Lower School

Third Grade

    • banner


Third Grade Overview

We have two sections in third grade — each section of 22-23 students has a lead teacher and an associate teacher. Third grade is an important year for reading development and special attention is paid to improving writing skills and mathematical proficiency.

Each day begins with a morning meeting that focuses primarily on the social-emotional and academic growth of the students. Our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum provides students with opportunities to practice and reflect on skills related to community building, emotional self-awareness, friendships and cooperation.

One of the highlights of the third-grade experience is our Buddy Program. Every week, each student is paired with a classmate and together they engage in a variety of academic and social activities. This program helps students discover new friendships while deepening their existing ones.

Academic Snapshots

List of 3 items.

  • Language Arts

    Third graders continue their literacy exploration through the integration of reading, writing, and phonics. This balanced literacy approach encourages and empowers each student to discover herself as a reader and writer. 
    The goal of the third-grade language arts program is to nurture a love of reading and writing while solidifying the skills needed to become independent in both. In Reader’s Workshop, concepts, skills, and strategies are modeled for students to practice in their own reading. Students learn how to select books at their “just right” level, build reading stamina, and practice reading with fluency and expression. Through group discussions and written reflections, students make predictions and inferences and analyze characters’ traits and behaviors. Students also engage in nonfiction research and learn to synthesize information collected from a variety of sources.
    In Writer’s Workshop, students work through the writing process to brainstorm, plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish their work. Writer’s Workshop projects include personal narratives, persuasive essays, reviews, research writing, letters, and responses to literature. Students learn strategies to outline and organize their writing for their intended audience. Students also explore craft moves such as writing gripping introductions, adding figurative language, and using persuasive techniques.
    In Phonics, students become efficient word solvers when reading and writing. Spelling, vocabulary, and grammar skills are taught through a variety of approaches including editing conferences in Writer’s Workshop, weekly letter writing, and explicit phonics lessons. Students explore common spelling patterns, practice high-frequency words, and learn strategic methods for correctly decoding and encoding words. Students also examine prefixes, bases, and suffixes to discover how words are related to each other through meaning.
  • Math

    The goal of the third-grade mathematics program is to encourage students to see and appreciate the beauty and power of mathematics, develop efficiency and persistence in the problem-solving process, and recognize that mathematics is an integral part of our world. Concepts are explored in whole class and small group activities, guided practice, and content-rich games. Third graders explore these mathematical concepts:
    • Addition, Subtraction, and the Number System: Understanding and extending knowledge of place value and the number system to 1,000, adding and subtracting accurately and efficiently.

    • Data Analysis: Using bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots to represent, analyze, and compare categorical and numerical data.

    • Two-Dimensional Geometry: Understanding and finding perimeter and area using standard units of measurement and classifying two-dimensional figures.

    • Multiplication and Division: Deepening their understanding of multiplication and the inverse relationship with division and gaining fluency with multiplication facts. Exploring patterns and relationships between multiples and developing strategies for solving multiplication and division story problems.

    • Fractions: Understanding fractions as equal parts of a whole, reasoning about equivalent fractions, comparing fractions, and using notation to model fractions and fractional relationships.
  • Social Studies

    Our goal in Social Studies is to encourage students to consider “the danger of a single story” and the importance of including multiple perspectives. We begin the year by establishing a caring classroom community in which students feel appreciated for who they are and safe to take risks. We create an inclusive environment by recognizing culture as all aspects of a person’s identity. Students learn about their own city through an exploration of San Francisco history and geography. Our study focuses on Ohlone community and culture, Chinese immigration to the Bay Area, and San Francisco changemakers throughout time. These units are explored through a social justice framework. “Whose story is being told?” and “Whose story is not being told?” are recurring questions that guide our learning.

Specialist Programs

List of 7 items.

  • Art

    Third graders explore ways that the visual language is used to communicate ideas across cultures and time periods. They examine Native American pictographs, modern-day logos, and other visual symbols including rules and road signs. They design simplified visual symbols that reflect personal and familial identity while learning about positive and negative space. Students continue to develop process skills such as cutting, gluing, collage making, clay modeling, drawing, painting, and clay work.
    Students participate in “gallery walks” at the end of each unit where they learn to articulate the meaning behind their art, and give constructive feedback to one another. They continue working in their personal sketchbook, where they “free-draw", and do sketching exercises to build skills and an understanding of artistic concepts
  • Library

    In third grade, students begin the year by learning more about how to independently find materials. They are introduced to the online catalog and begin to use it for browsing and for finding specific materials. Students also learn how to use physical books’ call numbers to discern their order on the shelves.  Third graders learn how to use Google Slides to create an interactive book that they share with first graders. They deepen their research skills by doing a collaborative unit with the classroom and library to study countries.
  • Makery

    The Makery curriculum for third graders emphasizes two related goals: 1) learning to use a variety of media, materials, and tools; and 2) learning the skills needed to make, share, find, solve, protect, and learn. Content and learning goals for different projects often come from core and special classes. As they make, the students practice the skills of attention, perseverance, problem-solving, coding, and project management.
    Third grade students worked jointly in science and Makery to create objects that use an electric circuit— ranging from a steady hand tester to a nightlight/buzzer to a light-up flower. They showed off their plans and designs at the Circuit Circus.
  • Music

    Why does the treble clef start with E? How can I show musical respect and why? How can I seal those recorder holes and why does the left hand go on top? In what ways are strong Chinese Lion Dance rhythms and fierce “look alive” dancing important to me?
    Third graders are active, energetic singers building their range and intonation, helping lead rounds and two-part songs at the weekly Lower School (LS) assemblies, in the LS Holiday Sing-Along, and in other gatherings throughout the year. 
    Music literacy skills progress to reading sixteenth note rhythms, pieces in ¾ meter, and melodically, transferring solfeggio into treble staff note names. Music from around the world is chosen both to expand on and reflect the cultures of our community. Students revisit West African drumming, using gourd drums built by makers in the bay area! In the spring, an introduction to recorders prepares students for fourth grade!
    A third-grade music highlight and Burke’s tradition spanning over 20 years, is our Lunar New Year parade winding through campus and also shared with the larger community at the nearby Richmond Neighborhood Center. Fully developed performances honor tradition with playful masterful dance, music, and theater.
  • Physical Education

    Third graders meet daily for lessons that are structured with the goal of preparing a solid movement foundation for students’ transition to Upper School Physical Education. Our movement and skill development focus includes cooperative games, conflict resolution games, and social-emotional learning (SEL) games as well.
    A strong focus is placed on teamwork, cooperation, good sporting behavior, and a sense of fair play. Students also learn how nutrition and hydration, components of physical fitness, and rest and relaxation play an important role in developing and maintaining good health.
  • Science

    The third-grade science curriculum provides many opportunities to practice problem-solving, engineering, observing, sorting and categorizing, making predictions, and drawing scientific pictures and diagrams. Students study a range of topics, including native plants, acid-base chemistry, simple machines, compost and recycling, and electricity.
    To give a glimpse into the science room, here is an example unit from third grade:
    The beloved electricity unit is all about tinkering! Students start by solving challenges using “circuit blocks” inspired by the ones at the Exploratorium, beginning with the simple challenge “Light up a light bulb” and working up to challenges like lighting multiple bulbs, incorporating switches, and combining multiple types of components such as motors and buzzers. Each student then comes up with a creative idea to show others what she has learned about electricity. In a collaboration between Makery and science class, the students build their creations, then share them with the community in a special event. The Circuit Circus has included such varied creations as electric quiz games, a model stage with footlights and a spinning dancer, a conveyer belt, and a fan-powered zipline. This project not only helps students apply their electrical knowledge, but gives many opportunities to practice prototyping, flexible thinking, and perseverance.
    Third graders also go on their first outdoor education trip to the Marin Headlands. This trip is also a social-emotional rite of passage for the students as well as a chance to learn about the ecology of a natural location almost in our backyard!
  • Theater

    Third graders learn and perform the Lion Dance Parade for the community.

    Lower School Theatre Arts presents a stage for students to see and explore the world, explore it, and express themselves. Students develop presence, power, energy, observation, imagination, and artistic expression through the performing arts. Mime, masks, movement, acting, clowning, improvisation, directing, writing and storytelling are all disciplines that students get to experience and explore.

Third Grade Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Caroline Carr

    Caroline Carr 

    Third Grade Teacher
    415-751-0187, ext. 368
  • Photo of Eoin Hobden

    Eoin Hobden 

    Associate Teacher
    415-751-0187, ext. 331
  • Photo of Emily Logemann

    Emily Logemann 

    Third-Grade Teacher
    415.751.0187, ext. 300
  • Photo of Marie Bergsund

    Marie Bergsund 

    Third Grade Co-Teacher
    415.751.0187, ext. 308
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.