Fifth Grade Curriculum
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Our fifth grade curriculum provides students with their final year of Lower School learning opportunities before transitioning to Middle School. Fifth grade is an extension of the learning that took place in fourth grade with increased opportunities for students to complete independent work and tasks with minimal prompting. During the fifth grade year, students participate in our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, attend a culminating out of state field trip that ties to our Social Studies curriculum and participate in D.A.R.E. All of these experiences as well as our advanced curriculum across subject areas help to prepare students for their Middle School years to ensure they are well prepared and eager to advance to higher grade levels.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Foreign Language
- Performing Arts Electives
- Physical Education
The Language Arts program utilizes a balanced approach to literacy. Within the Language Arts block are the components of reading workshop, writing workshop, and vocabulary.
Our approach to reading instruction enables children to build and hone skills they need to succeed in becoming independent readers. Explicit reading strategies are taught in a mini-lesson format, followed by both small group and individual instruction. We assess each child individually in order to determine his/her instructional reading level at various times throughout the year to provide continued differentiated instruction. Genre libraries are organized in each classroom, and children choose texts to gain stamina both at home and at school.
In the fifth grade reading workshop students work independently, in book clubs, and in small groups to build stamina, discuss reading, and understand a variety of texts.
- Students learn to understand, interpret, and analyze a range of written texts, both fiction and non-fiction.
- Students learn to use explicit information to identify the main idea or primary purpose of a text or part of a text as well as explicit details from a passage to understand it fully on a literal level.
- Students learn how to use implicit information from a passage to make inferences about the moods and motivations of characters in order to understand their shifts and developments over the course of the book. They also learn to make inferences about events, understanding their importance and meaning within the context of the book.
- Students learn how to determine whether information consists of fact or opinion. Within fiction, they will learn whether or not a narrator is trustworthy.
- Students recognize cause-and-effect relationships among elements in a text.
- Students categorize and combine the layers of implicit information to make predictions, draw conclusions, and/or formulate hypotheses.
- Students employ comprehension strategies to interpret, analyze, and evaluate what they have read.
- Students will be able to discuss texts well, demonstrating understanding, and growing each other’s ideas.
Fifth grade teachers have a firm commitment to the value of reading aloud. Our goal is to use novels, above grade level, to “broaden the scope” of understanding. Reading aloud helps students build background knowledge, increase vocabulary, and make more meaningful connections to thoughts and ideas (Bank Street College of Education). Research indicates that motivation, interest, and engagement are often advanced when teachers read aloud to students (Albright and Ariail). Not only does reading aloud have benefits educationally, but also emotionally. Through a character’s fictional or real-life experiences, students learn strategies for dealing with social situations and conflicts; this can only increase their self-confidence. Most importantly, reading aloud gives students fond memories of their experiences, and creates a greater love for the written word.
Art and Literacy
Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops cognitive, social-emotional and multi-sensory skills. Meaningful art experiences provide children with authentic self-expression, the freedom of choice, thought, and feeling. Brain researchers tell us that children retain much better when hands-on activities go along with the learning. Art provides pre-writing experiences when the children can touch, talk, and move. Using art to teach comprehension strategies allows children to use multiple modalities to learn and most importantly, apply these strategies in a text-free environment before applying the strategies to text. Art teaches self-expression (great for planning in writing), narrative story development, spatial relations, visual literacy, and strong book knowledge with true appreciation. It seems like a “no-brainer” to use art to teach literacy strategies.
In the fifth grade writing workshop curriculum, students continue to grow their understanding of the writing process. Using the 6+1 traits, writing students learn immersion, collecting, choosing, developing, revising, editing and publishing techniques. Sentence technique and paragraph construction are at the core of the curriculum with students writing through a range of genres. An essential part of the writing curriculum is proper grammar usage and sentence structure.
Grammar and sentence development are a part of the writing process. Students will have direct teaching and are expected to apply these skills when developing a piece of writing. Students begin to develop a growing understanding of writing and the writing process. Using works of art and art activities, students learn how art and writing are firmly linked. With this knowledge, students gain a deeper understanding of process writing and the importance of each step in the process.
- Students learn to recognize the role of the audience, and can determine the information included, style, and tone for a piece.
- Students learn to make decisions regarding how to plan their piece of writing in order to get their meaning across.
- Students learn to employ literary language and various literary devices where appropriate.
- Students learn to select accurate word choices to convey meaning and emotion.
- Students learn to construct well-crafted sentences that display rhetorical precision.
The hallmark of successful reading and writing lies in the development of vocabulary. Reading with understanding and writing with precision requires an extensive word knowledge. The fifth grade linguistics program is a continuation of the primary Project Read curriculum. Students will begin to learn Greek and Latin affixes which will allow for a smooth transition to Middle School. WordMasters is a nationwide vocabulary competition for Grades 3-8. This competition is based on understanding and completing analogical relationships. The early introduction of this higher-level skill will benefit students, and assist with an understanding of the many facets of a word.
The fifth-grade math curriculum is a transition from the arithmetic-based curriculum of fourth grade to the algebra that is developed in Middle School. The course reinforces the comprehension, computation, and application skills necessary for a solid foundation in mathematics while also exposing students to algebraic concepts and developing their abstract reasoning skills. Word problems are incorporated throughout the course of the year to support and strengthen students in applying their knowledge. In fifth grade, students extend their computational skills with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions to include operations with integers, exponents and rational numbers. They are also introduced to the concepts of ratio, proportion, and percent, as well as the language of algebra used to write and solve expressions and equations. In addition, students will further develop their knowledge of concepts in geometry, measurement, probability, and statistics. To enhance their comprehension and deepen their foundation, Pearson's enVisionMATH, and the Internet, including iXL, serve as resources for projects, additional problems, and review activities.
Mathematical skills taught in fifth grade will include:
Number Sense and Operations with Whole Numbers
- Use place value, including how to read, write, and compare whole numbers to the hundred-trillions place
- Write numbers in standard, expanded, and word form
- Know the language of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and understand the relationship between the operations
- Use estimation to solve problems including all four operations
- Understand the properties of addition and multiplication including the identity, inverse, commutative, associative, distributive and zero property of multiplication
- Express very large and very small numbers using expanded and scientific notation
- Solve single and multi-step real-life problems involving number operations
- Determine key vocabulary words and concepts, check for reasonableness and identify relevant and irrelevant information with problems
Number Sense and Operations with Integers
- Order, compare, and graph integers with and without a number line
- Solve mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with integers
- Solve numeric expressions with integers using order of operations
- Solve real-life problems involving integers
Number Sense and Operations with Fractions and Decimals
- Use place value, including how to read, write, and compare decimals to the ten-thousandths place
- Use models and number lines to identify, compare and represent the order of fractions and decimals
- Recognize the relationship between fractions and decimals
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and mixed numbers with like and unlike denominators
- Convert between mixed numbers and improper fractions
- Solve real-life problems involving fractions and decimals
Number Sense and Operations with Ratios, Proportions, and Percent
- Write ratios in three different ways
- Find Unit Rate
- Solve problems involving ratios and rate with proportional reasoning
- Understand the meaning of percent
- Discover the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percentages
- Convert between fractions, decimals, and percent
- Perform calculations with percentages
- Apply concepts learned to real-life applications such as interest, discounts, taxes, tips, and sale prices
Geometry and Spatial Sense
- Identify congruent and similar figures
- Use proportions to find the missing side of similar figures
- Use formulas to find perimeter, area, and volume on singular and compound shapes
- Identify and define parts of a circle
- Use formulas to find the circumference and area of a circle and semi-circle
- Graph and identify ordered pairs on a four-quadrant plane
- Identify the quadrant for a given ordered pair
- Convert measurements within the same system, customary and metric
- Simplify ratios with measurement
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
- Read and interpret various types of tables including tally charts and line plots, and simple graphs including bar, line, circle, and pictographs
- Calculate mean, median, mode, and range from a given set of data
- Find probability of simple and compound events including independent and dependent events
Patterns, Functions, and Pre-Algebra
- Use order of operations to solve numeric expressions
- Solve single and multi-step algebraic equations including all four operations
- Read, write, and solve algebraic expressions and equations
- Convert between word phrases and algebraic expressions or equations
The fifth grade Social Studies curriculum is designed to help students master geographic, historic, and civic knowledge and functions to instill in the students historical perspective, readying them for advanced study in Middle School.
Among the important skills student will acquire are:
- A thorough understanding and application of map skills, and reading charts and graphs for geographical understanding
- Developing note-taking abilities, and using information and research for written assignments (reports, projects, and use of technological apps)
- Developing a geographic vocabulary along with a geographic awareness, and accounting for the diversity of places
- Develop a historical vocabulary along with a historical awareness, accounting for the timeline of events, and knowing their impact on the flow of history
- Acquire a proficiency in research, and the use of primary sources for reports and written presentations
- Public speaking and oral presentations and using fact-based arguments in debate-style simulations
- Responsibility and time management throughout all facets of learning
- Collaborate in and out of class with civic-minded students
The fifth grade science program develops an understanding of scientific methods and processes. It involves a variety of labs, activities, and learning experiences that provide personal engagement in the dynamics of learning and the excitement of self-discovery, which exposes students to the interrelationships in the world around them. Students are exposed to concerns that confront humans daily through current events. This participatory approach is used to create knowledge and to enhance students’ appreciation for the laws and principles that guide our existence. Concepts are not independently taught but are intertwined and multidisciplinary, providing students with a multitude of opportunities to become involved in science. This combination of knowledge and discovery skills will help our students relate to current real-world issues.
- Matter: Physical and Chemical Changes: What are some properties of matter?
- Mechanical Energy: What are some ways that energy can be changed from one form to another?
- The Body System: How do organs carry out life functions?
- Exploring Ecosystems: The Everglades - How are plants and animals in an ecosystem connected?
- Health & Nutrition: How do nutrition and exercise affect our health?
The focus of this course is to increase the students’ Spanish proficiency and communicative competency in the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn to request and provide basic information, express their feelings, and exchange opinions in Spanish. They are introduced to more complex written exercises that include scripting and performing their own skits. Small group work and dramatizations are encouraged to allow for a spontaneous and more personal use of the language. Class interactions are primarily conducted in Spanish in order to increase the use of the target language in meaningful situations. Additionally, the use of authentic video and audio material and interactive websites expand the students’ experience of the language. As children progress in Spanish, coursework is differentiated in order to meet varying levels and abilities.
Performing Arts Electives
Students in fifth grade will choose to participate in at least one Performing Arts elective.
This course encompasses many fronts, including acting, singing, and piano study. Students participate in the musical productions as well as in “piano challenges,” an in-class performance for their peers, and two annual performances for the parents.
The fifth grade students are progressing from Lower School chorus to perform more advanced singing and musicianship skills. Each class begins with a short theory and ear training exercise, followed by a group warm-up that explains and fosters the practice of solid vocal technique. The students then begin their performance rehearsal with repertoire pulled from a wide variety of genres, which often includes staging and light choreography. Their final grade is determined by their participation in each end-of-semester performance and any additional performances. This course continues the emphasis on vocal development. Students develop their music and presentation skills through participation in live performances and activities. They advance their choral singing techniques by learning songs in two-to-three part harmony, as well as in other languages.
We are excited to offer our students the opportunity to explore brass and woodwind instruments. Students will have instrument lessons twice per week and participate in a concert band (all instruments together) later in the semester. Basic music theory and individual instrument techniques will be featured in class, as well as playing fun and exciting music in an ensemble setting including multiple parts. Grades will be determined based on classroom participation and two end-of-semester performances.
Fourth and fifth grade string classes at CSN are for third and fourth year string students on violin, viola, cello and, if a student has interest, upright bass. The strongest students from these classes combine to form the CSN fourth and fifth grade orchestra. Fourth and fifth grade beginners wanting to join this class must study privately and commit to extra practicing at home to catch up. These classes will play advanced music, read difficult rhythms, are introduced to new keys, playing positions and more complicated ear training. The orchestra performs twice a year at school for parents, family members, friends, and for fellow students. Students are required to rent or buy an instrument to take this class. CSN provides assistance and information for the rental process.
Fifth grade artists continue to explore a wide range of projects carefully selected for students to not only explore and experiment with the Elements and Principles of Art,but also to apply learning from core subjects for deeper understanding and relevance. Scientific illustrations, origami and cloud studies, are just a few of the many opportunities for students to further their learning in a creative application.
Students pursue longer, term projects with more complexity. Drawing skills are emphasized as well as more advanced, color-mixing techniques. From basic fundamental concepts of drawing, to assemblage art made from found objects, the variety of projects emphasize the wide range of application of a consistent group of art concepts. Learning about the lives and times of individual artists and art groups brings to life the circumstances from which the art or art movement came about. Participation in group projects and critiques provides experience in life skills of interaction, increasingly required in the 21st century.
At this level, students are encouraged to explore and experiment with new materials with an emphasis on creative thinking. Students are responsible for photographing, uploading and maintaining their on-line portfolios that travel with them throughout their CSN experience.
Students will learn about and/or implement:
- Observational drawing techniques
- One Point Perspective Drawing
- Drawing 3-D Shapes and Shading Techniques
- Radial Symmetry
- Longer term projects
- Exploration of a wide variety of materials including acrylic painting, clay projects, printmaking, origami, and Sketchbook Express® on the iPad
- Artist appreciation and inspiration include Brunelleschi, Wayne Thiebaud, Picasso, and Matisse
The fifth grade physical education program expands on skills learned in fourth grade, and continues to apply those skills to games, lifetime activities, and sports preparation and development. All students acquire the knowledge and skills for movement that provide the foundation for enjoyment and continued social development through physical activity.
Fifth grade students demonstrate competency in movement patterns and proficiency in several specialized movement forms. Basic skills such as jumping rope, catching and throwing are now used in game-like situations and lifetime activities. Students continue to learn the etiquette of participation and can resolve conflicts during games and sports in acceptable ways. Students can also match different types of physical activities to health-related fitness components. All fourth and fifth grade students are administered The President’s Challenge on Physical Fitness Test.
Fifth grade physical education also serves as a springboard for the nearly 70% of the fifth grade students who will participate on an interscholastic team as sixth graders.
The ever-increasing impact of technology on teaching and learning is an important consideration in education at all grade levels in the Lower School. Our curriculum encompasses the use of a wide range of digital tools, media, and learning environments for teaching, learning and assessing. Technology provides opportunities for the transformation of teaching and learning, and enables students to investigate, create, communicate, collaborate, organize, and be responsible for their own learning and actions. Through the use of technology, learners develop and apply strategies for critical and creative thinking, engage in inquiry, make connections, and apply new understandings and skills in different contexts. The fifth grade technology curriculum is designed to increase knowledge and comfort with devices and software. Students are encouraged to use computers and iPads for projects relating units across all subjects.
Fifth grade students will learn:
- Basic Computer Literacy: saving files to the appropriate network or drive rather than on the hard drive of the computer, understanding program-specific terminology, inserting and locating files from the directory, and saving them to a USB/Flash drive.
- Keyboarding: understanding the layout, navigation, and use of the typing program to understand the process for viewing key proficiency.
- Word Processing: increasing and decreasing the view/zoom of a document, learning print preview, modifying the size of an inserted image using the image handles, learning text and image relocation on the document, formatting a text box and adjusting background colors, borders, etc., formatting line spacing, formatting page setup, using the spelling and grammar check accessed through the tool menu, creating headers and footers, using the copy and paste functions.
- Creativity programs: inserting images from file and clip art, moving images within the work area, creating and formatting text boxes, using the text tool to create text on images, using the crop tool.
- Presentation Software: creating presentations using PowerPoint, Keynote and iMovie; using apps on the iPad to create presentations.
- Telecommunications: appropriate email use, including using appropriate electronic conduct when using emails.
- Internet: using appropriate Internet searches.
- School Portal: using the school portal to access homework and other information.
The fifth grade digital citizenship curriculum is designed to teach students:
- To stay in control of personal and private information they share with others, both offline and online.
- How websites meant for kids under 13 must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the ways in which websites for those older than 13 may use our private information.
- The differences and similarities between in-person and online bullying.
- The importance of empathizing with the targets of cyber-bullying
- Ways of dealing with and stopping cyber-bullying, whether they are the target, a bystander, or a participant.
- The differences between “knowing” an Internet friend and an in-person friend.
- To not share private information that could give away their identity to Internet friends.
- What to do when an Internet friend makes us feel uncomfortable.
- To ask our parents for permission before talking to Internet friends, and NEVER meeting an Internet friend without taking a parent or guardian with them.
- The importance of including a bibliography with citations for all types of research projects and writing.
- Components of an MLA style citation.
- The differences between citing an online newspaper/magazine article and professional websites using MLA style.