As the final year of elementary school, fifth grade marks a transition toward more independent learning. With the help of their teachers, who scaffold the independent learning skills for them, the students are asked to organize their materials, take notes in class, and sustain work on long-term projects. Further preparation for middle school experience takes the form of a number of test-like experiences during the year, in which students learn how to prepare for and take a formal test.
In reading workshop, the key goals for fifth grade include using reading comprehension strategies effectively, solidifying decoding skills, and developing vocabulary. Students will enhance their ability to write thoughtfully about both literature and non-fiction by identifying main ideas and supporting details; explaining how a text supports a claim or an opinion; and comparing and contrasting characters and stories. Students continue to read many of the same genres they read in previous years: novels, non-fiction books, short stories, biography, and selected poetry. In guided reading groups, students learn to have rich and focused discussions about the books that they are reading and learn to support one another’s thoughts and insights. They also keep a nightly reading log and formally study reading comprehension as a test skill.
In writing workshop, students begin will write daily their writing notebooks, develop their ideas into drafts, and revise and edit them with their writing partners. Genres covered during the year include personal narrative, literature response as well as response to non-fiction reading, expository, persuasive, and instructional writing. In writers’ circle groups, students regularly share their writing pieces and celebrate their finished products with a publishing celebration.
Key skills that are reinforced in the fifth grade include the use of topic sentences and supporting details, writing paragraphs that consist of one complete idea, writing multi-paragraph essays that incorporate introductions and conclusions, using primary and secondary texts to support a thesis, varying word choice, sentence length and structure, incorporating thoughts, feelings, and dialogue. Students continue to work on grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, cursive writing, dictionary use, and research and presentation skills.
In the BYDS Fifth Grade math, the Singapore Math program prepares students with core concept review combined with a challenging program that achieves readiness for higher level math that students will encounter in the most rigorous Middle School programs. The algebraic and geometric models use greater amounts and ask for answers to more complex problems. There is a lot of practice with order of complex operations with calculations that include up to seven digits, including more experience with fractions and decimals. Data and measurement elements of Fifth Grade math will explore percentages in depth and will also study ratios. Factorization and the use of exponents will be taught. Geometric problems will now include both two and three dimensional area calculations. The study of angles and that of coordinate geometry will offer a full introduction to more sophisticated graphing problems.
In-class preparation for standardized testing continues in Fifth Grade, as ERB tests take place in Spring. As in all Elementary grades, Fifth Grade math is taught each day, both in the scheduled math class time but also during transition times and during segments of the day that yield the teachable moment.
As we live in an increasing complex and violent world, it is crucial that our children develop an insight and awareness of the world around them. The fifth grade social studies curriculum focuses on man’s need to explore, understand, and often conquer the unknown. The students are given the opportunity to visit civilizations of the past, observe how and why these civilizations succeeded or failed, and relate these successes or failures to today’s world.
Students also study world geography, timely events such as mid-term and presidential elections, and major world events that occur daily and directly affect their lives. Social studies classes study how man treats his fellow man and how these interactions affect the course of history.
A key milestone of the fifth grade is a major research project and presentation on one of the fifty states, which serves as a stepping stone to the exhibition-based assessments students will undertake in the middle school.
Through this extended study, students further develop their skills of observation, as well as sharpen their scientific recording and communication skills. In addition to a written research paper, students communicate what they have learned through discussions, dramatizations, and oral presentations, as well as in homework assignments, artistic representations, models, and poster displays.
The fifth grade science curriculum is designed to deepen students’ experience with scientific inquiry. Students use both classroom and laboratory time to delve deeply into subjects introduced in previous years. Students learn about mixtures and solutions, experimenting with forces, circuits, and electricity, formation of fossil fuels, and alternative energy. All of the subjects learned in science this year will be discussed at length as students are trained to think and act like real scientists and evaluate how what they are learning in the classroom applies to the world around them.
In 5th -grade, the focus is on accuracy and speed. students use their keyboarding skills throughout the year during their various projects, publishings, and 5 paragraph essays.
5th-grade students are given school e-mail accounts that are accessible through g-mail. Students are taught to use these e-mails safely. Students are also taught to use google docs as an alternative to saving files on the network. They are also taught how to share these documents safely.
By 5th grade, students are expected to be able to save and retrieve files properly. Students are taught to save to their network folders. Every document is saved to their named folders. Students are expected to save files in appropriate content based folders to demonstrate appropriate file management. There are times when students are asked to save documents to an actual harddrive, but those moments are rare. Students are taught the difference between saving to their folder and saving to the hard drive of a specific computer. Students are also able to identify trustworthy sites and are also taught to save and transfer files to and from thumb drives.
5th-grade students focus on a few research projects throughout the year. They are given many opportunities to do research on the computers both in the computer lab and in their classrooms with assistance from teachers. They are supervised at all times. They are guided through how to find information through the formulation of directed/targeted questions. By the end of the school year, students are able to identify trustworthy sites and are able to skim through headings to find the information that is most pertinent to their given topics and questions. With an increased on-line presence, students are also made more aware of cyber safety and cyber ethics.
Office Productivity Suite
5th-grade students use word and power point. Throughout the year, they complete a variety of projects on both. In Word, students are able to change fonts, change color, insert pictures and shapes. 5th-grade students are also able to change the page layout and work on paragraph formatting. In Power Point, students are able to add transitions and animation, choose layouts and add slides and change the color and font of their text. Students are also able to insert pictures from clip art and from outside files.
From Kindergarten through 5th Grade, Spanish is taught during the regular school day as a third language after English and Hebrew. The focus of the program is on Spanish conversation. In 5th grade, Spanish is studied four periods per week with a native speaker of Spanish as the instructor.
Hebrew and Judaic Studies
Hebrew study culminates in the fifth grade, from which students have a strong basis for continuing study in middle school and beyond.
Fifth graders participate in the weekly Shabbat program. They are eligible for Mensch of the Week awards during that service. Toward the beginning of the year, they will lead part of the service, as well. Fifth graders lead the school-wide tzedakah program, collecting and discussing it during the Shabbat service. Students participate in community service as part of the values-based program.
The fifth graders experience a Shabbat service at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, where they receive a full Tikkun and lead the Shabbat morning service. Families attend the service as they would usually, and a celebratory luncheon is served.