FIFTH GRADE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
Our fifth-grade Language Arts program is designed to increase student communication skills through comprehensive course work in grammar, creative writing, literature, research, composition, spelling and vocabulary. Students are challenged through regular instruction to develop critical and creative thinking skills. In fifth grade, the five areas of Language Arts concentration are productive thinking, decision-making, planning, forecasting and communication.
Reading - Our reading program introduces students to literary works of fiction and non-fiction. Our focus is on the comprehension and enjoyment of fine literature. We use the Houghton Mifflin Reading Series and several novel studies. Skills are strengthened through extended activities, class discussions, predicting and problem solving, questions and answers, and vocabulary development. Students have opportunities to respond creatively to novels, short stories, and poems through oral interpretation.
Spelling/Vocabulary - Effective communication requires accurate spelling. We take spelling words from our reading experiences and Wordly Wise workbooks. Students receive daily practice in using dictionaries and thesauruses, alphabetizing, recognizing base words and affixes, and identifying homonyms, synonyms and antonyms. The Wordly Wise workbooks are also used for vocabulary enrichment.
Speaking - Students improve their speaking skills by participating in class discussions, expressing opinions and ideas, and giving oral presentations. Throughout the year, fifth-grade students also participate in chapel readings. Emphasis is placed on developing fluent, organized, and meaningful oral expression.
Grammar - Instructional materials for teaching grammar include Practice Exercises in Basic English, Daily Oral Language, the Houghton Mifflin writing program, and supplemental materials. In fifth grade, we study eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, conjunctions, adverbs, interjections, and prepositions. Through a variety of exercises and activities, students gain practice in writing complete sentences, forming paragraphs, choosing proper verb forms, and using correct capitalization and punctuation.
Composition - Students practice writing in order to stimulate their imagination and accurately represent their thought process. Throughout the school year, fifth graders will write from their own experiences and in response to works they have read. Writing assignments include a variety of projects, book reports, stories, and poetry. Students continue to practice the five-step process of composition: prewriting, writing, editing, proofreading, and revising. Fifth-graders also practice the five-paragraph essay structure.
Fifth graders use the Harcourt Math program, along with supplemental materials including Oral Math, Math Flash (a software program to improve basic computation skills) and basic math exercises. The fifth- grade math program contains a thorough review of the four basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Problem solving is emphasized throughout the year, as continual practice with word problems, fractions, and decimals is essential for students to learn, recycle, and remember the foundation skills and concepts of mathematics. Fifth-grade students also work with percentages, basic geometry, and the number line. They are introduced to negative numbers and probability and participate in a hands-on algebra program.
Using the Scott Foresman textbook, The United States, fifth-grade students study American history through the Civil War with a strong and consistent integration of geography, humanities, and citizenship. In world history, they focus on the role and routes of European explorers. Daily Oral Geography and National Geographic’s Map Essentials provide fifth graders with a thorough review of map and globe skills. A social studies newspaper, which correlates to the subject area being discussed, is also used. We have a special election study focus every four years, and fifth-grade students will study the U.S. Census process in 2010.
St. Mary’s science curriculum is a hands-on approach to learning the fundamental processes of science. Through direct laboratory, classroom and outdoor experiences, students will be exposed to observing, measuring, recording, classifying, interpreting, analyzing, inferring, predicting, and investigating. The fifth-grade science curriculum focuses on the earth/space, life and physical sciences and has been developed with the National Science Education Standards as its foundation. Hands on Elementary Science, Science Studies Weekly and Delta Science Modules have been used in the development of activities and learning experiences. Topics covered in fifth grade include the solar system, rocks and minerals, classification of organisms, cell structure, and chemistry. Students are responsible for participating in outdoor education, conducting lab investigations, keeping lab notebooks, and completing various assessments throughout the year. .
Fifth-grade students have two 45-minute Spanish classes each week during which they review and build upon themes, structures, and vocabulary previously introduced in the Sube and Teach Them Spanish curricula. Educational videos, library books, traditional music, and guest speakers are other “windows” through which they continue to expand their world view in Spanish class and prepare for Middle School language programs. In October, we recognize Hispanic Heritage month with student presentations at Spanish Night. In December, fifth-graders lead our Las Posadas procession and chapel service. This year, they will also explore ways in which famous people from the Spanish-speaking world have changed the course of history.
FIFTH GRADE ENRICHMENT CLASSES
Our physical education program provides fifth graders with unique fundamental knowledge, interaction, and physical skills appropriate for their age level. Fifth-grade units consist of drills, exercise, physical activity, and games. They include the President’s fitness challenge, dance and movement, archery, relays, volleyball, jogging and cross-country. Our goal is to equip students with knowledge of and a desire for life-long physical activity. Students are also encouraged to engage in physical activity outside of the classroom through team sports and individual exercise.
Fifth-grade students attend Chapel twice weekly and actively participate in the service. Our Chapel curriculum is derived from The Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. On Wednesdays, the elementary chapel uses The Book of Common Prayer and focuses on the Lectionary Readings. Monday morning chapel services are taken from The Book of Common Prayer Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families. This devotion follows the basic structure of the Daily Office of the Church. Portions of Psalms, scripture readings and collects (prayers) are read at this service. Students also recite The Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed. A time for quiet individual prayer is provided, as well as a time for singing.
Religious education classes are based on resources from the Episcopal Children's Curriculum, The Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and The Bible. They are designed to increase each student’s knowledge of The Bible, the Middle East (both current day and biblical day), monotheistic religions, and the life of Jesus. Each student will keep a folder of their work.
Religious studies at the fifth-grade level include the following themes and objectives:
Regular art classes provide fifth graders with experience in drawing and painting, basic art techniques, imagery and guided art, and 3-dimensional art (clay). Various arts activities are incorporated into the regular classroom curriculum, as well.
Fifth graders experience rhythm, pitch, Orff instruments, elements of basic music theory and a number of participatory musical activities using the Orff Schulwerk approach. They study orchestral families, identify composers and their music, explore cultural music, perform in front of others, and gain hands-on experience with instruments. In fifth grade, students are able to produce music with voice (singing skills) and instruments, and read basic music notations. They are also exposed to a wide variety of music and musical styles.
Our health program teaches students the importance of wellness and a positive lifestyle. In fifth grade, the main focus is on body systems. Students explore the health risks of cigarette smoking and chemical dependencies. Special sections deal with puberty education, bullying prevention, and AIDS awareness. In each area of physical education and health studies, emphasis is placed on the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own health and making wise choices.
Fifth-grade students attend class in the computer lab and experience a variety of age-appropriate software and internet sites that enrich and complement their classroom learning. Computer education at this level includes a review of and continued work in Microsoft Word, Print Shop and PowerPoint; an Internet Safety Unit; an introduction to Microsoft Excel; database concepts; Internet Search Skills; and file and directory management.
I started at St. Mary's in kindergarten and have loved every grade. I love the teachers and that the school is not too big. When I finish school, I want to come back and be a 4th grade teacher at St. Mary's! Joshua Hamilton, Class of 2017