Language Arts and Literature
Students continue to develop their understanding and appreciation of literature as they read for information and pleasure. Literary works are selected not only to enhance other aspects of the curriculum and assist students in the acquisition of knowledge but also to encourage students to develop an enthusiasm for reading. For this reason, there are times during the year when the students may select from a variety of books and a "literary circle" will be formed. This enables students to structure their own reading, discuss the material in a small group setting, and then develop their own assessment at the end of the process.
Language arts skills are developed and evaluated through class work, oral discussions, homework assignments, and research reports. Projects, such as the creation of an original children's story, allow students to use their imagination and skills to write and illustrate their very own book. On essays, quizzes, and tests the students also learn to support their opinions with details (evaluation), determine the significance and relationships between parts of a book (analysis), apply the skills learned in one discipline to another (application), and foretell events based on reasoning (prediction).
The study of our country's history comes to life in the 5th Grade. Immigrant stories are not just pages in a social studies textbook; they add great meaning when students research their own family's histories, re-enact arrivals at Ellis Island, read stories that tell of the struggles people faced in the past, and meet new immigrants to the country to hear of present day challenges. Simulation games enable teams of students to "live" the lives of the first settlers, and field trips to presidential libraries enhance their studies. Regular discussions of current events and a stock market simulation game provide students the opportunity to learn about current realities. It is an exciting year in which students gain understanding of the democratic values of our American heritage.
The goal of the 5th Grade math program is to have students become effective problem solvers who willingly take risks and analyze new situations. Work continues on topics such as whole numbers, graphing, number theory, fractions, percents, decimals, geometry, and integers. The basic skills have been mastered and the emphasis is now on application. For this reason, students are often given math assessments that include an essay component, which requires them to explain reasoning underlying their solution to a given problem. In addition, work with the "Hands-on Equations" program continues to enhance their study of early algebraic concepts.