In fifth grade, students grow into independent, lifelong readers where their comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary are further developed and refined through scaffolded and differentiated learning experiences, including student engagement in book clubs. In writing, fifth graders work on strategies for generating writing topics, and practice on-demand writing, narrative and persuasive writing, informational writing with a focus on research skills, and storytelling. They also expand their editing and revising skills as part of the writing process.
Using Comprehensible Input, students, in the fifth-grade Spanish program, engage in an increased amount of writing and reading in the target language. Instruction includes stories that provide a context for rich conversations while repeating and targeting vocabulary words and structures. Students collectively write familiar stories and create newly generated stories. As a culminating project, students work with a partner to write, illustrate and produce a storybook using the Sweet 16 verbs. Written in the present tense, each story includes a physical description of the main character, a description of the character’s likes and dislikes, a description of the setting, a description of a problem for the character to solve, and an explanation of how the character solved the problem. Writing and reading comprehension are the focal points of this year. The expectation for fifth-grade students is that they develop confidence in reading and interacting with written texts with familiar vocabulary and grammar structures. As emergent writers, students write sentences in basic structure using the targeted vocabulary.
Fifth graders in PE are encouraged to embrace challenges and learn from their experiences while developing skills of teamwork, communication, and a sense of fair play. They practice throwing, catching, passing, and receiving with both partners moving. They learn and practice appropriate pacing for a variety of running distances and work together as a group or team during cooperative games and challenges. An additional focus for this group includes learning to work with, teach and coach younger and less experienced students.
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 various literature; and find joy in reading.
Through the lens of multiple perspectives and beginning with the question of “Who writes history?", 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 also learn about the three branches of U.S. government, westward expansion in the 19th century, and the impact on Native Americans. Students learn through hands-on activities, media, technology, and projects.
In fifth-grade Mandarin, emphasis is placed on learning tones, pronunciation, listening, and speaking. Students demonstrate comprehension by using Mandarin in real-life conversations with their teacher and classmates in an interactive manner. At this level, students learn more advanced greetings and engage in conversations about their family members, pets, body parts, the weather, their favorite colors, preferences for food and drinks, and some common Chinese foods. At this stage, students start to read and write sentences in Mandarin, and they use learned expressions to describe things or people in some detail, using the appropriate pronouns, grammar, and various sentence patterns.
In split classes, fifth-grade students keep our plants and habitats healthy and learn how to apply their growing knowledge to the kitchen classroom. They apply their math skills and use 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 utilize their knife skills and flavor know-how to develop recipes based on social studies learning.
Fifth graders, in math, build on their knowledge from previous grades creating a solid foundation for success as mathematicians. Students learn advanced multiplication and division, fractions and mixed numbers, conversion of fractions to decimals and percents, an introduction to algebra and ratio, graphs and probability, surface area and measuring volume. Along with each math concept, students further these skills and apply them to solve multi-step word problems.
Fifth graders, in DBi, explore the theme of Universal Design. At the beginning of the year, students learn a variety of prototype-building skills including the exploration of motors and paper engineering. They then use design thinking skills to design and build analog and digital projects where the emphasis is that the design is accessible to all types of people.
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 grade 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.
In Fifth grade, Equity and Inclusion groups are centered on developing an understanding of stereotypes, prejudice, and bias related to race and gender. In addition, students explore sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersectionality.
Fifth grade science centers on weather, heat transfer, solar oven engineering, chemistry, mixtures and solutions, and plant and animal systems. Students also create self-designed single variable experiments that follow the scientific method.
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums and study artists from diverse backgrounds. Instruction is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that all children are artists and that growth comes from continuous practice, experimentation, and reflection. Fifth graders explore realistic perspective drawing, create digitally-altered photographs, and study the sculptural work of indigenous artists from the Pacific Northwest. They also dive deeper into block printing, using carving tools to create negative space designs in blocks of soft rubber and making prints from these blocks.
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 of every project. All of this involves formatting skills, research skills, gathering information, taking notes, creating slide presentations, citing sources, and communicating with teachers via school email.