5th Grade

As the first year of middle school, fifth grade is a time of change. Students take responsibility for their learning in new ways. Partnerships and small group work provide opportunities for students to collaborate, develop initiative, and become more flexible socially. Fifth graders get their own lockers, transition between classes by themselves, and independently choose what work to do during their individual work periods. The newfound responsibility and organization that comes in fifth grade allows students to take more ownership of their educational path and nurtures a budding sense of self-reflection in these new middle schoolers.

The fifth grade curriculum provides a variety of experiences that encourage students to take responsibility for their learning, develop organizational skills, and reflect on progress and growth. Fifth graders use their developing organizational and self-reflection skills to lead family conferences with their advisors and parents for the first time. During their study of ancient Egypt, fifth graders prepare to be a docent at the Brooklyn Museum for their classmates, as well as a guide for their own simulated Egyptian tomb. Students become experts on a specific topic and act as a resource and teacher for the school community.

Synthesizing notes and managing long term projects require fifth graders to develop organizational strategies. Additionally, students’ research is interdisciplinary in nature and includes not only humanities but also art, science, technology, and math. For example, fifth graders study Egyptian art and the styles of drawing and storytelling in tomb paintings. They use a variety of media to create their own Egyptian artifacts and paintings that become part of their tomb. In science, students conduct a mummification experiment where they use ancient Egyptian protocols to mummify food items to be interred in the tomb. Students learn Egyptian math and numerals and teach others about the important role ancient civilizations played in our modern number system. Students also create videos about their topics, utilizing presentation skills and technology to teach about ancient Egyptian life.

Fifth graders show courage by taking a variety of risks during the school year. Whether it is standing up and teaching their peers, playing on an intramural sports teams, or starting or joining a club, the first year of middle school requires students to learn how to navigate peer relationships. As they work towards becoming better citizens, frequent topics of conversation with fifth graders include healthy friendships, fair play, and equitable collaboration.
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Little Red School House
and Elisabeth Irwin High School

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