Grade 5

Fifth grade students will be challenged academically more than any other time in their elementary school career. There are a number of cognitive skills that are important for a fifth grader to have in order to navigate this new territory, including the abilities to use deductive reasoning and to think more abstractly. Students will gain poise and confidence in public speaking and leadership roles. They will also develop the capability to look at multiple viewpoints and outcomes before starting a problem. This is a time when students will begin to display more curiosity as well as progress in abstract thinking.

Fifth graders are generally happy children who are cooperative and competitive. They like to express themselves both formally and informally. The transition to the classroom in the Villa building is an exciting change. It takes time for a fifth grader to ease into the new space and feel comfortable. In fifth grade, students change classes as well as teachers. They learn to be better organized and prepared for class.

Fifth grade students participate in the following curriculum related projects and field trips: Eagle eye global project, field trip to Springfield, Illinois, to visit Lincoln’s home and the Lincoln Museum, Mary Ryder Home fall meet and greet and Christmas party.


Language Arts

Houghton Mifflin English – Level 5
Houghton Mifflin Spelling – Level 5
McGraw-Hill Reading – Grade 5
Sadlier Vocabulary Level 5

The fifth grade language arts program provides students with the continuing development of technical reading skills, versatility in word attack methods, and with practice in understanding context clues. Students also continue to develop these comprehension skills through exercises in paragraph writing and interpretations, in making references, predictions, and drawing conclusions. Students are encouraged to read for pleasure. This is supported by visits to the library, monthly book reports, and reading for enjoyment. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are developed for effective writing. Students are taught how to write several types of sentences and practice developing paragraphs. The writing of personal narratives, book reports, descriptive paragraphs, short stories, and social letters is introduced. Continued work is done with the skills for listening and speaking.


Prentice Hall Mathematics: Middle School Course 1
ALEKS (web based)  Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces

In fifth grade mathematics, students begin to build the bridge between Arithmetic and constants to the world of the abstract. We provide a mathematically rich program while integrating the values and teachings of the Sacred Heart. We focus not only on the process but also on “why” behind the Math. We enrich the textbook work with ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent Math program. This allows students to individually work on Whole Numbers, Fractions, Decimals and Percents, Measurement, Data, Probability, Algebra, and Geometry.


Sadlier We Believe: We Meet Jesus in the Sacraments
Apostolic Works: Mary Ryder Home

The fifth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Seven Sacraments and the Mass.  The student will learn about each of the Seven Sacraments, the roots of each sacrament in Scripture, and the way each is celebrated in the Church today.  In addition, the student will study the symbols and rituals used in the celebration of each of the Sacraments.  The fifth grade student will also learn that in each Sacrament we encounter Jesus Christ and receive the grace to do what is right.  Students will deepen their experience of prayer and learn about Catholic devotions and the use of Sacramentals.  The fifth grade student will also develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist.  The Apostolic Work for grade five is the Mary Ryder Home.  It is through this work of service that the student will continue to love and serve as Jesus did and to invite others to follow Jesus as a witness to him with their words and deeds.


Scott Foresman Science – Grade 5

Fifth grade students gain new knowledge in Life, Earth, and Physical Science, and Space. By using a science notebook, and introducing the scientific method, students grow as scientists in a hands-on, project-based approach.  In Life Science the students explore plants, biomes, animal classification, adaptations, and predator vs. prey.  In Earth Science, the students study the Earth’s layers, including the crust, mantle, and core.  In Physical Science the students master the elements of an atom including protons, neutrons, and electrons.  In our Space Unit students create a power point travel brochure of the solar system.

Social Studies

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Social Studies – Grade 5

The fifth grade curriculum focuses on the settlement, early history, and the formation of the United States. Students learn why explorers came to North America and why each colony was established. Students learn how different cultures shaped our nation. In addition, they study the struggle for independence and the formation of our government. The course work then focuses on slavery, the division of our country, and the Civil War. At the conclusion of the course, the children learn how the nation dealt with the effects of the Civil War and the reconstruction of our country.

The fifth grade art curriculum is designed to be a comparative study of the American and French cultures. Students will discover parallel symbolism in French Gothic art and our own religious art and experiment with new drawing and painting techniques inspired by Impressionism and/or Post-Impressionism. We will push our clay building skills to include coil, pinch and slab techniques and our painting skills with acrylic on canvas emphasizing the elements and principles of space, color and proportion.  Students will be introduced to subtractive linoleum printmaking and accordion fold bookmaking techniques. These projects will be shared within our global community through The International Children’s Art Exchange.


Symtalk Language Systems: Gérard et ses copains!  Book D

In fifth grade, students continue building their verb dictionary as more verbs are introduced.  Students learn about possessive pronouns, school objects, days of the week and modes of transportation.  Various aspects of French culture and traditions are also explored during the school year.  Students learn about some of France’s famous people and places including a bit of French history.  Games and projects provide great opportunities to reinforce their learning throughout the year.   As a special connection to our Sacred Heart heritage, students learn to recite the sign of the cross and the Lord’s Prayer in French.

During the fifth grade, students will continue to learn to match pitch.  The students will read and interpret notational signs, rhythmic values, and melodic patterns on the treble clef. There will be an introduction to a three octave handbell choir where they will learn how to play the bells and all the different techniques of ringing.  In addition to the bells, students will continue with the soprano recorder.  Through the recorder they will learn about the different periods of music from the Renaissance, to the Baroques period and early Classical periods.  Their recorder music will be played in unison and in harmony.  With the recorder and the Orff instruments, students will learn about improvisation and compose simple melodies for the Orff instruments.  All students will participate in a vocal and instrumental concert.

Physical Education                        
In fifth grade the students participate in many new units that they have not had in the past. These include more complex sports that are harder to teach and to learn at a younger level and sports that include an implement. An example would be a sport such as lacrosse. With younger students having a game of lacrosse is tougher because the students struggle to catch and throw and the game is not as successful.  With older students, we are able to teach these units with more success and to have quality games. That is why we wait to begin these more complex sports until fifth grade. We also revisit several units that the students have had in the past but teach more complex strategies. An example of this would be the Soccer Unit. The students have had this unit since first grade but since they have mastered the basic skills and strategies we are able to move on to more complex strategies, rules, and skills.

Many strategies are used in fifth grade. Some of them include collaborative group work, independent work, hands-on learning, discussion-based teaching, technology integration, global projects, and long-term projects.

A variety of assessments will be used in fifth grade. Some of them include: teacher-generated tests and quizzes, book tests, monthly book reports, skits, book talks, literature circles, writing portfolios, and power points. Grades will be available online for parents to review. We will also discuss students’ progress at twice a year at parent-teacher conferences held in October and March. Each Thursday students will bring home their Thursday envelopes. Tests and quizzes require a parent signature. All papers need to be returned the next day.

Students, as well as teachers, will use Smart boards, Edmodo, Voicethreads, iPads, laptop carts, and the technology center to enhance learning.

All homework is meaningful to the individual student and relevant to the curriculum. Fifth graders should complete their work independently. Parents are encouraged to work with their child toward this independence. Homework serves several functions:

  1. It is the content around which important independent study habits are formed.
  2. It is an appropriate time to reinforce skills.
  3. It is a precursor to or follow-up on major class work.
  4. It provides for utilizing independent research skills.
  5. It becomes necessary when work is not completed during class time.

Fifth graders should be expected to complete:

Language arts: Independent reading-at least 15 minutes every night

  • Writing assignments-mostly completed in class
  • Spelling-20 words a week on test
  • English-15-20 minutes per assignment
  • Vocabulary-12 words a week on a quiz, a writing assignment will be included in each unit
  • Math: 15-30 minutes every night
  • Science: 1-2 assignments per week
  • Social Studies: 1-2 assignments per week

*Late homework results in -10%

Children in fifth grade are to be dropped off at the Duchesne Building or the Activities Building. They will go to recess down below at 7:30. At 7:45, they will be dismissed from recess to come up to the classrooms. Children in fifth grade do not have a snack time. They may bring a water bottle to keep with them throughout the day.

Classroom responsibilities for fifth graders include the following:

  • Respect the differences of others.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Be a good friend.
  • Respect the property of others.
  • Cooperate with others.
  • Be responsible for your actions.
  • Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Teachers will communicate on a regular basis. Open communication is a vital part of a child’s educational career. Some of the communication that will be used will be weekly blogs, Thursday folders, personal notes sent home to children each week, monthly curriculum updates, and emails. Parents are invited to communicate questions, concerns, ideas, etc. either by e-mail or a call.

"The word that comes to mind is 'home.' I feel like no matter how much time it’s been, I return here and it is like coming home."

~ Oak Hill Alum

  • Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School
  • 801 South Spoede Road
  • Saint Louis, MO 63131-2699
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