Fifth Grade is an emotional year for the children as their hormones begin to change and they enter puberty. Many fifth graders, boys and girls, experience these changes, emotional as well as physical. These changes affect their friendships, their academics and how they feel psychologically. This is all dealt with within the classroom through class meetings and a six week study on the reproductive system. Through this study the children begin to understand the changes their bodies are going through. Academics in fifth grade continue to solidify newly acquired skills but the expectations are at a higher level. The children are expected to read medium level chapter books at a higher level. They are writing reading responses that include an opinion which is supported by examples and quotes but they are also beginning to analyze their reading as opposed to summarizing what they read. The children begin the year with free writing focusing on the Five Facts of Fiction. The major writing project this year is each child writing an historical fiction in conjunction with their study of the Native Americans. In math, students read and write numbers past 1,000,000,000 and work heavily with decimals and multiplication and division of fractions. The integrated science and social studies themes focus around North America and the Native Americans. The classes are taught and activities completed with students engaging in small group activities, whole class discussions and independent assignments.
Fifth graders are secure in reading and writing whole numbers up to 1,000,000,000 and now focus on decimals and fractions. They use mental arithmetic, paper and pencil algorithms and calculators to solve problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers and decimals, division of multi-digit numbers and addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers. Children measure the length of objects to the nearest 1/8 inch and millimeter. They describe and use strategies to find the perimeter of polygons and area of circles and use formulas to calculate the area of rectangles, parallelograms, triangles and the volume of prisms. They use ordered pairs of numbers to name, locate and plot points in all four quadrants of a coordinate grid. The also identify, describe, compare name, and draw right, acute, obtuse, straight and reflex angles. The students are expected to collect and organize data or use given data to create bar, line, and circle graphs with titles, labels, keys and intervals. Students use the maximum, minimum, range, mode and median of a set of data to ask and answer questions, draw conclusions and make predictions. The children are now using a letter variable to write an open sentence to model a number story. Problem solving skills are reinforced by having the children continue to decide which of the four operations to perform and are now focusing more on explanations as to how a solution was reached. Many math concepts are reinforced through math games. Computational skills are developed through daily review exercises.
Fifth graders are independent readers. They are now reading medium level chapter books. Whole class shared reading of chapter books is a major part of the reading workshop and they complete a study on prejudice through novels. They write more in-depth and detailed reading responses, form opinions and use quotes to support their ideas. The focus of the written reading responses has moved beyond summarizing their reading to analyzing what they have read. They take part in independent reading, shared reading and guided reading. Fifth graders continue to write daily. They begin the year with free writing using the Five Facts of Fiction. The children also participate in a six week study of historical fiction. During shared reading they read and discuss several historical fiction novels. Then using the Native American tribe they individually studied they create their own historical fiction story. The actual brainstorming, writing and revision is done in a period of six weeks. Daily mini-lessons teach story elements, grammar, punctuation and author’s craft. Students are expected to be more responsible with their spelling and use resources such as dictionaries to edit their daily writing.
Rocks and minerals, electricity and magnets and the reproductive system are the focus in fifth grade Science. The students learn about the various kinds of rocks and minerals, complete experiments testing their properties and learn how to classify the different rocks. In their study of electricity the children learn the three different types of energy used to make electricity. They use conductors and insulators to create an electrical current to light up a light bulb. In the study of the reproductive system the children learn about the various changes their bodies are going through and how those changes are preparing them for the ability to reproduce. The themes are taught in six week intervals through hands on activities. Children are encouraged to explore the themes through the scientific method of observing, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis and forming a conclusion. Themes are taught with a short daily mini-lesson and children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.
Fifth grade Social Studies themes are all about North America. The children begin with a study of the North American continent researching specific countries and modern day life. Through this study they strengthen their research skills, publish a research project on a country and then present the information. Students also learn about North American history of the 1900s. After their six week study they role play important events during that time period. For their study of ancient civilizations, the fifth graders focus on the Native Americans. The children learn about their daily life, rituals and customs through hands on activities. After researching a specific tribe the children apply what they have learned by writing a historical fiction story based on their findings. Basic geographic terms and principles such as valley, peak, gulf, altitude, elevation, canyons, plateau, and scale are taught and worked on through the above themes.
The Fifth Grade Sociales program focuses on the Renaissance, Portugal and Africa and their Effects on the Dominican Republic, Europeans Arriving in the Caribbean, Fathers of the independence and The Dominican Republic Today. These themes are taught through hands on activities that also focus on higher level thinking skills. The children are expected to create time lines, write their own perspectives, explain and justify history, study the cause and effects of the Dominican history. Sociales classes are taught solely in Spanish beginning with a daily mini-lesson. The children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.