Classroom Overview

Each day's instruction is designed according to research-based principles. For example, you will see that it follows a "gradual release of responsibility" model of teaching. Students first learn from a demonstration (accompanied by an explicit explanation), then from guided practice and then finally they transfer what they have learned to another text, another day. When students attempt something new, they are scaffolding, and then this is lightened and removed over time; they continue, however, to receive feedback on their independent work. Over time, strategies that are learned in concrete step-by-step ways become more layered, implicit, fluid and responsive. We will travel through efficient and effective mini lessons, conferences, small group strategy sessions, book clubs, read-aloud conversations, explicit instruction and immersion in text.

The third-grade units of study take into account that many third-graders are writing on full sheets of notebook paper and in writers notebooks for the first time. The Narrative Writing Units extends students’ work with personal narrative while engaging them more fully in the complete writing process, with increasing emphasis on drafting and revising their work. In our second unit, Informational Writing, youngsters write chapter books that synthesize a wide variety of information and learn to section their topics into subtopics. They are supported in this challenging work because they are writing about topics on which they have firsthand, personal knowledge. Our Opinion Unit rallies third-graders to use their newfound abilities to gather and organize information to state their opinion about causes they believe in.

The curriculum focuses on developing students’ deep understandings of mathematical concepts, proficiency with key skills, and ability to solve complex and novel problems. Bridges blends direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration, and taps into the intelligence strengths of all students by presenting material that is as linguistically, visually, and kinesthetically rich as it is mathematically powerful.

Bridges develops children’s mathematical thinking and reasoning abilities through age-appropriate problems and investigations in the areas of number, operations, algebraic thinking, measurement, data, and geometry. Some of these problems and investigations grow out of ventures into everyday life—reading stories, playing games, drawing pictures, building structures, and making collections—while others delve more deeply into the world of mathematics itself. Students are encouraged to explore, develop, test, discuss, and apply ideas; to see mathematics as something that is fluid, vibrant, creative, and relevant.

Social Studies

These units of study are designed to help the students gain an understanding of the world they live in. In addition, holidays, countries and oceans and current events provide an exciting source for social studies learning.

Students participate in a wide variety of integrated activities that encompass rocks and minerals, matter, recycling and ecosystems. These lessons encourage curiosity, exploration and problem solving in order to gain an understanding of the world around them.

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