All academic subjects except French and Music Theory are taught by the lower school teacher and take place in the secure environment of the Third and Fourth Grade classroom.
The English syllabus is split into three categories: Literature, Grammar and Interdisciplinary Writing. The boys are exposed to a number of literary genres including Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Biography, Science Fiction and Poetry with several Newberry Award titles being used. Grammar lessons are developed both in and out of context. Out of context lessons utilize our grammar textbook for objectives and lessons. In context mini-lessons are determined from students’ writing errors. Interdisciplinary writing is taught throughout the year in the form of writing essays and reports in Science and History. The five steps to report writing: outlining, prewriting, writing editing and publishing are covered in the program.
The FOSS system (Full Option Science System) is used. All lessons are hands-on and designed for cooperative learning. Units of study include Water, Physics of Sound, and Measurement. In addition to the core curriculum, interdisciplinary units that transform the classroom into a large science installation are created. These installations are fashioned by the students after researching a topic such as the tropical rain forests, coral reefs or solar system. Each student is given a portion of the classroom to create his own interpretation of the topic studied. A research paper is also required for this project. The topic for each paper is not assigned by the teacher but rather is determined by the student’s interests. The teacher serves as a guide for the topic, assisting the student to narrow or broaden their topic of interest for the paper. The five steps to report writing: outlining, prewriting, writing editing and publishing are covered.
The Everyday Mathematics curriculum is used. Topics covered include: Addition and subtraction of whole numbers, time, multiplication division, fractions, measurement estimation, geometry and decimals.
The academic year begins with the study of the history of the Saint Thomas Choir School. Study includes the mission of the School, its founders, Origin and Expansion. We then go on to do a sweep through New York State history starting our journey with the Native Americans, then moving onto the European invasion, formation of New Netherland by the Dutch, conversion into New York by the British, the Revolutionary War, Immigration and ending with New York as it is today. The textbook History Around You is used as an aide along with biographies and historical fiction that connect to each unit of study. Essay writing is incorporated into the syllabus with. Essay topics include Peter Stuyvesant, English, Dutch and Native American conflicts and immigration stories.
French language and culture are studied four times a week. Combined classes in this subject create a good mix of learning abilities and skills. The principal aim of the elementary French course is to develop oral and written skills through a series of exercises using language manipulation (including answering "total questions” and "partial questions”). The group is also introduced to grammar concept; gender and number of French names; agreement within the group name; and possessive pronouns. Our native French teacher adopts a policy of 100% French within the classroom walls to ensure optimal exposure to the French language.
The first weeks of Grade 3 Music Theory center on the study of basic musical elements, which for some boys is review and for others is brand new information. Among these elements are the names of the notes, their location on the staff and on the keyboard; the meaning of time signatures and the durations of different note values; the intervals of the half step and whole step; and melodic dictation (writing notes on the staff as they are played on the piano). Rhythm recitations start with whole beats in the meters 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4, gradually adding dots, rests and ties. The sole singing recitation focuses on half and whole steps above and below the notes C and G. Written work, lesser in quantity than recitations as is typical for grade 3 first semester, focused on half and whole steps, culminating in a final test.