Writing - Fifth graders work on strategies for generating writing topics, and practice on-demand writing, narrative and persuasive writing, research-based informational writing and storytelling. They also engage in the writing process of editing and revising. Reading - In fifth grade, students become sustained independent, fluent readers who complete assigned and self-selected books; they write about and participate in full-class discussions about the various texts.
In Spanish, fifth graders read stories and a short novel, Brandon Brown versus Yucatán. They respond to verbal and written questions in both present and past tense. Students move into formal study of regular verb conjugations, and participate in drama, technology, and group projects in target language.
In addition to participating in fitness testing, fifth graders begin analyzing the results of fitness testing, and delve more deeply into concepts of speed, endurance, and pacing for running. They look at physical activity terms and definitions. Finally, they hone their skills in a variety of target, net and wall, striking and fielding and invasion games.
The Lower School library curriculum encourages students to be information literate, to become independent learners, and to engage in social responsibility. They read; are read to; make connections between the class curriculum and library resources; share their stories; learn to be inclusive and open minded through an array of literature; and find joy in reading. As part of Banned Books Week, fifth graders explore the first amendment and censorship. They delve into the world literary genre, including SciFi/Fantasy, Humor, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, and prepare for the transition to Middle School, by honing research skills and evaluating web resources.
Fifth grade social studies focuses on U.S. history from English settlements to colonization, the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution, colonies to a country, forming the U.S. Constitution. Students study the three branches of U.S. government, westward expansion in the 19th century, and the impact on Native Americans.
Design and innovation connects to all grade levels at RDS as core teachers connect with the Director of Innovation and Design to utilize the lab for the extension of curriculum covered in their classrooms. Students might ideate, design, and build as a way of extending their understanding of electricity and simple circuits. Students might also engage in a building experience as a way to explore the creation of three dimensional shapes using basic two dimensional shapes from their math studies. The general flow will be from Tinkering to Making, with an emphasis on the design process as students move into the upper grades.
Fifth graders tackle advanced multiplication and division, fraction and mixed numbers, conversion of fractions to decimals and percents; they study of algebra, area of a triangle, ratio, graphs and probability, angels, surface area and volume.
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums. The art teacher collaborates closely with core teachers to create interdisciplinary projects that complement what students are studying in the classroom. The program is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that art inspires us to cherish the past, enjoy the present, and create the future. Fifth graders explore the world of monsters and fantastical creatures, and create their own clay gargoyles, and 2-dimensional chimeras. They also dive deeper into single-color block printing, using sharp carving tools to carve negative designs into blocks of soft rubber and making prints from these blocks.
Expressing, creating, and performing continue to be integral in fifth grade music. They review music literacy skills and continue to develop vocal/singing skills. The 4th-5th grades spring musical is a culminating experience for fifth graders as they have the opportunity to work towards individual and collective goals, put their music practice into action, and experience the joys of putting on a show.
Fifth grade science centers on weather, heat transfer, solar oven engineering, chemistry, mixtures and solutions, plant and animal systems. Students also create self-designed single variable experiments that follow the scientific method.
Technology in fifth grade is all about driving independence in students. Projects are larger, more complex, self-paced, and require growing agility and facility. Learning resources are varied and require students to figure out tools without teacher input. Digital citizenship and media literacy are key components to every project.
Gardening at Redwood Day is more than starting a seed, planting a flower, or watering some plants. In split classes, fourth graders learn to respect the creatures living in the garden and help keep our plants and habitat healthy. They learn to apply their math skills and use workshop tools to build planters, raised beds, and birdhouses. They actively participate and engage in the cycle of planting, nurturing, and harvesting varieties of plants (including edibles) and learn simple recipes to taste test the results.