3rd grade class schedule


Seasonal poems and songs are learned while the children gather around a candle in the morning. By simply repeating the poems once together each morning, they have already learned four lengthy seasonal poems and it's only November!

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all.
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

~Robert Louis Stevenson


As we leave our circle, we are off to take a neighborhood walk, observing seasonal changes, (plants, trees, leaves, gardens) and, for 3rd and 4th graders, noting changes in weather such as clouds, temperature, precipitation, etc. And you can't blame us if we stop by the neighborhood bakery for our favorite bread! 

As we return home from our walk, we take time to color, paint, or otherwise create something artistic that reflects the seasons and nature we observed on our walk. This is also the time used to do any crafts we may be working on for seasonal festivals. We just finished up some watercolor paintings that were turned into Martinmas lanterns and some beautiful grape vine leaf crowns!

At this point everyone always seems to be ravenous, so the bread from our walk to the bakery (or crackers/cheese/almonds/fruit/etc) are passed out and everyone refuels for the Main Lesson.


Third graders are in a practical work year. Math is as hands-on as possible. Measuring, sawing, nailing, weather forecasting, drilling, screwing, and cleaning up the construction site were the lessons of the day for the first month of school. Math main lessons (after the building unit) consisted of "feeling" measurements: a pound feels like "this", walking a mile feels like "this", my hand is about "so" long, etc. 

Third grade is the year for real, hands-on work. Third graders are in that changing consciousness from thinking everything is black-and-white to realizing that their are ambiguities to life. Hands-on work helps them through that change. The Native American main lesson is firmly rooted in practical work and in practical aspects of living on our earth. How did the Native Americans live and work throughout the changing seasons? How did they eat and clothe themselves and stay warm? Other main lessons (one is on Old Testament stories) speak to the child's realization that although the adults in their lives may not be perfect, (an idea they are becoming more and more aware of) they are still striving human beings. Adam and Eve, King David, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses were all people who failed but were, on the other hand, redeemable. Language Arts, Science (such as weather), and Math are all rolled together into these units. Main lesson books are made, but hands-on work is considered supremely important.


Everyone brings a sack lunch!


After lunch we burn off a little steam and release the children for a free play time. Jump roping, leaf raking, basketball hooping, LEGO playing, and general mayhem take up most of this happy time.


On most days, knitting is picked up casually throughout the day by the kids who are really excited about it, but on Thursdays, after lunch, Ms. Lesley Klatt comes to really teach us knitting. The kids go from learning the basic casting-on skills to knitting their first stitches and finally completing projects of their own. Little verses are learned to help remember the hand motions: In through the front door, once around the back, out through the window, and off pops Jack!!


Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times by Susan Weiss Bauer

Presents history chronologically in story form. History is told from the first nomads that wandered through Mesopotamia through the fall of Rome. Fun hands-on projects and map-work is done to help these stories become a reality for the children. Carving their names into clay like an ancient Mesopotamian, dressing up like a Pharaoh, and learning the stories of a pesky spider named Anansi from ancient Africa are just a few of the fun things the kids will do this year.


Third graders take violin lessons from Ms. Kim Vachon on Fridays. Kim is a graduate of the Waldorf School and teaches the kids songs and rhythm exercises along with string lessons.  After that they do a hands-on art project with our resident artist (and school mother) Brigitte Bolger. After lunch and a little free-play, the whole school suits up and gets ready for their one-on-one private swim lessons at the University of Illinois, Chicago.