5th Grade Academics

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Building on skills practiced in third and fourth grade, fifth grade students enjoy an increasing sense of themselves as autonomous, independent, and fearless learners. They continue to hone their time management skills as they take on long-term assignments that require planning, making choices, using classroom time well, and adhering to the criteria of rubrics and checklists. With the help of their homework binders (HERO binders), labeled folders and notebooks, and classroom resources, students are able to further develop their organizational skills. And through daily collaborative learning experiences, students hone their problem solving skills recognizing through group work that it is as valuable to bravely offer one’s own ideas as it is to listen to the thoughts of others.

Likewise, In fifth grade, students continue to develop the research skills they began acquiring in fourth grade as they are challenged across all subject areas to enrich their learning and the substance of their submitted work by using reference materials and resources, including technology.

Social-Emotional Learning

Fifth grade is an exciting time of transition from being an elementary student to a full fledged upper schooler. Thus, as in academics, students are guided to become increasingly independent and dependable human beings. Using the strategies learned through Second Step, students learn to come up with constructive solutions to intrapersonal dilemmas. Likewise, using MindUp as their guide, students are encouraged to use learned coping strategies to manage a range of feelings and behaviors. Respect and acceptance for oneself and others is emphasized, both in and out of the classroom. In their newly assumed role as upper schoolers, fifth graders take pride in being positive role models for younger students.

English Language Arts

Fifth grade Language Arts is indebted to the Writing Workshop model. During workshop time students will pursue independent writing pieces or tailor their writing to a specific assignment. The workshop model allows student writing to be accomplished in class where drafts are developed fully and gradually from opening paragraph to conclusion. Writing workshop allows students the time to focus on independent revision and editing and conferencing, to improve the clarity of writing. Students will also partake in collaborative conferencing with their peers and teachers, allowing them to learn to give and receive both positive feedback and constructive criticism.

In terms of writing mechanics and grammar, mini-lessons are taught throughout the year and cover relevant issues as they arise in writing. In addition, mini-lessons provide insight into how to build upon ideas, improve organization, and embellish word choice, voice, and fluency. 

Students hone their vocabulary with the assistance of a word study program which focuses on phonics, vocabulary and spelling instruction. 

Fifth grade reading runs the gamut from trade books to fiction and nonfiction works, to poetry. Students are introduced to different reading strategies and begin to dissect texts by taking a closer look at character development and author’s craft. In addition, fifth graders become acquainted with various literary devices and elements of fiction. Reading material may be used for literary responses, book reports and other creative projects. Students also read during content areas such as social studies, science and STEM.


Fifth grade uses the Eureka Math Curriculum focusing on place value concepts, operations with fractions and decimals, coordinate grids, and area and volume. Rigorous and independent reasoning, extended classroom time devoted to practice, reflection through extensive problem sets, and high expectations for mastery are all stressed as students grow as mathematicians.


As in all disciplines, fifth grade science asks students to hone their sense of themselves as increasingly independent, curious, open, and collaborative. To this end, the science curriculum will see them researching, investigating and experimenting as they take on a variety of hands-on activities and group projects. The major units that are covered are the scientific method, Earth science, ecosystems, and food and nutrition. The STEM program ties in components of the science units and will be integrated into classroom lessons. 

Social Studies

Knowledgeable in the history of New York from their year long study in fourth grade, fifth grade students eagerly travel back in time to study the ancient civilizations of the world. The year begins with an exploration of early humans and the Fertile Crescent, moves on to the civilization of Mesopotamia, and then culminates in the study of the civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. By juxtaposing the various cultures under study and examining the daily lives, forms of government, languages, religions, arts, sports, and entertainment of each, students hone their analytical and inferential skills, considering questions such as how each culture fulfills the definition of a civilization and how each civilization was able to flourish. Through this curriculum, students develop a meaningful appreciation of  each civilization’s legacy and how each contributed to the lives we live today.