Fifth grade is an important year academically, socially, and developmentally. At St. Joseph School we have spent years refining a well balanced program that enables students to grow academically while having ample opportunities to develop the skills necessary to be people in the service of others.
Fifth grade students benefit from a variety of technologies available in the classroom. Each student is issued a Chromebook to complete assignments, create presentations, record videos, conduct research, and fine tune skills using a variety of educational apps. Once a week, classes visit the school computer lab where a desktop is available for each student. On the desktops, students practice world languages, create Google Slide presentations, and publish written work.
Writing is integrated throughout the curriculum for 5th grade students at St. Joseph School. The steps of the writing process are practiced with all writing assignments. Students begin the year learning about the basic structure of a sentence, various types of sentences, and the structure of a paragraph. As the year progresses, students are introduced to various writing genres: descriptive, persuasive, expository, narrative/journaling, creative-story, and report writing. Students have the opportunity to publish their writing in a variety of ways, such as Google Slide presentations, oral reports, poetry, sketch book, and lab write-ups in science. In addition to the writing process, students learn about parts of speech, verb tenses, possessive nouns, and many other aspects of grammar.
The fifth grade math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Standards, using the textbook Go Math with the Alek program as supplemental digital practice. An example of this would be the overall lesson design of representing a math idea using a concrete-visual-abstract cycle to enhance deeper understanding. Differentiation occurs as students transition from one step of the cycle to another. Each topic covered emphasizes conceptual understanding, computational fluency, algebraic thinking, and real world problem solving.
Our reading curriculum follows the Common Core standards with a focus on novel studies from a variety of genres. Students are held accountable to: understand and use different skills and strategies to read, understand the meaning of what is read, read different materials for a variety of purposes, set goals and evaluate progress to improve reading, and develop reflective thoughts and positive moral and religious values through reading. Thematic units provide relevancy, leveled material to meet a wide variety of learning needs, and ample opportunity to connect reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills. Nightly independent reading is also required at the fifth grade level, in addition to in class instruction and reading.
As with all grades at St. Joseph School, religion is integrated into the school year with students studying important aspects of the Catholic faith, participating in masses and prayer services, and contributing to community outreach. The religion curriculum in fifth grade includes units exploring community, sacraments, worship, seasons of the church, and family life. An integral part of our religion curriculum is fostering a love of service. The fifth grade community is connected to Water 1st International, an organization that works to provide sustainable clean water in developing countries. Throughout the year the fifth graders conduct fundraisers to help support this cause.
Ecology, the solar system, and chemistry are our units of study in fifth grade, following the Next Generation Science Standards. Students begin the year by learning about the basic ecological concepts and demonstrating their understanding. Students learn about basic ecological concepts through experiments, research, and a variety of hands-on activities. These concepts are reinforced at a week-long science camp at Camp Seymour.