Curricular Highlights: Third Grade


Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 utilizes a balanced literacy approach. A balanced approach uses a variety of reading, writing and word work instruction, and practice opportunities for students in order to expose them to the rich world of literacy. An essential component of balanced literacy is called “workshop”. Our understanding and implementation of workshop, in District 65, is grounded in the research and practices of Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Teachers College, Reading and Writing Project who have developed the Units of Study in both Reading and Writing to guide us.

Reading and Writing Workshops are conducted daily to allow for students to receive personalized learning by engaging with and producing high volumes of both fiction and nonfiction texts of their choosing.  Because all lessons begin with explicit, direct teaching points, workshop prioritizes time for students to be immersed in independent reading and writing work, while teachers provide focused, differentiated instruction in smaller groups. As a result, workshop challenges students to develop the habits and dispositions of lifelong readers and writers.

3rd Grade Reading

In Reading, third graders are exposed to stories and texts across genres. Student learning will be focused on:

  • Deepening foundational skills through the reading of mysteries
  • Understanding characters in literature by envisioning, predicting, and inferring
  • Reading long stretches of nonfiction for fluency, to determine importance, and to ascertain main ideas
3rd Grade Writing

In Writing, third graders produce 3 types of texts:

  • The narrative units ask students to bring a story to life through action, dialogue, and thoughts/feelings.
  • The informational unit asks students to teach about a topic using purposeful structure and elaboration.
  • The opinion unit asks for students to clearly state an opinion supported by multiple reasons with elaboration.

Cursive Handwriting

Cursive Handwriting instruction in third grade teaches a clean vertical style of cursive and provides easy to follow directions. Third graders receive a beginning student workbook for cursive. The simple vertical style is easy to read and write. Children learn to write neatly, with speed and confidence. Lowercase letters are taught first. Teaching pages feature large step-by-step illustrations and child-friendly language. Cursive Handwriting teaches easy techniques for connections and capitals.


Mathematics instruction in District 65 provides the opportunity for all students to have a rigorous, engaging, and accessible curriculum which focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematics concepts. In order to achieve this, students engage in a high level of discourse and are exposed to multiple strategies in order to solve complex problems. The backbone of this instruction comes from Bridges 2nd Edition which has been developed by the Math Learning Center after years and years of research in the field of elementary mathematics instruction.

3rd Grade Math

In 3rd grade, students focus on multiplication, fractions, and area. Throughout the year they:

  • Multiply numbers from 0 to 10 with fluency
  • Multiply with numbers greater than 10
  • Add and subtract with numbers to 1,000
  • Work with unit fractions (fractions with a 1 in the numerator like ⅓ and ⅙) and add and subtract fractions
  • Explore division
3rd Grade Science

Third grade students explore organisms and their ability to adapt and survive over time and the impact that these changes have had on our environment, as well as the impact of the environment on living things.

Third graders investigate weather, and weather patterns and how this affects our daily lives.  They will also design and test the merits of a solution to reduce impacts of a weather related hazard.

Third grade students learn about balanced and unbalanced forces and motion and investigate these interactions all around us in our daily lives. 

3rd Grade Social Studies

In third grade, our Social Science theme is communities near and far. Students will build on their questioning skills and begin to develop claims using evidence from multiple sources.  Throughout the year they will expand on prior knowledge, as they inquire and learn about geography, civics/economics, and cultures.

Students read about the different types of communities and explore how these communities develop. They will investigate how a community’s land, resources and climate affect the way people live and work. 

Students investigate how people in a community relate to their environment.

They explore both how the environment affects the community and how the community affects the environment. Students propose ways to improve their community’s environment.

Students explore how a community’s culture makes it unique. They will read about what culture is, what cultures are found in different U.S. communities, and how immigrants add to a community's culture. 

Students investigate how and why communities grow. They read about ways that communities can change. They explore the kinds of features that make communities unique. 

Students learn about how government and citizens need each other. 

They will learn about citizenship and what it means to be a good citizen. 

Students learn about economics and how businesses and communities provide goods and services. They will also learn how communities meet their wants and needs.