Students learn about how to be followers of Jesus through Scripture stories and discussions of real life situations in which we are called to be disciples of Jesus.  They understand that the Holy Spirit was sent as a sign of strength and courage for us.  Third graders study the Sacraments of Healing, Initiation, and Service.  Students learn and study the seasons of the Church year and recognize the importance of each season’s meaning.  Students identify the marks of the Church and learn what it means to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  Students learn and study the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Rosary.  They learn about the lives of the saints.  Third graders are given the opportunity to participate in weekly Mass and to serve as ministers in their class Mass.


Students read and comprehend longer stories and short books.  Using phonics skills and context clues, students decode new words.  The students learn to write cursive letters, words, and sentences using correct slant, spacing, and letter formation.  Third graders define and use various sentence types.  They learn about sentence formation using the various parts of speech and correct punctuation and capitalization.  Students compose paragraphs of 6-8 sentences.  These paragraphs contain a main idea, supporting details, and a conclusion. The students proofread, revise, and create a final copy of their writing.  Students will increase auditory skills by being able to detect syllables, accent, and stress in words.  The third graders present oral reports emphasizing proper speaking etiquette, voice level, pacing, and expression.  Students also participate in literature circles with a variety of roles within the group to have exposure to the different intelligences.


Students identify place value, ordinal position to twentieth, skip count by whole numbers, and compare and order numbers.  They also identify and compare patterns and solve a variety of word problems.  By the end of third grade, students master all the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  They add and subtract multi-digit numbers.  They also learn to multiply a multi-digit number by a single-digit number as well as divide by single-digit divisors.  Students practice picturing, naming, and ordering fractions with like denominators.  They add and subtract fractions with common denominators.  Third graders also measure to the nearest inch, half-inch, and quarter-inch.  They measure perimeter and area and identify volume.  They learn to tell time to the minute and determine elapsed time.  Students count money and make change for a dollar.  They also explore geometry units to identify lines of symmetry, polygons, and the different types of angles.  Students in third grade also identify function rules, graph ordered pairs on a coordinate graph, and tally, create, read, and write observations from real graphs, pictographs, bar graphs, and line graphs.

Math Expressions


Unit 1: Balancing Forces

Students work to investigate and then explain how these inventions seem to defy logic. Over the course of the unit, through firsthand experiences, discourse, and reading and writing informational text, students will come to understand how forces can cause stability or change in an object’s motion. They will discover how magnetic force can be used to counterbalance the force of gravity. They will create physical models, diagram models, and write, and present scientific explanations detailing how the maglev (magnetic levitation) train appears to defy gravity by floating.

Unit 2: Inheritance and Traits

In the Inheritance and Traits: Variation in Wolves unit, students dive deep into exploring patterns in the traits of organisms to answer the question of how those traits come to be. Students assume the role of wildlife biologists helping a class of students near the fictional Graystone National Park to solve the mystery of Wolf 44—a wolf they have observed to be different from the rest of its pack, which serves as the anchor phenomenon for the unit.

Unit 3: Environments and Survival

In the Environments and Survival unit, students assume the role of biomimicry engineers studying a population of grove snails to understand how the snails’ traits influence their survival in a changing environment. Students apply what they learn to plan, make, and test designs that solve problems. Reporting to the lead engineer at an engineering firm, students work to explain why the snails with yellow shells in the population aren’t surviving as well as the snails with banded shells. Motivated to figure out why some snails are more likely to survive than others, students use physical models, read informational texts, analyze data, and engage in student-to-student discussions to investigate factors affecting organisms’ survival.

Unit 4: Weather and Climate

The students’ charge is to analyze the weather on three fictional islands in order to determine which has weather most like the locations where orangutans live and recommend one island to the WPO for the reserve. As they progress through the unit, students become increasingly adept in making sense of the data that is necessary to accurately describe the weather of a given location over time. They figure out how meteorologists collect, analyze, and represent weather data for one day, then for one month, and finally for an entire year.



-Learn about major landforms and physical features in California and understand how geography affects the development of a community.

-Study how local California Indians lived and used the resources of the region.

-Learn about how the communities of California have changed over time.

-Learn about the different levels of government in the United States and what role they play in your community.

-Read about the responsibilities of a citizen and how they can make a difference in their community.

-Learn about the local economy and how you can become economically successful.

-Learn how you can be a good citizen throughout the day.

Third graders also study national and local symbols of the United States of America.  Students also learn about the important contributions of major figures in our history as a part of a study on famous people.



Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.


The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.


Technology at Stella Maris Academy goes beyond the computer lab. All of our buildings are networked and well-equipped; each classroom has at least 3 computers, eBeam interactive white board technology, a document camera and an LCD projector. Technology-based projects are integrated throughout our curriculum. SMA buildings have wireless Internet access across the entire school campus. Stella Maris Academy uses iMacs and students utilize the Office 2012 as well as a variety of educational software and Web-based subscription programs. Students in grades TK-8 have access to a class set of iPads and ChromeBooks as well.  Technology is integrated into every component of our curriculum at Stella Maris Academy. Using technology in our daily learning prepares students for the real world environment, especially as our nation becomes increasingly more technology-dependent.  Students are prepared for their future careers, and are given opportunities to interact with classmates through collaboration.


Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.


Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.

Third graders explore (1) visual elements and principles of art and design using primary, secondary , and tertiary colors, line, shape, pattern, texture, and space, and acquiring an understanding of proportion and perspective;(2) creative expression  using a variety of media including drawing with pencil, crayon, marker, and oil pastel, painting with watercolors and tempera, collage, Gyotaku printmaking, weaving with paper and burlap, and sculpting with ceramic clay; (3) visual arts heritage by exploring art from the Mexican culture (Days of the Dead,) Native American cultures, and Japanese Gyotaku printmaking, artistic styles including abstract, impressionistic, realistic, cubist, and Op Art, and the works of artists such as Degas, Picasso, Peter Max, O’Keeffe, Lois Ehlert, and Van Gogh.  (Also, each third grade student completes an in-depth study of an artist of his choice, culminating in a report with visual, oral and written components.); and (4) analysis and interpretation by learning to recognize design elements and characteristics in the art work of peers, significant artists, and in various cultures, including Mexico, Japan and Navajo Indians.


Third grade students are guided, step by step, through a learning process where the listening, speaking, writing and reading activities become more accurate and in detail.

The target language is constantly used in class to create a full immersion experience.

Videos, songs, stories, pictures, acting, painting and games are the perfect combination to highly enhance acquisition and memorization of a bigger range of vocabulary and Spanish/Latino holidays and traditions. Students love moving and having fun while approaching and/or reinforcing a new topic in a totally stress-free environment. They are also very proud of the work they can create with their own hands. The interactive notebooks are a clear example of it.  Spanish classes start with prayers:  Glory; Hail, Mary and Our Father.  Through guided reading, they reinforce spelling and pronouncing words in Spanish.  Subject matter includes greetings and introductions, goodbyes and courtesy expressions, family, friends, descriptions of people using the verb “ser/to be” and adjectives, home, clothing and colors. School, activities associated with school, days of week, time telling, numbers 50-100, animals, are explored through music, physical interaction, video and a variety of selected readings.  Finally, students learn about parts of the body, food, healthy living, seasons, weather, and visiting places.  Expectations for third grade students are appropriately higher and more challenging.  Students are expected to write in complete sentences. 

Instruction is differentiated for native speakers at every grade level.


The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

Beginning in Third grade and through Fifth grade, students begin to use the Library Catalog to access information, locate books and select information appropriate to the problem or question at hand. Students build critical literacy and thinking skills to evaluate texts based on validity of information. Students begin to utilize the Dewey Decimal System for book classification as well as the Digital Content Portal to access research and information in a safe and reliable way. Students then are able to create direct references to the text and learn how to cite information collected from a variety of sources (internet, books, digital media, etc.).  Students in grades 3-5 also learn how to practice ethical behavior when using print and digital resources (Including freedom of speech, intellectual freedom, copyright and avoiding plagiarism).  Students practice the skills needed to promote their personal safety online and recognize that all networked environments are public as well as the importance of ethical behavior in regards to digital citizenship.


The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!