Language Arts/Social Studies
In the fifth grade, language arts and social studies are closely linked courses. An integrated program features the cross-curricular skills of reading comprehension, process writing, critical thinking, and overall study skills. The language arts curriculum integrates the study of vocabulary and grammar, while the social studies curriculum guides the students in the study of U.S. history through the Civil War, with selected literary sources in language arts class reinforcing that content.
Students in fifth grade develop mathematical understanding and competency through a planned sequential program. They study addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, decimal numbers, and fractions. They conclude the course with a study of geometry. Pre-algebra skills and problem solving are included in all units of study.
Students continue the study of Spanish or French chosen in second grade. A switch in language is deferred until seventh grade when a child may elect to begin Latin in lieu of the language previously studied. Fifth grade Spanish and French courses continue the balanced four-skill approaches (speaking, reading, listening, and writing) used in the Lower School, with an increased focus on reading and writing. Skits, dialogues, puppets, children’s books, songs, and games are also important components of these courses. Students also learn through cultural exposure expressed in videos, Web sites, pictures, maps, books, and other resources.
Encouraging students to become working scientists is the overarching goal of the science department. A unique and dynamic thematic curriculum at each grade level provides a springboard to develop scientific thinkers and problem solvers. Our curriculum allows students to make authentic connections to the world around them and to previous scientific knowledge. Technology serves as a platform to explore and research topics generated by both students and faculty. Critical reading strategies and study skills are reinforced.
In Middle School, students are instructed to use the computer as a tool in the daily production of their work. They are re-introduced to the Microsoft Office Suite on the PC. Here they begin in-depth study of word processing, spreadsheet, and multi-media presentation skills and techniques. Instruction is integrated into the study of all software applications as students create reports, stories, poems, graphs, charts, and presentations in all their subject areas.
All Middle School students participate in the arts on a daily basis. Students are offered opportunities in visual arts, drama, and music. All students in fifth grade study art and drama, and may choose either band, orchestra, or general music/choir.
All Middle School students participate in physical education every day. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with emphasis placed on improvement. Students run a timed mile every three weeks and are tested on their upper body strength. Activities include field hockey (girls), street hockey (boys), softball (girls), baseball (boys), wrestling (boys), gymnastics (girls), football, soccer, basketball, team handball, lacrosse, track, and circus.
Fifth grade health focuses on human growth and development. Topics discussed include the male and female reproductive system, pregnancy, and childbirth.
Fifth graders are taught guidance regularly throughout the school year. Taught by our full-time Middle School guidance counselor, the program is designed to help emerging adolescents learn important life skills. Several weeks are spent on topics such as values, friendships, cooperation, decision-making, and social skills. The goal is to increase the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills of the pre-adolescent and the classes are tailored to fit their developmental needs. In addition, support groups are offered at all grade levels. Topics range from students who are experiencing a change in their family structure, students who are new to our school, or any other identified need. Students are invited to the group on a voluntary basis and develop skills to help them adjust to the changes in their life in a positive way. Students in these groups provide support for one another and are bound by the rules to keep all discussions in confidence.