Kindergarten through Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Academics
Lower School

Grade Five

Grade Five

In fifth grade, students continue their journey of understanding who they are as learners and what it takes to be a successful student at Fay. Fifth graders transition from the homeroom model of fourth grade to Homevisory. Homevisory combines the best elements of homeroom and an advisory program, offering a home-base for fifth and sixth graders that supports their academic and social-emotional needs. Academics are departmentalized in fifth grade, and students participate in a rich academic program that includes reading, English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, music, art, and library. Instructional routines and practices are aligned with the developmental, cognitive, and emotional strengths and needs of each particular group of fifth graders, and teachers encourage increased independence and responsibility for one’s learning as the year progresses. A highlight of the year is a three-day camping trip to New Hampshire in early October that helps establish, solidify, and celebrate the class community.

List of 12 items.

  • Reading

    Literature is a tool for understanding the world and the people in it. Exposure to a broad range of literary styles and subject matter in grade five encourages students to develop their own interests, tastes, and critical skills. Teachers select books because their content parallels material studied in other classes, because they relate to a larger theme, because they are part of an important body of literature, or because they support a community of learners. Finally, selected titles provide important connections for the reader: to himself, to peers, to other generations, to other cultures, to other periods, to other philosophies, and to other worlds.
     
    Strengthening the sense of being a part of a community of readers is an important aspect of the reading program in grade five as students are encouraged to share their interests in books. Students read a variety of material and develop an in-depth appreciation of language and style. The course emphasizes a more complex literal and interpretive comprehension of plot, character, and theme. Students analyze reading for meaning and value, critiquing an author’s intent and synthesizing and exploring information. Students are encouraged to develop critical standards and awareness of the richness of language.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five reading program will be able to:
    • Demonstrate fluency in silent and out loud reading
    • Demonstrate fluency in oral reading of various genres
    • Demonstrate improved reading comprehension
    • Demonstrate interest in a variety of genres
    • Identify common themes
    • Analyze and summarize plot structure
    • Understand characterization and appreciate literary criticism through reading and writing
    • Read and interpret poetry
    • Tell a story with attention to structure, meaning, and sequence
  • Writing

    Through the Lower School writing program, students learn what it is to be a writer working within a community of writers. The fifth grade writing program is based on the Writing Workshop model. Students write during class and learn how to express their ideas in a variety of creative and expository genres. One-on-one conferences with the teacher provide students with the appropriate individualized guidance to improve their writing skills. Students use Google Docs, a platform that facilitates writing instruction through collaboration and feedback.
     
    The fifth grade writing program builds on the objectives established in grade four. Students develop their writing skills and stamina by consistently writing for long periods of time. Students also develop their ability to read like writers. Students learn how to notice, name, and then apply the craft moves that they find in presented texts. At this stage of their writing study, students have learned to use a variety of strategies to generate ideas and plan their writing independently. Students explore new literary genres by developing pieces that follow the distinct structure and purpose of each genre. Rewriting is a focal concept of the fifth grade curriculum. Students learn how writers continually reevaluate, revise, and rewrite their pieces—a process supported by the use of Google Docs.
     
    A hallmark of the Lower School writing program is the tradition of the Speech Assemblies. As in grades three and four, students develop ideas, draft, and revise their speeches in a context of structure and support. Delivering their speeches to an appreciative audience encourages students to develop confidence and comfort with public speaking. Our commitment to developing poised public speakers is a yearlong objective, as students frequently share and celebrate their writing with peers and other members of the Fay community.
     
    Word Study
     
    Integrated grammar and vocabulary instruction supports the students’ development as writers. Grammar lessons are woven throughout the Writing Workshop curriculum as students directly apply new rules to enhance their writing. The objective of the grammar program is to provide students with an increasingly sophisticated understanding of language conventions to continuously hone their craft. Through instruction in Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes, students expand their vocabulary base and are better able to infer the meaning of unknown words.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five writing program will be able to:
    • Generate ideas for writing independently
    • Demonstrate age-appropriate proficiency with the conventions of English grammar and usage
    • Incorporate precise and increasingly sophisticated vocabulary into written work
    • Rewrite, edit, and apply methods explored in class to strengthen writing
    • Produce clear writing where the development and organization are appropriate to the task and purpose
    • Apply understanding of Greek and Latin roots and affixes to determine meaning of unknown words
    • Demonstrate public speaking skills
  • Digital Literacy

    Students learn library and technology skills in designated digital literacy classes; these skills are also an integral part of the reading, English, science, social studies and math curricula. Students leave the Lower School having explored a variety of library resources and technologies they may use both in school and at home. Whenever students use the Internet, they learn how to be safe online and become familiar with the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.
     
    Students have access to computers in the library and in the PC and Mac labs, as well as a mobile lab of networked, wireless laptop computers that can be wheeled into any classroom.
     
    Resources
    Lower School students use a variety of library and technology resources and tools that may vary from year to year but primarily include:
    • Nonfiction books
    • Reference works
    • Online encyclopedias and magazine databases
    • Dictionaries, almanacs, and atlases
    • Word processing software
    • Graphic organizing software
    • Presentation software
    • Web browsers
    • Keyboarding software
    • Email
    • Lower School Links at http://library.fayschool.org
     
    Students in grade five receive Fay email accounts and learn to communicate with teachers and classmates, checking and sending homework assignments through the Fay network. They learn how to evaluate online sources independently and think critically about online information. Fifth graders study copyright and how to find copyright-friendly images online to use in the Digital Storytelling Book Review project. They augment their technology skills as they are introduced to more complicated layout and design programs and more challenging classroom and research assignments.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five digital literacy program will be able to:
    • Use the library and its resources to find a book to read for pleasure or to search for information
    • Access a variety of research sources and technology tools including books, websites, subscription databases, word processing software, presentation software and communication software
    • Demonstrate the importance of citing all research sources and using information and technology ethically 
  • Mathematics

    The goal of Lower School mathematics is to encourage and support students as they develop number sense, computational fluency and efficiency, strategies for problem solving, and a beginning understanding of the connectedness of mathematical topics and procedures. The curriculum offers opportunities for self-discovery and exploration of concepts and personal strategies as well as exploring and understanding traditional algorithms. Visual models are used at every level to provide concrete examples of abstract concepts.
     
    Grade five expands upon the goals and objectives of grade four mathematics. Students practice computational skills and application of whole number operations, and they build their conceptual understanding of fractions, decimals, and percents. Writing and proof are significant components of the fifth grade program, and students are frequently asked to clarify, justify, and support their thinking in their mathematical writing. Students continue to develop and extend mathematical proficiency in the following areas: number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five mathematics program will be able to:
    • Exhibit and apply an understanding of mathematical concepts, representations, operations and relationships
    • Carry out mathematical procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems
    • Reason logically, explain, and reflect on the validity of results
    • Sustain attention and engagement while solving problems and completing tasks
    • Communicate and justify mathematical thinking orally and in writing
  • Social Studies

    In fifth grade social studies, students begin their first concentrated study of American history. Students learn about the social, economic, and political development of the Thirteen Colonies and the causes and conflicts that lead to the American Revolution. During this study, students are introduced to historical thinking skills, such as context, perspective, and cause and effect, to deepen their understanding.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five social studies program will be able to:
    • Interpret, analyze, and synthesize information from both primary and secondary sources
    • Recognize and apply historical thinking skills
    • Organize and articulate their understanding of the topics studied both verbally and in writing
  • Science

    Throughout fifth grade, students complete science inquiry summaries and conduct experiments to better understand common science misconceptions. These investigations are completed to further students’ knowledge of science concepts and also to develop their investigative practices. During their study of energy, students explore the properties of renewable energy and the uses and forms of energy. Students use simple circuit boards to design and program electrical circuits. Students also explore ocean ecosystems, learn about life in the ocean, and investigate how humans and the ocean are interconnected. Fifth graders experience the engineering design process first-hand as they design, build, test, and redesign submersibles. Parents join students in this process for a morning at a Family Science Collaborative. Students apply Newton’s Laws of Motion to the mechanics of air-powered vehicles during their study of inertia and the properties of air.
     
    Students who demonstrate success in fifth grade science will be able to:
    • Ask clarifying and extending questions
    • Apply the scientific process to creative real-world projects
    • Create and/or follow a written plan for an investigation
    • Understand how to gather, organize, and explain data
    • Predict the outcome of an investigation and analyze the results
    • Collaborate effectively to complete investigations and solve problems
    • Use evidence from real-world observations to demonstrate conceptual understanding
    • Communicate concepts and observations through written and visual media
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    Fay’s Lower School French and Spanish program is based on F.L.E.S. (Foreign Language in the Elementary School). The F.L.E.S. methodologies are based on the developmental progression of first language acquisition, which involves the active use of and exposure to the language being learned. The learning style is hands-on and activity-based with textual support. Listening and speaking skills are emphasized through interactive activities such as games, choral repetition, TPR (Total Physical Response), acting out dialogues, and music. Through the use of Francophone and Hispanic children’s literature, students develop basic reading and writing skills. The study of culture continues to be a highlight of the program, as it allows the students to learn and appreciate French and Spanish speaking communities. The students are encouraged to use French or Spanish to express basic ideas and to participate in brief conversations.
     
    In grade five, students apply their knowledge of the language acquired in previous years to more advanced written and visual projects, skits, and class performances. While oral communication in the foreign language continues to be important, there is more emphasis on the development of basic reading and writing skills, as well as on basic grammar in preparation for a more formal study of the language in grade six. Authentic children’s literature is employed along with age- and level-appropriate music, videos, and games. Cultural proficiency and knowledge of basic historical events continue to be an important part of the curriculum and offer an opportunity for students to learn and apply new vocabulary and grammar. At this level, the class is mostly conducted in the language, so that by the end of the year, students demonstrate an ability to read, speak, and write in Spanish or French.
     
    Students who successfully complete the grade five language program will be able to:
    • Understand simple sentences using the learned vocabulary
    • Derive meaning from cognates and context clues
    • Correctly pronounce text forms of vocabulary words and common classroom phrases
    • Spontaneously produce accurate descriptions of media based on content studied in class
    • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the concept of gender agreement in nouns and adjectives
    • Retain and implement previously learned material
    • Demonstrate an openness and appreciation for global cultures
  • Music

    Beginning in grade five, students elect to participate in Band, Chorus, or Beginning Strings.
     
    Beginning Band is open to students in grades five and six. Students learn how to assemble, hold, play, and care for their instruments. No previous instrumental experience is necessary. During the year, students learn note reading, fingering, rhythm, articulations, intonation, dynamics, posture, and appropriate music symbols. By the end of the year, students play beginning-level music as a band. Success in this course requires practice as homework. Instrument choices include flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and baritone horn. Students wishing to play oboe or French horn are required to seek additional support through private lessons.
     
    The Lower School Chorus is open to students in grades five and six. The chorus is a treble choir that sings pieces in unison and two parts. Students also practice music reading and listening skills through the use of movable do solfege and rhythm syllables.
     
    Beginning Strings is open to students in grades five and six. Students learn how to assemble, hold, play, and care for their instruments. No previous instrumental experience is necessary. During the course of the year, students learn note reading, fingering, rhythm, bowing, intonation, dynamics, posture, and appropriate music. By the end of the year, students play beginning-level music as an ensemble. Success in this course requires practice as homework. Students may choose either violin or cello; students wishing to play viola are required to seek additional support through private lessons.
     
  • Art

    Grade five students continue to build on their existing skills. They focus on portraiture and the proportions of the figure. They draw studies of hands, feet, and shoes, and they learn simple anatomy. They work in the ceramics studio to create a hand-built vessel that is then glazed.
     
    Students who successfully complete the fifth grade art program will be able to:
    • Use media and tools appropriately
    • Listen to and understand multi-step directions
    • Understand the basics of portraiture and drawing from life
    • Understand the slab method of clay construction
    • Understand the proper technique of glazing ceramics
    • Care for their materials and maintain a clean workspace
  • Drama

    In grade five, students are introduced to drama through games, improvisation, and scene work, with a focus on developing the skills of imagination, collaboration, concentration, listening, and observation. Students learn about technical theater, including the parts of the stage, introductory lighting and sound, and use of the curtain. During the term, each class prepares an informal, student-led production for their peers.
  • Athletics

    The fifth and sixth grade athletic program at Fay is designed as a bridge from the physical education curriculum taught in Pre-K through grade four to interscholastic athletics in grade seven. The focus of this program is to introduce students to a variety of activities, provide sport specific instruction, foster appropriate levels of competition, and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play. The program creates a fun and challenging environment where players have the opportunity to learn and grow as athletes. Coaches focus on technique and skill development and, as competency increases, tactical elements and game situations.
     
    The three primary components of the program are:
    • Instructional: Sport-specific instruction focused on skill development, technique, knowledge and understanding of rules, team concepts, and fair play
    • Intramural: Competition against peers to build teamwork and camaraderie within the sport setting
    • Interscholastic: Appropriate levels of competition against peer schools to provide a fun and positive experience
    Sports offered:
     
    Boys
    Fall: soccer, football, cross country
    Winter: basketball, hockey, wrestling, fitness and games (co-ed)
    Spring: baseball, lacrosse, tennis (co-ed)
     
    Girls
    Fall: soccer, field hockey, cross country
    Winter: basketball, hockey, fitness and games (co-ed)
    Spring: softball, lacrosse, tennis (co-ed)
  • Wellness

    Throughout the year, students in grade five participate in a Wellness class that meets one time per rotation. Students continue to explore issues relevant to pre-adolescents such as bullying, conflict resolution, stress management, decision making, nutrition, peer pressure, respect, and honesty. An important component of the fifth grade curriculum is the introduction of gender-specific puberty seminars. These classes, devoted to understanding how one’s body grows and changes throughout adolescence, span across more than a month and use the Always Changing © Program as a guide.