Fifth Grade Overview

Fifth grade is the golden year, a nod to ideal physiology (symmetry, heartbeat-to-breath rhythm, sense refinement) and the golden age of Greece, when mythology recedes and democracy, logic and philosophy arise. Even the morning verse changes, shifting perspective from the sun to the student: “I look into the world, and see the shining sun…” The fifth grader now penetrates the world outside themselves with acuity. Exuding openness, enthusiasm, flexibility and harmony, students learn the Greek alphabet, take field trips to nurture the seasonal rhythm of life, and gain independence in language arts by creating their own composition.


5th Grade Curriculum at a Glance


Mythology/History Ancient Cultures: China, India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Greece

Science: Botany I & II Geography United States & North America

Math: Introduction to Decimals, Freehand Geometric Drawing

Drama: Class Play


5th Grade Curriculum in Detail

LANGUAGE ARTS (4 skills classes per week & Main Lesson) – Ms. Franczak

  • Reading: Continued building of reading fluency and reading comprehension skills through assigned reading and reading aloud practice at home

  • Literature: 5th grade marks shift from Reading Groups to Literature Class. Now the class reads several novels and short stories together with their class teacher rather than in small groups with a Reading Helper. All literature books are accompanied by written comprehension work and class discussions led by the class teacher. Some months, students will read a book on their own and prepare a book report or project. Every student is expected to read 8-10 age-level classics over the course of fifth grade.

  • Writing: Continued practice on paragraph writing with clear topic sentences and supporting details. Expanded main lesson writings, story summaries, captions, descriptive paragraphs, creative writing, report writing, letter writing, poetry.

  • Writing: Continued attention on punctuation and capitalization conventions with goal of Conventions achieving writing that is free of punctuation and capitalization errors.

  • Handwriting Students write in cursive and continue to develop “their hand” with goal of having a fluid, relaxed motion by the time they receive their fountain pens midyear.

  • Grammar Students consolidate their understanding of parts of speech, learn to distinguish between simple from compound sentences, and active and passive voice.

  • Vocabulary: Intro to Wordly Wise Vocabulary Series with weekly unit work. Additionally, continued vocabulary building through main lesson-related vocabulary lists.

  • Spelling: Ongoing work with spelling rules; students also maintain personal spelling lists to improve their own editing skills. Self-checking – using dictionary or google – for misspelled words becomes part of the drafting process. Weekly Friday spelling quizzes.

MATH (4 Skills Classes Per Week) – Jenny James & Dustin Monda

  • 5th Grade Singapore Math Workbook & Key Curriculum Series for fractions and decimals

  • Review: Four operations, long division, and fraction concepts covered in 4th grade

  • New Material: Introduction to decimals; finding averages; conversion within English system of measurement; & conversion from English to metric system; graphs – pie chart, bar graphs

  • Ongoing practice with 4 processes and times tables with speed and accuracy

  • Ongoing mental math, math games, story problems, developing problem solving strategies

CHINESE (First Semester)Jennifer Carroll

  • Short dialogues, skits, and games build vocabulary, develop comprehension, & provide speaking practice

  • Reading of characters with Chinese phonetic alphabet

  • Writing simple pictograms and ideograms

  • Formulating sentences and having basic conversations in Chinese

  • Continued celebration of festivals

SPANISH (Second Semester) Jenna Zapata

  • Continued work with reading, writing, oral comprehension, vocabulary building and speaking

  • Continued work with grammar, adding present tense verb chart

  • Geography of Mexico

MUSICMelissa Archer

  • Part singing

  • Interval work with voice and recorder

  • Study of music theory including key signatures, dynamics, vocabulary

  • Recorder practice at home

GAMES Margie Glatte & Javier Alvarez

  • Preparation for regional Olympiad which includes javelin, discus, Greek wrestling, relay, and sprints

  • Ball and Frisbee-handling skills

  • Yoga

  • Learning to rely upon own strength, perseverance, courage

  • Sportsmanship


  • Painting: both plants and humans are portrayed through color exercises

  • Daily drawing practice in main lesson as part of lesson processing

HANDWORK Cynthia Bower

  • Knitting in the round

  • Finishing techniques for knitting projects

  • Advanced skills like thumb holes, gussets, crowns of hats, cable stitching, and i-cords

  • Projects: hats, gauntlets, mittens, baby booties, pom-poms

WOODWORK Michael McGlone

  • Chisel, mallet, and hand drill are introduced

  • Projects: mushroom-shaped container and student’s name chiseled into pine board

EURYTHMY Holly Powell

  • Harmonious group movement to poetry and classical music

  • Staying centered while in the flow and feeling the self as part of the whole

  • Work with copper rods and balls to develop focus, stillness, balance, coordination


Wellness Program ( 4-6 per year)—Guided conversations to promote social/emotional awareness

Chinese Cultural Enrichment (2-4 per year)—Foods, customs, holidays, crafts, traditions

Science Fridays— Ecology studies: relationship of animal life to their environment