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Third Grade & The Common Core

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a group of national learning goals outlining what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level. They were adopted for English/language arts and math by the state of Wisconsin in 2010. (Previously, Wisconsin only had standards outlining what students should know for grades 4, 8 and 12.)

These standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills needed to be successful, while helping families understand what is expected of their students. It’s also important to remember that the CCSS are not a curriculum; they are standards that establish what students need to learn, but don’t dictate how teachers should teach. 

In Shorewood, we are aligning to the Common Core Standards, but are not formally adopting them. This gives our staff more flexibility when designing curriculum, while ensuring our students to be better prepared for the content they’ll see on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (which will begin replacing the WKCE during the 14-15 school year), without drastically changing our curriculum.

Our District and teachers will work together to decide how to best help students reach the standards. Differentiation will still be available for students, meaning students that need extra challenges will receive them, while students that need extra assistance will receive help.

Third Grade Math

One of the most important topics for third graders is multiplication and division; another is fractions. All three topics are the building blocs for many life skills that students will learn in later grades, so it’s important that students get a strong foundation with these topics while in 3rd grade.

Third Grade Math Skills:

  • Multiplying and dividing up to 10x10 quickly and accurately; knowing times tables from memory
  • Solving word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • Beginning to multiply numbers with more than one digit (ie- 7x80)
  • Understanding fractions and relating them to whole numbers (ie- recognizing that 3/1 is the same as
  • Measuring/estimating weights and liquid volumes and solving related word problems
  • Reasoning about shapes (ie all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares)
  • Finding areas of shapes, and relating area to multiplication (ie- why is the number of square feed for a 9-by-9 foot room given by the product of 9x9?)
  • Recognize perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguish between linear and area measurements

Third Grade Math Practices:

  • Make sense of problems and perceive in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Third Grade English/Language Arts 

Learning to read with fluency and confidence will serve as foundation for the reading demands in later grades. By practicing with learn-to-read strategies, your student will reliably be able to make sense of multi-syllable words in books. He/she will also recognize that words have meanings that aren’t literal (ie- piece of cake) and have relationships to other words. By the end of the year, your child will be writing clear sentences and paragraphs on a range of topics, drawing on an expanding vocabulary.

Third Grade English/Language Art Skills:

  • Reading closely to find main ideas and supporting details in a story
  • Determine the meaning/lesson of a fable, folktale and/or myth from diverse cultures
  • Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs
  • Describe characters in a story (ie- their traits, motivations, etc) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
  • Ascertain the meaning of words and phrases, distinguishing literal from non-literal 
  • Writing options or explanations that group related information and develop topics with facts and details
  • Independently conduct short research projects that build knowledge about various topics
  • Comparing and contrast the themes, settings and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (ie- books in a series)
  • Reading stories and poems aloud fluently, without pausing to determine the definition of each word
  • Writing stories that establish a situation and include details and clear sequences of events that describe the actions, thoughts, and feelings of characters
  • Asking/answering questions about information he/she hears about a speaking or while participating in discussions, offering elaboration and detail as appropriate
  • Spelling correctly and consulting dictionaries to clarify meaning of words


As part of the shift, students will take part in a new system of assessments. As third graders, students will take one or two tests: Access 2.0 or the Smarter Balanced Assessment. (The Smarter Balanced Assessment will replace the WKCE beginning with the 14-15 school year.) Specific information about the tests can be found below:

ExamGradeExam Info

Access 2.0
(one hour
to administer starting
15-16 school year)

(ELL students only)

• Elements of CCSS embedded
• Screens & provides an annual summary
• Computer adaptive

Smarter Balance
(7-8.5 hours to
administer; exact times
(Administered during
the last 12 weeks of
the school year) 

• Assesses English/ language arts and math
• Computer adaptive
• Measures achievement & growth
• Includes variety of question types
• Aligned to CCSS

* The Smarter Balance exam will take the same amount of time to administer as the WKCE. 

District Calendar

    • TueApr24 Lake Bluff Linkage 5:45 PMSHS Conference Room #116
    • TueApr24 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay08 School Board Town Hall 5:45 PM to 6:45 PMSHS Library
    • TueMay08 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay22 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM

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