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Suzy Arena, Rm 43

Michael O'Neill, Rm 44

Paul Gross, Rm 45

Fifth Grade Life

The 5th grade teams works closely together, as students are “shared” during the course of the year.  The various rooms use common curricular content as well as behavioral and academic expectations.  A grade level brochure containing strategies, expectations, and recommendations is distributed and discussed at Back-to-School night. 

We know that in order to be successful teachers, we need to work in tandem with parents.  Some ways you can support what we do include:

open, consistent communication – please e-mail or write a note in the assignment book if you need to talk.  Talk to teachers before you take problems elsewhere.

consistent support of class & school policies – including the daily signing of the assignment book, and support of individual classroom procedures.  Your student needs your support, not your protection.

support in seeing that homework is completed and submitted – you needn’t do homework with your student, but do see that it is completed and attached in the proper section of the binder, and the binder is in the backpack.

If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your student’s teacher.


English Language Arts

The curriculum is composed of reading, language (grammar, spelling, mechanics) and writing. 

Reading includes foundational skills like phonics and fluency.  Literary reading includes learning about and comparing theme, plot, character and setting, as well as vocabulary and overall structure of a literary piece.  We will experience different genres of literature, although most of the novels read will be historical fiction to supplement and complement the history curriculum.  The final reading emphasis will be informational texts, like the social studies and science textbooks.  This will include studying main ideas and supporting information, relationships between material, content specific vocabulary, and drawing inferences from what a text explicitly states. 

Language study will include the conventions of standard English including parts of speech, with an emphasis on verb tenses and conjunctions.  Mechanics will be taught during daily editing exercises, especially the varied uses of the comma.  Students will understand the difference between formal and informal English and the appropriate use of each.  Vocabulary acquisition will be cross-curricular and will include word roots and bases.

Although students will have varied writing experiences, the main emphasis will be on expository writing, both paragraphs and essays.  Students will practice supporting a point of view or thesis statement with reasons and information.  Students will be taught how to structure their writing, whether it is a single paragraph, an essay, or a research paper.  Much of this writing will be based on the literature read as well as experiences during science lab.  Creative and narrative writing may be based on social studies content, such as writing letters or journal entries from a historical perspective.



5th grade levels math classes based on ability and learning style.  Students who have had particular challenges in math or who have not been able to memorize basic facts are placed in a class with fewer students and a greater use of manipulatives.  Those students for whom math is a particular strength are placed in a class where there is a greater emphasis on problem solving and the opportunity to move beyond the expected curriculum.  The math class grouping is fluid and students may move from one class to another to best fit their needs.  All classes cover at least the basic common core curriculum.  The big ideas, listed below, often require prerequisite understand that will be addressed as content is taught. 

Student will develop an understanding of and fluency in addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators.  They will also understand the relationship between the multiplication and division of fractions, and know how to multiply fractions and divide unit fractions by whole numbers.

There will be an emphasis on the base-ten number system, which will include multiplying and dividing by powers of ten.  This will then apply to converting units in the metric system.  Students will understand and become fluent in computing with decimals and decimal notation.  They will understand the relationship between decimal and fraction notation.

Students will understand and become fluent in determining volume, decomposing  three-dimensional shapes and finding volumes of right rectangular prisms that make up that figure. 

In addition to these big ideas, students will write and interpret numerical expressions, analyze patterns and relationships, convert measurement units in both the metric and customary systems, represent and interpret data in graphic form, plot points on coordinate grids, classify two-dimensional figures, etc.

 Success in math requires students to ask questions, show perseverance, practice skills, reason abstractly and quantitatively, explain answers, follow directions, and complete nightly homework.



Students will rotate during the second trimester in science.  Physical science is taught during a rotation where classes rotate to other teachers for about two weeks each.  This allows each teacher to teach his/her content in greater depth, and also helps introduce students to the “middle school” structure they will experience next year.

The science curriculum is centered on different themes, such as the solar system or human physiology.  We will focus on earth, physical and life science during the three trimesters.  The weekly labs are integrated into the daily lessons.  Lab content may be incorporated into assessments and are likely to be assigned writing topics.  Active participation and understanding of the labs will be important across the curriculum.

Science is intrinsically motivating to most students, but can be challenging because of new vocabulary and concepts.  It is imperative that students study the material covered.  Discuss what is taught in the classroom.  Review student science notes regularly as well as support materials like worksheets and crossword puzzles.  Students are expected to participate in class discussions, take notes, review those notes nightly, and ask questions when needed.


Social Studies

The social studies curriculum includes a study of U.S. history, geography, Native Americans, and current events.  Students will be taught to break large projects into manageable, incremental steps, and students will be given the opportunity to practice learned skills.  Many social studies assignments will receive a writing as well as a social studies score.

Social Studies is one of the vehicles through which students are taught how to use a textbook.  The text has appendices with maps, biographical information, documents, etc.  The chapters are broken down into lessons, which are broken into sub-sections.  Learning how to use a textbook is a necessary skill to develop and practice prior to middle school.

Like science, regular review and study of material covered daily in class will be necessary in order to perform well on content specific assessments.


Fifth Grade Morning Routine

  1. Drop backpacks and lunch along the patio area before school.

  2. Socialize out on the yard from 8:10 - 8:20

  3. When the music starts, students line up with class for morning assembly.

  4. Backpacks come in with students after morning assembly.  Mr. Gross' class, backpacks are left at the back of the classroom.