Fifth Grade Curriculum
Fifth grade English includes the study of literature, vocabulary, grammar, and composition. At the fifth grade level, English is divided into two courses, literature and language arts. In both classes, students practice writing in a variety of forms including creative writing, poetry, and literary analysis. Language arts focuses on the parts of speech, parts of the sentence, punctuation, and capitalization to develop writing concise sentences and cohesive paragraphs. Literature develops vocabulary and reading comprehension skills through the study of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Adventures of Ulysses, Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, a variety of short stories, and selected poems. In both courses, writing ability is improved through peer and instructor critiques along with several opporuntities to revise. With a goal of emphasizing critical thinking skills expressed through written and oral responses, both literature and language arts courses offer a balance between creative and skill-related activities.
Fifth grade history begins with the study of prehistory and the beginnings of man. Students are then immersed in a study of the ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, and Greece. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of how each civilization has impacted the modern world, as well as a grasp of the things that make a culture survive, thrive, or fail. Fifth graders develop a deeper understanding of the patterns and problems of history and hone their critical thinking skills through class discussions and writing about these topics. Students also learn and practice research skills and report writing.
Fifth graders explore the world through a variety of sciences using a student-centered approach to earth science, life science, and physical science. Students are challenged to use the scientific method – a scientific “plan of attack “ – in preparing their investigation. A practical application of this approach is evidenced in the Consumer Fair produced by fifth grade students. One of the highlights of studying physical sciences laws is a project centered around the dynamics of the annual airplane contest. By combining inquiry and hands-on activities with observational skills, students improve their critical thinking skills.
Fifth grade math stresses the successful development of mathematical thinkers. The curriculum, Math in Focus: Singapore Math, uses a focused and coherent syllabus that integrates concepts, skills, processes, attitudes and metacognition all required in the problem solving process. It addresses relatively few topics in detail with time built into the lessons to develop understanding, using a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach. The model drawing technique used provides students with a visual model to help solve problems, which leads directly to the abstract models used in algebra. Lessons focus on the application of mathematics to real world situations as students work with whole numbers to 10,000,000, fractions, ratios, decimals, percent, graphs and probability, triangles, and algebra.
Fifth grade students participate in a variety of activities that present and encourage the practice of rhythmic and melodic concepts. Movement, Orff instruments, and Kodaly method are integral parts of the music program. Students also learn how to read and write basic music passages. Fifth grade students are also introduced to the basic concepts of dramatic arts and stage movement. Using both dramatic and musical knowledge gained, fifth graders perform a musical revue each year.
Fifth grade students creatively work with the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, new art making techniques, and develop skill in creating art by memory, imagination, and observation. Students have visual introduction to artists, their techniques and contributions to art history. Throughout the year art making projects collaborate with the core curriculum. Students gain confidence in their art making which will include but not be limited to drawing, painting, collages, two and three dimensional works.