Building a Strong Foundation
The best way to learn about the program at Hill is to talk to us and visit. If you would like to learn more we hope you will contact us, either through email or by calling the school to set up an appointment. We are proud of our program and eager to discuss it with you.
The components of our Language Arts program are designed to build good habits and foster a love of reading and writing. The students participate in Writing Workshop and explore a variety of genres, including personal narrative, realistic fiction, informational writing, poetry, historical fiction, drama, and biography. Students learn to edit for punctuation, capitalization, and complete sentences, and to revise their work through conferences with classmates and teachers. Students have many opportunities to share their work as they progress. Reading Workshop includes daily independent reading and frequent conferences with teachers at the student’s reading level. Students take Accelerated Reader quizzes, a program designed to monitor reading comprehension. Additionally, students are responsible for reading at least thirty minutes each night, keeping a log, and returning that log to school each day. The Spelling program has students work in groups to study word patterns each week. Words are practiced each day through exercises such as word sorts and games, and a spelling quiz is given each Friday. Students also study and work toward mastery of a list of high frequency words. Students are responsible for a weekly list of words which is composed of one spelling principle and also includes words taken from their individual writing. The Penmanship program utilizes Handwriting without Tears, to develop a mastery of cursive letters. Exercises to develop hand and finger strength are often included.
Students explore concepts in mathematics using the curriculum Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. Through a sequence of units, each designed to accommodate a range of learners, they build their understanding of numeration and place value; arithmetic, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; 2D and 3D geometry, patterns, functions, and change; measurement; fractions; and data analysis. Math workshop begins when the children arrive in the morning, and includes whole class mini-lessons, small group instruction, and individual practice.
During the fall, students learn about how the environment influenced the lives of Native American Indians in different areas in North America. During each unit of study they discuss literature, conduct research, complete projects, and write about what they are learning. During the winter, students explore their own heritage and conduct a family history research project. Students visit the Frontier Culture Museum, Jamestown, and take an overnight trip to Williamsburg. After the trip to Williamsburg, students create presentations for our Living Wax Museum about colonial topics that interest them.
The emphasis in 3rd grade Science is on generating curiosity through activities and cooperative projects. The curriculum includes the study of growth and changes in plants, materials and structures, forces that attract and repel, a Paleobotany unit, and a Colonial Gardening unit at the Dornin Science Center. Students conduct experiments, make observations, and collect data.
Students will continue their introduction to the Spanish language twice a week in the afternoons in small groups. Lessons will include hearing and speaking the language, reading familiar children’s books, basic vocabulary including salutations, colors, numbers 1-100, animals, parts of the body, the calendar, the weather and seasons, food, classroom words, and other common vocabulary. Students will use a variety of activities, worksheets, and tools to help facilitate their learning. The Spanish program culminates in the spring in an all-school assembly. Students will perform a small play depicting much of what they have learned throughout the year.
Students are introduced to computer concepts and terms. They begin basic keyboarding skills, and are introduced to word processing, internet usage, and PowerPoint. Computers also support the curriculum in math, word study, and social studies through guided research and some games. By the end of the year, students are typing their own writing.
The goals of the art department are to teach the basic elements of design in two and three-dimensional projects through line, shape, size, texture, color, and value. Students are exposed to a variety of media and techniques in an effort to stimulate and encourage creative development and confidence. Teachers work together to reinforce topics taught in literature, social studies, and science.
Music and Strings
Activities include singing with an eye toward proper tone quality, learning rhythmic patterns on sticks and xylophones, and working with the soprano recorder in the second half of the year. Written musical symbols are introduced as the students learn to find their part on a choral score. Individual vocal and instrumental improvisation within a specific musical structure is explored. Every student also has a strings lesson on a violin, viola or cello, and a practice session. The class performs at the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Concert, and the Spring Sing Concert.
Students meet once a week with the Drama Program Director to learn the basic tools essential for performing and understanding theatre. This introductory year builds on familiarity students might have with plays for films, and focuses on how to work together toward shared artistic goals. Individually and in small groups, students use exercises and techniques such as pantomime, story drama, and improvisation to create believable characters in their fictional worlds. Emphasis is also placed on listening skills, following direction, memorization, and the student gaining the self-confidence to express themselves through art. The year culminates with a community sharing that showcases skills learned through dramatic activities and exercises as well as student-generated characters, monologues, and original scene work.
The athletic department helps children develop positive habits of lifelong fitness and the desire to achieve their personal best in all endeavors. To achieve this, every child participates and competes in a variety of team and individual activities that promote sportsmanship, confidence, and competence in a physically and emotionally safe environment. Students play “lead up games” and focus on skills related to soccer, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, and track & field.
The Hill Third Grade connects with their 7th and 8th-grade mentors most Fridays throughout the year. Students are paired with a mentor and enjoy engaging in simple activities that encourage communication, such as reading to each other, playing math games, writing stories, or solving puzzles. The students quickly build a close-knit relationship that often carries far beyond the third-grade year. The Third Graders love their mentors and are often seen waving or giving high-fives and hugs as they pass each other on campus.
Friday Afternoon Program
The Friday Afternoon Program is a beloved tradition! It brings the Hill Third Grade teachers, students, and parents together. Each week the students enjoy hands-on projects integrated with our Social Studies program. Supported by many parent volunteers, they work alongside their peers or in partnerships to build (with real hammers, nails, and saws!), research, write, create, and collaborate. Several times during the school year, the class travels to historical sites in the area or receives special guests who extend our learning.
Third Grade students are fortunate to access our beautiful campus regularly. Beyond reading independently, playing games, or gathering for a math class, students also utilize the outdoors as a key learning environment by taking nature hikes and participating in science programming.
The Third Grade participates in several community service experiences throughout the year. Activities from past years included apple gleaning, collecting and donating at a local food pantry, and supporting families during the holiday season.