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These curriculum summaries have been developed by teachers and administrators to serve as another way of communicating with parents. They highlight the core curriculum and expectations for student learning at each grade level.

The curriculum summaries describe what most students at a grade level are expected to know and be able to do by the end of the school year. They also reflect the goals of the various Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It is important to note that although children may learn and grow at different rates and through varied styles, all should make regular progress.

While we have high expectations for all students and encourage each student to work to their capacity, parents and teachers recognize that some students have more difficulty in school. Others will progress more rapidly and move well beyond these core expectations. It is the joint responsibility of school and home to provide support, challenge, and encouragement for all students.

English/Reading/Language Arts

The third grade reading/language arts program stresses a continuum of skills and strategies to further develop the literacy skills and strategies introduced in second grade. Core instruction is delivered through the 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys reading program, key components of which include instruction in phonics and decoding, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, study skills, and writing (including grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling.) Continued attention is given to skills in listening, speaking, viewing and representing. The core anthology is supplemented by numerous print and digital resources that assist students in the development of close reading and analysis skills. Teachers also integrate reading with content areas such as science, math, and social studies. Key concepts are presented to students in whole-class format while Response to Intervention (RTI) practices allow individual needs to be met in small skill-based groups. Teachers also employ a variety of instructional models and activities to promote the development of fluency and comprehension. The writing process is taught through direct instruction in the Empowering Writers program in order to meet state and local standards for writing in the expository, opinion, and narrative modes. A district-wide literacy portfolio plan assesses student progress in skills indicated by both the Common Core framework and the core reading program. By the end of grade 3, a majority of all students should be writing in cursive. Upper case cursive letters will be introduced after students have reviewed lower case letters, and by Thanksgiving students will be required to practice cursive through their daily work and homework.

Social Studies

The grade 3 social studies curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for History/Social Science, as well as the English Language Arts and Literacy. It includes map and globe skills including the identification of the New England states and the geography and topography of Massachusetts. The curriculum also serves as an introduction to Hingham and early United States history. The colonial and revolutionary periods are introduced to students with an emphasis on Native American and colonial culture. This includes a study of the Wampanoags, which develops an understanding of Native American culture and introduces students to multicultural interactions. An emphasis is also placed on Massachusetts’ involvement in the American revolution.  Class time is used in various ways, including teacher presentations, student presentations, small group work, projects, hands-on activities, guest speakers and media presentations.  Whenever possible, social studies will be taught in an integrated manner with science, math, language arts, and reading. Teachers will utilize picture books, historical fiction and other trade books to thematically connect literacy to social studies.


The grade 3 science curriculum engages students in an inquiry based program strongly emphasizing hands-on investigations. Major units include rocks and minerals, the Earth in space, and weather and climate. Specific objectives include developing inquiry skills such as observing, making hypotheses, recording data and formulating logical conclusions from data interpretation. These objectives are developed while investigating topics such as types of rocks, mineral characteristics, magnets, solar system components, moon phases, and weather patterns and forecasting. While viewing the teacher as a model, students are typically engaged in hands-on kit activities, model construction, recording observations and assimilating data into charts for interpretation. Students are encouraged to communicate their findings through journal writing. This methodology typically enhances student enthusiasm for science as it is related to timely events and technology that they are familiar with in their natural environment. Relationships between real-time events such as moon phases and solar cycles allow students to observe and predict daily events as witnessed in their actual world. Students are assessed on their participation, written observations of their activities and their journal construction.

Foreign  Language

The elementary foreign language program is a student- centered interactive approach to learning Spanish. Students are taught basic communication skills through function-based thematic units. They include such topics as greetings and responses, counting, colors and shapes, days of the week, months, weather expressions, clothing, animals, members of the family, etc. Initially, instruction is implemented via oral language with a gradual transition to written language. Cultural aspects of the Spanish speaking world are interwoven throughout the lessons as applicable. Use of the creative arts such as music, storytelling, rhyme, and drawing promote learning in an enjoyable as well as meaningful environment. Students in grades K-5 participate in the elementary foreign language program once per six-day cycle.


The curriculum of the Hingham Public Schools is aligned with and based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics. Hingham uses the Everyday Mathematics program (Wright Group) as its primary tool to teach the mathematics curriculum.

Third grade Everyday Mathematics content emphasizes the following:

Numeration – counting patterns; place-value; reading, writing and modeling whole numbers up to 1,000,000; fractions, decimals & integers.

Operations & Computation – automaticity with addition and subtraction facts; multi-digit multiplication and division; fractions and money, estimation.

Patterns, Functions & Algebra – number grid, Frames & Arrows, and “What’s My Rule?” activities; relationships between operations; missing parts of number models.

Geometry – exploring 2- and 3-dimensional shapes, other geometric concepts. Measurement – measuring lengths in inches and centimeters; relationships among length and time; areas and perimeters of polygons; time.

Data & Chance– collecting, organizing and interpreting data.

Hingham believes that concept mastery comes over a period of time, first through informal exposure and then through more formal and directed instruction. Teachers utilize a combination of whole group instruction, small group activities and individual learning experiences. Student progress is assessed using ongoing and formal unit assessments, as well as monthly basic fact tests. Students may participate in Continental Math League (CML) contest exams.


Third grade students are scheduled for art at least once in each six-day cycle. The focus of the curriculum is on refining skills, personal expression and understanding the styles, and influences of native cultures. Students strengthen their use of the elements and principles of art and design. They use more sophisticated color schemes, line qualities, visual texture, and pattern while continuing to use shape, space, composition, visual rhythm and movement. Students use observation, abstraction, invention, and expression in creating their artwork. Students are introduced to the processes of artistry, including drafting, revising and exhibiting their work. Students learn to classify art works into categories such as painting, print making, collage, etc. Evaluation in third grade is based on students’ effort, participation and completing lesson objectives.


Students in grade 3 are scheduled for classroom music at least once in each six-day cycle.  Additional instruction is provided so that students learn to play the soprano recorder as an instrument.  Instruction is interactive and students will: build on music skills from grade 2; solidify the ability to count rhythms; explore music notation through musical composition; sing melodies accurately and sing rounds and understand the concept of harmony; perform partner songs; understand ABA and rondo forms; and recognize some instruments by sound.  Whenever appropriate, instruction will provide opportunities to make connections between music and literature, science, mathematics, and other disciplines.

Physical Education

The physical education curriculum is an activity-based program designed to promote the proper skills and attitudes that are associated with sport, recreation, and good health.  The curriculum is presented through individual, partner, group, and team experiences.  Major themes for study include: movement; games; recreational or leisure time activities; sports; and physical fitness.  Primary grade (K-3) instruction is presented through one or more 40 minute classes in each six-day cycle.  Topics for study include: locomotor skills (run, skip, hop, etc.); low organization games; lead-up sports; health; and sportsmanship.  Students are expected to show age-appropriate development in both skill and understanding.

Computer Science

This year’s emphasis is on developing strong word processing skills and increasing keyboard speed and accuracy. Demonstrated proficiency in these, and other, areas will be tracked throughout the year. Students further their competence in research by using age-appropriate Internet-based search engines to support their classroom curriculum. They will continue to develop skills using the engineering design process to program and code simple machines and devices and will begin to use spreadsheets to collect and graph information.


Students in grade 3 visit the library for both formal library instruction and book selection which includes read-aloud, discussion sessions, and peer sharing opportunities.  Students may also use the library for research for class assignments and projects.  The library media objectives include: review and reinforcement of skills learned K-2; reviewing organization and rules for use of the library/media center; understanding parts of a book including glossary and bibliographies; using general encyclopedias; using the online catalog; and developing searching strategies for research.


Primary grade instruction (1-3) involves formal classes as well as informal responses to incidents or related curriculum references (“teachable moments”).  Typical subjects for study include: daily hygiene; disease prevention; safety and injury prevention; and physical, social and emotional health. The study of health focuses on the individual, the family, and the community.  The major themes are: health habits; safety; nutrition; drug safety; social and emotional health; and smoking prevention.  Class time is used for teacher presentation, class discussions, and  student projects.

Suggestions For Parent Assistance

  • Develop good nutritional, rest, exercise, and safety habits.
  • Work with the school to develop good study skills and self-discipline.
  • Show an active interest in your child’s daily school activities.
  • Help your child to select materials and ideas from home which contribute to class activities and discussions.
  • Plan family experiences which support topics studied at school.
  • Encourage your child to pursue individual
    interests such as hobbies, arts, and athletics.
  • Volunteer in your child’s school and attend individual conferences and school events.
  • Consult with the classroom teacher about specific ways to help your child.
  • Provide a place and time for your child to complete homework assignments comfortably and on time.
  • Assist your child with the completion and review of homework, but ensure the final product is reflective of the child’s under- standing of the assignment.
  • Foster an interest in reading by reading regularly to and with your child.


Students in grade 3 will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Test batteries in reading and mathematics will be administered. Students in grade 4 will also participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Projected test batteries, that are administered online, include reading, writing, and mathematics. Grade 5 students will participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in science and technology, and will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0), likely administered online, in English/language arts and mathematics. Report cards document progress, and literacy portfolios and math folders contain samples of student work at all grades.

For more information

Questions about grade level curriculum should be directed first to your child’s teacher. The principal or assistant principal may provide additional information.

East Elementary

Foster Elementary

Plymouth River Elementary

South Elementary

Superintendent’s Office

Comments about this document may be directed to Dr. LaBillois at [email protected] or 781-741-1500.