ADW Language Arts Standards (Grade 5)


The Fifth Grade Language Arts Curriculum is intended to encourage students to develop essential reading, writing, listening and speaking skills which build upon and go beyond the skills they learned in earlier grades.  The curriculum is committed to helping the students grow in their understanding and use of strategies which will increase their level of comprehension and continue to cultivate their appreciation of reading and their ability to communicate through their writing (creative and expository).

Selected Goals

In Reading:

  • Read books in multiple genres and recognize the differences in genres
  • Use strategies for understanding a difficult text, such as rereading, asking questions and adjusting rate of reading
  • Identify unfamiliar word meanings by using different strategies, such as context clues, word structure or derivations
  • Differentiating between fact and fantasy and fact and opinion
  • Identifying and describing settings, characters and plots
  • Being able to make predictions, summarize, and sequence information in written material
  • Identifying personification, metaphors, similes

In Writing:

  • Write with coherent form and structure
  • Organize information to show understanding, such as charting, summarizing, comparing and contrasting
  • Correctly spell words that have been previously studied or frequently used
  • Spell a large amount of words quickly and accurately when writing
  • Write legibly in print and cursive writing
  • Organize paragraphs with opening, closing and supporting sentences
  • Write a five paragraph essay including a strong beginning and ending, elaborative/supporting details
  • Research and write a paper on a given topic
  • Compare and contrast writing
  • Summarize writing
  • Revise and edit writing
  • Edit their own work as well as work of their peers

In Listening and Speaking:

  • Retelling stories
  • Reciting poetry
  • Asking questions to gather information or to clarify thoughts
  • Presenting research orally
  • Discussing stories and books
  • Writing and performing skits
  • Taking notes and identifying the important facts of oral presentations
  • Interviewing and asking pertinent questions of presenters
Selected Activities and Approaches

In Reading:

  • Pre-reading- introducing vocabulary using context clues, prefixes, suffixes, roots.
  • During reading- Study guides and discussions which utilize strategies to enable students to make personal connections, visualize, identify parts of story, monitor their understanding and recall information.
  • After Reading- Projects done in groups or individually which include reports, skits, speeches, art work

In Writing:

  • Practice cursive handwriting
  • Write in journals
  • Write assignments for specific types of writing.
  • Write using common writing conventions, including punctuation marks and paragraphing
  • Write using proper verb tenses, antecedent agreement, assortment of adjectives and adverbs
  • Use of correct vocabulary and spelling

In Listening and Speaking:

  • Take notes while listening to teacher lectures, classmates’ speeches, educational videos, etc.
  • Deliver oral reports, speeches
  • Act in skits, puppet shows

ADW Math Standards (Grade 5)


The fifth grade math curriculum seeks to prepare students by giving them the tools and understanding necessary to succeed in middle school level math courses.  Understanding and computation of fractions and decimals take up a large portion of the year.  The extension of these ideas to length, mass, volume, and time provides a useful context for fractional operations.  Students also learn basic geometric concepts, classify polygons by their properties, and study the perimeter, area and volume.

Selected Goals
  • Gain a solid understanding of place value in larger whole numbers and decimals within the framework of a base 10 system
  • Learn the change in place values and the decimal place when multiplying and dividing by 10
  • Study the metric system providing a real situation where groups of 10 play a prominent role
  • Use the notions behind place value to learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals by learning standard algorithms and why they work
  • Develop the idea of a fraction and how it can be used to represent a part of a whole or a part of a set.
  • Understand how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and move to learning a standard algorithm for performing fractional operations using picture representations
  • Extend the concepts of fractions, particularly mixed numbers, to add and subtract mixed customary measurements of length, mass, volume, and time
  • Introduce basic geometric ideas, i.e. concepts of perimeter as the distance around the outside of a two-dimensional figure, area as the square units inside a two-dimensional figure, and volume as the cubic units inside a three-dimensional object is developed.  Circumference and area of a circle may also be explored
Selected Activities and Approaches
  • Almost daily homework assignments to reinforce concepts discussed in class with some review problems of older material as well

ADW Religion Standards (Grade 5)


Strengthened in a sacramental life of the church, we are better able to live like Jesus in making choices for God and others.  We enter into a new way of life when we celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation. 5th grade religious studies center around the meaning of the sacraments.

Selected Goals

Units of Study:

  • “Creator and Father” (God saves us, God’s revelation, God directs our lives)
  • “Son of God, Son of Mary” (Meeting Jesus, Baptized into Christ, Growing in the Spirit)
  • “Community of Jesus” (Called to Holy Orders, The Domestic church, God calls us)
  • “Meeting Jesus” (Celebrating  the Eucharist, Celebrating Reconciliation, Jesus heals us)
  • “Living Like Jesus” (Living a moral life, Growing in holiness, The way of Jesus)
  • Project Uganda:  on-going communication by way of letters/e-mails/fundraisers for Fr. Gabriel and the St. James School for Boys in Tororo, Uganda.

Selected Activities and Approaches:

  • 3 minute retreats-(class meditations)
  • Weekly Bible lessons focused on the readings for Sunday’s Mass
  • Responsible for hosting Advent, Lenten Reconciliation, MLK Jr. Prayer services

ADW Science Standards (Grade 5)


5th grade Science is comprised of various units of study focused on Cells, Classification and Kingdoms, Invertebrates, Vertebrates (Birds and Mammals), and The Human Body.   Additionally, students focus on understanding The Scientific Method.  Students learn that by using this method, they begin with a question, suggest a hypothesis to answer the question, design a way to test the hypothesis, and finally, observe, record, and analyze the results.

Selected Goals

Cells, Classification and Kingdoms

  • Explore similarities among living things when introducing the basic unit of life
  • Describe the levels of organization of many-celled organisms
  • Understand traits that are used to classify organisms
  • Describe characteristics of the kingdoms of life
  • Understand the differences between organisms that belong to different kingdoms
  • Explore the use of classification keys

Invertebrates and Vertebrates

  • Identify the characteristics of sponges
  • Describe the characteristics of cnidarians
  • Explain the importance of coral reefs
  • Identify three main phyla of worms
  • Describe the characteristics of each worm phylum
  • Identify the main characteristics of mollusks
  • Describe the major groups of mollusks and tell how they differ
  • Identify four major groups of arthropods and the main characteristics of arthropods
  • Identify the main characteristics of insects
  • Name the two types of metamorphosis found in insects
  • Describe the main characteristic shared by all vertebrates
  • Name the main characteristics of fishes
  • Describe amphibian characteristics
  • Identify the common characteristics of birds
  • Explain how a bird is able to fly
  • Identify three types of flight birds use

Human Body

(circulatory, respiratory, nervous, skeletal, muscular systems, skin, eyes, ear)

  • Identify the levels of organization in the body
  • Define homeostasis


  • Identify the functions of the skeleton
  • Explain the role that joints play in the body
  • Describe the characteristics of bone and how to keep bones strong and healthy


  • Identify the types of muscles found in the body
  • Explain why skeletal muscles work in pairs


  • Describe the functions and the structures of skin
  • Identify habits that can help keep skin healthy


  • Explain the functions of the cardiovascular system
  • Describe the structure and function of the heart
  • Sequence the path taken by blood through the cardiovascular system


  • Describe the functions of the respiratory system
  • Identify the structures that air passes through as it travels to the lungs

(Eyes and Ear)

  • Describe how your eyes enable you to see
  • Describe how you hear and maintain your sense of balance
  • Explain how your sense of smell and taste work together
  • Explain how your skin is related to your sense of touch
Selected Activities and Approaches
  • Daily note taking from textbook (whole group on smartboard by way of a cloze format)
  • Guided reading instruction using SQ3R as primary instructional method; class discussions
  • Individual/Group projects:  Create-an –Insect project, Invertebrate Research Paper, Science Fair project participation, Bird Journals, Human Body posters
  • Weekly hands-on Labs that reinforce learning of conceptual material
  • Formal assessments: Chapter quizzes/tests
  • Websites: www.discoveryed.com , www.brainpop.com , www.phschool.com
  • Field Trips:  Natural History Museum:  Tour of Ocean Hall, “Bird Walk” to complete our bird journals
Social Studies

ADW Social Studies Standards (Grade 5)


Fifth Grade Social Studies comprises the study of the history, geography, and government of the United States from its inception up to 1800.  It is organized around five content areas:  history, civics and government, geography, economics, and individuals, society and culture.

Selected Goals
  • Trace the historical periods and peoples that have led to the development of the United States up to 1800 with special emphasis on Native American groups, the Thirteen Colonies, causes of the American Revolution, and the creation of the U.S. Constitution
  • Analyzing source documents that led to the formation of the United States government
  • Demonstrate how to use and apply maps skills
  • Apply geography terminology to interpret data: past, present, and future
  • Analyze physical and human characteristics of places and differentiate how human actions vs. geography modifies the physical environment
  • Mapping key concepts of United States geography
Selected Activities and Approaches
  • Guided reading: The American Nation (Pearson Education)
  • Class discussions, partner work, and small group work as well as mini-lectures
  • Compare and contrast essay
  • Simulations of various events in United States history such as  Native Americans, Founding of Colonies, the establishment of  self-government, historical and current world protests, and the drafting of the Articles of Confederation
  • Formal assessment: chapter quizzes and tests
  • Projects: written report, oral presentation, and creative component: Landforms, Native Americans, Colonial Regions, Protest Art, and Leaders in early American History
  • Fifth grade class play: The U.S. Constitution- Revivor :Philadelphia
  • Field trips, such as Theater Works: We the People, Gettysburg, and the American History Museum

Art – Curriculum

  • Students will use personal experience, observation and experimentation to generate ideas for artwork.
  • They will follow appropriate steps and use materials safely.  They will use reflection as part of the art process.
  • Students will use a variety of media, techniquesand art forms when producing artwork.
  • Students will use goodcraftsmanship.  They will apply knowledgeand relationships from other disciplines.
  • Students will understand art inrelationship to history and culture. Students will apply criticism and aesthetics when producing and responding to artworks.

The library’s mission is to ensure that students can analyze, evaluate and use information effectively in their journey to become lifelong learners.  The library provides students in grades fifth through eighth with a collection of over 12,000 volumes that have been selected to meet the needs of a diverse curriculum and to promote reading for pleasure.  A range of electronic resources, pre-selected websites, and the online catalog are available from school and home so students have the resources to meet their informational needs.  Students come to the library with teachers as needed to meet these needs.


Music in sixth grade is designed to foster lifelong appreciation of music through active music making. The program follows the Archdiocese of Washington Standards for Music, which provides a framework for teaching rhythm, harmony, melody, notation, texture, form, and performance techniques. Fifth grade will build upon the basic recorder skills students learned in fourth grade. Students will continue to build a repertoire of liturgical music, allowing for greater participation during our school liturgies. Singing and performing repertoire will grow to include Americana, Spirituals, partner songs, and folk/traditional music from the Caribbean, Australia, Africa, Europe, China, and South America. Music history will be introduced through listening and reading.

Students will sing, dance, and perform on class instruments, both pitched instruments (xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels and hand bells) and non-pitched instruments (hand drums, egg shakers and rhythm sticks).

Upper School Chorus: Fifth and sixth grade students are invited to join the Upper School Chorus to sing popular songs (in 2-part harmony) and to sing at school liturgies, the Georgetown University Community Christmas party, and other events throughout the year. Rehearsals are held Thursdays during lunch/recess.

Selected Goals
  • Sing independently and in ensembles with proper technique (diction, breath control, posture, tone quality)
  • Sing expressively with dynamics and articulation
  • Sing in unison and with two-part harmony, partner songs, rounds, descants
  • Play instruments in a group, with a steady beat and using correct technique
  • Play melodies on pitched and non-pitched instruments by rote and by reading
  • Maintain an independent part on instruments while following the cues of a conductor
  • Create and perform rhythmic and melodic accompaniments
  • Improvise melodies and rhythmic variations
  • Create musical questions and answers
  • Perform folk dances and study techniques of dance (tap, ballet, Irish)
  • Experience and study music from a variety of cultures and historical eras
  • Listen to and watch portions of a Broadway musical; learn how to read a score
  • Develop an understanding of musical forms (ABA, AABA, introduction/coda, canon, rounds, partner songs, call and response, theme and variations, rondo, question and answer phrases)
  • Rhythm:  (identify and notate) quarter note, eighth note, half note, whole note, quarter note rest, sixteenth note, dotted half note, dotted eighth note
  • Time signatures: introduce simple vs. compound meter, duple vs. triple meter, mixed meter (5/4, 6/8, 9/8, 2/2)
  • Experience and recognize syncopation, anacrusis
  • Study conducting patterns
  • Note-reading: continue learning about the staff; study chords (I, V, IV)
  • Identify intervals in melodies
  • Improvise melodies on the recorder and mallet instruments
  • Improvise rhythms on non-pitched instruments
  • Identify and apply musical terms for dynamics, tempo, articulation, and expression
  • Tempo and expressive elements:  pp, ff, legato/staccato, accent, fermata
  • Explore music of the Classical Period
Selected Activities and Approaches
  • Perform a song or instrumental piece for Grandparent’s Day, kindergarten buddies
  • Learn folk dances from the United States, Ireland, and other countries
  • Accompany a song on recorder
  • Have the opportunity to serve as cantor at a school mass
Physical Education

To engage students in developmentally appropriate activities that creates maximum opportunities for development of skills, knowledge, health-related fitness, and ultimately, the confidence to enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.

Selected Goals
  • Fitness Development
  • Cooperative Games
  • Development of Soccer Skills and Tactics
  • Development of Ultimate Frisbee Skills and Tactics
  • Frisbee Golf
  • Development of Tennis Skills and Concepts
  • Flag Football (“Capture the Football”)
  • Development of Team Handball Skills and Tactics
  • Development of Basketball Skills and Tactics
  • Development of Volleyball Skills and Badminton Skills
  • Introduction to Hockey and Racquetball Skills and Concepts
  • Track and Field Activities
  • Introduction to Softball Skills and Concepts
  • Introduction to Lacrosse Skills and Concepts
  • Review of Games and Activities
Selected Activities and Approaches
  • Regular attendance is required
  • Correct uniform is required
  • Emphasis on effort, sportsmanship, and skill development
  • Students are graded on effort, participation, sportsmanship and skill development

In the sixth grade, the students use programs such as Inspiration Mapping, PowerPoint, and MS Publisher to reinforce and present topics learned in class.  Students continue to build skills in keyboarding and word processing.  Lab time is sometimes used to conduct Internet research for class projects.  Effective strategies for searching and researching on the Internet are introduced, as are issues of plagiarism and fair use.

Updated:  June 2011