AMERICAN CURRICULUM (20% of the school week)
Language Arts: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are at the heart of everything we do. Students have many opportunities to practice these four basic language skills during every class. Spelling, grammar, and mechanics are taught explicitly. Students write often and assignments vary to allow them to practice organizing their thoughts and working with different genres. Oral reports and presentations help develop speaking and listening skills.
Reading Workshop as developed by the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University forms the basis of reading instruction and practice. Through mini-lessons, modeling, and conferring, teachers guide students in developing the strategies they need to be active readers. Units of Study in Fifth Grade emphasize the interpretation and analysis of themes, tackling complexity in nonfiction texts, and developing skills in argument and advocacy through the research of debatable issues. Book clubs are devoted to fantasy and historical fiction. A fully differentiated program, it allows students to grow as readers at their own pace.
Content Area - Early American History: This is the first part of a history course that continues in the Middle School creating a smooth transition between the two divisions. The course begins with the Land Bridge and first inhabitants of North America. It continues with the Age of Exploration and the Colonial Period, and ends with the events leading to the American Revolution. Through activities, projects, discussion, and simulations, social studies and history concepts are explored. All students complete a biography research project on a famous American.
Art: Fifth graders participate in an art class every other week. The art program's objectives are reinforced through hands-on projects using a variety of techniques. Over the course of five years, the students are introduced to the essential elements that structure the way one creates art, namely: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. Every project includes a combination of these essential “building blocks.” Students work with gradually increasing agility, complexity, and intention, as they mature from grade to grade. Each year, art expectations become more sophisticated as the teachers support each student’s increasing ability to observe the physical world, as well as their ability to better express their feelings and ideas.
Examples of possible projects and lessons include finding a balance with mobiles, personifying found objects to construct a free standing sculpture, and using colors to show one’s feelings by making an expressive self-portrait.
Library/Technology: First and foremost, the library program strives to instill a love of reading by offering the students access to classics of children’s literature as well as contemporary fiction and non-fiction from leading authors. All students attend library classes every other week when they have an opportunity to browse the collection and check out books and magazines. During the library sessions, Fifth Grade students listen to stories, learn how the library is organized, and learn to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction books. Our classrooms are equipped with Interactive Smartboards and students have access to 1 to 1 use of iPads. The library team assists the classroom teachers in the implementation of this technology.
Character Education: Six basic human values: respect, responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance, trustworthiness, fairness, and caring are discussed and developed whenever appropriate during the year. The teacher may choose to develop a lesson around one or several of these values
FRENCH CURRICULUM (80% of the school week)
All students follow the French national curriculum for the Fifth Grade with the exception of those who are in the French immersion class, Français Special. Besides French reading and language arts, math, gym, and penmanship are taught exclusively in French. For more information on the content and skills developed in French during the year go to the website of the French Ministry of Education.