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Third Grade

 Mrs. Melody Shearer  Room 204


Mrs. Karen Wolling  Room 208   



We would like to welcome you as a parent of a third grader at Jefferson Elementary School.  We are looking forward to a wonderful year!   




Link to reading program:


Our reading program for grades K through 5 is Journeys from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


The Journeys curriculum is designed to meet the diverse needs of all students using a balanced literacy approach which includes progressive skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension



Balanced Literacy = Teachers support each reader’s development as needed;

Allows for differentiation through whole group and small group instruction; and

Follows a continuum beginning with a teacher’s read aloud, shared reading, and guided reading.


The ultimate goal is independent reading.


The balanced literacy philosophy:  An effective way to help children improve their skills one step at a time.  The better your child learns to read, the more successful they will be in years to come!


Some important terminology:


Read aloud:  Done by teacher to expose children to various types of literature; develops reading strategies

Shared reading:  Children participate with the teacher; learn critical concepts of how print works

Guided reading:  Students read text independently following an introduction; material selected is based on an individual’s instructional level; discussion is facilitated by the teacher


Assessment is varied, some examples are

·        Observation

·        Running records

·        Small group instruction records

·        Weekly phonics, vocabulary, and spelling tests

·        Cold read assessments every 3rd story of each unit

·        Unit tests

·        Benchmark tests

·        MAP testing (Measures of Academic Progress)

·        DIBELS testing




The students will be given a “take home” spelling list on the same day that the pretest is given.

When the pretest is given, the papers will be corrected at school.  The purpose of this test is to show each student that words may need extra study time before the final test is given.  Any student that earns 100% on the pretest will have an alternate list of words that will comprise his or her final spelling test.

The spelling list includes words from the lesson, a few review words, and a few challenge words.  Some of the words may seem easy, but our goal is to have each student master the spelling of these words for all assignments, not just to memorize them for the spelling test.  The words on our lists are appropriate for this expectation.  Spelling words will be reviewed and worked with at school; however, each child should practice the spelling words at home, too.



  We will work on “shrink print” where students use print in a single space format. We will also be reviewing all lower-case and capital cursive letters.  Third graders will be expected to do some small assignments in cursive when directed. 




Writing Workshop continues to be a major component of the Language Arts Program.  Time will be devoted throughout the week to the writing process.  This year the students will focus on:

Personal Narrative Account


“How To” (Procedural Narrative)

Response to Literature

Writing to a prompt



We use a student rubric to assess writing pieces according to state standards.  The following areas are assessed in each piece of writing:


·        Focus – stays on the topic and develops the content so the point is clear

·        Organization – has a clear beginning, middle, and end; information comes in logical order

·        Content – has at least 4 details with examples and/or explanations; piece contains a lot of needed information

·        Style – uses many interesting words, strong verbs, and a variety of sentence structure

·        Conventions – has few to no mistakes in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or grammar; also few to no run-on sentences and fragments




·        Investigations in Number, Data and Space

o   Organized into units that offer 3 to 6 weeks of mathematical work in the following areas:

§  Addition, Subtraction, and the Number System (up to 3 digits)

§  Data Analysis

§  2-D & 3-D Geometry and Measurement

§  Multiplication & Division

§  Patterns, Functions, & Change

§  Fractions


o   students require time to build understanding

o   activity-based program focusing on conceptual understanding

o   teacher as facilitator

o   student-centered activities encourage creative thinking and enable students to construct knowledge

o   students develop and articulate their own problem-solving strategies

o   mathematical connections are inherent in the units

o   students participate in engaging games that reinforce their understanding of important mathematical concepts and skills

o   students work cooperatively with their classmates

o   students are asked to answer questions that go beyond “What is the answer to this problem?” in order to think, reason, and share their mathematical ideas; questions such as the following are typically asked of students:

§  Does this remind you of other problems you’ve worked?

§  How did you find your answer?

§  Why does that work?

§  Is there another way to solve this problem?

o   communicating mathematically is emphasized both orally and in writing


·        The website is (student brought access info home)



Students should practice basic addition and subtraction facts at home on a REGULAR basis.

Students should know math facts for addition (sums up to 24) and subtraction (minuend up to 20).  Multiplication facts are taught and assessed in the last two quarters of the year.  You may find the following information regarding the quiz schedule helpful:

Quarter 1 – maintaining all addition and subtraction facts up to 20.
Quarter 2 – multiplication facts connected to twos, fives, ones, and tens.
Quarter 3 – multiplication facts to 100.
Quarter 4 – division facts connected to twos, fives, ones, and tens.

We will use some class time to review and reinforce strategies to help students recall their facts, but regular practice at home is necessary for quick and accurate recall.

The District’s expectation is a score of 27 or better out of 30 within 2 minutes on Quiz C for each of the four marking periods.

Students may have homework throughout the week to reinforce concepts that are taught.




In science students will engage in learning opportunities through hands-on science investigations with Asset Science Modules.  Science units include:


§        Rocks and minerals

§        Planetarium and Earth science

§        Chemical testing

§        Animal studies

§        Bird Park – habitat field trip in May


Communities, cities, rules, and government are the focus for social living.  Students will explore concepts of change, conflict, interdependence, culture, scarcity and citizenship.

Special emphasis is placed on the study of Pittsburgh.  We hope to plan a Downtown Pittsburgh Dragons tour in May, but the trip is not definite at this time. 




          Seven attributes are covered in our character education program.  These are respect, honesty, justice, courage, hope, loyalty, and love.  Each month’s attribute is noted on the school district calendar.

          In this program, we use children’s literature to promote the lofty goals of ethical understanding, cultural literacy, interpersonal communications, and world peace.  The stories come from many different cultures and “touch the heart”.  Many are well-loved tales; some are even Newberry or Caldecott award winners.





Throughout the school year, students are introduced to the simple, early stages of word processing.  They also use the computers for drill, review, and practice of skills.  The computers within the classrooms are used on a rotating schedule.  We also are fortunate to have a mobile lab of laptop computers available for classroom use.



o   usually an assignment each night Monday through Thursday (approx.15 – 20 minutes)

o   15 minutes of independent reading

o   review of weekly spelling and vocabulary lists

o   regular review of math fact flash cards for addition and subtraction for quick and accurate recall

o   check the  green “Assignment Book” and the “Home Folder” each night; also empty the “Stay At Home” pocket daily


NOTE:  each child should have a Homework Buddy he/she can call if help is needed with an assignment.  Please choose a classmate that work may be sent home with when your child is absent, and then complete the form for the “Homework Buddy”.


More Third Grade Information


     Spanish – one half hour twice a week
Guidance – one half hour twice a month

Dashboard is used at the elementary levels for information items…no homework is posted for elementary classes



Third graders love to celebrate their birthdays at school.  These celebrations are an important part of recognizing individual students throughout the year.  Jefferson has a school-wide policy regarding birthday treats in the classroom.  Parents may wish to send in a non-food treat to school, such as pencils or bookmarks, however it is not necessary should you choose not to.  Many students have severe allergies and dietary restrictions, so the school asks for an alternative to birthday snacks.  Please do not send in food items as they can not be distributed or served.  Thank you for your cooperation! 

   Please keep children at home when they are ill to allow their body to heal and to also prevent the spread of illness/disease.  The District states that students must be fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications for 24 hours before they may return to school.

Re-admittance to School:  In every case of absence, a student must bring a written excuse to the home room teacher within ten (10) school days.  This must show the student’s full name, date or dates of absence, the reason for absence, and the parent’s signature.  If an excuse is not received within ten days, the absence will be considered as unexcused.  A written excuse is also needed for arriving to school late.

Please do not plan on sending cough drops to school for your child as they create a choking hazard. We do not permit students to use cough drops while in school.

 Our bell schedule is as follows:

 8:20 AM         Playground supervision begins 
 8:30 AM       Bell rings for students to enter school 
 8:35 AM       Late bell rings
 12:00 PM       Lunch & Recess Dismissal
 1:00 PM       Bell for students to enter school
 3:30 PM        Dismissal for all grades K-5

Please drop off and pick up your children on the sidewalk outside of the Moffett Street doors (entrance near auditorium).   

 It’s a good idea to send in an extra sweater or sweatshirt to keep in your child’s locker.  Dressing in layers is also a good idea, especially when the difference in outdoor and indoor temperatures makes wardrobe selection difficult.  An extra pair of socks tucked away in your child’s locker or backpack can come in handy when wet, slushy weather occurs.


Please be sure that your child has appropriate outer wear and foot wear for the current weather conditions.  Keep in mind that all children do go outside for lunch and classroom recesses unless the temperature is below 17 degrees or if it is raining.




    Spanish is taught twice a week for one half hour.


     Guidance lessons are taught twice a month by Mrs. Lori Morin, the school counselor.

 * Mr. Walker would like students to wear appropriate shoes and clothing on gym days. 


**Mrs. Switzer would like the children to bring an art shirt to school. 





If you need to reach your child’s teacher, please call the school office at

(412-344-2167) or send in a note with your child.  We will respond as soon as possible.  If a message via your child seems confusing, please call us to clarify.  If we don’t respond to a note from you, please call us to see if we’ve received it.


You may also contact us via e-mail:


                             Mrs. Shearer
                             Mrs. Wolling



Communication is the key

to a successful year!


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