The spiritual focus in fifth grade is family life, the Trinity, the Church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, the liturgy, sacraments, morality, Catholic Social Teaching, and religious practices. Prayer and scripture are interwoven into our classes on a daily basis. Our students will also be responsible for planning at least two Masses during the school year. They also go to weekly school Mass and weekly Eucharistic Adoration. At least twice a year, students will have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. We also incorporate Theology of the Body’s eight lessons throughout our religion program.
In order to cultivate experience and develop a deeper appreciation for a large number of genres and authors, we use a combination of novels and our literature-based series from the Houghton Mifflin textbook. Students will work on comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding their vocabulary. We seek to help the students grow in their reading and become life-long readers. The students have a monthly independent genre goal within their Lexile Level, as well as monthly reading responses. The genre goals will be selected by the different genres we have learned and discussed in class.
Fifth graders learn the stages of the writing process and demonstrate this process in their work. Part of this includes students taking on the responsibility of editing and revising their own work. We explore the mechanics of writing and implement this more as the year progresses. The students will have the opportunity to write personal narratives, journal prompts, short stories, poetry, research reports, and more. The main goal is to write for authentic purposes and audiences, while taking into account and demonstrating the structures of the English language. We also create writing projects that integrate other subject areas across the curriculum. Occasionally, students are also expected to perform oral presentations to sharpen their public speaking skills.
Fifth graders have weekly spelling lists, concentrating on a variety of common spelling patterns and rules in a logical, sequential format. Each five day unit explores a new concept or letter pattern. Our first goal is to build student familiarity with common spelling patterns and rules, and second, to enhance decoding abilities, strengthening word-attack skills and breaking large words into syllables and meaningful chunks. In addition, we will work on understanding vocabulary words by learning about prefixes, bases words, and suffixes using the program, Vocabulary Surge. Fifth Graders also practice their cursive handwriting using Handwriting without Tears.
We utilize the University of Chicago’s Everyday Math program. In this program students use a hands-on, problem-solving approach based on everyday situations, practice basic skills in a variety of engaging ways, revisit previously learned concepts, and repeatedly practice skills encountered earlier. We learn numeration concepts, four basic operations with fractions and integers, geometry, and basic algebra equations.
Utilizing Houghton-Mifflin’s Social Studies program, geography concepts and skills are reviewed, and studies continue by exploring the cultures of ancient North and South American Indian tribes, researching explorers to the New World, studying America’s early colonial period, the American and Industrial Revolutions, settlement of the West, and the Civil War and Reconstruction.
We incorporate the Next Generation Standards into our curriculum with a large emphasis on S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In science classes we will focus on equipping students with 21st century skills through learning about a variety of different topics: matter and its interactions, motion and stability, energy, molecules/organisms, ecosystems, Earth’s place in the universe, Earth’s systems, the impact of human activity on the Earth, and engineering. We will be using our Houghton Mifflin textbook and various supplementary materials. The fifth graders will have many opportunities for “hands on” experiments in this subject as they learn the importance of designing investigations, making detailed observations, improving their designs, and communicating their discoveries.