Fifth Grade


Fifth Grade

Choices Make History

 Year-Long Essential Questions

  • What impact do our choices have?

  • What influences our choices?

  • What responsibilities do we have to ourselves and our communities?

  • How do we solve the problems?

  • How do we communicate and connect with others?

Linguistic Intelligence (Reading)

A primary focus in the fifth-grade reading program is helping students gain a deeper understanding of both fiction and nonfiction text. Students also focus on monitoring their understanding and taking steps to regain meaning as necessary. They demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways, using their Multiple Intelligences in projects and presentations, as well as on more traditional tests. Throughout every reading  activity, emphasis is placed on finding evidence within the text to support all answers, both written and oral.  Vocabulary skills are developed through independent reading and group novels, as well as with the study of Latin and Greek roots.   

By the end of fifth grade, students will be able to:

  • use comprehension strategies such as previewing, predicting, questioning, and visualizing
  • make inferences, draw conclusions, differentiate between main idea and  details, concisely summarize chapters, sections, and stories
  • make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections in order to deepen understanding
  • focus on the literary elements of character development, plot, setting, foreshadowing, point of view, and conflict
  • explore techniques and  strategies unique to an author’s style
  • examine author’s purpose in fiction text
  • gain new information from a variety of primary and secondary source documents
  • think critically about nonfiction text by looking at author’s perspective, finding multiple sources, and thinking about reliability and bias.
  • focus on developing a richer and more specific vocabulary, using context clues and dictionary definitions
  • recognize multiple meanings of words

Linguistic Intelligence (Writing)

In fifth grade, the students learn to see writing as a process. They recognize that there are different purposes for writing, and different audiences. Students become versatile writers by learning to write cohesive, well-supported expository pieces to required prompts, as well as writing creative narrative pieces to topics of their choice. 

By the end of fifth grade, our writers learn to:

  • consistently utilize the steps in the  writing  process
  • plan for their writing by gathering and organizing relevant and engaging information using a variety of graphic organizers
  • revise for clarity, specific word choice, varied sentence structure, and author’s voice
  • edit for correct grammar, spelling, and mechanics
  • publish final drafts
  • create essays using a variety of prompts
  • craft different kinds of paragraphs,  including persuasive, descriptive, compare/contrast, and expository
  • write in a number of additional genres, including personal  memoirs, creative stories, poetry, and letters
  • write short answer and paragraph responses to questions in content areas and support answers with details

Language and Spelling

Throughout the writing process, a  primary goal is to view spelling and grammar as integral parts to effective communication.  Mini-lessons on specific grammatical and spelling rules often utilizing a variety of Multiple Intelligences. In addition, individualized instruction connects to students’ own writing pieces. 

The students...

  • use individualized spelling lists based on pretests and  developmental spelling levels
  • study numerous grammatical and spelling rules while incorporating them directly into individual  writing pieces
  • recognize and correctly use various parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions
  • identify and incorporate varied sentence structures into individual writing pieces, including compound sentences, complex sentences, and appositives
  • proofread carefully and edit writing for conventions

Logical - Mathematical Intelligence

The fifth-grade math program provides instruction in the five mathematical strands and supports individual students as they move from the concrete operational stage to the symbolic representational stage. A variety of instructional and assessment methods are used, with attention given to hands-on experiences and incorporation of the Multiple Intelligences. A primary goal for fifth-grade mathematicians is attaining skill development based on conceptual understandings and strengthening the ability to apply these skills to their everyday experiences.  

Some of the areas which our mathematicians focus on in fifth grade are...

Number Sense

  • explore mathematical properties
  • develop an understanding of the patterns and relationships of  numbers, including factors and multiples of a number
  • understand rational numbers (fractions, decimals, percentages, mixed numerals, and improper fractions)
  • work for speed and accuracy in operations using whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages


  • use variables to represent unknown numbers
  • create and use algebraic equations
  • use a pattern to solve a problem

Data Analysis and Probability

  • gather, analyze, and represent data using bar, line, and coordinate graphs to include mean, median, mode, and range when appropriate
  • apply this knowledge to real-world situations


  • know and use equivalencies within a given system of measurement (US standard and metric), including those for distance, weight, and volume


  • understand and use terminology related to plane and space geometry

Social Studies 

The course of study in fifth grade social studies is American history; our theme is Choices Make History. This theme focuses on the great variety of people who built our country. This diversity brings both richness and conflict, and it gives rise to different perspectives related to the events we study. The students learn to ask themselves:

  • Whose perspective is evident as we read and research?
  • Would the story have been the same if it were told by a different person?

Units of study include: 

  • Tools of the Historian
  • Arrivals to This Continent
  • Colonial America and Government
  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Civil Rights

Through these various units, students learn...

  • to view current events through the lens of history, making connections and  discovering relationships such as cause and effect.
  • about world geography and diverse cultures.
  • through simulations, to understand government, citizenship, and economics.
  • to ask meaningful  questions, do research to find answers, evaluate sources for validity, and pull together relevant information to share with others.
  • to think critically about our society and what could and should be changed.

Fifth graders are becoming global citizens of the future!

You’re invited to our Fall Open House!

Behind our red doors, New City students engage in hands-on, experiential learning, develop lasting friendships within a diverse group of peers, play hard, and dream big. Join us at our Fall Open House on Saturday, November 10, to learn more about our school. We promise New City School is unlike anywhere you’ve been before! RSVP by visiting

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