The Fifth Grade writing program is implemented with a keen eye toward the developmental leaps a student must make when entering the middle school years. Reinforcing the idea that the process of writing is a system, and encouraging the class to see composition as construction, fifth graders are creating a “toolbox” with which they can use to access and hone their writing craft. Approaching our written work with an eye on process and the notion of revisiting and revising allows us to be more productive, organized, and in control of our finished product.
Most importantly, our fifth graders become more independent and fluent writers, confident that they are communicating their interior thoughts clearly and with intention.
The overarching questions that we pursue include:
- What tools can I collect this year to add to my writers toolbox?
- How can I access my toolbox to become a more creative and independent writer?
- How can I best communicate through my writing?
Writing practices are explored through various genres including:
- Essays: Persuasive, response to literature, five paragraph with thesis statement
- Free writing
- Short story
- Expository writing: Note taking, paraphrasing, summarizing
- Journal writing
- Letter writing
- Picture/Word Prompt writing
Grammar and mechanics are addressed within the context of daily writing assignments through mini lessons that are generated from authentic student work. This direct teaching method keeps the information relevant to the writers, allowing the students to embed grammar lessons into their work as they are creating it.
The Fifth Grade year is a time to consolidate all the arithmetic skills and apply them in new and fascinating ways.
Fifth grade mathematics follows two distinct yet integrated paths: exploring the ideas behind the math while continuing to hone the calculation skills needed to explore the world with numbers. TERC Investigations is the core mathematics curriculum. The goal is to help all children understand the fundamental ideas of number and operations, geometry, data, measurement and early algebra through hands-on and collaborative investigations. Proficiency with arithmetic skills is supported throughout the program. A variety of assessment techniques including observations, students’ self-assessments, quizzes, homework and individual oral assessment are used. Extensions or review sessions are offered to accommodate students who need further challenges or additional help. As much as possible, students apply their mathematical skills to solve practical, real-life problems. During the structures unit, students build bridges with paper and calculate a load-to-weight ratio (the weight of the load supported before collapse to the weight of the paper bridge) in order to compare the relative strength of each structure. This is the same rating used by civil engineers in the field.
The principal concepts taught in Fifth Grade are:
- The history of number systems, their relative merits and how they compare to our modern system;
- Estimate, round, and manipulate very large (e.g., millions) and very small (e.g., thousandths) numbers;
- Representation and interpretation of fractions, decimals and percentages;
- Identify and represent on a number line decimals, fractions, mixed numbers, and positive and negative integers;
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with decimals;
- Prime factors of all numbers through 50 and write the numbers as the product of their prime factors by using exponents to show multiples of a factor;
- Calculations involving fractions with like and unlike denominators;
- Understanding the concept of volume and use the appropriate units in common measuring systems to compute the volume of rectangular solids;
- Angle measurement, the exploration of polygons and circles, including radius, diameter and circumference;
- Visualization and draw two-dimensional views of three-dimensional objects made from rectangular solids;
- Organization and display single-variable data in appropriate graphs and representations and explain which types of graphs are appropriate for various data sets. Strategies for checking the accuracy of calculations.