Third grade is a special year full of lots of project-based learning opportunities and lessons that integrate multiple subjects including religion, STEM and social studies. Some of the highlights include Apple Valley Pioneer Day, the third grade class garden, the pilgrimage to the Mission and Serra's Pantry and the Saint project.
A true STREAM project blending religion, social studies and science, the third grade hosts the annual Serra's pantry food drive as their grade level service project. In October, they walk three miles from school to Mission San Juan Capistrano where they tour the basilica to learn about the mission's history and the saints. They then visit Serra's Pantry to see firsthand how the shelves are stocked and what items are needed most. They later return to school and coordinate the community drive, collecting hundreds of bags for this local pantry. The project comes full circle in Spring, when the class donates the produce grown in their garden back to Serra's pantry.
There are many other project-based learning experiences in third grade as they learn about the rough & tumble Pioneer Days including a field trip to a one-room schoolhouse at Heritage Hill Park and the Apple Valley simulation where learners assume the roles of pioneers and government and community leaders. To enrich their science lessons, students travel to Ocean Institute and grow a class garden with raised beds and aeroponic towers as they study the plant life cycle.
In English Language Arts, students continue to grow their reading and writing talents with the Lucy Calkins Reading & Writing Workshop. They learn how to choose their "just-right" reading book learning a variety of individualized strategies. In writing, the learners are engaged in mini lessons, conferences, and small-group work in a way that will help them replicate, and eventually personalize their writing. By the end of third grade, each learner will have grown into a powerful reader and writer who reads and writes for real reasons - advocacy, knowledge, and illumination of the lives they live. Lastly, the Math in Focus curriculum guides learners to approach mathematics metacognitively. The learn not only how to solve problems with math strategies, but how to also explain the underlying principles and rationale behind problem-solving strategies.