5th Grade Curriculum Update

May/June 2015

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What a sweet bunch of students we have! As we approach our final weeks together, we want to thank you for allowing us to learn and laugh right along with them!

Reading Workshop

This week, students launched student-led book clubs! The selected texts include: Maniac Magee, Rules, When You Reach Me, and Flipped. Each group created their reading schedule, and over the next ten days, students will take turns with the following jobs: Discussion Director, Summarizer, Connector, Word Wizard, Artful Artist, and Passage Picker. These jobs allow the kids to use their reading strategies in order to plan and engage in thoughtful, productive discussions. This is always a favorite unit for 5th graders, and we will get in two rounds of Book Clubs before the year's end! Happy Reading!

As a class, we will also be enjoying Lois Lowry's, The Giver as our read-aloud. This Newbery Award winner has the kids on the edge of their seats! Jonas lives in a world of "Sameness," where most things are controlled and choice is limited. We will discuss the pros and cons of living in a controlled society like Jonas, and I can't wait to hear the passionate discussions as to why they agree or disagree with his world. Ask your child for their thoughts; I hope it leads to a great conversation!

5th grade will also explore Poetry before the year is over. Sharon Creech's "Love that Dog" is a great mentor text to accompany this unit, as it reminds us that poetry is a way for us to share our feelings, including those which are happy AND painful. Through this book, students are also reminded of the importance of word choice and line breaks.

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Writing Workshop

We are continuing to craft our "Hero's Journey" for the next couple of weeks. We have spent time forming our main character, describing the initial setting, plotting our stories to follow the archetypal Journey tale, and fleshing out our supporting cast. Writers will spend another week writing their first drafts, then we will spend a week on revisions. A large tale requires quite a lot of detail, so we go back and add,add,add!! Finally we will spend a few days on basic edits and a final read through!

We will enjoy the last few weeks of school by exploring that springtime favorite...Poetry!


Woo-hoo! Geometry has found its way into 5th grade! We have begun our study on triangles and will soon move onto quadrilaterals, including parallelograms, rhombuses, and trapezoids. Students will learn the properties of these shapes and how to figure out unknown angles and side lengths in figures by applying these properties. This is always a favorite unit among students, as it is filled with fun, hands-on activities!

We will then move onto a challenging unit on volume and displacement. The hands-on, engaging, and challenging math continues, and I love seeing students amazed by the math problems they're solving! As always, we will continue to review previously learned concepts, such as operations with fractions, decimals, and percentages, in order to keep our skills fresh and our computation sharp! ;)

Can you find the unknown angles in this diagram?

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Social Studies

Hopefully, you've heard about our 2nd Annual Greek Festival? Students are researching self-selected topics in order to present to the 2nd grade, 4th grade, and their families! On the morning of May 20th, we will convert the auditorium, and part of the athletic fields, into an agora. An agora was an open air market and community area present in many ancient Greek towns and cities. Each group of students will have a booth or station where they will share their research with passers-by. Feel free to ask them questions and enjoy their hand outs and activities!

Please ask to see your researcher's plan. They have each created one to make sure they are prepared in time for the Festival.

Over the next few weeks, we will also continue our discussion of Greek Philosophy. We will have an in depth discussion of whether or not Sparta's educational system was really worth the sacrifices demanded of it's citizens. I apologize in advance if your student is a bit less complacent than usual, but Socrates does that to folks...

In the last few days of the school year, we will attempt to build a few feats of Roman engineering! Don't be surprised if your citizen starts rummaging for tubes, pipes, cement, or scrap wood. Those latrines aren't going to build themselves...

Important Dates: (Whew! There are many!)

May 1st: Darfurnament 3:30-5:00
May 4th - 8th: Spirit Week
  • Monday: Clash Day
  • Tuesday: Holiday Wear
  • Wednesday: Formal Day
  • Thursday: Pajama Day & Breakfast-for-Lunch will be served for everyone! :)
  • Friday: NFS Day

May 8th - 9th: Book Fair

May 9th: Family and Alumni Day

May 12th: Field Trip to UPenn

May 13th: Sneak Peek at NFS Upper School

May 14: Field Day

May 20th: Greek Festival & Feast

May 25: No School

May 29th: 7th & 8th grade Musical: The Music Man