Fifth Grade (CM2)

American Curriculum (20% of school time)

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 work 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 the 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.

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Art: Fifth graders participate in art class every other week. The art program's objectives are reinforced through hands-on projects using a variety of techniques. Over the years, 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 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, using colors to show one’s feelings by making an expressive self-portrait, and gesture drawings of human figures in movement.

Library/Technology: Students are given the opportunity to think and to question as well as to connect learning to their personal experiences. In the earliest grades, students select books for pleasure reading, learn about favorite authors, and form the foundation for problem-solving. The older primary students learn to differentiate fact from fiction and to critically analyze websites in order to hone research skills. In fifth grade, students review research and library skills from previous years and develop a research plan to investigate a famous American from the past. Advanced Internet research skills are a major component of the fifth-grade curriculum with a focus on the importance of assessing the utility or accuracy of websites and how to become effective and discerning researchers. Digital citizenship is taught using BrainPop or Common Sense Media resources. Additionally, students are taught about safety issues and general “netiquette” in email and messaging correspondence. The library continues to offer a large collection of both nonfiction and fiction books to stimulate reading for pleasure.

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 create a lesson around one or several of these values. From everyday experiences that lead to discussions and writing topics, to the use of mentor texts which foster believing in oneself, and being a caring, determined, and responsible child, the various aspects of our character-education program are woven into the curriculum daily.

French Curriculum (80% of school time)

All students follow the French national curriculum for 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 on the content and skills developed in French during the year, please visit the website of the French Ministry of Education.