Curriculum for Grade 5 


Open House


Welcome!  This year the fifth grade has several teachers helping both in and out of the classroom and bringing in their own unique teaching skills and styles to enrich the learning experience for the class. Victoria Shaw leads us at Morse Hill and does cooperative learning games and activities with the class to strengthen teamwork and cooperation among the students as part of the Adventure Program. Lori Castagna and Christine Paglia Baker also work regularly with our class. Students have one 40 minute Special per day: Please introduce yourself to each of the specialist teachers if you don’t know them, and say hello if you do. Your child’s Open House checklist has a list of each teacher and where to find him or her.


We are off to a good start! Although I cannot answer all questions tonight, I look forward to speaking with each of you at Parent Teacher conferences. If you need to reach me before then or at any time, I can be reached at either 413-548-9144 x141 or via email:  [email protected] 


Don’t forget to sign up for a Parent Teaacher conference time on the white board. At the conference, we will discuss your child’s progress in each subject, as well as the results of standardized testing.  We can also use that time to discuss each child’s study habits and social/emotional health and growth.  I look forward to talking with you all in depth at that time.

Units of Study

September -November

Science mini-units (on-going through the year):  Beginning with Life Science and the Greenhouse

Endangered Species



World Geography and mapping

Begin trout mini-unit in science (Jan. or Dec. start with Brook trout)



Ancient American History: Inca, Aztec, Maya

Physical science mini-units



Macro-Invertebrate mini-unit (possibly in conjunction with trout)

Earth Science mini-units

Trout stock out


May - June

World Explorers: Age of European Exploration

Human Body mini-units

Canoe Trip

Science and Social Studies Projects


Endangered SpeciesStudents will investigate and report on an endangered species.   The report will have visual, artistic, and written components.


World Geography As part of our world geography unit, students will create a website on one of Earth’s continents, featuring natural landmarks and human- made monuments or architectural features on each continent. There will be specific focus on one country this year.


Inca/Aztec/Maya- Students will research topics from civilizations in the Ancient Americas.  They will create a travel brochure or fair focused on an aspect of one of these three pre-Columbian American cultures.


World Explorers- Students will research and present the life of a world explorer. There will be both written and performance aspects to the presentations.


Brook Trout Project- Students will hatch brook trout eggs and rear trout in the classroom, later releasing them into an appropriate habitat


Class Play- Play to be determined by class based on interest and project explorations The date of the class play will be Friday, May 29, 2016 at 2:00, as part of the all school assembly.  We will have an open dress rehearsal that week for parents unable to attend the afternoon performance.



Language Arts

Reading Workshop

In the beginning of the year, students have been reading independently as we observe their strengths and abilities:


-  How they choose and stay with the books they choose

-  How they attend to what they are reading

-  How they read orally

-  How they share their understanding of what they have read

-  How they view reading and what makes a good reader


It is our goal to provide opportunities for students to read for meaningful purposes - both for what we feel is meaningful and for what they think is meaningful.


We will be doing the following types of reading this year:

Independent Reading

Instructional Reading/Conferences

Oral Reading - individual or with reading partners

Read Aloud

Literature Circles (we have begun leveled reading book groups)

Group Novels (we will begin with Tuck Everlasting)

Choral Reading

Reading while sharing writing

Reader’s Theater

Kindergarten buddy Reading

Reading and Responding to text in Journals

Paired Reading 

Author Studies

Reading a Variety of Genres: such as poetry, historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, informational text, etc.

On-line reading comprehension/fluency/vocabulary programs (Lexia orReading Assistant)


Writing Workshop

Using the Writing Cycle – Brainstorming/Pre-writing, Composing, Revising, and Editing


Writing Process – We will explore the writing process from generating ideas to publishing work. Students will have writing assignments, writing invitations (optional prompts), and choice topics to write about throughout the year.  Writing conventions and topic development will be areas of focus, but we will write in many genres, including expository pieces (such as essays, reports, and biographies), fiction, poetry, detailed scientific writing, and persuasive essays.  In addition to reading with partners, we have begun a weekly Author’s Circle to give students an opportunity to share their writing with their peers.


Three Main Types of Writing: Narrative, Persuasive, and Informational – Using the Lucy Calkins writing program as a guide and focusing on each of the three main elements in the new Common Core standards for written composition, we will write extensively in each area. 




Everyday Math Program – Please refer to Unit Letters at the beginning of each unit to explain the concepts and applications being used.  The letters have an answer key for the homework on the last page in case you are asked to help with an assignment.  Some of the methods and algorithms that are taught in the Everyday Math program may be unfamiliar to parents. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions that were not answered in the family letter.  


We will also be using Kahn Academy this year. I have been pleased with the way the website individualizes work for each student and everyone can work at his or her own pace.  


   -  Homework is generally given Monday through Thursday (some longer assignments will extend through the weekend). It should not take more than about 50 minutes per night.   

   -  Every week students will receive homework assignments and reminders. It is the student’s responsibility to bring homework folders and/or binders back and forth from home to school each day and to keep track of assignments.

   -  Students are also expected to read an average of 30 minutes or more daily in addition to their homework assignments, including weekends..  We are asking them to try different genres throughout the year and to be critical readers who are able to recommend books for others.



Posted by bill.stewart On 03 February, 2016 at 1:50 PM