Overview: Grade Five
- LANGUAGE ARTS
- CHARACTER EDUCATION
- HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION
- LIBRARY/INFORMATION LITERACY
Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening
Language and literacy development are essential for learning. The TAS standards and benchmarks for language arts outline what students will know and be able to do in language arts at each grade level. We use a balanced literacy approach to deliver developmentally appropriate and engaging instruction. Our program includes:
Talk Strategies: strategies to help children articulate ideas and deepen their thinking in all content areas
Reading Workshop: strategy-based instruction to develop the skills and habits of proficient readers
Writing Workshop: clear, sequenced instruction that teaches students to turn their ideas into powerful written messages across genres and for a variety of purposes
Interactive Read Aloud: a time for students to engage with literature and grow ideas
Word Study: explicit instruction where students develop phonics, spelling, and vocabulary skills
Grammar: standards-based instruction that helps children develop proficiency in their use of English grammar, orally and in writing
We honor the developmental nature of language and literacy development by differentiating instructional strategies and materials.
In Grade 6, students read and write across a variety of genres with greater volume and independence. We have designed a series of standards-based units that, while challenging, will prepare children for middle school and create lifelong enthusiasm for reading and writing. These units are:
- Tackling Complexity: Nonfiction Reading
- Argument and Advocacy: Researching Debatable Issues
- Interpretation Book Clubs: Analyzing Themes
- Historical Fiction Book Clubs
- Making Meaning from Poems
- Reading in the Content Area: Nutrition
- Author Study: Reading Like a Fan
- Launching the Writing Workshop: Using the Writing Process to Enhance Meaning
- Research-Based Argument Essay
- Literary Essay
- Writing Historical Fiction
- Poetry Anthologies
- Writing to a Prompt (Test Prep)
- Shaping Texts: From Essay and Narrative to Memoir
Character education is woven into every subject area and every classroom. Teachers reinforce the TAS values of Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, and Courage through classroom discussions, reading appropriate literature, songs, and role-playing. By modeling and reinforcing the values, we hope that all students develop good habits and demonstrate the values in what they say and do every day.
The lower school counselor, in addition to supporting individual children and parents, teaches a guidance lesson in the classroom once in every ten-day cycle. Lessons are designed to help children strengthen their social skills and better understand the role of emotions in life. Children learn problem solving and conflict resolution skills appropriate for their grade level.
The mathematics curriculum has two major components: Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content. The Standards for Mathematical Practice define what it means to be a mathematical thinker and are addressed at all grade levels of the Lower School. Students will be able to:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
- Model with mathematics
- Use appropriate tools strategically
- Attend to precision
- Look for and make use of structure
- Look for patterns
The Standards for Mathematical Content are the topics addressed at each grade level. Emphasis is placed on a balance of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application.
- Grade five topics include:
- Place Value and Decimal Fractions
- Multi-Digit Whole Number and Decimal Fraction Operations
- Addition and Subtraction of Fractions
- Multiplication of Fractions and Decimal Fractions
- Addition and Multiplication with Volume and Area
- Problem Solving with Coordinate Plane
The major resource for the lower school mathematics program is Eureka Math. A strategic approach allows for academic rigor while still meeting the needs of all students
The lower school Mandarin program is committed to developing students’ Chinese language proficiency and deepening their appreciation for Chinese culture.
There are two tracks in the program, and different courses are offered in both tracks, based on students’ language proficiency levels, designed to meet students’ abilities and needs. In Grade 5, introductory, bridging, grade level, and grade level advanced courses are offered.
The Mandarin Learner Track is for students who study Mandarin as a second language. The goal is to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency as a tool for meeting age-appropriate functional and informational needs. As the students gain oral skills, they begin to read and write, which sets them on a course for more advanced Mandarin language study. Students in the Learner Track use Pinyin, a Romanization system, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
The Mandarin Heritage Track is for students whose first language or strong additional language is Mandarin. The goal is to develop and enhance students’ overall language proficiency while focusing on reading and writing to build a solid foundation in literacy skills. Students in the Heritage Track use Zhuyin, Bopomofo Phonetic Symbols, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
Highly engaging and rigorous, the program is developmentally appropriate and provides an enriching experience for all young scientists. The processes and skills of science are emphasized using labs, suitable technology, and hands-on materials. The curriculum is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The FOSS (Full Option Science System) science program serves as the core resource. In Grade 5, students will study the following:
Module Summary – Mixtures and Solutions
Chemistry is the study of the structure of matter and the changes or transformations that take place within those structures. Learning about the properties and behaviors of substances and systems of substances gives us knowledge about how things go together and how they can be taken apart. It also gives us the opportunity to use and develop models that explain phenomena too small to see directly. Learning about changes in substances can lead to the development of new materials and new ways to produce energy and resources such as clean drinking water.
The Mixtures and Solutions Module has five investigations that introduce students to fundamental ideas about matter and its interactions. Students come to know that matter is made of particles too small to be seen and develop the understanding that matter is conserved when it changes state—from solid to liquid to gas—when it dissolves in another substance, and when it is part of a chemical reaction. Students have experiences with mixtures, solutions of different concentrations, and reactions forming new substances. They also engage in engineering experiences with separation of materials. Students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of: crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; and energy and matter.
Module Summary – Living Systems
The Living Systems Module has four investigations that focus on systems as the unit of study. The idea of a system is one of the grand integrating (crosscutting) concepts that pervades all of science. Students start by looking at Earth as the interaction of four Earth systems or subsystems—the geosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. The focus of the module then turns to the biosphere as students explore ecosystems and organisms in terms of their interacting parts.
In this module, students think about systems on different scales— nutrient and transport systems within an organism that move matter and provide energy to the individual organism, and feeding relationships in ecosystems that move matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Students come to understand through a variety of experiences that plants get the materials they need for growth primarily from water and air, and that energy in animals’ food was once energy from the Sun. There are many opportunities for students to explore how human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life can have major effects on these systems. Students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; and energy and matter.
Module Summary – Earth and Sun
Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It travels around the Sun in a nearly circular orbit at a distance of about 150 million kilometers. Earth is water rich, with 71% of the planet’s surface covered by it. It is surrounded by a shallow atmosphere of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%), and small amounts of a lot of other gases. The atmosphere extends about 500 kilometers (km) above Earth’s surface, but most of the mass of the atmosphere is concentrated in the closest 9–20 km, the troposphere.
The constant renewal of water on Earth’s land surfaces by the activities in the atmosphere is one of the defining characteristics of Earth, the water planet. The Earth and Sun Module provides students with experiences to explore the properties of the atmosphere, energy transfer from the Sun to Earth, and the dynamics of weather and water cycling in Earth’s atmosphere. Other experiences help students to develop and use models to understand Earth’s place in the solar system, and the interactions of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon to reveal predictable patterns—daily length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of stars in the night sky. Students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; and energy and matter.
The engineering unit focuses on a project to design a water filter to address the problem of contaminated water.
HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES
We believe that the purpose of social studies is to cultivate global citizens by ensuring our students have knowledge of history, economics, culture, geography, and religion. Our social studies program is designed to ensure that students have the necessary tools and understanding to become effective problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and decision-makers in an ever-changing, interconnected world. Grade 5 students focus on:
Students are introduced to the various types of maps, as well as map symbols and conventions in order to ask geographic questions to acquire, organize, and analyze geographic information and to synthesize and communicate geographic knowledge.
Geography and Migration
Students will utilize geography and mapping skills to understand the concept of international and domestic migration and consider how migration affects their lives. By analyzing case studies such as Ellis Island and the Dust Bowl, students synthesize their knowledge of geography and migration to examine the impact of migration on the culture and community of the immigrants and the receiving community.
Music students sing, play pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments, dance, do creative movement, improvise, and learn to read and write music. We use experiences with language, body percussion, instruments and movement to help students develop their musical skills and understanding.
Each quarter we work on developing three specific drama skills through a selection of fun theater games: Cooperation/Collaboration, Physical Expression, Speech, Vocal Expression, Concentration, Imagination, Stage Skills, Characterization, Listening, Timing, Trust, and Self-Discipline. In addition, at various times in the year, we will use themes from homeroom classes, rhymes, songs, fairy tales, folk tales, myths, poetry or inspiration from music and literature to develop short drama projects. These pieces may be shared in the form of audio recordings, video, informal in-class presentations, and public performances.
In Grade Five physical education, the students study units in the areas of manipulative, movement, fitness, aquatics, and personal/social development. Manipulative involves the development of skills in throwing, catching, striking, kicking and dribbling such as demonstrating picking up the dribble on the dominant foot for a lay-up and punting a ball by dropping the ball on the instep. Movement involves the development of skills in spatial awareness, locomotor, non-locomotor and rhythms/dance such as demonstrating partner and group balances and creating and performing a rhythmic sequence. Fitness involves both the study of concepts and skills. Aquatics is a swim development program based on individual needs. Personal and social development is a reflection of the TAS values in action through physical education. The focus of the lower school program is age appropriate, carefully sequenced skill development in a spirit of cooperation.
The art curriculum lays foundational skills through exploration, discovery, creativity, and amazement in visual media by teaching art history, art production, art criticism, and aesthetics at a developmentally appropriate level. The program is carefully sequenced to ensure each year builds on the previous year’s skill development and knowledge. At each level the foundational skills of basic drawing techniques, color mixing, principles of design, and critiques are built upon, while integrating STEAM concepts. Learning a design process with these basic art skills gives students the tools, experience, and confidence to develop and present their creative ideas. In addition to drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics, a variety of other media and concepts are explored throughout the year.
Information technology in Grade 5 is integrated with the classroom curriculum. Teachers work with the IT Coordinator to develop integrated lessons that use relevant technology to enhance the learning experience. Digital citizenship, file management, and independent responsible use are additional key focus areas in Grade 5.
Grade 5 students build their design and programming skills using LEGO NXT Mindstorm Robotics Kits. In programming, students draw upon their mathematical reasoning skills to calculate, extrapolate and predict movements of their robot based on mathematical variables in their robot design and program. In building, students design robot attachments to accomplish a series of specific tasks.