Grade 5 Curriculum
As students develop a love of literature and language, they develop their skills in written and oral communication. Students read a wide variety of literary genres and engage in group discussions, learning to voice their opinions and to listen to others. Novels studied may include Bud, Not Buddy, Maniac Magee, and Hatchet. Short stories, poems, and non-fiction are also examined. In writing, students study sentence structure, grammar, and paragraph development. Throughout the year, proofreading and editing skills are stressed as key components of the writing process.
Grade 5 students are offered a chance to explore the genre of musical theater as drama and music collaborate. Past performances have included Annie, The Pirates of Penzance; The Sound of Music, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Students begin the year with a brief look at evolution and how early humans went from nomads to hunters and gatherers. They then study several ancient world civilizations, including: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and Greece. The students compare and contrast each in order to better understand their own culture. Students consider how people solved common human problems and examine the history, geography, religion, art, family, and social life of each ancient civilization. Map work, field trips, research, projects, reports, group activities, critical-thinking exercises, and class discussions are all part of the social studies curriculum.
In Grade 5, class time is structured to assist students as they develop skills necessary for Upper School science. In physical science, students study topics such as matter and the metric system. They study changes of matter in both physical and chemical changes. Atoms and molecules are introduced as the building blocks of both living and nonliving things. Life science includes units on cells, ecosystems, and adaptations, and students learn to use compound microscopes as biological tools. Students begin an examination of forces of natural selection to understand how organisms come to look and behave the way they do. They use guided lab activities and observations to support the learning of scientific concepts.
Students pursue the study of either French or Spanish. In Spanish, they learn basic phrases and vocabulary in the target language through songs, games, and projects. Cultural similarities and differences between the various Spanish-speaking countries are taught and discussed. A variety of technological tools are used to teach vocabulary in context, such as a video program and various items offered via the textbook company.
In French there is a strong emphasis on communicative skills and listening comprehension, and well as reading and writing. Cultural comparisons and other themes are explored. Tests, quizzes, and class presentations enhance writing and speaking skills, and French news shows and other video clips are used to improve listening comprehension. The grammar and vocabulary content in Grade 5 builds on the curriculum in Grade 4, adding verb conjugations, some irregular verbs, and adverbs.
Students take more responsibility for their work and have longer assignments. Interdisciplinary projects include an art/science assignment to design and construct an original animal; use of ancient Greek body proportions in life sketching; ceramics; and Chinese brush-painting. Students also work in papier-mâché, and they engage in printmaking and painting. An emphasis in Grade 5 art is looking at how artists communicate emotion through the use of color and shape.
Students spend the first trimester learning basic technique on the violin. In the second trimester, students perform in a musical, practicing their skills of collaboration and performance. In the third trimester, Grade 5 students continue to work on ensemble skills as they work together on creating music. Students continue to develop a healthy singing voice and the ability to sing in harmony.
Students work on developing and improving physical skills related to specific sports. The units covered are soccer, team handball, basketball, floor hockey, and volleyball. Through the program, students gain a better understanding of sport strategies and philosophies. They work on functioning as a cohesive, supportive group and on conducting themselves fairly in game situations. They also increase their own personal levels of fitness. The climbing wall provides students with the opportunity to engage in motor skill acquisition with fitness development and to combine decision-making with communication skills. In addition, it provides experiences for students to meet new challenges.
In Grade 5, students are older partners to students in Grade 1. They meet bi-weekly for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.
Students continue to learn new technology skills. Programs such as Photoshop and Google Sketchup are introduced to the class. We begin in-depth discussions about how to effectively research information on the Internet. Students learn about the value of using online educational databases. They are taught how to access these resources and how to use them for research. As in previous years, all activities are designed to support cross-curricular homeroom activities.
The spring program is a three-day residential experience. Activities include low ropes courses, climbing wall, hiking, science study, and environmental and ecology study.
The year begins with a look at our religious culture here at St. Luke's. We look at the community prayers and examine chapel services. Students then compare our traditions with a the ancient religions of the civilizations we study in social studies.
The Book of Common Prayer provides the base of Chapel services. The aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. Thursday Eucharist includes non-sectarian prayers and birthday blessings in the context of Episcopal ritual. In all, the Episcopal concept of “common prayer” celebrates the diversity of religious tradition and experiences among faculty, students, and staff.
Convocation takes place each Friday morning. Led by Upper School class representatives, Convocation is a time for students and teachers to share talents and interests, perform for one another, present curriculum projects, and share community announcements.
As members of the Upper School, Grade 5 students have an expanded array of extracurricular activities:
- Fall Sports: Coed Soccer
- Winter sports: Girls' and boys' junior varsity basketball
- Literary Magazine: Libellus
- Student Council: Participation as a class representative rotates among class members. Students meet each week with the Upper School head to discuss issues; they are responsible for running weekly Convocation.
- Canteen: Students are invited to return to school on a Friday evening for a social evening of a light dinner and play in the gym supervised by faculty members.
An extended day program is available with many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.