The Hartsbrook School

Fifth Grade

5girlWebDevelopmental Picture of the Fifth Grade Student

Fifth Grade might be considered the golden mean of childhood. Fifth grade is a balancing point, between the early years when children are gaining more control over their physical bodies and learning the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the coming dramatic changes of adolescence with its seismic changes in physical body and consciousness.

Highlights of the Curriculum

The fifth grade curriculum reflects this balance point. For the first time history becomes its own main lesson subject. In earlier years, Hartsbrook students learned about history through stories and images; fifth graders are now ready to grasp the more refined concepts of temporality and sequence. Fifth graders explore what it means to be human by studying the origins and evolution of human culture, specifically in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. The history block culminates with the stories of the Greeks: development of beauty and form as cultural foundations and the exploration of public spaces as forums to discuss ideas. Each spring the students participate in an Olympiad with other fifth graders from neighboring Waldorf schools.

In language arts, the students continue to refine their understanding of the writing process, sentence structure, and grammar. They are exposed to the notions of pre-writing, rough drafts, developing, revising, and proofreading. They learn about the differences between simple and compound subjects, active and passive voice, direct and indirect speech. In the presentation of their class play, they learn how to stage a reading and develop a character.

In math, fifth graders learn computation and use in situation/word problem solving. They also tackle decimal fractions, learning about the importance of exactness. They also study freehand geometry, with the drawing of figures and development of patterns based on division of circles, perimeters and area calculations.

Geography expands to the North American continent – the physical landscapes and resources that surround human habitation – past and present. Students study the United States and write a report on a state.

Fifth grade science continues to explore the differences between humans and other living creatures, focusing now upon the study of plants, as well as the environment of the earth and the sun, in which plant life thrives.

Subjects Studied

Language Arts Students continue to refine the writing process including the use of rough drafts and proofreading. Vocabulary and spelling work continues.
Mathematics Continued practice with all arithmetic operations using whole numbers and fractions. Introduction of decimal fractions.
World Languages Instruction in Spanish and German continue for 2 pds./week with increased emphasis on reading, writing and grammar.
Movement Students develop strength and beauty through the practice of Greek Pentathalon events in preparation for the Greek Olympiad. Sports are introduced in the spring with intramural ultimate Frisbee teams.
Eurythmy Students continue to work with more complicated forms and patterns and also begin expressive work with a poem.
Handwork Students return to knitting and knit socks.
Music Students have an option to switch to a band or winds instrument while strings players join together with the sixth grade in an orchestra class. Chorus classes begin while singing and recorder work with the class teacher continues.
Art Painting, drawing and modeling continue. The students begin geometric drawing.