Fifth Grade is an important transition year. The goal of this year is to create autonomous thinkers and learners and provide them with the skills necessary to succeed in the upper grades. The Humanities program in Fifth Grade is an amalgam of Social Studies, Literature, Writing, Spelling, Vocabulary, and Current Events. In Social Studies we spend the year exploring topics relating to US Government, NYS History, and NYS Government. Students will explore many questions. Why do we have a government? How have different cultures influenced the development of NY State, NYC, and the Hudson Valley? How do we influence change in our communities through our local government? Through these studies, students learn a wide range of skills that will prepare them for life in the Upper School including: note-taking, researching, summarizing, outlining, proofreading, and critical thinking. Throughout the year, monthly independent book projects and weekly current event summaries also provide the students with opportunities to employ time management techniques and hone their public speaking skills.
In Fifth Grade Math, the goal is to create critical thinkers who are adept at solving more challenging problems. Students begin the year by reviewing topics they have previously studied and use those concepts to further develop their mathematical skills. This year, students learn to perform basic operations on whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents. They also study geometry, find area and perimeter, and interpret and analyze data to create graphs. In addition, the Fifth Grade will be participating this year in the Math Olympiads. This is a nationwide endeavor which takes place monthly November through March. It is an excellent opportunity to make math invigorating for the whole community while solving challenging math problems.
Much of the Fifth Grade year is spent discovering and becoming more aware of the Hudson River watershed and the students’ sense of place and responsibility within the watershed. With the Hudson Valley as their point of reference, they move on to study the biomes of North and South America. With this background, the students are introduced to the far reaches of their sense of place as they begin to explore our planetary neighbors. To help them discover their world directly around them, they are also introduced to the microscopic world using microscopes to explore plant and animal cells, bacteria, and many other very tiny parts of their world. The class also takes part in the science fair which formally introduces them to the scientific method and experimentation.
The class takes the instrumental performance and notation to a more advanced level. Continuing study of the musical staff and notation through in-class instrumental performance is more of a focus. The second trimester marks a move toward more topical music studies such as famous composers, musical eras, and styles. Listening journals are used regularly and students hone their skills in critical listening and analysis.
Over the course of the year students work on transferring basic skills into game situations. They gain an appreciation of sports and improve their fitness. We emphasize healthy life choices regarding exercise and nutrition, appropriate behavior, problem solving and communication, understanding how the body functions and work on building self-esteem and confidence.
We undertake a variety of units in pursuing these goals and modify games to suit our purpose and surroundings. Units include, but are not limited to Soccer, Fitness, Touch Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Floor Hockey, Softball, Cricket, Racquet Sports, Team Handball, Ultimate Frisbee, Pilates, Yoga, Project Adventure, Keep-Away Activities and Summer Games.
In the 5th Grade, students begin to take on larger projects and spend more time in planning them and critiquing the final work. They learn to work with the same mediums that they have studied for years but use them in a more sophisticated way. The elements and principles of design have become a part of their working vocabulary.