Term II

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

During the second term, the fifth graders complete a study of nouns, verbs, and adjectives using the adopted English text. Spelling instruction continues to include high frequency list words and each student’s choice word selection, while Wordly Wise provides a systematic and sequential approach to enhance each student’s vocabulary development. Using convincing reasons to support a goal, students write a persuasive essay.

The fifth graders continue the study of United States history. After the industrialization of the United States, the social studies classes study the early 1900's from World War I through the Great Depression. Students use Weebly to create a website about various aspects of the 1920s and 1930s. While studying this era, the students read Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. Students continue to use metacognition and schema to make inferences while reading. Throughout this book students also explore the author's craft through the use of various literary devices.


The Everyday Math program focuses on a number of topics ranging from fractions, decimals, and percents, to graphing, organizing data, and number notation in Term II. In Unit 5, students begin reviewing fractions and mixed numbers focusing on how to order fractions, add fractions with like denominators, and rules for finding equivalent fractions.  Students continue to explore the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percents using a fraction-stick chart and calculators to convert between these notations.  This unit also deals with how to construct and label bar graphs and how to use a percent circle to construct and find the percents in circle graphs.

Concepts covered in Unit 6 include the importance of organizing data to describe prominent landmarks of a data set, exploring natural lengths of measure using metric and U.S. customary units of length, and using stem-and-leaf plots to organize and interpret data.  Students investigate the relationship between sample size and reliability of predictions through analysis of sample data and from a repeated experiment of game fairness.  Students also extend their knowledge of fractions by using a slide rule to add and subtract fractions, reviewing the rules for finding equivalent fractions and the quick common denominator, and investigating adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.

Unit 7 deals with introducing exponential notation and scientific notation, number-and-word notation for large numbers, and using exponential notation for powers of 10.  Students review the use of parentheses, practice translating number stories into arithmetic expressions, and are introduced to the rules for order of operations in number sentences.  Students develop rules for adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers and apply these rules as when using slide rules, number lines, and calculators to solve addition and subtraction problems with positive and negative numbers.

In Unit 8, students again review fractions and explore how to add and subtract mixed numbers.  Students model fractions of fractions by folding paper and use area models to develop fraction multiplication algorithms.  Fraction multiplication is extended to mixed numbers as students are introduced to two algorithms using partial products and converting mixed numbers to improper fractions.  Unit 8 concludes with lessons on finding percents of numbers by using fractions and decimals, calculating discounts, and using unit fractions and unit percents to find the whole number.


During winter term of fifth grade science, students continue to explore basic chemistry concepts. Using chromatography techniques, various polar and non-polar pens are tested to determine which pen was used to write the mysterious “ransom note.” The results of their study are presented in a chromatographic poster display of the data.

Next, students make pH indicators using purple cabbage juice and learn how to use other indicators, such as litmus paper, BTB, phenyl red and universal pH paper to test and assign pH levels to a number of household chemicals. Using this knowledge, students produce photo-image pH scale posters. As a result, students learn how to classify acids and bases and understand why some acids and bases are edible while others are extremely dangerous. It’s all about electrons!

Recognizing that electrons are responsible for chemical reactions, students create a wet-cell battery using vinegar, salt, lime juice, and copper and zinc electrodes. Hopefully enough voltage is produced to power a LED light. This activity leads us into our next unit on electricity and circuits.

During the electricity unit, students build and test series and parallel circuits in preparation for their electronics project, building a printed circuit. Following schematic diagrams and resistor color code charts, students assemble and carefully solder in place a variety of solid-state components to create light or sound-generating devices. But according to “Murphy’s Law,” “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” 

Students can expect a variety of problems that will need to be sorted out and repaired. From open circuits, short circuits, overheated circuits… to missing and backward components, broken circuit boards… to blinking LED lights that have a mind of their own… anything is possible. But this is when the real learning truly begins. Students become real-life problem solvers by troubleshooting circuits and then repairing their problems. Electrical potential meets student potential. Very impressive to watch, indeed!


During the second term, fifth grade spanish students are formally introduced to los pronombres (pronouns) and the conjugation of regular –ar verbs. By this point in the year, students have learned a handful of regular –ar verbs and are now able to come up with different sentences using each pronoun. Students practice forming these sentences and acting them out to demonstrate what is being said. Students have a chance to record their work using Flip cameras and watch them in class. Students end the term with an introduction to el tiempo (weather).


The fifth grade begins this term with a design assignment emphasizing pattern, variety and imagination. Students learn to make artistic choices that will emphasize or camoflage their design. The results are often striking and show off their vivid imaginations. Next is a figure drawing unit using the skeleton study from the first term as a guide. They begin with simple graphics and advance to more complex photographs. A composition with two action figures shows the students' progress.

Art history is the next unit in fifth grade. The students work with a partner and choose an artist from the Mike Venzia art history series. They do research in library class and make a prezi in  computer class. They complete an artwork in the style of their artist .Each team gives their presentation to the art class. This is an opportunity for the students to get an overview of art history as they are introduced to artists from The Renaissance through Pop Art.

Hand-built clay pots using the coil method is the next unit of study. The students add shapes and details to make them unique. Skills include coil rolling, scoring and application of cermic glaze.


Students are introduced to Prezi, an online presentation program where they incorporate their knowledge of a famous artist and present their Prezi in their art class. They learn to insert text and graphics and navigate throughout the program to make an educational and entertaining presentation.




The Newbery Medal is literary award given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This award has been given since 1922.  The fifth graders examine the history of the medal, learn past winners of this prestigious award, and uncover the process it takes for a book to receive the coveted newbery award.  How many of these gems have you read?


The fifth grade students develop into stage performers during the second term.  This is a time when musical study in the lower school culminates. In November students participate in a group of dramatic exercises to heighten the awareness of their responsibility on the stage. Groups are responsible for presenting to their peers a set dramatic situation. Numerous tools and techniques are developed and employed to make the audience understand and believe each dramatic situation. This evolves into preparation for the audition for the fifth grade musical. Examples of both good and poor preparation for auditions are presented in class. The techniques learned during this process are useful throughout each student’s life.  The goal is to enable students to feel comfortable and secure in all the situations where one must perform in life such as college and job interviews and occasions when one is called upon to present in public. With the audition process completed the amazing task of learning a large amount of music and text begins as students look toward the performances at the end of March of the fifth grade musical.


During the second term, the fifth grade physical education students work on basketball and tumbling units.  Throughout the basketball unit the students are introduced to the basic skills of the sport.  The main emphasis is on passing, dribbling, and shooting. Consistency related to proper technique is reinforced, and each student is given constructive feedback and ample time to practice.  In addition to skill work, organized lead-up games are played, and the students are given time at the end of the unit to play full court traditional games.

Throughout the tumbling unit, the students are introduced to skills such as balancing, jumping, and basic traveling skills such as forward rolls and cartwheels.  The students are allowed to work together to build pyramids as well.  At the conclusion of the unit, every student is responsible for creating and performing a tumbling routine.   The routines will have specific requirements and will be evaluated based on form, technique, and creativity.