Grade 5


The theme in Grade 5 is Art and Communication. Students discover that artists translate thoughts, dreams, and experiences into art that others can understand. They learn that art can communicate social and political causes, personal feelings, historical records, and religious meaning. A connection is drawn between the establishment of the American nation and the art of that time. Students create works reflecting a growing ability to organize and compose elements in pictures, sculptures, and crafts. They grow in the understanding that art is a universal form of communication expressed and perceived in many ways.

Language Arts

The core of Grade 5 language arts is Guided Reading, which provides students with small group instruction tailored to the strengths and needs of the group. They also read core literature books as part of Literature Circles, which focus on understanding theme, character development, vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking. Students develop a strong understanding of essential grammar concepts, including prepositions and prepositional phrases, subjects and verbs, capitalization, and punctuation. As authors, students work on developing a “writing life” using Writing Workshop. Students focus on writing well-written sentences while developing their voices as writers in pieces such as memoirs and argument-based research papers. As part of their research, they learn how to find and use reliable Internet sites.


The Singapore Math curriculum uses a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach to introduce new math concepts. Through bar modeling, students learn techniques of deriving, drawing, and manipulating information to represent a variety of mathematical concepts. Students build and deepen previous concepts, with an emphasis on fractions, decimals, and geometry. The curriculum instills confidence in math and critical thinking.


Students in Grade 5 begin to move toward ensemble performance with the introduction of choral singing. They also learn choral accompaniment on a variety of Orff Instruments. Dotted and tied rhythms are introduced, and every student participates in two all-school concerts per year.

Physical Education

Physical Education consists of 10 weeks of swimming—five weeks each in the fall and spring. Students work on their swim strokes and get the opportunity to learn water polo. Social dancing is taught for five weeks during the spring term. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and other games are played throughout the year to build familiarity with the rules and strategies of sports offered in middle school.


In Grade 5, religion focuses on the experience of God’s grace and presence in daily life. Students receive a Bible and learn to locate passages in both Old and New Testaments. In class, students discuss and reflect on the significance of scripture in their lives. Students become familiar with different forms of prayer, the liturgical calendar, and the symbols and practices of the Church.


Using the Full Option Science System (FOSS) program, Grade 5 explores engineering, modeling, and inquiry. Students learn the value and limitations of creating models while studying atoms, the seasons, and the solar system. Students research and use the scientific process as they ask questions and design experiments.

Social Studies

Grade 5 social studies uses the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute (TCI) program and covers American history in an interactive and collaborative way. In-depth units about European exploration and the American Revolution culminate with overnight, living history field trips. Students build subject area study skills as they integrate classroom experiences, an interactive notebook, and the textbook. Students learn about economics, and they later develop a business plan and design a product.


Grade 5 Spanish emphasizes speaking, cultural awareness, and the techniques and skills needed to be successful in middle school Spanish. By the end of Grade 5, students are able to talk about activities they like and dislike; personality traits; school schedules and subjects; what they do during the day; and food, health, and exercise choices.


Grade 5 technology fosters inquiry and independent, critical thinking. While learning the basics of Adobe Creative Suite, students deepen their understanding of technical applications while developing ideas. They explore simple machine elements such as cams, levers, and linkages, while creating mechanical sculptures. Students create interesting and informative web pages, digital art, videos, and detailed multimedia presentations. They further develop their computational thinking through a variety of programming languages.