This will be my third and last time going through third grade with one of my children. I am starting to prepare, and in this post I talked about my steps to Third Grade planning. Part of this planning for me after laying out the blocks of study for each month is to get a good sense of the progression of math and language arts through the year.
So first I think of progression and goals. Over the years, I have found the main objectives for third grade math to be:
- To use a variety of strategies to make sense of number and number combinations, including counting and regrouping and estimating
- Vertical addition and subtraction
- Working with mulitplication and division; Long multiplication. Long division, division with remainders might be third or fourth grade depending upon the child.
- Estimating answers the the nearest hundred or thousands.
- Written and oral practice in arthimetic so things become automatic. Yes, trying to start learning the math facts. If my child has a learning disability, I don’t expect memorization of times tables until after the twelve year change. Just my experience.
- Number patterns in the rectangular array of 144 that covers the times tables 1-12
- Telling time on all clocks
- Measures of time, capacity, length, mass, money.
- Written word problems
- Freehand geometric drawings and geometric explorations
I start thinking a little about how I want to approach the blocks. I decided my math blocks would be in November( Farmer Boy Math with time, four processes, moving from horizontal to vertical), February ( measurement, mainly length, mass, time) and April ( multiplication and division mainly but all four processes, working with money) but that my August block would include a good dose of math review within the main lesson, the September block would include liquid measurement with our preserving/farming/gardening block, and our May block will also include measurement with practical projects. These would all be worked into the main lesson period. The two books I like for looking at the big picture and what blocks might contain includes the books, “Making Math Meaningful: A Source Book for Teaching Math in Grades One Through Five,” by Jamie York, Nettie Fabrie, Wim Gottenboos and the book, “Teaching Mathematics in Rudolf Steiner Schools for Classes I-VIII” by Ron Jarman.
However, I also do have a complete outline of the “practice math” we will do each day and sometimes I do use the “practice time” to introduce a math concept we will deepen in a block or use a game to go deeper into practice on a math concept we have previously covered. For this, I usually assign a topic a month that I really want to bring, and just a smattering of the other math skills. One book I like for this is a non-Waldorf book called “Third Grade Math: A Month To Month Guide” by Suzy Ronfeldt. I don’t use it to the letter, (some of the focus for each month I don’t find matches up with Waldorf mathematics so I discard those), but I look to see ideas by topic.
Once I have the focus for the blocks and the practice math areas for each month, I just start filling things in with ideas for cooking, games, practical experiences, movement experiences, and mathematical problems and puzzles to solve. For some specific ideas for grades 1-3, I like the following books:
- “Waldorf Education in Practice: Exploring How Children Learn in the Lower Grades” by Else Gottgens
- “Third Grade Math: A Month to Month Guide” by Suzy Ronfeldt
- “Games for Math” by Peggy Kaye
- “Things That Come in Groups: Multiplication and Division” by Tierney, Berle-Carman, and Akers.
- “Math By Hand” which is math kits and Waldorf
- “The Dyscalculia Toolkit” by Ronit Bird, which just has fun games for everyone
- “Math Games and Activities From Around the World” by Zaslavsky
I also try to find literature that reinforces the mathematical concepts we are learning. This probably is not common in a Waldorf School setting, but I find it to be very common in the homeschooling setting. Some of my favorite books for third grade math for a student include:
- “Alexander, Who Use to Be Rich Last Sunday” by Viorst (money)
- “Fattest, Tallest, Biggest Snowman Ever” by Ling (measurement)
- “A Quarter for the Tooth Fairy” by Holzman (money; not sure if I will use this one yet as I haven’t seen it)
- “Just Add Fun” by Rocklin (multiplication arrays)
- Division books suggested but I haven’t looked at them yet: “The Doorbell Rang” by Pat Hutchins; “One Hungry Cat” by Rocklin
- For geometry: “Grandfather Tang’s Story”, which many Waldorf homeschoolers use in second grade; “The Greedy Triangle” by Marilyn Burns; “The Josefina Quilt” by Eleanor Coerr; “The Keeping Quilt” by Patricia Polacco.
- “13 Moons on a Turtle’s Back”; “The Twelve Months” picture book by Krykorka; “An Amish Year” by Ammon: “Alice Yazzie’s Year” by Maher; “The Time Garden” by Edward Eager -Chapter book.
- Measurement: All the books by Robert Wells – “What’s Older Than A Giant Tortoise?” “Is A Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?” etc.
- Large Numbers: “Can You Count To A Googol?” by Robert Wells
I also start looking for games to have on hand too – that could be another post!
Hopefully that gives you some idea of how to start with third grade math. I would love to post some block examples and examples of practice by week in the future if that would be helpful to those of you planning.