Change. Fifth grade revolves around change.
For the first time since nursery, students are together in one class with three teachers. They are taught in a middle school model to prepare them for the secondary school experience. Subjects begin to be departmentalized to help students make an easier transition to secondary school. The class is broken into halves and thirds for various subjects to help differentiate both materials and instruction.
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 United States, and all the factors of change for the various constituencies involved.
Fifth grade students are exposed to challenging literature with complex themes. Vocabulary, writing, and research are all emphasized, as are critical thinking and comprehension skills. Academic subjects are frequently integrated with the arts program, and band and chorus are options for the first time.