5th Grade Curriculum

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Class work in the fifth grade is a combination of short term assignments such as daily class work and long term assignments such as major thematic projects, book reports, and science projects.  Time management skills and study skills, such as taking notes and using index cards are emphasized throughout in an effort to increase student achievement, self-discipline, and responsibility.

READING.  Students read and study fiction with an eye to plot, character, setting and theme.  Much of the reading program is coordinated with the social studies program to give the student a more interesting and informed look at the literature and the people about whom the books are written.  For example, while studying American history, the students will be reading historical fiction which parallels units in social studies.  Book reports encourage students to read across several genres, including books of biography, American history, mystery, non-fiction and children’s classics.  Silent and oral reading builds reading confidence.  Student magazines and newspapers enhance vocabulary and awareness of current events.

LANGUAGE ARTS.  Instruction includes parts of speech, sentence structure and punctuation.  Weekly spelling tests include words encountered in literature, class subjects and a general spelling list.  Vocabulary is enhanced through weekly activities involving new word usage, classroom games and review.  The culminating activity of the fifth grade language arts program is a major report project on one of the United States.  The project especially involves time management skills, computer skills, and report writing.

SOCIAL STUDIES.  Fifth grade social studies begin with a review of map skills and geography, and then continue with a survey of American history from the colonial period through present day.  A study of Canada and Mexico helps define our relationship geographically and historically to our closest neighbors.  Students refine their research and writing skills as they prepare reports on famous Native Americans and African Americans.

SCIENCE.  Students receive a survey of topics, with emphasis on the scientific method and laboratory safety.  Topics covered will include the following:  Environments of plants, animals, astronomy, electricity, chemistry, and physics.  Laboratory skills will include making collections, using chemicals and glassware safely, and performing experiments to increase understanding of concepts taught in class.  A study of ecology, animal classification and adaptation, and the daily care of several small classroom pets enhance the student’s appreciation of the complexity of nature.

MATHEMATICS.  The math program in the fifth through eighth grade is individualized so that each student is able to perform to his or her potential.  A placement test is given at the beginning of the school year, and students are started at an appropriate level in the sequence. Each child works at his or her own pace at the level that he or she is capable of maintaining.  An assignment sheet is kept to monitor the progress of each student.  Grades are based on a daily grade as well as test grades.  Students are expected to progress  at a pace which is challenging while still attaining mastery of each concept before a new one is presented.  Generally speaking, a student on the fifth grade mathematics level would be expected to be able to perform the functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  New concepts include factors and prime numbers, and basic geometry.  Learning is facilitated by the use of manipulatives to assist students in grasping the idea and process.

ENRICHMENTS.  Students in the fifth grade have specialized instruction in art, music, Spanish, Sacred Studies, library and physical education each week.  Band is also offered at this age with classes meeting twice a week.  Some classroom instruction discusses health and hygiene as well as overall wellness.

COMPUTER.  Two classroom computers provide the opportunity for the students to work independently in all areas of course work.  Weekly trips to the computer lab allow students to experience several aspects of technology while working on typing skills, research ability, presentations on the computer and developing other valuable computer skills.

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