3rd/4th Grade - Sandpiper Classrooms

Sandpiper students begin each day with a morning meeting inspired by the Responsive Classroom Social Curriculum  that builds community, sets a positive tone for learning, and reinforces academic and social skills. They spend the remainder of their day actively participating in learning with their classroom or specialist teachers. A unique aspect of our instruction is use of divergent questioning and creating open ended queries that facilitate discussion and critical thinking. Academic content is delivered through interdisciplinary thematic units that engage the students in inquiry, observation, and hands-on active learning. At the beginning of each unit students explore new materials and create KWL charts indicating what they already know and want to know from which teachers tailor lessons to the unique needs of each learner. At the end of each unit students participate in a culminating event (plays, demonstrations, conventions, etc.) and complete the KWL chart with what they have learned.

After Morning Meeting students transition into an hour long math block. Using the Everyday Mathematics curriculum as a foundation, Sandpiper students work individually and in collaborative groups to develop and deepen math skills. This math program sets high expectations for all students, develops concepts and skills over time in a wide variety of contexts, and features multiple methods and strategies for problem solving. Students use manipulatives to solidify discrete skills and expand problem solving abilities that prepare them for success in the fifth grade where they will continue to prepare for more abstract mathematical understanding throughout the middle grades.  Students participate in year long projects that incorporate mathematical concepts with real-life applications. An example of a third grade project is the weekly Sunrise/Sunset project that studies the Winter and Summer Solstices, seasonal changes, and elapsed time. An ongoing fourth grade project is the World Tour Project. Students begin this year long project by “traveling” from their hometown to Washington, DC. This interdisciplinary project allows students to go on an imaginary tour of the world and visit various countries while learning about the customs of people in other parts of the world. Students practice globe and map skills,  collect and examine numerical information for the countries they visit, and have many opportunities to apply their knowledge of mathematics. Third and fourth grade teachers integrate mathematical learning into their thematic units throughout the day. Each unit in math is aligned with the Common Core Standards.

Sandpiper students are avid writers and spend an hour or more devoted to Language Arts each day. Students journal regularly responding to given prompts and also free writing.  During the first nine weeks of school, students practice cursive through the Handwriting without Tears curriculum. One portion of Language Arts, called Word Wisdom, is devoted to grammar, spelling rules, figurative language, and the mechanics of writing.  After Word Wisdom, students launch into writer's workshop, using the mini-lesson and conferencing model created by Lucy Calkins in her Units of Study. Students publish personal narratives, informative booklets, persuasive essays, and poems. Each unit of study is concluded with a writer’s celebration where students have an opportunity to share their work with their peers and parents.

Young readers explore various genres, identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction, conduct research, and expand their toolbox of comprehension strategies. Students practice public speaking skills and share books that interest them through book responses.  Students truly get into character when presenting an oral book response. They dress up as their character and present a speech highlighting the plot for their peer audience. Prezi and Powerpoint book responses incorporate technology, while diorama and poster book responses allow students to tap into their artistic abilities. Written book responses offer another opportunity for Sandpipers to showcase their writing skills. Students participate in small group Literature Circles. They choose their book from a given list,  set their own page assignments, complete group projects, and discuss their readings. Read aloud books and whole group readings follow thematic units throughout the year.

Social Studies and Science in the Sandpiper classroom provide the context for integrated theme units and provide numerous opportunities for students to engage in active exploration, experimentation and observation, and understanding of environments from our own coast to the far reaches of our solar system. Thematic units include Mountains to the Sea, Natives and Newcomers, Inventors and Explorers, Traits and Traditions, the Peaceful Kingdom, Our Place in Space, Far East Studies, and Light and Leadership. Students participate in S.T.E.M. lessons each week with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.Through learning centers, experiments, simulations, and guided hands-on projects, students  continually build on what they already know through experience, observation, and reflection.

Students study the Quaker testimonies throughout the day and  each week during the QuakerLife learning block and weekly Service Learning. Sandpipers practice and reflect on Quaker values including simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and environmental stewardship/service through readings, projects, journal entries, gardening, and volunteer work.


Friends School of Wilmington Wilmington, NC 28409 910.791.8221 (PreK-2nd Grade) 910.792.1811 (3rd - 8th Grade) Contact Us info@fsow.org (FSOW)
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