Fifth Grade

Language Arts
The language arts skills developed through reading and writing are truly universal in fifth grade. Every subject requires proficiency in areas such as writing well constructed paragraphs, reading grade-level and above materials, and comprehending complex subject matter. To accomplish these goals, our teachers offer a plethora of opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Journal writing, creating iMovies, PowerPoints, note-taking, research papers, interviews, public speaking, poetry recitations, drama, are just a few of the avenues for our students to express themselves. Within this framework, spelling, grammar, and editing are foundational skills for excellent communication. Novels, short stories, and Open Court Reading Series stories include much of the literature read in fifth grade. Comparing and contrasting, predicting outcomes, and critical thinking strategies are discussed regularly. Acquiring knowledge is a skill and a talent fostered in fifth grade language arts.
In fifth grade, math lessons build upon the skills learned in fourth grade, and our teacher simultaneously covers a fifth and sixth grade curriculum. Beginning with numeration, topics quickly move into adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing whole numbers, decimals and fractions. Word problems, real-life situations, and critical thinking exercises require a high level of thought, accuracy, and diligence in class. Additional topics include: Roman numerals, exponents, measurement - both customary and metric, ratios, proportions, percents, probability, introduction to integers, and geometry. All fifth graders enjoy learning about the stock market, investments, and graphing their progress. Other real-life exercises include tipping, sales tax, discounts, and dining activities. Math is everywhere, and fifth graders leave the program understanding that math is a discipline that traverses school, home, and their independent lives.
In fifth grade, students extend their knowledge of the cell and study the nervous system, the brain, and the sensory receptors in great detail. Then, having a strong foundation of the nervous system and other body systems, they learn about how drugs, alcohol, and tobacco affect our bodies. After that, they learn all about Newton’s Laws and investigate how his laws govern forces of motion on Earth and in space. At the end of the year, students take a close look inside the nucleus of a cell and learn about genes, chromosomes, DNA, heredity, genetics, mitosis, and meiosis. It’s a busy and intellectually stimulating year where students begin to appreciate how intricate and amazing our bodies, our world, and our universe truly is.
Social Studies
The fifth grade social studies curriculum encompasses the time frame in U.S. history from the mid-eighteenth century through present day. Students learn about the factors that influence society including economic, political, and religious similarities and differences. Geography and current events are woven into the study of American history, and students gain a genuine understanding on their position in today’s global society. A wide variety of media, including actual footage of historical and current events are used to inspire discussions, role-playing, and the creation of time line projects. These creative timeline pieces collaboratively display Reconstruction, Expansionism, World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and events happening today. Museum trips and guest speakers also enhance the history experience.

Students in fifth grade focus on intensive projects that require more time and planning than in previous grades. They are exposed to new, as well as delve deeper into previously presented, art-making techniques and artistic concepts. Fifth grade incorporates a focus on design process and collaboration. Students are expected to show careful craftsmanship, while creating artwork that encourages them to express their creative individuality, and gain a deeper appreciation for the role art has in their lives and the world at large.
Global Languages
In fifth grade, students have French, Mandarin, and Spanish classes in 40-minute classes twice a week. This exposure to three of the four languages taught at the Middle School offers fifth graders the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding their language choice in the grades ahead. Students learn basic meeting and greeting, counting, weather, traditions, food, dance and culture. They also engage in lessons, sing songs, play games, watch videos, and work collaboratively.  

In fifth grade, the library is a place for enjoyable leisure reading as well as a resource for student research. Concepts reviewed from fourth grade include: the steps for constructing a research report; the concepts of ethical and critical research; various web based resources; and the use of EasyBib for constructing a bibliography. The reports in fifth grade are written are in class and independently at home. Classroom teachers and our librarian guide the process to insure success in completing a substantial research paper on a topic of their choice. This experience proves invaluable to students as they prepare for the rigors of Middle School. 

Fifth graders meet as a full chorus once per week and once with their individual homeroom. Instruments used during class include Orff glockenspiels, African drums, keyboards, and bells. Music elements are used in student compositions, music theory activities, and music history lessons. Units on contemporary music and copyrighting are studied. Students have opportunities to perform in vocal concerts, volunteer for the bell groups, and audition for the Morning Star solos for Vespers. Students complete a computer research project in class throughout the year using iLife software.

Physical Education
The Physical Education curriculum for fourth and fifth grade students consists of the following goals: To refine basic skills of sports through various skills, drills, and participation; to provide a basic understanding of rules and procedures in sports and games; to increase fitness and coordination through sports, games, and dance; to teach cooperation and sportsmanship through sports and games; to continue the development of listening and direction following skills; to encourage students to use creative thinking and problem solving strategies in various individual and group situations; to help develop responsibility by being prepared (having appropriate gym uniform and acting responsibly in locker room; to develop and maintain good health habits by nurturing a lifetime desire for maintaining physical activity and recreation; to help create a positive self image.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus