Fifth Grade

Rock climbing wall


We will read a variety of genres and styles of literature this year, with an emphasis on improving reading comprehension and expanding vocabulary. We will read memoirs, novels, historical fiction and fantasy. In addition, we will teach specific strategies for comprehending informational texts. Students will most often be reading in small groups based on reading level, interest and personal choice. We will try to engage students in book club style discussions to improve higher level comprehension and critical thinking. Students often read individual books of their own choice.

We will also work directly on comprehension strategies and vocabulary development as we read non-fiction work in history, math and science. In both fiction and informational reading we use an “active” reading approach where students are taught to utilize prior knowledge, to make connections to the text, and to ask critical questions as they are reading. Students are taught to monitor their own comprehension as they read, and are asked to write thoughtful reflections about the texts that reflect their developing critical thinking skills.

We also have a “read aloud” time each day in which students will be able to focus on improving oral language comprehension and auditory processing and memory. This is an opportunity to practice and model comprehension strategies such as making connections, making inferences, predicting outcomes and recognizing literary devices. We have found that students love this time of day, which they tend to think of as a “rest.”


Illustrative Mathematics is a problem-based core curriculum for 21st century learners designed to address content and practice standards to foster learning for all, preparing students to solve problems, reason, communicate, and think critically in the classroom and beyond. Topics studied include:

  • performing whole number operations to billions
  • understanding decimals to thousandths; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals
  • finding equivalent fractions; adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with like and unlike denominations
  • finding percent equivalencies for fractions and decimals
  • solid geometry and metric and customary measurements
  • interpreting and constructing bar and line graphs
  • measuring and constructing angles
  • ongoing problem-solving in logic and visual/spatial analysis


Pond Study/Ecosystems

  • on-site observations and collection
  • habitat of plants and organisms; properties of water
  • effects of pollution
  • populations and food chains/webs in the pond as well as other earth biomes.

Motion and Design:

  • building vehicles from technical two- and three-view drawings
  • investigating how forces affect a vehicle's motion
  • designing vehicles that are propelled by stored energy
  • understanding the design process, and solving design problems

Investigate Simple Machines:

  • identifying/studying basic simple machines
  • analyzing and identifying simple machines within complex machines
  • inventing machines which make use of simple machines

In addition there are mini-units that we review: Electricity/Magnetism, Rocks and Minerals, Light and Sound; a variety of previously covered material to prepare for the Science MCAS

Social Studies/Geography

American History Part I:

Students use books, primary sources, periodicals, and the Internet to conduct research, and to develop skills of note taking, report writing, and oral, written and visual presentation.

  • life and times of the original thirteen colonies
  • issues and events surrounding and leading up to the Declaration of Independence; period of the American Revolution
  • post-Revolution through Westward Expansion

Related Studies

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Merrowvista: Whole-grade 3-day/2-night field trip to environmental camp in the fall.

Merrowvista spring trip:
Parent Slideshow

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