Fifth Grade Curriculum Overview
In Fifth Grade, students read novels, short stories, folk literature, dramas, biographies, and poetry which support cultural diversity and the They begin a study of Shakespeare. Comprehension and thoughtful consideration of the literature’s meaning are stressed at all times. Novels align to the world history curriculum.
Fifth Grade students write five paragraph essays of various forms including more detailed research reports, persuasive and informational compositions, comparison and contrast essays, literary response essays, stories, letters, and poems. Students write and speak with an attention to standard English conventions, including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling, which are stressed through daily grammar practice, and writings. Vocabulary and grammar are expanded through vocabulary-building exercises and sentence diagramming. Students continue their study of Latin in order to further develop their knowledge of English.
Students are encouraged to practice public speaking and to develop confidence when presenting information to others. They continue to hone their speech skills as they do formal recitations and speeches, including writing and presenting an informational speech. They work on discussion, persuasion, and listening as skills to practice during accountable talk times and debates.
Fifth Graders solidify and apply their mastery of basic facts and foundational concepts to more complex operations using fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, and conversions between them; Geometry, including area, perimeter, volume, and angles of simple shapes and 3-D forms; estimating and averaging; plotting line and coordinate graphs; and beginning to experiment with rate and proportions. Solving word problems and group problem solving continue to be emphasized through a study of Singapore Math techniques and challenging word problems. Furthermore, students use an online program to further their math facts and knowledge.
In Fifth Grade students are ready for a more in-depth look at topics which were first presented in their earlier years. This year, students study about the makeup of the Earth, rock studies, Earth’s waters and atmosphere, and the changing surface of the Earth through plate tectonics and forces such as earthquakes and volcanoes. They also learn about the interrelated subject of the Earth's weather and climate and the many ways these affect the earth and life forms. Students also have access to our beautiful backyard of San Bruno Mountain to further understand the subject matter.
Each year the students complete an individual science project for the annual Science Fair, helping them to learn the important concepts of observation, prediction, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing results, creating a display, and presenting the material to others.
Fifth graders study medieval to modern World History, including Europe in the dark ages, the spread of Islam and the "Holy Wars," and the Meso-American civilizations (the Mayas, Aztecs, and Inca); European exploration and expansion, trade, and the clash of cultures during the Middle Ages; life during the Renaissance and Reformation, England from the Golden Age to the Glorious Revolution, Russia’s early growth and expansion, feudal Japan, and trading and slavery. They also further explore using various types of maps, practicing with longitude and latitude, and using online programs such as Google Earth.
In International Studies, students will explore Central and Latin America -- the people, culture, history, geography, animals, climate, and religions. They will use the resources of the Spanish teacher to enrich their studies as well as their International Fair presentation in June.
Fifth Graders build upon their knowledge of Spanish while they study what would normally be taught in the first half of a second year high school course. Students have Spanish three times a week.
Students in Fifth Grade continue to challenge themselves as artists under the tutelage of an art specialist. Students explore different fields of art, including mask making, textile arts and sculpture. Students have Art class once a week.
Fifth Graders gain a deeper musical understanding on the recorder. Glockenspiel and boomwhackers are introduced. They learn how to perform a steady beat with a variety of tempo markings, create and perform simple melodies with a musical arc, sing solo and sustain their own part in an ensemble, demonstrate an understanding of dynamics, distinguish between different meters, identify major and minor chords (visually and aurally), sing and play in 2-part harmony, match a pitch up to G2 using Solfege syllables, and recognize specific intervals (visually and aurally). They also study music history, including the works of Mozart, Charles Ives, and George Gershwin. Students enhance their performance skills by focusing on using facial expression and body movement to portray the style/mood of a piece while participating in the two, all-school music performances. Students have Music once a week.
The Physical Education curriculum for Fifth Grade increases students' basic knowledge and skills in sport activities. They gain precision with increasing control and accuracy. They develop habits of teamwork and learn how to apply the basic rules of various sports. Students have physical education two times a week.
Technology and Research
Fifth Grade students apply keyboarding skills to research papers and creative endeavors. They learn how to graph and budget in Excel, and they will create the school's literary magazine. Students will learn about internet safety and continue to practice typing with speed and accuracy. They further their understanding of how to avoid plagiarizing and practice how to correctly cite their online sources. Students also continue to expand their knowledge of coding.
Fifth Grade students enter into the final year of weekly Ethics class; character education continues in a different format in middle school. Fifth Graders study our monthly virtues and delve into Fifth Grade heroes in depth. Students practice their Hilldale Habits of Respect, Leadership, and Independent, Lifelong Learning on a daily basis. All students participate in Service Learning projects which help students understand their relationship and responsibility to the world at a young age. Students participate in the Peace First
curriculum designed to teach hands-on, social-emotional skills and nurture friendships. This year the focus is on exploring conflict resolution.