Fourth grade has long been considered a critical point in elementary school. It is in fourth grade that students are expected to take the big leap toward becoming more independent learners. While some students are ready for leaps, others may continue to need additional steady support. A school environment with a one size fits all approach may stand in the way of your child’s social and academic development. At Ivy League, our perfect size classes (with no more than 16 students) and commitment to personalizing education ensures that no child will get lost during this important transitional year. We use strategies, such as open task assignments – multiple ways for demonstrating knowledge, such as reports or projects which encourage children to take chances and become more independent thinkers. Also, the formal teaching of study and organizational skills in this grade, help students learn to take more control of their learning, while a spiraling curriculum ensures that students are well prepared for what lies ahead.
English Language Arts
Deep analysis of literature and informational text is the focus of Ivy League’s 5th grade English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. Reading and writing skills become tools for enhancing and extend greater comprehension of what students read, view and hear. Class assignments are more inquiry based and detailed oriented. Students acquire the habit of using reference tools using contemporary resources, such as computers or iPads, to verify word meaning or fact check. The structure and organization of text books (headings, subheading), as well as how to acquire information from charts, graphs, photos etc., are additional non-fiction reading skills imparted. Fifth grade is where students learn to write for a range of purposes and audiences and experiment with style. They learn to express their opinions with well-argued reasons, and write explanatory compositions on a specific topic. With guidance, support and access to technology, students prepare a short research report including correct formatting, illustrations, multi-media and domain specific language to inform the reader about a topic.
In their narrative writing, students are taught more sophisticated techniques such as adding dialogue, descriptive details, and a variety of transitional words, phrases and clauses to convey an experience precisely.
Skills for speaking to communicate information and listening critically to other speakers or media presentations receive particular attention in fifth grade. In formal oral presentations, students are expected to present information applying the same conventions of standard English which they are expected to use in their writing. In collaborative discussions of fifth grade social studies topics, current events or ideas presented in literature, students practice expressing ideas clearly, or elaborating on the ideas of others. They offer constructive criticism and ask and answer probing questions.
The course of study for Ivy League’s fifth grade presents the story of the development of the United States beginning with a brief history of pre-Columbian settlements through the remarkable development of the United States until the 1850’s. Whenever possible, events are viewed through the eyes of the historical group being studied. To make connections to the past, teachers incorporate readings of factual accounts, personal histories and historical fiction. Current events, articles and editorials appearing in today’s paper or journals reveal how the 21st Century has been affected by the past.
The development and significance of the United States Constitution constitutes a significant unit of study as students learn about our Founding Fathers and the many conflicts and compromises made in the drafting of this seminal document. How the three branches of government distribute power and operate to preserve the balance between state’s rights and individual rights is analyzed closely. In geography studies, students study properties of regions which account in part for the economic development of our nation.
The fifth grade mathematics curriculum at Ivy League consists of concepts of numbers and operations in base 10, algebraic thinking, fractions, measurement systems, interpreting data to solve problems involving information presented in a graph. Students extend their understanding of two dimensional figures and how to determine area and volume. How to solve one and two step word problems is a major unit of study in our 5th grade. Our mathematics program steadily moves from the concrete to more abstract ideas, is comprehensive and is presented in progressive steps with much practice and repetition for students who may be struggling for lack of background knowledge. For students ready to surge ahead, our middle school mathematics teacher provides exciting projects and enrichment opportunities.
Fifth grade students come to science studies already possessing the foundational knowledge, enthusiasm and inquisitive mind set for tackling big ideas. They are steeped in the scientific method of investigation, are familiar with tools and quite capable of handling informational text. Taught by a certified science teacher, students in fifth grade learn that elements and their combinations account for all the varied types of matter in the world. They become familiar with the periodic table of elements and learn the differences in chemical and physical properties of substances. Students gain a deeper understanding of how the internal structures of an organism account for their external features. In depth study of earth science, weather phenomenon and the solar system continue to fascinate our fifth graders as the information is ever changing, current and visible. From using real time data and almost immediate information available through internet sources, our students learn to locate evidence, make predictions, and draw conclusions.