
  • Pounds and Ounces


  • Liters and Milliliters
  • Gallons, Quarts, Pints, and Quarts


  • Dollars and Cents
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication and Division


  • Fraction of a Whole
  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Adding Fractions
  • Subtracting Fractions
  • Fraction of a Set
  • Fractions and Money


  • Hours and Minutes
  • Other Units of Time


  • Angles
  • Right Angles
  • Quadrilaterals and Triangles
  • Solid Figures

Area, Perimeter, and Volume

  • Area
  • Perimeter
  • Volume


Third Graders learn that people in their community have many different roles, demonstrate civility, cooperation and volunteerism.

Third Graders learn that people contribute to their community by working and paying taxes; by respecting the laws and customs of their country, by learning and thereby improving their own abilities to earn money, and by participating in government, particularly, by voting.

Third Graders will visit local historic sites.

Third Graders discuss the need for government and taxes.

Third Graders learn simple geography and economics.

Third Graders will construct simple maps and drawings of their community.

Third Graders continue to explore cultures and holidays.

Third Graders will explain the purpose and need for government. They will identify the levels of government.


Third grade scientists are experienced observers with a growing ability to maintain deep focus on science questions. They are also becoming skilled at posing their own scientific questions and planning and carrying out experiments. Third graders at Cornerstone Learning Community continue to develop their observation and descriptive skills as they collect and organize data, write scientific claims and reflect on their science thinking in science journals.  Students in third grade delve into reading and citing non-fiction texts as sources of scientific information.

We explore the properties of matter, and explore methods for classifying, mixing and separating matter. Students evaluate the properties of different materials for solving engineering and design problems. Finally, we explore how living things change and use matter.

Mathematics skills such as mapping, graphing, and basic computation are employed by students to summarize and make simple interpretations of experimental results. Students gain experience with a variety of science tools, including magnifying glasses, dissecting scopes, thermometers, spring scales, rulers and tools for measuring capacity.

Our primary goals in third grade science are:

  • to inspire students to ask scientific questions about the natural world
  • to introduce and practice strategies that build student capacities to scientifically investigate their world
  • to increase student abilities to collaborate with peers.
  • to develop students’ sense of themselves as scientists empowered with strategies to ask questions, to investigate, and to test ideas
  • to provide students with experiences that encourage them to apply scientific thinking as they approach the world in and out of science class.


Third Graders attend formal art classes.

Third Graders attend formal art classes with an art teacher twice weekly. They will create visual arts projects using a variety of materials and techniques and will be exposed to works of master artists. At times their projects will be centered on specific themes related to classroom work. At Cornerstone Learning Community students are taught that art is a form of communication and a means of expressing themselves. Through this communication d self-expression, art becomes a source of discovery and joy.


Every student in kindergarten through eighth grade attends a minimum of two 50-minute sessions in physical education per week. To reflect the National Association of Sport and Physical Education standards by providing meaningful, appropriate games and activities, the elementary physical education program explores and promotes the development of skill and health related physical activity components.

Students also have at least 30 minutes of recess everyday.


Third Graders attend weekly music classes.

Third Graders attend weekly music classes taught by a professional music teacher. The class strengthens and integrates basic music skills such as singing and harmonizing, rhythm, reading, writing and creating of music and instrument playing. Instruction is hands-on and energetic so that children develop enthusiasm for music as a means of artistic expression. They also learn active listening techniques as they listen to examples of traditional music from a variety of cultures.


The Spanish Program in grades one through three is a conversational approach to language acquisition using thematic units, games, rhymes, movement and picture books. The focus is on listening to the language, developing good pronunciation and responding to Spanish commands or questions. The written language is introduced in third grade with labels, charts and “libritos.”