Age 3 through 6th Grade

Search form

☰ Menu
Boy typing on laptop

Fifth Grade Overview

Fifth graders on nature hike

Change. Fifth Grade revolves around change. 

For the first time since Nursery, all the fifth graders are together in one class with three teachers. This provides a great amount of flexibility in terms of grouping and working with students. The class will most often be found divided into thirds, halves, or even smaller groups to work on various projects.

Change is also the central theme studied throughout the year, with this question: “What motivates people to change?” Students delve into this, personally, globally, and historically. In social studies, much of the year is spent studying the westward expansion in the U.S., and all the factors of change for the various constituencies involved. 

They are writing constantly – essays, personal narratives, research papers, creative stories, and poetry. They read constantly. Some favorite books from this year include My Brother Sam is Dead, The Cay, and Under the Same Sky. One method teachers use to build excitement about upcoming books is a “book launch” party. For example, before reading My Brother Sam is Dead, they re-create “Ye Olde Community Tavern” in the classroom for lunch one day, complete with candlelight (electric), bread, meat, cheese, and ale (root beer) in order to give students a sense of life in Early America.


  • Practice comprehension strategies including inferring, summarizing, predicting, questioning, visualizing, determining importance, and making connections
  • Practice listening comprehension skills
  • Identify themes and author’s intent
  • Identify elements of fiction
  • Practice oral fluency
  • Respond to literature through writing
  • Practice the twocolumn note taking strategy on nonfiction articles
  • Independently select appropriate books to read
  • Set independent reading goals
  • Practice a strategy for writing accurate summaries
  • Examples of major works read – Shakespeare Plays Written for Kids, The Shakespeare Stealer
  • Reading Units of Study by Lucy Calkins are also used

Language Arts

  • Practice narrative, opinion and informational writing
  • Develop and refine strategies for writing across curriculum
  • Develop and identify various types of sentences
  • Practice using correct mechanics within sentences
  • Practice using new words and take regular vocabulary quizzes
  • Develop “seed” stories for personal narrative, opinion and informational pieces
  • Research and develop composition
  • Respond to various prompts in journal
  • Programs used include Wordly Wise, G.U.M. (Grammar, Usage, Mechanics) and Writing Units of Study by Lucy Calkins


  • Use place value models to read, write, add and subtract numbers to 10,000,000
  • Convert fractions to decimals and decimals to fractions
  • Use ratios
  • Convert fractions to percents
  • Multiply multi-digit numbers
  • Find quotients involving multi-digit dividends
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions and decimals
  • Identify and add two sides of triangles
  • Find the area of triangles
  • Represent and analyze data in a double bar graph
  • Compare experimental results and theoretical probability
  • Use the order of operations
  • Simplify and solve algebraic expressions
  • Graph linear equations
  • Use calculators and technology to solve problems

Social Studies

  • Theme: Define what motivates people to change or make changes
  • Consider the consequences of decisions
  • Identify the civic tradition and political system of the Revolutionary War
  • Investigate the U.S. Constitution and the branches of government
  • Examine culture and cultural diversity
  • Explore current events
  • Locate and label the fifty states of the U.S.
  • Name and locate map elements of: bay, cape, fjord, glacier, lagoon, strait, and ocean currents
  • Country of study: England


  • Use quantitative and qualitative data as support for reasonable explanations
  • Communicate simple procedures, results of investigations and connections to evidence through writing and discussions
  • Explore, research, build and test a solar oven
  • Evaluate microscopes and observe specimens and cells
  • Analyze cells and their organelles
  • Explore current electricity, how circuits work, parts of circuits and how to diagram them
  • Create and test series and parallel circuits
  • Plan and carry out LEGO robotics test with controlled variables
  • Test rockets to apply Newton’s third law
  • Explore gravity, friction and air resistance
  • Units of study: electricity, engineering, LEGO Robotics, force and motion, body systems and cells, microscopes, chemistry


  • Recognize and follow classroom commands and general directions
  • Use greeting and farewell courtesies
  • Discuss family members, occupations, and free time activities
  • Discuss and apply familiar vs. formal speech
  • Discuss items carried in a backpack
  • Discuss food
  • Recognize if a noun is masculine, feminine, or plural
  • Recognize the definite articles (le, la, and les)
  • Recognize the partitive articles (du, de la, and des)
  • Express the time and when events occurred
  • Identify school subjects and what one does in class
  • Acquire the vocabulary and language structures needed to read Les aventures d’Isabelle
  • Recognize and use interrogatives in oral and written comprehension questions
  • Discuss and retell events of the story
  • Orally answer basic comprehension questions over reading material
  • Answer basic comprehension questions in written form

Physical Education

  • Demonstrate ability to problem solve during a group challenge
  • Show the ability to communicate during a group challenge
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities during group activities
  • Understand game rules and implement them in self-regulated activities and competitions
  • Work on more complex formations and strategies in games
  • Apply upper body exercises and endurance running in daily warm ups and games
  • Apply more advanced techniques in basketball, volleyball, and track & field units
  • Demonstrate throwing skills in football, basketball and softball while on the move
  • Measure catching skills by throwing and catching a given distance in football, basketball, softball and lacrosse
  • Apply footwork skills in soccer
  • Demonstrate striking skills in field hockey, volleyball and softball
  • Demonstrate climbing, traversing and balancing skills in daily exercises, tumbling, and obstacle courses
  • Establish and agree upon game rules and boundaries in all games
  • Determine coordinates of specific landmarks on campus with a compass and map
  • Implement orienteering skills on the Fifth Grade Hike
  • Special events: Ice skating, hike, track meet

Visual Arts

Studio Art

  • Use line to define texture
  • Create negative and positive space
  • Distinguish between foreground and background and create depth through value changes
  • Alter the picture scale while maintaining proportions
  • Connect concepts to social studies and math


  • Understand and demonstrate safety guidelines in the woodshop
  • Develop individual designs for project
  • Demonstrate proper use of marking tools to lay out lines
  • Demonstrate correct use of crosscut, back and coping saws
  • Use try square, gauge, mallet, sandpaper, block plane and files to complete projects
  • Analyze quality of each project and set goals for improvement
  • Share project with class and teachers

Performing Arts


  • Identify and notate various music symbols in different styles of music
  • Recognize and play correct notes, note values, and rests on melodic/rhythmic instruments
  • Create and play rhythmic/melodic passages using AB and ABA form
  • Aurally identify rhythm, pitch, and tempo within various pieces of music
  • Sing with accurate pitch and intonation
  • Use clear vocal enunciation and diction
  • Maintain melody/harmony in ensemble setting
  • Use correct breathing and phrasing
  • Pronounce foreign languages accurately
  • Use correct fingerings on recorder
  • Identify and play notes (including sharps and flats)/ rhythms correctly
  • Play with good tone and accuracy on the recorder
  • Transition note reading to recorder fingering
  • Identify all notes on the treble clef staff


  • Demonstrate increased competency in fluency, enunciation, projection, cheating out, posture, expression, eye contact and visualization during public speaking and performances
  • Use the tools of an actor to become a character and stay in character
  • Work cooperatively to solve problems both onstage and off
  • Model correct stage pictures to show focus
  • Translate Shakespearean texts and convey tone and emotion of character
  • Practice appropriate backstage and onstage etiquette
  • Performances: Voting- Democracy In Action, productions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet


  • Demonstrate the proper assembly and care of an instrument
  • Learn scales and perform songs
  • Perform the 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4 time signatures
  • Count and perform rhythms correctly
  • Perform ensemble pieces
  • Study the history of music


  • Understand and demonstrate vocal production skills
  • Understand and demonstrate ensemble singing skills
  • Perform music written in two- and three-part harmony
  • Perform a varied repertoire from various time periods, cultures, and styles
  • Define and demonstrate the concepts of pitch, rhythm and meter, using standard notation