Third Grade

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About Me

Kathy Nielsen – 3rd Grade

Dear St. Mary Star of the Sea Families,

  • I am looking forward to being a part of your school community as St. Mary Star of the Sea as the 3rd Grade teacher with much excitement and anticipation.
  • While there were many signs along my life path that indicated teaching in a Catholic school would be life’s calling and vocation, it was not until I began teaching kindergarten over 12 years ago that I would realize it was both my passion and preferred way of practicing my faith.
  • Both of my daughters attended Catholic school: preschool – 8th. My oldest daughter also attended University of San Francisco. They attribute their academic success to the rigor and disciplined way of studying that they encountered in their formative years. I look to provide the same Christ-centered education, rigor, and life-long learning skills to your children.


  • My husband and I come from the same small, Iowa town, attended the same Iowa university and moved to San Diego just over 25 years ago. We have made it our family’s home and have welcomed a nephew – who is a recent Iowa transplant – to the same sunny, active life-style that we enjoy.


  • I tell you about my family because it will be with great honor that I consider the children who come into my classroom, part of that family. It will be with a sense of dedication, love of learning, and spirit of fun that I hope to infuse into the 3rd Graders of St. Mary Star of the Sea.


Ms. Kathy Nielsen

My Class

3rd Grade is the beginning of independence for students! This is the time where the students are slowly gaining trust in themselves and independently making choices in their learning.

Growth Mindset

Throughout the school year we will be practicing helpful activities and strategies for Social Emotional Learning. Emphasis will be placed on Growth Mindset, as it is a catalyst for instilling confidence in students and their learning. In Third Grade we acknowledge that certain obstacles will arise, some of which may be challenging; with Growth Mindset, children will learn that these obstacles are opportunities for growth and with practice and confidence, challenges can be overcome.

Watch an episode of Growth Mindset from ClassDojo here.

English Language Arts

Reading is of utmost importance in all grade-levels. In third grade, students have received some of the skills necessary for reading, and are now in the process of learning how to comprehend and interpret the information in any given text. In addition, students are continuing to learn new reading strategies which will help them to decode difficult words and to increase their fluency.

Writing will come with a few exciting opportunities, such as learning how to put together logical sentences and paragraphs in a cohesive manner in order to complete an Opinion, Narrative, and Informational essay. Students will be using (and learning) new skills to complete works such as an Imaginative story and an Informational Animal Report. Throughout our writing time the students will be given choices of different prompts to pique their interest in each of the writing topics; in this way students may learn to have a positive relationship with their writing skills and the writing process.


3rd Grade math is especially fun! This year we are learning and memorizing our multiplication and division facts, all the while using fun strategies in order to recall them at a moments notice (because who doesn’t love last-minute multiplication quizzes?). Furthermore, we are learning the importance of understanding fractions and equivalent fractions and how they are simply part of a larger whole. Area and perimeter are also introduced this year and tie rather nicely when building animal enclosures during our animal science units. These are just a few of the topics that we will be focusing on, but rest assured we will be touching upon all the important math standards so that the students will be ready to go for fourth grade!