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 will continue to work on the writing process of taking an original or seed idea and developing it through careful editing to a final project. Students will write narrative, opinion, and informative/explanatory writing pieces. 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 will be using the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop. Students will be focusing on both meaning and spelling, as they do word study and other vocabulary activities. We will start each vocab unit in class together, and will review definitions, context, and word associations. Some of the practice for each unit may be assigned as homework. We will always conclude each unit by work in groups to review. Students will be graded on meaning and spelling. Students can go to to listen again to an audio passage that includes the vocabulary words. They can also access practice worksheets and an interactive quiz for each unit. This year we will be incorporating into our vocabulary instruction words from Spelling for Writers. This will provide students the opportunity to study words “from the inside out” and notice patterns. Understand where words come from and why they are spelled the way they are. Transfer knowledge of word patterns from their spelling lists to their writing. Lastly, learn proofreading techniques that are applicable to all writing.

We will be using the Sadlier Grammar Workshop. 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.


Students in fourth grade will strive to develop a stronger, more confident author’s voice and style. They will begin the lifelong practice of demonstrating understanding, processing, and awareness as a fluent writer. Through spelling, grammar and writing instruction, students will learn to use the writing process COMPLETELY AND CONSISTENTLY and will work to develop more fluency and organization in their writing.

The fourth grade curriculum is framed by the National Common Core Standards in writing. This curriculum challenges students to develop organization, creativity, and purpose in their writing. It also allows opportunity for differentiation and/or accommodations. Writer’s Workshop is a resource used throughout the year. It is a continuation of the thematic approach begun in third grade.

Almost every written assignment given, in class or at home, is assessed with a rubric which will be provided to the student when the assignment is first given. Please note that the rubric sometimes places an emphasis on a particular skill or writing strategy. Students will review the rubric with the teacher for all assignments and will understand the specific expectations in advance.


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 the text book to help navigate a long period of history starting with the native people of North America, leading all the way to the mid-nineteenth 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.


5th Graders meet three times a week. French language will be introduced with a strategy called Total Physical Response (students act out verbal cues) and a Natural Approach (with visual gestures and cues) providing immediate comprehension but also production. The textbook “Raconte-moi!” offers opportunities for creativity, imagination, drama, movement, cooperative learning. Each episode has a list of words and stories that present rich language and encourage production for the student. Students will be progressively exposed to the written language with comprehension and production activities. They will have cultural units on themes such as clothing, transportation, and school to extend the use of new vocabulary, and learn about a different geographic and cultural environment.


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.