Our curriculum is driven by the Diocesan Standards which align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Our curriculum focuses on five main aspects of the Church. The Church is One: Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacraments bring us together. The Church is Holy: We learn to be the likeness of God our Father by loving God and one another. The Church is Catholic: Jesus taught us that God is the Father of all and all are welcome. The Church is Apostolic: The Church has spread throughout the world and is faithful to the teachings of the Apostles. The Church has a mission to the world: The Catholic Church is a sign of the justice and peace of God’s Kingdom in this world.
English - Language Arts
Third grade’s literature block is carefully structured to bridge the gap between learning to read and reading to learn. The students’ responsibilities are broken into four main jobs; Read to Self, Work on Writing, Buddy Read, and Word Work. During this time, students are working on the foundational skills good readers utilize to comprehend and analyze fiction and nonfiction text. Students self-select the text to read and are then given 1-1 instruction based on individual needs and goals. Students also participate in book clubs and the Accelerated Reader Program. Writing instruction and practice is a daily occurrence in third grade as is spelling practice. Students also study a variety of academic words to broaden their vocabulary.
Saint James School uses the Step Up to Writing Program. Third grade’s focus for writing composition is expository, opinion, and narrative. The long-term goal is to develop and enhance the skills learned in second grade and guide the students from composing one solid, organized paragraph to a multi-paragraph essay. Students are challenged to include sensory details, rich vocabulary, and academic language in every piece they write. Several of our writing projects are integrated across the curriculum.
Kindergarten through Fifth grade uses the Envisions curriculum for math. The scope and sequence of this curriculum aligns with the California Common Core State Standards. The third grade domains are: Math Numbers and Operations in Base Ten (place value and rounding), Numbers and Operations – Fractions, Math Operations and Algebraic Thinking (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), Geometry, and Measurement and Data. We also implement and practice the Mathematical Practice Standards.
We follow the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For Physical Science, we investigate and explore forces and motion, and static electricity and magnetism. Life Science includes life cycles of plants and animals, animal group behavior and inheritance and variation of traits, ecosystems and biodiversity, fossils, natural selection and adaptations. Finally, our last domain is Earth Science. In third grade, we investigate weather and climate. In addition, once a month we go to the school’s 1600 square foot science center for a special lesson taught by the full-time science teacher.
Social Studies—Students learn about connections to the past and ways in which particularly local, but also regional and national governments and traditions have developed and left their marks on current society, providing common memories. Emphasis is on the physical and cultural landscape of California, including the study of Native Americans, the subsequent arrival of immigrants, and the impact they have had in forming the character of our contemporary society.