Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

5th Grade


The fifth grade math curriculum builds upon skills learned in third grade and developing math fluency. They will take their understanding of basic multiplication, division, fractions, measurement, and geometry to develop fluency in calculating sums, differences, products, and quotients of fractions. They will be able to make the calculations and explain why the procedures work. They will develop an understanding of why division procedures work based on base-ten numerals and the properties of operations. Students will also be to recognize the relationship between volume and three-dimensional space. Their textbook, My Math, allows the teacher to guide students through the fifth grade curriculum by focusing on a multi-faceted approach to the content. This book correlates with the National Common Core Standards, which recognize the need for more in-depth and varied exploration of math concepts rather than the traditional rote memorization educators focused so heavily on in the past. This takes into account more fully the different learning styles and abilities of students in all grade levels. A helpful feature of this text is the online activities and practice available to teachers and parents. Students and parents can access a variety of practice and modeling tools at home.


The major core standards for the fifth grade science curriculum include: Human organ systems; cell structure and function; characteristics of matter; light and sound energy; life cycles of plants and animals; geology. Students will conduct experiments using the scientific method along with having multiple chances to use the middle school science lab.


The curriculum will focus heavily on developing skills to read information text. Fifth graders will use strategies to identify main ideas, to recognize relationships and interactions, and to compare/contrast events, ideas, concepts, and other information. Writing assignments and journals will, at times, tie into the writing/English and also the Social Studies curriculum. Students will continue to improve overall reading comprehension and to explain literary themes, character similarities and differences, as well as the importance of plot structure. Fifth graders will demonstrate comprehension and oral fluency in both poetry and prose. They will continue to participate in literature circles, and will have at least two long term literature assignments (book reports).


Grade 5 Writing is a continuation and expansion of skills, themes, and concepts that were introduced in fourth grade. In fifth grade the students continue to work on the writing process of taking an original or seed idea and developing it through careful editing to a final project. Throughout the year, students will write narrative, opinion, and informative/explanatory writing pieces (as well as poetry). Students will conduct several short research projects gathering relevant information pertaining to a specific topic. In addition, students will present finished pieces to peers and an audience to continue to develop public speaking skills. Students will confer about their writing with guidance and support from a teacher and/or a peer conference to strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach. Students practice editing and revising strategies consistently.

Fifth graders will be using a combination of traditional and online spelling/word study activities to strengthen their foundational skills and to develop vocabulary. They will be focusing on both meaning and spelling, as they do word study and other vocabulary activities and are assessed weekly. Consistent practice and discussion of featured Latin and Greek roots will help to broaden vocabulary further and anchor student understanding of word meaning with authentic knowledge of word origin and make-up. 

We will be using the Exercises in English program (Loyola Press). Through explicit instruction, ample practice, and immediate application of skills, students will master grade-appropriate conventions to improve their ability to communicate clearly and correctly in their writing.


The following outlines some key writing instruction that will be presented throughout grades four and five:

Main Ideas/Details

  • Identifying Main Idea
  • Including Strong/Relevant Details
  • Staying on Topic
  • Organizing Paragraphs

Forms of Writing

  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Using the Writing Process

Descriptive Writing

  • Using Senses
  • Including Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Making Comparisons
  • Writing Poetry

Expressive Writing

  • Writing a Personal Narrative
  • Using Time Order (Transition Words)
  • Identifying Precise Verbs

Writing a Story

  • Identifying Key Parts of a Story
  • Recognizing Point of View
  • Using the Writing Process

Persuasive Writing

  • Identifying Reasons to Persuade
  • Using Facts
  • Organizing in Order of Importance
  • Finding Your Active Voice

Explanatory Writing

  • Finding Causes and Effects
  • Explaining an Event
  • Choosing Verbs
  • Using pictures

Informational Writing

  • Why and How Do We Inform?
  • Identifying Fact, Opinion, Bias
  • Biographies

Social Studies

Students will focus on learning key historical events, people, and issues in U.S. History. As they improve informational text reading strategies, they will use informational magazines (both paper and online) to help navigate a long period of history starting with the native people of North America, leading all the way to the mid-twentieth century. In addition, current events will be discussed and critical thinking skills will be developed. Fifth graders will reinforce and further develop map skills. An emphasis will be placed on developing study skills and learning strategies, as well.


Students will differentiate four types of prayer and will study the importance of integrating prayer into daily life. They will continue to study the Sacraments in more depth. They will also further the study of the Mass and the seasons of the Church. Fifth graders will continue to reflect upon the core values of our school.