Fifth Grade Curriculum
Students develop skills in speaking, writing, and research. In Writer’s Workshop, students learn techniques for enhancing narrative writing and will have an opportunity to explore expository and persuasive styles of writing, as well as poetry. Writing mechanics, sentence and paragraph structure, and parts of speech are also taught. Students engage with several novels throughout the year, and periodically read short stories and non-fiction selections.
Students continue to build on an understanding of number sense through exposure and practice with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents. Model drawing will also be highlighted. Homework is related to what is taught in class or a review of previously learned skills. Regularly occurring tests will help teachers assess student mastery of content.
Fifth-grade students conduct tests, gather evidence, and develop explanations for the phenomena they are investigating. Fifth grade students discover answers to questions such as: “When matter changes, does its weight change? Can new substances be created by combining other substances? How does matter cycle through ecosystems? Where does the energy in food come from and what is it used for?” Students will describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen through the development of a model. They understand the idea that regardless of the type of change that matter undergoes, the total weight of matter is conserved. Fifth graders will construct models to investigate ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. Through testing, students find that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. Using models, students describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment and that energy in animals’ food was once energy from the sun. Students understand the scale of our solar system and the challenges humans face in space exploration.
Fifth-grade students spend the year studying U.S. geography and history from Colonial America to the American Revolution. In-depth studies of the time periods are directly related to the spring class trip to Boston. Students are assigned projects throughout the year that coincide with class lessons. Additionally, students complete one current event project that is researched using daily newspapers and newsworthy magazines.
Students will learn an array of skills that include sharing files over the network, collaborating appropriately on class assignments, creating and organizing files, and online research. Google applications and Scratch will be utilized throughout the year. To promote responsible digital citizenship, fifth-grade students will be introduced to lessons on appropriate online communications, keywords, and privacy.
Students make full use of library materials for research and enjoyment. Advanced researching and reporting skills using digital and print references, and detailed report writing and citations are taught. Many lessons focus on preparation for the culminating fifth-grade trip to Boston. Additionally, digital citizenship lessons are provided.
The head of Lower School will help fifth grade students refine skills of communication. Students will also discuss the effects of advertising on image and self-esteem, identify positive things in life and individual strengths, self talk, discuss labeling and personalities, and teach students how to understand and change perspectives of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination. Social dynamics within peer groups are examined by role playing, problem solving, and discussion.
Students thrive in the performing arts whether singing, acting or dancing. They participate in improvisational activities to explore complex ideas and universal themes in both life and literature. They develop physicality and vocal techniques in order to create dynamic characters, theatrical vocal presentations as well as dramatic situations. They fine tune their dramatic and comic timing using both monologues and small group scripts, as well as learn about blocking, and set/costume design. In music, they continue to learn about matching pitch, developing healthy singing voices, practicing percussion techniques, as well as choreography techniques.
An important component of performing arts curriculum is building a foundation for public speaking. To culminate the year of public speaking, students present an in-class current event speech as well as a poetry recitation for an all-school assembly. Students also participate in Lower School Winter Sing and have the option to participate in Music Hour and Friday Assembly Spotlights.
Fifth-grade students begin to enjoy club and team sports. Students will learn to apply developmental and fundamental movement skills appropriate for their age group. A variety of lessons including mastering advanced movement patterns for team sports, learning skills necessary for Upper School Physical Education participation and the Presidential Fitness Challenge. Positive encouragement and support help maintain an atmosphere of active, consistent participation as well as a willingness to try new challenges. Foundations for healthy life styles and good sportsmanship are focused on throughout the curriculum.
Spanish units incorporate the five C’s—communication, cultures, connections, comparison, and communities—of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). All students cover sections in the Viva el Español, Level Hola textbook and workbook. Students in the foundations section cover units four through six, and students in the developing section cover units seven through ten. Units of study in both sections focus on vocabulary building, structures of the Spanish language, and cultural studies. The conjugation of verbs is crucial to the development of language learning; students are encouraged to maintain a daily study of verbs as they progress through the Spanish program at Crane.
Fifth-grade artists will be encouraged to explore their great ideas through various media and creative processes. Artists will be encouraged to work through each phase of the creative process thoughtfully taking time to plan, create, reflect, edit, and complete projects that best express the artist’s vision and personal voice. Students will be challenged to work with great craftsmanship, to consider the entire piece of art while creating, to add detail to bring their visions to life, and to be able to defend their creative choices. Artists will also further explore their core classroom study of Native Americans in the studio while working in teams to design an exhibit to celebrate this key fifth-grade unit. Finally, artists will be challenged to use all that they have learned to create an independent piece for our culminating Lower School Art project. Students will be responsible for planning and documenting their creative journey, for gathering the needed supplies and resources, for problem solving and reflecting throughout the process, for writing an artist’s statement, and for designing their final display for our group art show.
Students will explore the local canyons by foot as the class hikes the trails in the spring. At the end of April, the Fifth Grade travels to Boston, a culmination of the year’s studies of colonial and revolutionary America. Chaperoned by teachers during their week in Boston, students explore historic sites related to their studies. Balancing education with fun and lots of exercise, students visit locations such as: a Grist Mill where they see wheat seeds turned into flour, Plymouth Plantation where the living history allows students to interact with representatives of the time period, the Minutemen National Park where they explore the history of early rebels, the Tea Party Museum where they learn about tea and taxes, Sturbridge Village where they participate in a Town Hall meeting and cook a traditional colonial meal, Walden Pond where they can rest and journal, and the Freedom Trail walking tour. Students also visit college campuses and museums, and enjoy Quincy Market and a Red Sox baseball game.
To help prepare students for team sports in Upper School, fifth grade offers students the opportunity to participate in co-ed sports that include volleyball, basketball, soccer, and flag football (played with sixth-grade students). Crane has a no cut policy—any student who chooses to participate will be given playing time.