Grade 5

West Hartford Curriculum in a Nutshell

This document outlines the Grade 5 curriculum. West Hartford’s comprehensive program is based on standards for teaching and learning adopted by the Connecticut Board of Education/State Department of Education including Connecticut Core Standards, Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks, and Next Generation Science Standards. The West Hartford curriculum also includes integration of state standards for visual and performing arts, physical education, and library media services. These standards guide development of curriculum and instruction to support student learning necessary for success on district and state assessments and for students to have the knowledge, skills and dispositions for future college and career readiness.


This year, your child will be working to develop an understanding of and mastery toward Grade 5 Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics. Your fifth grader will engage in whole and small group lessons based on what they need. They will participate in weekly Number Talk lessons and routines that focus on mental math strategies, mathematical discourse, and building computational fluency.

Through seven units of study, your child will focus on both the content of Math Standards (WHAT they will learn) and Mathematical Practices (HOW students engage in learning of mathematics) that are both part the CT Core Mathematics Standards for Mathematics.

In Grade 5, instruction focuses on five critical areas of mathematics content learning:

  • Understanding the place value system and performing operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths (Number & Operations in Base Ten)
  • Writing and interpreting numerical expressions and analyzing patterns and relationships (Operations & Algebraic Thinking)
  • Using equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions as well as applying and extending previous understandings of multiplication and division to multiply and divide fractions (Number and Operations - Fractions)
  • Converting like measurement units within a given measurement system, representing and interpreting data, and understanding concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and to addition (Measurement & Data)
  • Graphing points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world problems and classifying two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties (Geometry)

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary math curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child in math at home.

Grade 5 Mathematics Learning Progression

Click the orange banner above to view the Grade 5 Mathematics standards progression.


This year your child will be working to develop his or her understanding and mastery of the Next Generation Science Standards for Grade 5. Your child will participate in inquiry-based lessons that build science and engineering practices and engage in hands-on experiences that allow students to discover the following Grade 5 core ideas of science:

  • patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky
  • matter and conservation of matter
  • the distribution of water on Earth and the ways in which the Earth's geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and/or atmosphere interact
  • energy transfer among plants, animals, decomposers and the environment

Your child will demonstrate their understanding of these core ideas by engaging in eight science and engineering practices throughout their science units of study.

K-5 Science Units & Essential Questions

Click the orange banner above to view the Grade 5 units of study within the K-5 Science curriculum.


This year, your child will develop an understanding of and mastery toward Grade 5 Common Core Standards for English-Language Arts. These standards integrate all aspects of Language Arts development and are categorized under reading, language, and speaking & listening. Your child will participate in whole and small group reading lessons to support progress toward mastery of these standards. An outline of the year's units are included below.

Narrative/Fiction Units:

  • Comparing Story Elements (Story Elements & Making Inferences)
  • Theme & Author's Language (Determining Theme & Using Figurative Language)
  • The Butler Did It! (Comparing & Contrasting Mysteries)


  • What's It All About? (Main Idea & Summarizing)
  • Colonization (Integrating Information from Several Texts on the Same Topic)
  • The Great Debate (Noting Similarities & Differences in Points of View Represented)

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary literacy curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child with reading at home. Check out the "Where can I go to find book suggestions for my child?" section for websites to find books to read at home!

Grade 5 Language Arts Learning Progression

Click the orange banner above to view the Grade 5 literacy standards progression.


Your child will engage in the following writing units this year:

  • Narrative Writing: Narrative Craft
  • Information Writing: The Lens of History
  • Opinion Writing: The Research-Based Opinion

Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model for their instruction. Each writing block includes a short mini-lesson focusing on the writing process, writing conventions, and/or craft. Your child will then work on assigned or self-selected writing pieces as teachers confer with students either individually or in small groups. The workshop lesson closes with sharing time during which students celebrate and reflect on their writing and the writing process.

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary writing curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child with writing at home.

Kindergarten-Grade 5 Writing Learning Progression

Click the orange banner above to view the Kindergarten-Grade 5 writing progression.

Social-Emotional Learning

Your child will engage in weekly lessons from the Second Step social-emotional learning curriculum as well as a Morning Meeting structure (greeting, sharing, group activities) implemented in all Grade K-5 classrooms provide West Hartford students with a consistent social-emotional learning progression. As part of our WHPS commitment to equity and anti-racism, your child will also engage in lessons aligned to the four Learning for Justice social justice standards- identity, diversity, justice, and action. Students build the following social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts and skills throughout their WHPS elementary experience:

  • Self-Awareness: Develop a positive self-concept
  • Self-Management: Identify, understand, and regulate emotions of self and others
  • Responsible Decision-Making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions
  • Relationship Skills: Develop positive interpersonal relationships
  • Social Awareness: Develop an understanding of rules and responsibilities within communities
PreK-Grade 5 Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

Click the orange banner above to learn more about our Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum.

Social Studies

Your child will engage in social studies curriculum developed with guidance from the Connecticut Social Studies Framework passed by the State Board of Education in February 2015. The Connecticut framework provides a foundation for teaching history, civics and government, geography, and economics in all grade levels. In Grade 5, your child will explore the following concepts:


  • Explore maps and their purpose.
  • Identify where one lives and locate important places on current and historical maps.
  • Use maps to identify important information using symbols, legends, and keys.
  • Give and follow directions.
  • Create a variety of maps.


  • Develop an understanding of self, social standards and rules, along with the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Determine ways one can address problems individually and collectively to improve the communities to which we belong.

Instruction about Religion:

  • Discuss how religion shaped the development of the 13 original colonies.

History/Literacy Integration: As part of the English/Language Arts curriculum, your child will will participate in two integrated Social Studies units.

  1. How did the early encounters between Europeans and indigenous people shape history? Your child will study the European explorers who traveled to the Americas and their relationship with the indigenous people they encountered.
  2. In what ways, and for whom, was America a land of opportunity during the colonial period? Your child will use primary and secondary sources to determine the similarities and differences between the 13 original colonies. They will explore resources that aim to provide students with a deeper understanding of life in West Hartford and Connecticut during the 1700s and learn how enslavement played a role in our town and state's history.
Enslavement in Connecticut and the West Division

Click the orange banner to learn about two resources Grade 5 students use during Social Studies.

Keyboarding & Handwriting


The Keyboarding Without Tears (KWT) program introduces foundational letter and keyboarding skills. Muscle memory of the keyboard is developed with frequently used letter combinations. Your child will learn to type words and sentences using engaging and changing themes.

  • All students in Grades 2-5 have access to the KWT program for keyboarding practice at home and school.
  • Proper technique and posture are emphasized at all grade levels. Spot Checks within the program measure speed, accuracy, and gauge understanding of specific skills.
  • The end of Grade 2 keyboarding benchmark expectation is 5 words per minute (wpm) with 90% accuracy.

Click here to learn more about Keyboarding Without Tears.


Students are introduced to Zaner Bloser cursive alphabet in the fall of Grade 3. They continue to learn, review, and practice the cursive alphabet throughout the year in Grade 5.

Special Areas

All elementary students in West Hartford attend art, physical education, music, world language, and library classes each week.

Visual Arts: The visual arts curriculum provides a sequential and meaningful focus on skills and concepts while emphasizing art production, art history, aesthetics and art criticism. Your child will engage in inquiry, exploration and development of visual literacy skills, technique and expression of personal style through child-centered experiences.

Physical Education: The department strives to help children create healthy, active lifestyles through a balance of activities in a positive, responsible and cooperative environment. Your child will engage in activities that include the movement areas of body management, use of manipulatives, educational gymnastics, dance, fitness and adventure/cooperative education.

Music: The study of music fosters artistic development, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and the pursuit of life-long learning. Through performing and responding to music, your child will develop individual skills, realize a sense of belonging, and establish connections to the community.

Library-Media: The library-media department provides instruction, resources and services necessary for students to become lifelong learners in a global community. Your child will engage in weekly sessions with the library-media specialist to develop a flexible set of skills throughout their elementary experience to prepare them to be independent knowledge-seekers, critical thinkers, and creative-problem-solvers.

World Language: The world language department enables students to communicate effectively in the target language, and develop an understanding of the cultures of the speakers of that language.

Click on the pictures below to learn more about each department

Resources to Support Families

What does learning look like in Grade 5?

Click the orange banner above to learn more about reading, math, and writing (Source: