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5th Grade Core Curriculum
Fifth grade students are the leaders on campus. They provide models of behavior and citizenship for our younger students to follow. This grade level is designed to prepare students for the middle school years. A higher level of responsibility is expected to ensure success in the years to come. Fifth grade provides more opportunities for various learning activities than the previous grades. A special relationship with Exxon Mobil allows for field trips, science fairs, and labs that other grade levels are not able to experience. Nine months of rigorous study, research, testing, and presentations culminate in the anxiously anticipated graduation day.
Students in grades 1-5 use the Building on the Rock curriculum from Summit Ministries. Fifth grade focuses on stewardship and the life and ministry of Jesus. Key Biblical truths include: God sovereignly sustains His creation for His glory and purposes, God ordained His image-bearers as stewards of creation to fulfill the cultural mandate, sin causes disharmony within nature and mars God's image-bearer's ability to steward the earth, and through Christ, the heavens and earth will be made new and restored in harmony with God and His image-bearers. Weekly elementary chapels also help instill a desire for worship and Christian leadership.
The reading curriculum is teacher-created and is challenging as well as enjoyable. Higher level thinking skills are needed to evaluate and respond to various genres of literature. Students are expected to be able to compare/contrast, make predictions, note important details and support judgments in their readings. Book reports and various projects enrich the lessons. Students are evaluated quarterly using the STAR assessment program and reading progress is tracked. Students are required to read outside of class and to take Accelerated Reader tests on a regular basis. Weekly visits to the school’s library keep students well supplied with good books. Students are placed in classes that best meet their individual needs.
Advanced Reading (by Qualification Only)
Students choose their own books to read individually based on their reading levels and the genres assigned. Genres throughout the year include children’s classics, biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, non-fiction selections, etc. Students read independently on their own levels and complete novel goal sheets that require vocabulary, comprehension, evaluation and other higher order thinking skills. The Accelerated Reader program is also used. Students spend time learning literary terms and how they are used in the books they are reading. Targeted comprehension skills are taught such as compare and contrast, sequencing, fact and opinion and main idea and supporting details. Greek and Latin root words, prefixes and suffixes are also taught. Students not only memorize these, but learn how to put them to use in everyday vocabulary by deciphering difficult words on a regular basis. Students complete two Expert Journal projects during the year. These projects teach the students how to research a topic of their choice effectively. Students learn how to take notes and how to create outlines, bibliographies and professional Power Point presentations. Public speaking skills are also taught and practiced.
The Houghton Mifflin English series is used to help students hone their grammar, usage and mechanics skills, preparing them for the more intense middle school years. Higher level concepts are taught such as subject and object pronouns, direct objects, and predicate nominatives. Verb usage is taught in-depth. The curriculum publisher provides an educational website for students, teachers, and parents to use for additional practice and for extending classroom lessons.
Students in fifth grade work with a writing specialist several times per week using the Write More curriculum. Direct instruction in the writing process helps students when writing across the curriculum. Fifth graders learn different story elements that good writers use. They gain experience in composing various genres such as personal narratives, descriptions, persuasion, compare/contrast and informational text. Journal writing is also a major part of the curriculum. Students learn how to conduct research, take notes and create informational text to be used for other classes as well, including the annual fifth grade Science Fair in the spring.
The Houghton Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary series emphasizes spelling patterns, phonics, vocabulary and editing. Houghton Mifflin provides an educational website for students, teachers and parents to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom and to further extend lessons.
The Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions Common Core 2013 curriculum provides an excellent balance between computation skills and analysis. Students are expected not only to derive answers, but to justify them as well. Math Expressions focuses on Math Talk, Quick Practice, Student Leaders, Building Concepts and Helping Community. Students hone their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills. Students will master geometry concepts, introductory algebra concepts, fraction operations, and decimal operations. Students are expected to utilize higher level thinking using real-world story problems that require multiple steps. Hands-on manipulatives and math boards help students understand concepts more fully. Fifth grade students develop their foundation for middle school and high school math courses.
The Scott Foresman 2008 Diamond Edition curriculum focuses on life science, earth science, physical science and Space and Technology. Technology is heavily integrated into the class. Learning.com’s Aha Science! curriculum is a web based program that is used as well. The science class, taught by a certified science specialist, is a highly interactive environment centered around the Scientific Method. A spring science fair sponsored by ExxonMobil is one of the many ways the fifth graders are challenged to show their research skills that have been developed from throughout the year. Labs, projects and hands-on activities help make science a favorite among the fifth grade students.
The fifth grade Harcourt Social Studies curriculum presents United States history as its focus. Students learn about our nation's earliest people, the thirteen original colonies, the struggle for freedom and independence, the equality of all people, the struggle to maintain the union of states, the inner workings of government, and the importance of civic duty. Critical thinking and higher-order reading skills make this curriculum engaging as well as challenging.
Northland fifth graders may choose between general music class OR orchestra and attend class for 45 minutes 3 times a week. Fifth grade general music students learn to play the recorder through the use of Musicplay curriculum and Recorder Karate. Colored "belts" are given for mastery of differrent pieces. Students feature their knowledge of the recorder at the spring concert. Past recorder performances have included themes from "Star Wars', "Sound of Music", "The Wizard of Oz', and classics from Beethoven. Fifth grade students also practice musical concepts such as singing in two and three parts, complex rhythms, major and minor scales, and participate in the study of church hymns. Dramatic reading is developed and encouraged through the use of Reader's Theater and roles in the Christmas musical. Fifth graders are also sometimes invited to participate with the sixth grade in spring choral competitions and special field trips.
*Fifth grade students have the opportunity to join the Northland Honor Choir. Participation is optional. Rehearsals are held two mornings a week before school. Fifth graders are given top priority in Honor Choir membership. Auditions are not usually required but will be used if necessary.
This program is conducted by the NCS high school orchestra teacher using the Suzuki method. Students may choose between the violin, viola, cello or bass. Students learn to play by ear and progress to actually reading music by the end of the year. Students are given the opportunity to perform at the annual Christmas concert and at the Community Open House. Additional off-campus community service performances are offered. An instrument rental fee applies. Purchase of music books is required as well.
Art is integrated into the regular classroom curriculum. Bible lessons are taught using student artwork. Seasonal art projects allow students to be creative on a regular basis. Students enjoy making Christmas crafts during the holiday season. Special projects include Rodeo Art drawings for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The elementary Physical Education program was developed by SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and is taught by two highly-qualified coaches who have many years of teaching and coaching experience. P.E. classes are designed to develop skills that enhance learning in the classroom. All students participate in 30 minutes of P.E. daily. Classes are taught in the school’s gymnasium and are highly structured in nature. Our belief is that daily physical activity is essential for good health and well-being. Students continue to hone large-motor and fine-motor skills through various games and activities.
Reinforcement of keyboarding skills continues in fifth grade. Students become more adept at using the Microsoft Office suite. Classroom MacBooks for each student, and a fully equipped one-to-one iPad lab enhance the learning experience. Students learn to use a variety of educational software, apps, and websites to enhance and supplement the core curriculum.