Learning Guide: Third Grade
Portrait of a Third Grader
Children this age may appear self-assured, even driven. They are frequently eager for challenges: "I want to be in Little League, but I don't like the rules -- I just want to see how far I can hit that ball; I can do piano and dance lessons, draw a picture; and have friends over...all before lunch." Third graders are feeling their power in some ways: They have expanded vocabulary, life experience, and practice in reading and knowledge of the world. Socially, kids widen their friendships and are less critical of each other. Boys are extremely dependent on mothers; girls are more dependent on peers.What your child will learn
This is a year when academics click, and socially, kids form "cliques." A subject your child had difficulty with in the past might become crystal clear this year. At the same time, social problems develop for some kids as classmates form tightly knit, sometimes-exclusionary peer groups. This is the year of note passing and name-calling. The sensitive third grader may come home weeping because children in the playground have teased her. Teachers this year focus on independent work and learning multiplication. They ask students not only to learn information, but also to apply it. You'll probably see more cooperative learning as well as paired learning -- completing a project with a classmate by comparing answers and rethinking strategies. Use of computers will extend to the Internet; class assignments may require finding information on the web.
Setting firm limits and schedules for your child has never been more important; third-grade teachers expect homework done independently and on time. It's a good idea to schedule homework as well as playtime into your child's day.