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5th Grade Team Page

Two students discussing their writing
Fifth grade students work with writing partners to help each other revise and grow as a writer.


English Language Arts


  • Listen respectfully to peers and adults
  • Listen to various forms of literature
  • Listen to different sources of the spoken word (storytellers, oral presentations by classmates, books, tapes, etc.)


  • Expand verbal vocabulary
  • Speak in a respectful manner
  • Use appropriate gestures and body language
  • Share creative writing and oral reports and respond to audience feedback
  • Express appreciation for others' ideas
  • Give tactful, constructive criticism
  • Develop storytelling skills


Writing Process:

  • Brainstorm, organize, write, confer, revise, rewrite, share


  • Essay to inform, narratives, response to literature, reflective essay, poetry, letter writing, memoir
  • Structured worksheets
  • Writing in all subjects (explain math problems or science experiments)


  • Begin vocabulary with classical roots, suffixes and prefixes
  • Review advanced phonetic patterns
  • Learn 300 most frequently used words

Grammar, Usage and Mechanics

  • Write using paragraphs
  • Edit for correct use of capitals and end punctuation
  • Use commas and apostrophes in more advanced ways
  • Review nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs
  • Learn about verb tenses, conjugations, complex sentences

  • Use cursive for selected assignments
  • Weekly typing practice (in school and at home)
  • Develop word processing skills


Reading Skills:
  • Develop and improve fluency and comprehension
  • Review phonological awareness
  • Consolidate syllable rules
  • Review advanced prefixes and suffixes
  • Learn meanings of words with Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon roots

Reading Comprehension

  • Read and distinguish between various genres of literature
  • Compare and contrast books
  • Read and follow directions independently
  • Identify plot elements and main ideas
  • Recognize fact and fiction
  • Identify literal and figurative language

Core Literature Studies

Teacher Read-Aloud Books:

Bridge to Terabithia (Regional America), The Magician’s Nephew (Fantasy), The Lightning Thief (Greece)

Genre Studies:

Biography, historical fiction, fantasy, mythology, poetry


Numbers and Numeration

  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide and demonstrate the inverse relationships between them
  • Read, write, and compare whole numbers, fractions, and decimals using <,>,=
  • Know place value to a million, decimals to hundredths
  • Round whole numbers to 10,000, decimals to hundredths
  • Use the distributive properties, and the identity properties of zero and one
  • Recognize odd, even, prime, and composite numbers
  • Use the divisibility rules for 2,3,5,9,10
  • Understand the concept of factors and multiples
  • Continue work with fractions (add, subtract, multiply, divide, improper fractions, mixed numbers)

Computation and Estimation

  • Use appropriate method for computing (mental math, paper and pencil, calculator, computer)
  • Use appropriate strategies to learn math facts
  • Add and subtract 4-digit whole numbers and decimals with regrouping
  • Multiply whole numbers and decimals with regrouping (3-digit by 2-digit)
  • Divide 3-digit numbers by 2-digit numbers
  • Solve one, two and three step word problems
  • Use estimation and rounding when appropriate


  • Review, use and apply standard and metric measurements (length, weight, volume, temperature)
  • Convert units within a system of measurement (in., ft., mm., cm., sec., min., etc.)
  • Understand coin values and make change


  • Identify and understand various terms of geometry (point, line, parallel, perpendicular, arc, sphere, etc.)
  • Classify angles
  • Identify and classify polygons
  • Identify the center, radius, diameter and circumference of a circle
  • Understand area and perimeter
  • Use a compass

Data Collection and Analysis

  • Gather, organize, analyze data
  • Interpret data using the mean, median, mode and range
  • Read, interpret and construct bar and line graphs
  • Predict, and perform simple probability experiments
  • Use calculators and/or computers to process data

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Communication

  • Approach problem solving systematically and creatively
  • Apply various strategies in the problem solving process
  • Develop flexibility, confidence, perseverance, and persistence both independently and in groups
  • Use concrete, informal and formal strategies to solve mathematical problems in real-world situations

Patterns, Functions and Algebra

  • Recognize and create a wide variety of patterns
  • Translate simple English phrases into algebraic expressions
  • Use order of operations to solve equations
  • Understand the use of variables in equations


Process Skills

  • Reinforce all of the K-4 skills plus:
  • Analyze data, verify information, experiment. planexperiments, use equipment to collect data, record data in a variety of ways, discuss and analyze data, control and manipulate variables, invent, validate reliability of results, generalize, make inferences, use knowledge to solve problems, expand knowledge to analogous situations


Physical Science:

  • Structure - atoms, molecules, elements, compounds
  • Properties - volubility, magnetic
  • Chemical change - heat, iodine, vinegar
  • Physical change - dissolving, evaporating


  • Liquids and solids
  • Volume (weight and density)
  • Temperature
  • Viscosity


  • Conduction
  • Boiling and freezing points
  • Physical change and volume


  • Bridge building

Life Science: Rivers, Streams, Watersheds

  • Aquatic Organism Study
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrates
  • Habitat
  • Adaptations
  • Life Cycle
  • Water Quality Testing & Data Analysis


  • Digestive system
  • Growth and Development
  • Unhealthy Substances
  • HIV

Social Studies

Ancient Civilization: Greece

Major components of study:
  • The Odyssey
  • Greek geography and mapping
  • Ancient Greek culture - architecture, drama, rise of democracy, athletics, philosophy, way of life
  • Listening, speaking, reading and writing (creative and expository)
  • Research, including use of library
  • Higher-level thinking skills

Middle Ages: Europe

Major components of study:
  • Historical timeline
  • Geography of Western Europe
  • Culture - pageantry, way of life, castles, knights, warfare, church/clergy, coat of arms
  • Religious and social climate of the time
  • Poetry, Ballads, Heroes, Legends
  • Listening, speaking, reading and writing (creative and expository)
  • Research, including use of library
  • Higher-level thinking skills


Major components of study:
  • Map Skills
  • U.S. Regions
  • Geographic terms
  • Imaginary Worlds
  • Rivers
  • Greece
  • Europe in the Middle Ages
  • Map reading and making

Social Skills

Civic and Social Responsibility

  • Make informed decisions
  • Be of service to community


  • Contribute to discussions
  • Give and take feedback

Personal Development

  • Exhibit organizational skills
  • Label and communicate feelings


In fifth grade, students are developing an awareness of the world around them. They are increasing their skills, and they are given the opportunity to experiment with more advanced processes, tools and materials. Among the many art projects are: Japanese writing journals, “Impressionist” water colors, ceramic self-portraits, personal coats of arms, Polish paper cutting, star books, contour drawings, stencils and action designs, Matisse inspired cutpaper action figures, wire sculptures, Valentine boxes, ancient Greek pottery, LEEEP habitat artbooks (rivers), and ArtStart.


The school counselor, Katie Cormier, visits with the 5th grade classes during elective time. Each class meets five times throughout the year, for an hour and fifteen minutes. The health based curriculum is designed to help students learn about themselves as well as how develop positive relationships with others. The school counselor co-teaches with the school nurse, Pam Hausler during these lessons. They use the Life Skills health/guidance curriculum to teach fifth graders about self-esteem, decision making, positive and negative stress, verbal/ nonverbal communication, advertising, peer pressure, assertiveness, tobacco/drug/alcohol use, HIV, and puberty. Students use class discussions, role-playing, videos and writing to express themselves and practice their skills. Mr. Minelli, MCS’s technology teacher, also comes in to co-teach for two lessons with Katie on internet safety during two 45 minute study hall times based on common sense media’s digital citizenship program.

Information Technology

Best practices in education show that technology is best incorporated into a student’s education as an embedded “tool” used to support learning in the major curricular fields. This means that tech isn’t something just to “do” for students; rather it is used where appropriate to help students succeed in their other subject areas.

Accordingly, 5th grade students use word processing skills (using the programs, MS Word and Google Docs) to write, edit, format, save and publish a variety of written assignments. They learn basic word processing formatting skills such as double spacing, alignment, and tabbing, bulleted lists, Inspector Properties. These skills are facilitated through our Google accounts and students log onto hanovernorwichschools.org accounts and access Google Drive for creating and storing their documents. To reinforce typing skills learned in 4th grade, the 5th grade students practice both at school and at home using the online typing program, Typing Club.

MCS uses the assessment software, Track My Progress, and 5th grade students are testing 4 times per year in Math and ELA using a computer adaptive test that can help teachers and parents understand the student’s strengths in various areas of these subjects. 5th grade students also are using Symphony Math to help improve their math concepts and understanding and are also given subscriptions to iXL mathematics to improve their math skills. These programs can be used both at school and at home to improve math skills.

Along with Katie Cormier, our school counselor, we also teach a select group of lessons with 5th grade students about the topic of safe computer use. These include such areas as computer safety, privacy, Gender Bias, and the prevention of Cyberbullying. The lessons come from the highly regarded I.S. site, Common Sense Media.

5th grade students have a computer elective 6 times per year on Wednesday afternoons, and the focus is on the Maker Movement. They use the Maker tools, Makey Makey and Little Bits to learn both design and inventing. Finally, MCS is strongly committed to the Hour of Code and in school and at home, students work through a 20 hr. class on beginner computer programming.


The Marion Cross community sings. We sing silly songs and mundane songs, great classics and new “pop” songs with surprisingly profound meanings, songs written by the students and songs in other languages from across the world, and just about everything in between.

MCS students learn all about music in other ways, too. They listen to it, talk about it, write about it, move to it, and dance to it. They learn it “by ear,” they read it on the staff, and they write a fair bit of it on their own, too. They learn to play instruments in the school’s chamber orchestra, band, and electives.

Music in Fifth Grade

Fifth graders learn to read, write, sing, and play music in three different key signatures. They accomplish this learning with a little help from The Beatles and keyboard apps on iPads. Fifth graders are allowed to take a music elective, such as Ukulele or Knotweed Flutes.

5-6 Chorus

The Grade 5-6 chorus, with the help of our wonderful accompanist Victoria Dobrushina, puts on an annual program of 5 or more songs. Their music is selected by the sixth graders and includes songs with historical significance, songs from other cultures, familiar songs, songs by contemporary composers, and songs that they feel send a powerful message to the community. In chorus they learn to be contributing members of a large ensemble. They sing challenging literature in two and three parts with precision and expression (every year they amaze me a little bit more!).


Each fifth grader composes two works. In the fall, they write Gregorian Chants about a person they admire; in the spring they write a short piece of instrumental music about a favorite character in Greek Mythology.


Most of our fifth graders choose to learn a band instrument, too. Lessons are held weekly. (Band is so much fun, six of the grown-ups decided to join, too!)

Library Skills

Organization and Location of Library Materials
  • Know how books in the fiction and non-fiction collections with assistance
  • Locate the arts and biography collections.

Use of Library Browser Online Catalog

  • Know how to access and use the online catalog and how to locate fiction and non-fiction books

Use of the Dewey Decimal System

  • Browse within a call number to find additional materials
  • Locate materials using call numbers

Use of Reference Collection

  • Know the almanac is a source of statistics and other facts
  • Use the atlas to locate places

Recognition and Use of Periodicals

  • Know periodicals are a source of current information
  • Use periodicals to get information on a given topic

Research and Reporting Techniques

  • Research a topic using more than one source
  • Present information in a written report form and/or a visual/oral presentation
  • Make a bibliography of author, title, publisher and copyright date

Use of the Biography Collection

  • Know the different types of biographical materials and locate information in each

Selection and Evaluation Techniques

  • Select materials for pleasure reading
  • Discuss reactions to and evaluations of independent reading
  • Discuss fantasy and modern fiction with peers
  • Be familiar with DCF books

Use of Indexes

  • Locate information in an encyclopedia or a book using an index

Parts of a Book

  • Use the jacket flap to find information
  • Identify the dedication and the glossary

Literature Appreciation

  • Be acquainted with important authors and their works
  • Describe how the main character changes from the beginning to the end of the story in modern fiction and fantasy
  • Identify the climax of the story and events leading to it
  • Describe the setting of the a story
  • Recognize an epic poem
  • Recognize elements of a mystery


The goal of the fifth and sixth grade physical education program is to help students enhance their physical skills and awareness, refine skills learned in grades 3 and 4, and practice good sportsmanship and team play. Students learn about and begin to take personal charge of the following: personal fitness and wellness (fitness tests, fitness activities and warm-ups), sportsmanship and social interaction (New Games, cooperative learning situations, problem solving skills, recognizing own strengths and strengths of others, accepting differences), locomotor skills (dance, gymnastics), non-locomotor skills (high and long jumping, balance activities), striking skills (volleyball, pickleball, paddle tennis, badminton, whiffleball), movement concepts (general and personal space, speed, force and flow of movement, o!ense and defense), and manipulatives of circus arts activities (juggling scarves, balls and clubs; spinning diabolos and plates). In addition they are introduced to and play modified games of lacrosse, whiffleball, volleyball, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and soccer. Track and field events are taught and practiced, and we continue to occasionally play some large group games.

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