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The Milky Ways

Third Grade

Language Arts

The Sundance 3rd Grade Language Arts Curriculum conforms to the Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS) for Language Arts Literacy. Components of our Language Arts curriculum include Guided Reading, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Grammar Concepts, Vocabulary Study, Read Aloud, Writing and Handwriting.

In all our Language Arts components, we are ever mindful of creating and sustaining differentiated lessons that are tailored to all of our students’ needs and skill levels.

Guided Reading

In our Guided Reading program, students explore and enjoy the many facets of age-appropriate literature and informational texts. Students are immersed in a “book circle” atmosphere, where all aspects of a text are investigated and discussed. Each class commences with students engaging in oral reading sessions. Discussion follows. Components include:

  • Question and Answer sessions where text is dissected
  • Character study (protagonist/antagonist)
  • Vocabulary
  • Importance of text illustrations
  • Discussion and written assignments that pertain to themes, settings, plots and points of view
  • Drawing conclusions/making predictions.
  • Texts include Scholastic Guided Reading Program Level Books (Levels L-S) as well as cross curricular theme-based books that integrate both literature and informational texts with our science and social studies curricula.

Examples of books:

  • The Littles
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • The Good Dog
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts
  • The Owl in the Shower
  • Sarah Plain and Tall
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • Misty of Chincoteague
  • The Skeleton Book
  • Clementine

    Reading Comprehension

    Students develop fluency in determining text details, sequencing, the importance of captions and illustrations (including maps and graphs), comparing and contrasting the elements of a text, grasping main ideas, drawing conclusions and predicting outcomes, and distinguishing fact from opinion.

    Textbooks include: Non-Fictional Text & Read for Real; Levels C&D


    Spelling conventions are both introduced and reinforced. Word lists are assembled from various sources, including Guided Reading texts, cross curricular themes, sight words and standard thematic spelling conventions (Textbook: Spelling Skills)


    Grammar is reinforced on a daily basis through spoken and written means. One dedicated lesson each week focuses on a key element of grammar. 3rd grade elements include:

    • Sentence structure: subjects and predicates
    • Parts of speech: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs
    • Forming and using of possessives
    • Capitalization and punctuation

    Textbook: Exercises in English Level C


    Vocabulary is stressed in all our curricula. We introduce new words on a weekly basis, culling words from our math, science, social studies and reading lessons. We also use a textbook called Words are Wonderful.

    Novel Study

    Listening skills are a key element to enjoying both literature and non-fiction. Our teachers love reading classics to the students. Dedicated time is set aside each week for this purpose.

    Books include:

    • The Phantom Tollbooth
    • The Incredible Journey
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
    • Dr. Doolittle
    • The Hundred Dresses
    • The Most Beautiful Place in the World
    • Maniac Magee


    Two to three hours are set aside each week solely to develop students’ writing proficiency. Classes typically include a mini-lesson. Each lesson stresses some elemental aspect of writing:

    • Brainstorming- finding an idea
    • Organizing thoughts and ideas
    • Creating a thesis statement
    • Writing rough drafts
    • Editing
    • Final copy/publishing
      Throughout the year, 3rd graders are exposed to:
    • Essay writing
    • Poetry
    • Personal narratives
    • Persuasive letters
    • Fiction writing

    *Teaching elements of good writing can be found in all facets of our curricula. Both written and visual prompts are often given to students in both our science and social studies lessons. Students also receive written assignments geared towards exploring and sustaining writing proficiency, using their Reading Comprehension and Guided Reading texts.


    Neat and uniform handwriting is reinforced using the Zaner-Bloser series of workbooks. Cursive is introduced in 3rd Grade.


    Through an enriching and rigorous math curriculum, students will develop a strong conceptual understanding of various topics in mathematics. Students in grades 2-5, will attain mastery in all five major content areas: number sense & operations, algebra, geometry, data analysis & probability, and measurement. At the core of each unit are key concepts and open-ended problems that align with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The essence of all math learning is problem solving. At Sundance, students are taught the skills needed in order to be effective problem solvers. Manipulatives are used throughout each unit of study to help students gain a deeper understanding of concepts, and discussions of mathematical ideas are practiced daily. Students are challenged every day to become more confident learners and more willing risk-takers.

    Number and Operations in Base Ten


    • Recognizing and reading numbers to 9,999
    • Expressing numbers in standard form, word form, and expanded form
    • Greater numbers up to 999,999
    • Understanding and counting on number lines
    • Comparing numbers
    • Ordering numbers

    Number Sense: Addition and Subtraction:

    • Addition meaning and properties
    • Subtraction meanings
    • Using mental math to add and subtract
    • Rounding
    • Estimating sums and differences
    • Making sense of addition and subtraction equations

    Using Place Value to Add and Subtract:

    • Adding with an expanded algorithm
    • Adding 3-digit numbers
    • Adding 3 or more numbers
    • Subtracting with an expanded algorithm
    • Subtracting 3-digit numbers
    • Subtracting across zero

    Operations and Algebraic Thinking

    Meanings of Multiplication:

    • Multiplication as repeated addition
    • Arrays and multiplication
    • The commutative property
    • Writing multiplication stories

    Multiplication Facts- Use Patterns:

    • 2, 5, and 9 as patterns
    • Multiplying with 0 and 1
    • Patterns for facts
    • 10 as a factor
    • Multiplying by multiples of 10

    Multiplication Facts- Use Known Facts:

    • The Distributive Property
    • 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 as a factor
    • Multiplying with 3 factors
    • Multiplication facts
    • Multiplying to find combinations

    Meanings of Division:

    • Division as sharing
    • Division as repeated subtraction
    • Finding missing numbers in a multiplication table
    • Writing division stories

    Division Facts:

    • Relating multiplication and division
    • Fact families
    • Making sense of multiplication and division equations
    • Dividing with 0 and 1
    • Multiplication and division facts


      Understanding Fractions:

      • Dividing regions into equal parts
      • Fractions and regions
      • Fractions and sets
      • Fractional parts of a set
      • Locating fractions on a number line
      • Benchmark fractions
      • Fractions and length

      Fraction Comparison and Equivalence:

      • Using models to compare fractions with same denominator
      • Using models to compare fractions with same numerator
      • Comparing fractions using benchmark fractions
      • Comparing fractions on a number line
      • Finding equivalent fractions
      • Equivalent fractions and number line
      • Whole numbers and fractions
      • Using fractions


      Two-Dimensional Shapes and Their Attributes:

      • Lines and line segments
      • Angles
      • Polygons
      • Triangles
      • Quadrilaterals
      • Combining and separating shapes
      • Making new shapes

      Measurement & Data


      • Time to the half hour and quarter hour
      • Time to the minute
      • Units of time
      • Elapsed time


      • Understanding perimeter
      • Tools and units for perimeter
      • Perimeter of common shapes
      • Different shapes with the same perimeter


      • Covering regions
      • Area and units
      • Standard units
      • Area of squares and rectangles
      • Area and the distributive property
      • Area of irregular shapes
      • Same area, different perimeter
      • Equal areas and fractions

      Liquid, Volume, and Mass:

      • Customary units of capacity
      • Metric units of capacity
      • Units of mass
      • Units of weight


      • Line plots
      • Length and line plots
      • Reading pictographs and bar graphs
      • Making pictographs
      • Making bar graphs


      The Sundance Upper School science curriculum is based on the New Jersey Core curriculum standards for elementary grades. We use the Scott Foresman Science textbooks to help us with the scope and sequence.

      Learning experiences in science include hands-on investigations using the FOSS science system, knowledge gained through observation, and regular discussions of concepts in class. Questions are encouraged, as is research into topics. Occasionally, deeper insight into specific topics is enabled through projects and presentations. The children also learn and read about famous scientists and inventors.

      Unifying all these learning experiences is the fundamental development of a scientific temperament. The children become well versed in the scientific method through exposure to a variety of scientific tools during their investigations.

      Given our school’s unique multi-grade classroom composition, units covered in a given year are dependent on the yearly theme and what the children were exposed to in the previous year.

      Social Studies

      Geography and World Cultures. Elements will include:

      • Continents
      • Physical and political geography overview
      • Map reading
      • It’s a smaller world - globalization


      The Visual Arts program at Sundance is designed to provide a comprehensive arts experience that enriches the overall curriculum. Students are exposed to a wide variety of two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital media projects. Students are also introduced to a multitude of artists from varying time periods and cultures with the “Artist of the Month” series. Many of the artists and art projects are intertwined with Sundance’s yearly themes in order to augment the thematic learning experience. Rounding out the arts program in the upper grades is a focus on aesthetic examination that encourages students to understand, discuss and analyze a variety of art forms. Using the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards as a guideline, the Visual Arts program helps students to explore their creativity and develop their abilities to understand, produce and appreciate art.

      The Creative Process

      Students will use and recognize the elements of art (line, value, shape, form, space, color and texture) and principles of design (unity, emphasis, balance, proportion, contrast, movement, rhythm, variety, harmony).

      History of the Arts and Culture

      • Students will be introduced to a new artist each month representing a variety of time periods, cultures and styles.
      • Students will identify how artists and specific works of art reflect, and are affected by past and present cultures.

      Art Creation

      • Students will create two- and three-dimensional works of art using the basic elements as well as a variety of art mediums and application methods.
      • Students will employ basic verbal and visual art vocabulary to demonstrate knowledge of the materials, tools, and methodologies used to create art.
      • Students will create works of art that are based on observations of the physical world and that illustrate how art is part of everyday life.


      • Students will identify aesthetic qualities of exemplary works of art and identify characteristics of the artists who created them.
      • Students will compare and contrast culturally and historically diverse works of art that evoke emotion and that communicate cultural meaning.
      • Students will apply the principles of positive critique in giving and receiving responses to artworks.

      Theatre Workshop

      The Primary and Upper School Theatre Workshop at Sundance provides our students with an opportunity to develop skills necessary for success in the 21st century. We appreciate the parental support and enthusiasm for the Theatre Workshop model and show time experience that is a vital component of a Sundance education.

      Our theatre program offers instruction that integrates several aspects of the art form: creative, drama, improvisation, acting, script writing, readers theatre, theatre history, directing, designing, researching, comparing art forms, analyzing and critiquing and understanding contexts. Classes are formatted to encourage teamwork, risk taking and full participation while providing fun and challenging opportunities for students to explore basic acting skills and the technical elements of theatre. Performance opportunities include a literature based stage production in the fall, a theme-based spring production (students help script, plan, produce and perform) and two variety shows where acts themselves are student generated. Students also function as stage crew and technical support.

      Click here for more information about The Sundance Theatre Program

      Physical Education

      The Physical Education program is designed for the purpose of enhancing psychomotor, cognitive, and physical development through physical body movement. Physical Education offers opportunities to develop independence, goal -setting, leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship.

      Skill Development

      • Demonstrate appropriate techniques used in physical fitness such as push-ups, sit-ups, etc.
      • Combine movement skills to participate in physical activities such as sports, games, and lifetime recreational pursuits
      • Understand the basic concepts of sports, physical fitness and game-related situations


      • Students will participate in the Presidential Fitness Challenge Program
      • Calisthenics
      • Soccer
      • Flag Football
      • Floor Hockey
      • Basketball
      • Lacrosse
      • Cooperative Games



      • To develop spontaneous responses to different situations in complete Spanish sentences
      • To improve the communication skill
      • To be actively involved and willing to participate in class
      • To speak, interact and sing only in Spanish
      • To expand knowledge of vocabulary and new phrases
      • To get proficient in writing and reading skills
      • To learn more about cultures and traditions in Spanish speaking countries

      Spanish Curriculum 2019


      This course is designed for Constellations, Milky Ways and Galaxies students with no Chinese background. It focuses both on developing communicative competence in Chinese and also on motivating the students. The objectives enable students to form a solid foundation of learning Chinese for their further study in a fun way. The introduction to Pinyin helps students to pronounce and understand Chinese correctly. The lessons will teach students greetings, numbers, family members, animals, colors, food and drinks, school life etc. in Chinese words and simple characters. Interactive sentence patterns and Chinese cultures will be integrated in the language learning. Students are expected to understand the vocabulary in order to communicate with each other through simple dialogues. Many colorful pictures and multimedia tools are used in classes. Activities such as singing songs, telling stories, and playing games are adapted. By the end of school year students are expected to know: 20 Chinese characters and 30-50 new words, to speak simple sentences, ask questions, and recite or sing several Chinese poems and songs