Third Grade (Cours Elémentaire 2 or CE2)
American Curriculum (20% of school time)
Language Arts: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are at the heart of everything we do. Students have many opportunities to practice these four basic language skills during every session. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics are taught explicitly. Students write often and assignments vary to allow them to practice organizing their thoughts and work with different genres. Oral reports and presentations help develop speaking and listening skills.
Reading Workshop, as developed by the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University forms the basis of reading instruction and practice. Through mini-lessons, modeling, and conferring teachers guide students in developing the strategies they need to be active readers. The emphasis in third grade includes building a reading life, learning about main ideas and text structures in nonfiction books, studying book characters, and working in research groups. A fully differentiated program, it allows students to grow as readers at their own pace.
Content Area — Science: Three distinct units make up the science program for the year: forces and simple machines, animals and their habitats, and the human body. Through readings, activities, and experiments, students explore these topics by building on what they already know. A research project accompanies the Habitats unit.
Art: Third graders participate in an art class every other week. The art program's objectives are reinforced through hands-on projects using a variety of techniques. Over five years, students are introduced to the essential elements that structure the way one creates art, namely: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. Every project includes a combination of these essential “building blocks.” Students work with gradually increasing agility, complexity, and intention, as they mature from grade to grade. Each year, art expectations become more sophisticated as the teachers support each student’s increasing ability to observe the physical world, as well as their ability to better express their feelings and ideas.
Examples of possible projects and lessons include using wire to construct a face, drawing nightmares in black and white, finding hidden pictures in ink stains, and observational drawings of shoes.
Library/Technology: Students are given the opportunity to think and to question as well as to connect learning to their personal experiences. In the earliest grades, students select books for pleasure reading, learn about favorite authors, and form the foundation for problem-solving. The older primary students learn to differentiate fact from fiction and to critically analyze websites in order to hone research skills. In third grade, students engage with knowledge by formulating effective research plans to complete their animal habitat projects. The students are guided in their research to find appropriate materials to fill knowledge gaps including lessons on the use of previously vetted Internet sites. They continue to use the library to explore new topics and to become passionate readers for pleasure. The well-stocked library has hundreds of age-appropriate books on topics that range from US history and science to fantasy and mystery.
Character Education: Six basic human values (respect, responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance, trustworthiness, fairness, and caring) are discussed and developed whenever appropriate during the year. The teacher may choose to create a lesson around one or several of these values. From everyday experiences that lead to discussions and writing topics, to the use of mentor texts which purport happiness, believing in oneself, and being a caring, determined, and responsible child, the various aspects of our character education program are woven into our curriculum daily.
French Curriculum (80% of school time)
All students follow the French national curriculum for third grade with the exception of those who are in the French immersion class, Français Special. Besides French reading and language arts, math, gym, and penmanship are taught exclusively in French. For more on the content and skills developed in French during the year, please visit the website of the French Ministry of Education.