Fifth graders are eagerly anticipating their move to Middle School. At this age, students possess a wide scope of interests and are able to express their thoughts in each academic subject with confidence. Camaraderie is ever present between students–not only because of their shared excitement for Upper School, but also because of group visits to fascinating locations, including the Laurel Grove Cemetery; Tybee Island; the Savannah Music Festival; and Barrier Island, South Carolina, for a three-day marine biology trip. Each student also has the opportunity to display state pride by marching and playing the fife in the Georgia Day Parade. In the classroom, students demonstrate a rich understanding of specific content and an understanding of their relationship to God’s awe-inspiring world as individuals.
Fifth grade language lessons offer a “final polishing” of foundational skills as well as introductions to new concepts that will follow students through the years. Students learn invaluable practical skills, including note-taking, composing formal and informal correspondence, the use of language resources, and reporting information. Beginning work is done in abstract areas of writing such as recognition of basic poetic devices and rhetorical forms. As readers, students are making independent selections in various genres and are reading with fluency and high levels of comprehension. Vocabularies continue to soar as students pay careful attention to the exact meaning of words through traditional drills and poetic studies.
Social studies highlights early geography and U.S. history. Students begin their studies by examining theories surrounding Beringia as well as the diasporas of early peoples. Lessons focus on the locations, cultures, and accomplishments of specific Native American groups. Students continue fine-tuning their use of maps as well as their understanding of historical cause and effect. The Revolutionary and Civil Wars are revisited, and students take an in-depth look at the catalysts behind each war as well as the strategies employed. Georgia history lessons focus on famous state figures as well as important landmarks in Savannah and the entire state. Students further their knowledge of the current structure of our government by investigating how citizens elect officials as well as the function of checks and balances.
Fifth grade science continues the exploration of physical, earth, and life sciences while encouraging students to become motivated, active inquirers in the surrounding world. Students are busy considering the many facets of each scientific topic discussed. Emphasis is placed upon the interrelationships between living and nonliving things. For fifth graders, the various small pieces of the scientific puzzle come together to form a cohesive whole, in which they as individuals take part. Students explore the importance of subatomic particles such as electrons and how the tiniest atoms can be connected to the larger physical and chemical properties of various organisms.
While students continue to work with basic math facts and the application of problem solving skills, fifth grade mathematics strongly emphasizes the development of critical thinking and the understanding of abstract concepts. Students are fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and complete more challenging problems. No matter what mathematical concept is being taught or revisited, lessons emphasize reasoning skills through various activities such as gleaning story problems for sequence and necessary information, establishing the relationship between decimals and fractions, and working with graphs, equations, and formulas.
As part of Calvary’s mission to develop the whole child, the Lower School curriculum offers students in every grade elective courses in art, music, physical education, Bible, and Chinese.
By the end of the year, fifth graders are thoroughly prepared to move into Middle School. They are confident in their personal, intellectual, and spiritual abilities, and they are eager to accept new challenges and learn even more in the years to come. For these students, the exciting ride into young adulthood feels like it is finally beginning.