About Lower School

The developmental philosophy continues throughout the Lower School. In grades one through three, children work at their own appropriate paces, building basic skills in language arts, mathematics, and social studies; additional classes called “specials” are science, art, music, Spanish, computer, and physical education. These take place in environments specifically designed for each activity. With grades four and five, a gentle transition occurs. Students attend class with a math specialist, belong to an advisor group, keep up with their own assignments, and also, for the first time, receive letter grades in some subjects. Language arts and social studies are closely integrated, and science becomes a core subject, meeting for a full hour each day. This transition prepares the students for Middle School, the final destination in their Lexington School journey.

While developing students’ abilities in writing, reading, research, problem solving, and critical thinking, classes also emphasize character traits such as inclusiveness, respect for differences, self-sufficiency, cooperation, and the ability to take risks with courage. The life skills for organization are also integrated into every child’s day. Students experience what they need to prepare for the rest of their lives, and their future successes with be proof of that.

 
Unable to load the specified news feed due to the following error(s): Error encountered reading feed: The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found.
This feed has 0 articles on 0 pages
First Grade

About First Grade

Can your six year old do mental math? Build a house out of sugar cubes and it can happen. Want to comprehend base tens, then obsess over the 100th day of school, enumerating everything in your path for a couple of weeks, and it happens without your even knowing it. First grade is chock full of clever teaching tricks, and first grade teachers will tell anyone that they live for the light bulb. That inevitable day when the light bulb turns on in its individual way…magic! First grade is something special at The Lexington School. Four sections of 12 students, first grade curriculum is horizontally aligned, which means for each teacher, you get four teacher brains. Meeting regularly to plan and brainstorm, teachers work to differentiate curriculum, providing an individualized approach for each student. Increasingly academic, the focus continues to be on teaching skills in creative, hands-on ways, and providing plenty of movement and stimulation for these young, curious, and active minds. Risk taking is part of the first grade philosophy, and it comes in a variety of forms depending on the child. From reading aloud to the class, or writing the first page for Writer’s Guild book; from performing on Grandparents Day to jumping to the next, more challenging math concept, first graders take bold steps each day. They know it is okay to try new things; after all, they know their teachers love them, and if at first they don’t succeed, they have their teachers right there to pick them up, brush them off, give them a big pat on the back, and help them try again. It is through this careful, individualized approach that first graders develop the appropriate skills and confidence they need for the next step in their Lexington School journey…on to second grade!

Art

The last term of the year is packed with activities for the first graders.  After February break they start a unit on three-dimensional art.  During this unit the students work with paper maché.  This year the students created bats with water bottles.  The bats were hung from simulated stalactites in the arts wing.  In March the students, inspired by, Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Sunflowers” create a tissue paper collage of this famous painting.  April is a time to look at impressionist artists such as Claude Monet.  Finally the students do some observational drawings.  Bicycles are one of the first grades favorite still life objects to draw.  In May first grade students work on Spring Sing props and try to help create a festive tone for the concert.

Music

Spring Sing is the capstone experience for third term.  Students put together the skills of singing, movement, and playing instruments to make this concert a lovely experience for themselves as well as the audience.   Vocally, the first graders feel comfortable performing rounds as well as singing beautiful contemporary song repertoire.  Beginning music notation study and composer study will continue in second grade. Parents and students both enjoy looking at the individual student music folders, which reflect some of the music projects from the year.  First graders just keep getting better and better!

PE

The first graders push it to the limit in PE during the final term.  Uits cover some of the students' favorite sports such as gymnastics, dance, bowling, fitness, and base games. The students grow both individually and as a group as they learn team building skills. During  team bowl-a-rama students work cooperatively learning basic team-building skills of communication, reliability, and trust. Throughout the months of April and May students finess their mile times as compare them with fall times to measure improvement over the course of the year.

Throughout May students play a variety of base games such as kick ball, aerobic tee ball, and whiffle ball. These are some of the best times of the year. The year in PE finishes with a first grade kickball game.

Throughout the year students will be brushing up on their Spanish in PE as well. Each month adds two new body parts, and the first graders will reach twenty before the year ends. Students continue to work on counting, locomotors, and commands in Spanish.  ¡Tenga un buen verano y nos vemos el año siguiente!

Science

The first graders begin the third term by completing a unit on Dinosaurs and Paleontology.  They learn about the process of fossilization by using clay and plaster to create molds and casts of their very own fossils.  They also learn where Paleontologists look for dinosaur fossils and how they excavate them for analysis in a museum.  After dinosaurs comes a journey into space and the solar system.  Students start off with Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars by comparing their size, atmosphere, and distance from the Sun.  They first graders examine the asteroid belt and look at other interplanetary bodies like meteors and comets.  Students eventually make their way out to the gas giants and then put it all together with a giant poster of the entire solar system.

Spanish

Throughout the third term, first grade Spanish students “travel” to Cuba to learn a little bit about Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa”. Students work on generating simple sentences expressing Celias's likes and learn vocaulary associated with Cuba. Students then read ¡Azúcar! and complete a project illustrating and labeling common things found in Cuba, Celia’s beloved native country. First graders continue to explore Cuban culture with the telling of the Cuban Folktale Martina the Beautiful Cockroach. Incorporating vocabulary from the story, including family members and animals, students find out how Martina, la cucaracha (the cockroach) takes the advice of her abuela (grandmother) and sets out to find the perfect suitor by seeing if they can pass The Coffee Test. Will it be don Gallo (the rooster), don Cerdo (the pig), don Lagarto (the lizard) or el ratoncito (the little mouse) that proves worthy to be el amor de Martina (Martina’s love)?  Students add new songs to their repertoire, including La víbora de la mar (The Sea Serpent).

Second Grade

2nd Grade

In language arts, the final Open Court Reading themes are about courage, the United States, and its people. In the Courage unit, children read fiction and nonfiction accounts of children, like themselves, who find bravery in different situations. In Our Country and Its People, students explore immigration into the United States from the 1400’s to the present day and have the opportunity to learn about the feelings people experienced as they ventured into unknown places. In addition, they are able to develop an understanding of how a country grew because of immigration. Many reading comprehension strategies are integrated into the Open Court Reading instruction. Students practice several skills including summarizing, making connections with the characters, and making inferences. Language skills such as sequencing, adverbs, paragraph form, topic sentences, point of view, plot, and author’s purpose are practiced. The students work diligently on their Writers Guild pieces as well. 

Students are introduced to new skills, and familiar skills are reinforced during the final term in Everyday Mathematics. Counting money amounts above one dollar, making change with five and ten-dollar bills, calculating place value in four and five-digit numbers, and solving problems containing parentheses provide challenging opportunities. Students continue to increase their “fact power” through the practice of addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts to aid in the solution of higher level math problems.

In social studies, the second grade students complete their travels through the world and learn many research skills along the way. Students grow to understand that their actions affect the earth and that they are connected to every person and animal. Second graders deepen their understanding of diversity and celebrate the diversity of others.

The Lexington School’s “Guidelines for Success” are used daily to encourage, reinforce, and strengthen personal and social growth.

About Second Grade

You know why it doesn’t matter which teacher you get in second grade? At The Lexington School, you get them all. Through a teamwork methodology that you don’t find successful in many schools, all second grade students experience the nurturing, fastidious, and hilarious personalities of all three teachers through a horizontally aligned curriculum that takes place in a self-contained classroom, but which often takes the form of a rotation through each classroom, sometimes even mixing up the classmates! Active learning takes many different forms at The Lexington School. Something of great value in an independent school is the flexibility with schedule and curriculum our teachers and students enjoy. Our second graders enjoy movement, action, and creativity on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the teachers continue to differentiate in classes of 16 so each child gets to stretch his/her mind as far as it will go.

Art

In the last term of second grade, students work on a Mardi Gras mask.  The mask must be three dimensional and the students use the traditional Mardi Gra colors to decorate their masks.  The final instruction of this project is to be creative.  When finished, the masks are displayed in the Fine Arts gallery.

During April and March the students start reviewing concepts intruduced throughout the year.  It is important for each student to have mastered the concepts and techniques as they transition into Mrs. Hamilton’s third grade art class.  To illustrate these skills, the students create a book which covers primary colors, secondary colors, and monochromatic colors.  The students also review three dimensional shapes and shading.  The month of May is devoted to creating props for Spring Sing and celebrating the artistic growth of each child.

Computer

The second grade students continue to work on keyboarding skills in the third term. They increase typing speed and accuracy as they continue the keyboarding program Typing Instructor, a software program designed to increase typing skills. Second graders spend several class periods practicing keyboarding skills for the authentic purpose of typing their Writers Guild stories.

By the end of the year, second graders know how to name a file, save, and retrieve their documents in their personal folder on the network.

Music

Spring Sing is the most anticipated musical experience for third term. Students put together the skills of singing, movement, and playing instruments to make this concert a lovely experience for themselves as well as the audience.   From the singing of challenging mulit-cultural songs to the enthusiastic singing of American folksongs, the second graders meet formadible musical challenges.  The second graders are also very knowledgeable about the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Students and parents enjoy looking at the individual student music folders, which reflect some of the music projects completed throughout year.

PE

Second graders learn to perform cart wheels, front rolls and work on their balance in the third term.  Students enjoy showing off their moves and performing in the gym to music.  Volleyball is always hit with second graders as they learn to bump and to serve.  Students work as partners and within larger groups to practice serving and bumping the ball back over the net.  The game “King’s Court” is also a favorite for practicing skills and having fun.  Running the mile is a challenge for everyone, and baseball and kickball are always so much fun for the entire grade.  Students enjoy the chance to run the bases like a “Big Leaguer” and slide into home to win the game.  Students pick up on the rules and truly understand how the game is played.

The students continue to expand their Spanish knowledge through PE class time.  Students stretch independently while following along in Spanish.  They pick up on the different commands such as pegen, which means to stike or hit the ball.

Science

The second grade begins the third term in science by completing their unit on Space and Astronomy.  After comparing different characteristics such as size, orbit, and atmosphere of several rock and gas planets, they use computers to build virtual planets and observe what happened to their planets when they were launched into our solar system.  They also look at stars other than our sun as they learn about red giants, blue giants, and even supergiants.  They finish the year with an exciting unit on flight science.  They begin by learning the concepts of lift and thrust and how they are used to overcome the forces of weight and drag.  Then students build a collection of flying objects including paper planes, loop flyers, helicopters, and even pressure rockets and are responsible for improving their designs as the unit progresses.

Spanish

Throughout the third term, second grade Spanish students work on describing objects using vocabulary from our unit los adjetivos (adjectives). Students read Soy demasiado grande (I’m Too Big) and then work on a project illustrating and labeling two people; one wearing pantalones limpios (clean pants) and the other wearing pantalones sucios (dirty pants). Students then learn how to express their likes and dislikes using vocabulary from our unit on la comida (food). Students read ¿Qué te gusta? (What do you like?) and Huevos verdes con jamón (Green Eggs and Ham) and then illustrate and label foods that they do and do not like. Students continue to warm up for class with songs and chants and expand their repertoire to include La granja (The Farm) and Compadre, cómpreme un coco (Compadre, Buy Me a Coconut).

Third Grade

About Third Grade

Third grade children are about to experience the most meaningful changes to their social and emotional development in their lives up to this point. Between second and fourth grade comes a milestone of development for children as they learn about themselves and about the world around them. Third grade students at The Lexington School become ready to see themselves as part of a community, work with abstract concepts like fractions of a whole, and develop responsibility and independence at home and in the classroom. The third grade teachers at The Lexington School believe that children need the right blend of support and challenges to bolster their spelling and vocabulary skills, develop fluency in reading, and gain a passion for writing.

In third grade math, many of the units of instruction introduced during winter and early spring focus on fractions and decimals in all sorts of different ways. At this point in the year, third grade students will begin to understand what their parents already knew. Being one student in a classroom of 16 (instead of 24 or even 30) means that each student will share more often, will be called on more frequently, and will have more one-on-one time with the teacher. It means that teachers will know their students and understand each learner's style and individual needs. It means that each student will have a greater responsibility in the classroom community, and each student will have a bigger share of everything great that happens in third grade.

At The Lexington School, one way we keep student achievement high is by keeping class sizes low.

3rd Grade

Third grade is a milestone year, and this one has been marked with countless areas of achievement.  With Handwriting Without Tears, the students have made the transition from print to cursive.  The Open Court Reading series has helped strengthen each student’s comprehension, oral reading, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and test-taking skills.  In addition, the supplemental reading provided opportunities for students to self-pace and complete long-term reading assignments.  With each novel, students developed essay writing skills.  Through each unit, students wrote and read expository, persuasive, personal narrative, and fiction writing.  Emphasis was placed on organization of thought and the understanding of what it takes to make a good paragraph and story. Within the social studies curriculum, students refined geography and map skills and investigated early American communities. Students learned about communities in Kentucky and colonial communities from hundreds of years ago.  Pilgrim, Pioneer, and Immigration units further enhanced students’ understanding of how communities develop, grow, and change over time.   The Everyday Mathematics program provided a structure for introducing new concepts and reinforcing skills within units on multiplication/division, fractions, measurement, and geometry.  The skills and concepts presented this year have prepared each child to go on to fourth grade with a strong and carefully nurtured academic background. 

Art

During the third term third graders learn to draw faces including self portraits. They observe the characteristics that make them unique. Students discuss caricatures and plan a fun picture of themselves in this method. They use a combination of media including paint, oil pastel and colored pencil. The next unit is figure proportion with warm and cool colors. Students learn the correct proportions of the figure and how to give it movement. They work on watercolor skills with this project. The final project is a collage using texture rubbing plates and imaginations. We review color contrast, gluing and cutting skills. With weather permitting we spend the last class sketching outdoors.

Computer

The third grade students continue to work in computer class to learn new skills. To improve Writers Guild books, young authors create title pages for their books using Word Art. Third graders continue to work in Typing Instructor, a software program designed to createafoundation of strong keyboarding skills. The students use keyboarding shortcuts to edit their documents.

Third graders complete an Ellis Island scavenger hunt on the Internet to connect with immigration lessons taught in the classroom. Web-based activities in which students collect information from the Internet via a set of links are designed to improve digital literacy skills.

Music

During the third term, the third graders show their understanding of good vocal technique and learn an impressive and challenging musical repertoire of songs for the capstone experience, Spring Sing.   In music theory, the students explore rhythm patterns and note names and compose a song for recorder.  Third graders continue to build individual student music folders, which include some of their music theory papers.   The life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven is the focus in music history this term.  The Recorder Karate program allows students to progress at their own rate and become quite proficient on the recorder.  How rewarding it is to watch these students grow musically during third grade.

Science

Third grade begins in term three with an extensive unit on geology and earth science.  The first experiment deals with plate tectonics and the theory of continental drift, but students quickly move on to rocks and the rock cycle.  After looking at the formation of Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary rocks, students learn how to identify and examine rocks more closely by studying the minerals contained within the rocks and observing their unique properties and characteristics.  Third graders complete their unit on geology by taking a brief look at paleontology and the amazing geologic history of the planet Earth.  With the remaining few weeks of the school year, students review some of their lessons on astronomy as they end an incredible year in science!

Spanish

Throughout the third term, third grade Spanish students explore various places related to la comunidad (the community). Using the vocabulary from this unit, students create and label illustrations of their very own community. Using their project, students begin to talk about where they go on various days throughout the week.  Students also add La granja (The Farm) to their repertoire of songs. Students end the year with a review of the entire year with a much anticipated game of Jeopardy a videogame version of TV game show version.

Fourth Grade

About Fourth Grade

What do P.E., art, music, computer science, science, language arts and social studies at The Lexington School all have in common? Kentucky Heritage Days! In fact, for six weeks at the beginning of fourth grade, all of these subjects come together in a giant interdisciplinary effort to explore Kentucky history and heritage. From folk dancing, visiting and writing journals on life in old Boonesboro, singing folk songs, exploring the trees and leaves of native Kentucky, to creating PowerPoint presentations with hand drawn artwork, fourth grade students connect all of the Kentucky heritage dots.  The culmination of this journey back in time is a two-hour dramatic and artistic performance in which every student plays a role. Interdisciplinary education happens at The Lexington School, and fourth grade Kentucky Heritage Days is just one of many examples.

Bridging the Gap

Upstairs from the "Lower Lower School," the fourth and fifth grade bridge the gap between Lower School and Middle School.  In the fourth and fifth grades, students have lockers, they move with their classmates together to each class, and they have additional responsibilities and privileges they can earn.  The academic courses take the leap from learning how, to learning what.  In a structured environment, students are guided to bolster their work habits and organizational skills as they develop greater independence in their work and their materials.  The fourth and fifth graders are asked to take on responsibilities as leaders in the Lower School.  The fourth graders help with weekly snacks for each Lower School classroom, and the fifth graders lead the school's recycling program.  They will soon be heading off to Middle School, but first they have to learn about getting grades, keeping up with long-term assignments, and learning to rely on each other to be leaders and friends in a new academic environment.

4th Grade

Advisor time is used to help fourth graders become successful and self-sufficient. The primary focus is to instill the TLS Guidelines for Success listed below.

  • Treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
  • Embrace a positive attitude.
  • Model honesty and integrity.
  • Practice responsibility.

During morning advisor time good study habits as well as organizational and planning skills are developed. Handwriting without Tears reinforces the handwriting instruction students have had in previous grades. During afternoon advisor time teachers help students check their assignment books and organize their materials before leaving for the day. Finally, advisors monitor other behaviors to ensure students follow and internalize the school's Guidelines for Success.

Language Arts & Social Studies

In fourth grade, language arts and social studies are intertwined. While other fourth grade classes are taught as separate disciplines, in language arts and social studies, reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills are at the heart of both.

Novels are the core of the fourth grade literature program. The three read, discussed, and written about during this term provide a look into difficult choices and how people weigh the pros and cons in different situations. In the Newbery Award winning book Shiloh, Marty, a young boy, must choose between protecting the dog he loves and telling the truth to his parents. Is it right for Marty to hide a dog belonging to an abusive owner and not tell his parents? During lively discussions, children not only share their opinions but, more importantly, explain the reasoning for their opinions. Throughout the term, students work to clearly explain their thinking in written form. Students also work in groups as they use Shiloh to gain a better understanding of plot, character, and setting.

The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars is the story of Tom, a young boy who very reluctantly must spend the summer at his aunt and uncle’s farm. Much to his surprise, he enjoys his stay and becomes enchanted by his encounters with a black fox. Will Tom tell his true feelings to his aunt and uncle, or will he keep quiet? Will the fox get killed, or will she escape to freedom? Numerous writing assignments accompany this book.

In addition to those two great novels, students also read a great biography on Daniel Boone, and much of what is read and discussed in that book is also addressed in the social studies text. It is a more powerful experience for students to be introduced to the same or similar information from a variety of sources and in a variety of styles.

The other components of the reading program are the literature and social studies texts, reading conferences, and CAFE skills. In the literature text, students complete a unit with the theme of risks and consequences and begin reading another unit about the lives of America’s earliest colonists. These excellent and varied pieces of literature provide a constant check on reading comprehension. Comprehension is also reinforced constantly as students read, discuss, and respond to every social studies lesson. The language arts teacher meets with each student to support, encourage, and aid that student's reading. CAFE skills (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding vocabulary) are taught, and students attempt to implement these skills whenever they read.

Part of the philosophy on the teaching of writing to fourth graders at TLS is that more is better. Students write regularly in their journals, which offers the students a great deal of creative freedom and written feedback from teachers. Journals are collected and assessed, and creative experimentation and improved writing mechanics are strongly encouraged. In addition to numerous writing assignments that accompany our novels and literature text, students also learn to write through Writing Lab. Writing Lab allows the entire fourth grade to meet once per cycle. Several writing activities focus on dialogue. In one of the two labs devoted to dialogue writing, students select a main character from two different stories read this year and have the characters debate with each other on which of the two has taken the greater risk. One lab is devoted entirely to essay writing skills, and in another lab students delve into historical fiction as the students create a fictitious journal written by someone in the Boonesborough area in the late 1700’s. Another lab focuses on perspective in writing as students work in groups to write about situations or events from a variety of points of view. The results are often very entertaining and provide the students with a good look at the importance of characterization in what they read and write.

Writing mechanics and spelling are addressed through journal writing, word processing, lab writing, Daily Oral Language sentence repair, assignments related to the fourth grade literature series, and weekly spelling dictations. Students work on writing mechanics and spelling through the vocabulary program as well. The structure of sentences is taught formally using the text English. Also, students learn a great deal about sentence construction during workbook activities and discussions about them. After sentences are studied using English, students learn how to identify common and proper nouns, make them plural, and make singular and plural nouns possessive. Editing is emphasized while learning about sentences and nouns.

The Writing Lab covering essay writing and constant encouragement of essay preparation for every test provides all students ample opportunities to develop critical writing skills. Students are given test essays roughly a week before each test and are encouraged to turn practice essays in so that teachers can supply necessary feedback. During testing, students are required to develop a plan and write it down on the test before beginning each essay answer. Students learn how to rephrase the questions as parts of their answers as they construct clear topic sentences. They also support their main ideas with a great number of and a greater sophistication of related details. Finally, they are taught to wrap up each essay with a strong concluding sentence or paragraph.

Students begin to explore the research processes as they complete “Pre-research Papers.” Students choose topics about which they are already experts, so no actual research is necessary. Skills that are necessary include choosing a topic, dividing it into appropriate subtopics, organizing note cards that add necessary depth to each subtopic, arranging notes in a sensible way, and using those notes to develop an interesting, informative, clear, and nicely organized essay. Finally, all essays are presented to classmates during which time good presentation and listening skills are emphasized.

The social studies curriculum in the first term covers general information about Kentucky and about the study of history and what it entails. Students take a look at world geography, including latitude and longitude, and Kentucky’s place in the world. Students study the various geographical regions of Kentucky and Kentucky’s earliest inhabitants. Toward the end of the term, students study early European explorers and settlers like Daniel Boone, and discuss the conflicts between Native Americans and these settlers who were looking for opportunity in what was then the western frontier. Students are reminded that a text is a tool, and they learn the best ways to use it as such. Students also practice outlining skills so that each student learns how to identify main ideas in the text and put them into their own words.

These studies also include a trip to Boonesborough, and a major event is Kentucky Heritage Day, a historical celebration of immigration to Kentucky including song, dance, and a wonderful play.

Math

In the first term of fourth grade math, students complete three units:

  1. Geometric figures – naming them, knowing their properties, and constructing figures, using a compass and straightedge.
  2. Place value – dealing with whole numbers; practicing multi-digit addition and subtraction; and organizing data (finding the maximum, minimum, mode, median, range – also called “landmark numbers”).
  3. Multiplication and division facts and extensions; measurement and map scale; algebra (solving open sentences and number sentences using variables and parentheses).

Students have frequent opportunities to work collaboratively, to create math puzzles and problems, and to learn to solve a variety of logic problems.  Students also play math games and use apps on iPads throughout the term to strengthen basic skills.

Science

First term fourth grade science begins with the study of frogs. During this unit, students study amphibians and their characteristics and participate in activities that include research, creative writing, and note taking. The study of observation skills follows these units. This hands-on work includes making observations (using all senses that are safe to use), comparing, analyzing, predicting, and inferring. Also completed this term is the first part of a unit on metric measurement. Students practice measuring temperature in degrees Celsius, measuring length in meters, centimeters, and millimeters, deciding which unit to use, and converting from one metric unit to another. Mrs. Herd, the fourth grade naturalist, leads students on both a nature walk at Fort Boonesborough and a two-hour on campus field trip during which students make connections between classroom work and the natural world. The end of the term brings the beginning of the Dendrology unit. Students start individual picture dictionaries of ecology terms, “adopt” trees on the school grounds (with which they practice their skills of observation), sing songs about trees, learn about photosynthesis, and make natural dyes from leaves and bark.

Spanish

In fourth grade Spanish, the year opens with a review of common phrases, questions, and responses for greetings and getting to know each other. To warm up each day, students ask and answer questions with their peers in Spanish. Students work toward sustaining a three minute oral conversation with their peers and sharpening their listening comprehension skills. The fourth graders review and learn new colors in Spanish and focus on numbers 1 to 59. Students work on their first project, ¡Mucho gusto! (Nice to meet you!) where they write a litte about who they are. Moving on, students focus on culture while studying the Mexican holiday el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) by making calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), a treat given to children during this time.

Art

Fourth grade students begin the term reviewing the elements and principles of art. They make designs using a variety of lines expressing movement, rhythm, and pattern. After this, they sharpen their observational drawing skills with lines and shapes. Then they progress to frogs, a subject that connects to science class. They draw the shapes and contours and explore ways to use watercolors.Students use camouflage or warning colors depending on the type of frog. Next, fourth grade artists review color mixing using tissue collage.

In preparation for Kentucky Heritage day, the students learn to draw people in correct proportion. Students review face drawing. They create a self portrait depicting the dress of their family’s country of origin. Using teamwork, students also work on a backdrop for Kentucky Heritage Day.

Computer

During the first term, the fourth grade computer students work to improve their keyboarding in both accuracy and speed. They are expected to continue to practice keyboarding at home by using the program, Keyboarding for Kids. Keyboarding for Kids emphasizes correct fingering when students are practicing at home. The students will complete three lessons every two weeks. By the end of November, the first eleven lessons are covered.

The students use Microsoft Publisher to create a brochure on Kentucky in which they insert Word Art, Internet pictures, text boxes, and clip art. In the brochure, they will pick topics about Kentucky to support their social studies curriculum and do research about information that is interesting to them.

Library

Fourth graders begin a new chapter as students at The Lexington School, as they begin their year using the “big side” of the library for the first time.  Fourth graders are allowed to check out four library items, whether it is a book a magazine or an audio book, and they are responsible for bringing their items back to the library themselves by the due date.  The year begins by reading aloud the second half of the Newbery winner chapter book, Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (the students read the first half in their LA/SS classes).  During first term fourth graders use the online database CultureGrams to research their own heritage in preparation for Kentucky Heritage Days.  The students use their research to assist them with their art projects with Mrs. Hamilton and their stage performance with Dr. Cooper.

Music

The goal of being a cohesive performing ensemble is the essence of fourth grade music class first term. Students experience over fifty individual voices singing and making music as one. Throughout the preparation for Kentucky Heritage Day, the students are lead to develop basic vocal skills that are age appropriate. The specific goals are to develop the range and breath control of each student so that they may begin to hear and recognize their true singing voices. Students have had an opportunity to observe and participate in the rehearsal process of a large scale musical. The lessons they have learned concerning audition, public speaking, and performance in front of a large audience form a pool of knowledge that will be drawn from throughout their lives.

PE

Fourth grade physical education classes are designed to improve fitness and develop skills for a lifetime.  Times are recorded for the mile run to provide a base line score.  In fact, standards are established for use in evaluating progress in all areas of skill or fitness.  The skills of soccer dominate the physical education program during the early weeks with particular emphasis on improvement in passing.

During October each component of our fitness assessment is carried out.  This includes cardio-respiratory endurance (mile run), upper body strength and endurance (pull-ups or flexed arm hang), flexibility, and abdominal strength and endurance (sit-ups). 

Leading up to the Kentucky Heritage Festival our fourth grade students prepare by working on two to three Kentucky folk dances.   A flag football unit follows with skills related to the game of football being emphasized.  Those include catching with hands, proper form while passing, centering the ball, pass patterns, and offensive and defensive formations.  Following all skill development work, students have the opportunity to actually play the game during class, whatever the sport.

Fifth Grade

Bridging the Gap

Upstairs from the "Lower Lower School," the fourth and fifth grade bridge the gap between Lower School and Middle School.  In the fourth and fifth grades, students have lockers, they move with their classmates together to each class, and they have additional responsibilities and privileges they can earn.  The academic courses take the leap from learning how, to learning what.  In a structured environment, students are guided to bolster their work habits and organizational skills as they develop greater independence in their work and their materials.  The fourth and fifth graders are asked to take on responsibilities as leaders in the Lower School.  The fourth graders help with weekly snacks for each Lower School classroom, and the fifth graders lead the school's recycling program.  They will soon be heading off to Middle School, but first they have to learn about getting grades, keeping up with long-term assignments, and learning to rely on each other to be leaders and friends in a new academic environment.

5th Grade

During advisor time, advisors strive to help students be successful in fifth grade, as well as the years beyond.  The primary focus is to instill the TLS Guidelines for Success listed below.

  1. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
  2. Embrace a positive attitude.
  3. Model honesty and integrity.
  4. Practice responsibility.

During advisor, students use Handwriting Without Tears to reinforce the handwriting instruction provided throughout the lower school years.  Advisors also emphasize the practice of good study habits including organization of lockers and materials, use of a planner to keep track of assignments, and effective test preparation.  Finally, advisors monitor other behaviors to ensure students observe and internalize the Guidelines for Success.

Language Arts & Social Studies

Fifth grade students have an integrated curriculum for language arts and social studies. “Yeehaw” begins many of the letters the students write in their Reader's Notebooks sharing their thoughts about Cowboys of the Wild West by Russell Freedman. This book enhances the study of “The Changing West.” The students finish this first term with a study of the role the United States began to take in the world as it became industrialized. To supplement this study, students read Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop.

Using the English textbook, students learn about types of sentences and capitalization and punctuation. In addition, students use Daily Oral Language exercises to supplement their study of the English language. They write several in-class essays and a personal narrative. Using the student style sheet and rubrics to proof and check their writing helps them to meet our fifth grade standards in writing.

Fifth graders learn to prepare daily for upcoming assignments and assessments. The focus is not as much on where they start but rather where they finish the year. Rather than putting too much focus on the grades, students are encouraged to strive for improvement, so that all students may reach their potential.

Parents can always stay informed about things happening in fifth grade language arts and social studies by reviewing assignment notebooks, checking the school and fifth grade websites, or looking through the students' language arts and social studies binders. Doing so will help their children have a successful fifth grade experience.

Math

The Everyday Math program is a spiraling curriculum in which concepts are continually reviewed to extend the students’ understanding. Because of this ongoing review, students are able to display and expand their knowledge of number theory and computation. As part of Unit 1, the number theory unit, students extend their knowledge of multiplication facts, drawing arrays to model multiplication, identifying even and odd numbers, listing factors, understanding the relationship between square numbers and square roots, identifying prime and composite numbers, and using divisibility tests to determine the divisibility of a number by another number.

The computation unit deals with writing and solving open sentences for number stories, rounding numbers to designated places, making magnitude estimates, finding the sum, difference, and product of multi-digit whole numbers and decimals, and identifying statistical landmarks (maximum, minimum, median, mode, and mean) for a data set.

In Unit 3, students determine angle measurements based on relationships between angles, estimate the measure of an angle, measure an angle to an accuracy of two degrees, identify types of triangles, identify place value in numbers to billions, review properties of polygons, and define and create tessellations.

Science

Science is all about discovery.  It’s about looking at the world in a logical, thoughtful way. It’s about asking questions and seeking answers. It’s about teamwork. We know that children learn science best by doing science, so we begin our first unit, Chemistry, with many hands-on activities.

During each lab activity, students set up experiments, test their hypotheses and collect data to support their findings. They improve their graphing skills and draw conclusions based on the data they have collected. Often times, their preconceived ideas and misconceptions are put to the test.  Working cooperatively with a lab partner is critical to their ability to get labs done accurately and on time. Lab safety along with proper equipment and tool use are reinforced as they explore chemical and physical change and identify chemical mixtures using chromatography techniques.

With a spirit of exploration and discovery, fifth graders take risks and develop a love and enthusiasm for science that will last for years to come.

Spanish

In fifth grade Spanish, the year begins with a review from previous years that includes los saludos (greetings), los números (numbers), los colores (colors) and conversation. Each class begins with a warm up where students practice sharpening their listening comprehension, reading and writing skills by watching a short clip of an animated song or story in Spanish and then answering questions about the clip. Students tackle the difficult unit on la hora (telling time) and la fecha (the date) before "traveling" to Buenos Aires to catch a movie. They must first put their knowledge of time and date to use when presented with cinema related questions. Students end the term by participating in Subasta where they bid on a list of sentences, and the team who "buys" the most correct wins.

Art

The fifth grade students begin the term focusing on the elements and principles of art with emphasis on line, shape, and expression. They make several black and white line studies using a repeated shape with a variety of patterns. This demonstrates pattern, rhythm, unity, and repetition. Next, they learn to draw trees and make a composition showing distance. Good coloring and composition skills are emphasized. Watercolor painting is explored next using trees as the subect. From here they draw human skeletons as they learn how the body moves. These action skeletons are placed in an imaginative picture.

During the first term the class also visits the University of Kentucky Art Museum. The docent-led tour introduces students to a variety of styles and subject matter. The students write and draw about this experience.

Computer

The fifth grade students work diligently in computer class. Continuing with their work with the Microsoft Office suite, fifth grade students become familiar with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Publisher. Through Excel, students learn to enter and format data in spreadsheets and graph the data using column, pie, and line graphs. The graphs they create are inserted into their science binders. In Microsoft Publisher, the students learn the pertinent information that is needed for a business card and create one for a real life--or fictitious--business. The cards are printed on business card paper to enable students to exchange the cards. Throughout the year, fifth grade students will continue to revisit proper keyboarding skills and techniques.

Library

Fifth graders have the opportunity to borrow four items at a time from the library and are given one month to return them.  During the first term students review, in depth, the on-line catalog, called OPAC and all that it offers such as Webpath Express and Destiny Quest. Fifth graders learn how to become more independent library patrons and learn how to hold, review and recommend titles to their friends via Destiny Quest. To supplement their fifth grade Social Studies units, several projects take place during library class time. Research of inventors and inventions of the late 1800’s is one of them.

Music

The fifth grade is a superb performing ensemble with some of the most enthusiastic singers a lower school director encounters. This certainly bodes well for a group that has extensive performance opportunities during the fifth grade year. In the first term of the year, students encounter two marvelous learning experiences. The first is a recording session in which the ensemble experiences the production of a professionally recorded CD. First and foremost the group learns how important it is to be completely prepared so that only a few takes will be required. Secondly, the need for the ability to adjust and revise according to the performance space and needs of the producer shows the ensemble to be amazingly flexible in the production of their sound. Thirdly, the need for patience as well as a willingness to suspend the need for immediate success leads the group to a superb outcome. The fifth graders also perform for Grandparents Day, and the students reflect their enthusiasm as well as their love for music.

PE

Fifth grade students have a fantastic first term of the year in P.E.  The year starts with an extensive unit in soccer.  Throughout the various lessons, the basic skills of the sport are introduced and informal evaluations are conducted continuously.  After completion of the soccer unit, the students are asked to run a mile for a recorded time.

During the second half of the trimester, the students work on a fitness unit.  During these classes, various activities such as relays, interval training, fitness stations, obstacle courses and strength training are presented.  The students work extremely hard throughout the class meetings.