The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Grade 5

A haven for reflection, intellectual growth, creativity, and laughter!

Social Studies and Language Arts

Writing

Independent Reading

Fifth Grade Mathematics

Co-Curricular Classes

Fifth Grade Art

Social Studies and Language Arts

The Fifth Grade Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum focuses on American history, geography and various genres of literature and writing. Historical through lines ask questions such as “How does our past affect our present?” and “How does point of view affect our understanding of history?” We refer to these themes all year.

The students begin their studies with indigenous North American cultures and then journey to the New World with European explorers. This is followed by the colonial period, Revolutionary War, birth of a nation, and subsequent Civil War. These topics with their complexities, personalities, and political/cultural perspectives provide a rich assemblage, in which students may engage and explore. In addition to structured research, creative, experiential opportunities are offered all year. For example, students may perform a musical or dramatic interpretation, paint a mural, or participate in a simulation to articulate his or her point of view and express as well as inspire understanding. Field trips to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield village, and guest speakers such as local Native American oral historian and linguist enhance the curriculum and depth of understanding.

Texts and novels include:

  • Amos Fortune Free Man
  • Johnny Tremain
  • The Great Little Madison
  • Shades of Gray
  • America Will Be
  • We the People
  • Maps, atlases, periodicals, newspapers and teacher generated materials

Writing

Writing is on-going. Research format is taught and the writing process is practiced with every assignment. Students write imaginative stories, poems, other fiction and non-fiction. Students learn proofreading skills and employ the technical aspects of writing and grammatical conventions through daily lessons. Texts used include:

  • Assorted reference books
  • Dictionaries
  • Thesauruses
  • Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program
  • English
  • Houghton Mifflin

Independent Reading

Independent reading, outside of class is required. Students choose novels to read each month within a prescribed genre. Comprehension skills, vocabulary, and story components such as character, setting, conflict etc., are reinforced through a variety of book reporting options.

Fifth Grade Mathematics

The math program is engaging and challenging. Strands studied are: number sense and operations, data analysis, algebraic expression, geometry in the form of area, volume and coordinates, and problem solving. Daily computation keeps skills sharp and students revisit concepts throughout the year to keep their thinking fresh. There are numerous hands-on activities, use of manipulatives, calculators and games, such as “Estimation Olympics,” as well as real life applications. The throughline “Math is Everywhere” is referenced all year. Students discover the importance and necessity for math. They develop an appreciation for its relevance and connections throughout the curriculum.

Texts used:

  • Everyday Mathematics Student Reference Book and Corresponding Math Journals, Volume I and II, Level 5,
  • Skills Link Cumulative Practice Sets
  • SRA McGraw Hill
  • Teacher generated materials and games.

Co-Curricular Classes

Fifth Graders participate in co-curricular classes. They have French, art, music, science, computers, library, and P.E.

Fifth Grade Art

The arts are integrated into the curriculum by the classroom teachers, with enrichment projects through cooperative ventures with the art teacher, such as creating art from a given country from a social studies unit. Students meet twice a week with the art teacher. They are given the opportunity to become more proficient with the variety of media available. They work with clay, markers, tempera paint and watercolors, collage, printmaking (using linoleum blocks and water based inks, plus plastic engraving plates with oil based inks), colored pencils, and constructions. Students begin looking at the Art History timeline, covering artwork from Prehistoric through Modern times. They create works of art using natural found materials, clay, and construction materials. They also draw self-portraits and learn perspective techniques. Fifth graders may elect to take the Design and Production class, which offers projects in vehicle, home and furniture design, as well as the opportunity to work on the sets for the drama production.

Click to download the fifth grade reading list.