This year is about a lot more than finger painting and story time. Students focus on developing prereading skills and learn basic addition and subtraction, often learning through play.
Students learn to read and write their own stories and branch out into other subjects, practicing math skills on worksheets and trying basic science experiments. First-graders routinely bring home assignments to complete with help from their parents.
Students spend less time learning to read and more time reading to learn. They feel pride in finishing chapter books. Most will learn to count money and tell time as well as more advanced math like solving word problems and “carrying” numbers.
Most students are writing paragraphs, adding and subtracting three-digit numbers, and memorizing multiplication tables. This year teachers will pay more attention to spelling and punctuation. For some, 3rd grade is the first time that school is hard.
Many kids take on a school project that requires them to work on their own over time. They spend more time on social studies and science. In math, they learn about long division and decimals, fractions, averages, and geometry.
Fifth-graders have more homework and more activities that take up after-school hours. They often write reports for classes. Many learn basic geometry concepts. Academic strengths and weaknesses may become clearer as classes become harder.
Teachers expect more classroom participation and more sophisticated thinking skills. Sixth-graders may also be able to try out electives like art and band.
Students may learn to write lab reports and do a science fair project. They’ll be taught prealgebra and write papers. Students will need to use good study skills to keep up.
Classes in the final year of middle school cover more challenging material and focus on the knowledge, study skills, and organization skills students will need for high school. Students may meet with a guidance counselor to talk about high school, college, and careers.