Welcome to St. John’s Episcopal Day School!
My name is Michelle Whaley and I will be teaching Social Studies 4-6th grades. I am anticipating a wonderful learning experience filled with exciting and challenging projects I have set goals and high expectations for my students and I look forward to a challenging and exciting year 2014-1015.
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Curriculum for Grade 5
Language Arts encompasses grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. Students will learn the classification of more sophisticated sentences using all 8 parts of speech which will allow them to write more effectively. In Grade 5 students will hone their writing skills as they produce expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive paragraphs. They will also continue to develop their skills in writing poetry. Additionally, students will learn dictionary skills, spelling and vocabulary, and continue to work on their cursive handwriting.
Fifth Grade students apply reading skills such as main idea, context clues, drawing conclusions, sequence, comprehension, reference skills, draw conclusions, prediction, summary, and vocabulary. The students will identify different types of genres through reading various stories from their reading text books and novels. Additionally, students read and comprehend various types of poetry, as well as write Haikus, Limericks, Acrostic, I Am poems, and Diamante poems. Students will enter their poetry into an annual poetry contest to be published in Creative Communication Poetry.
Greek Mythology, biographies, Tall Tales, and plays will also be read. The students will be asked to identify metaphors, similes, idioms, alliterations, personification, and hyperboles. They will also use these figures of speech in writing assignments and locate them in their reading. Projects will be assigned to go along with novels read in class. These projects will include illustrations, book jackets, book reports, writing a story in rhyme, including a moral and illustrations, and brochures. The Accelerated Reader Program (AR) is a part of every student’s grade. Eighteen points are required each nine weeks.
The main focus in all reading classes will be to enjoy reading, allow these stories to take them to new places and experience different adventures. These stories and novels will also allow students to use their creativity in reading, projects, and writings.
Fifth Grade Social Studies centers on our American History. We will discuss early exploration and European settlements, the thirteen colonies, the fight for independence from Great Britain, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the government of the people, the trouble between the states, and, ultimately, the Civil War.
Students will expand and strengthen their knowledge of historical figures and events through interactive activities to include reenactments, skits, and presentations. They will analyze historical events through multiple points of view and debates about the Revolutionary War and decisions leading up to America’s independence. Students will apply real-world connections to comprehend concepts of government and economics. The use of various geographic tools will support their understanding of U.S. geography. Book reports will help strengthen writing skills and reinforce student understanding of historical events. Additionally, students will use iPad technology in the classroom for research and visual comprehension.
The Fifth Grade Life Science unit begins with learning to classify organisms into kingdoms. Each kingdom is studied in depth. Hands on lab work includes collecting and growing bacteria, making slides to observe live protists, growing fungus, and dissecting starfish. Plant or animal cell projects are made along with an original play/video explaining the function of the cell’s organelles. A PowerPoint presentation by each student covers each animal phylum. Additionally, cell division and inherited characteristics are covered.
The Physical Science unit covers matter and what it is made of, physical and chemical properties of matter, and the changes of matter. Elements of the Periodic Table are researched by each student. A wall-sized Periodic Table is designed and set up by the students and displayed for the entire student body.
The Earth Science unit covers the Cycles in Nature.
The school year concludes with the dissecting of rats and fetal pigs, highlighting a unit on the human body.
In the Fifth Grade, the concepts of place value, comparing, ordering and rounding numbers, number operations, money, and time are continually reinforced as the mathematics become more complex. Students continue to learn more sophisticated approaches to problem solving in all areas of the math program. Multiplication, division, data gathering and graphing, probability, ratio and percent, algebra, geometry(perimeter, circumference, area), fractions, and decimals are covered and skills in these areas reinforced throughout the year. Students continue the use of Challenge Sheets to guide them in independent practice of skills learned.
Students in Grade 5 attend Physical Education classes at least twice each week. Students acquire the knowledge and skills for movement that provide the foundation for enjoyment, continued social development through physical activity, access to a physically-active lifestyle, and the relationship between physical activity and health.
Physical skills are developed through fun activities that include cooperative games, playground games, jump rope, track and field, bowling, rhythmic awareness, fitness concepts and team sports such as soccer, basketball, kickball, handball, volleyball, and more. Activities focus on constant participation and inclusion as opposed to elimination and having students sit out.
Students are exposed cognitively to health and fitness concepts, nutrition, the skeletal and muscular systems, and anatomy of the heart. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in annual events such as Jump Rope for Heart in the fall, Field Day in the spring, and The Mileage Club throughout the year.
The main focus in Physical Education is having fun while learning physical skills that will allow students to enjoy physical activity throughout their lives.
The Fifth Grade begins the school year by learning new songs for Chapel. During the fall they will also do holiday songs pertaining to Halloween and Thanksgiving. By mid-October they are preparing to audition for parts in the upcoming Christmas musical in December. Fifth Grade students are able to audition for acting parts in the Christmas musical. Fifth graders are also eligible to audition for introductions and closings of the musical and for singing solos.
In the spring, the Fifth Grade will begin thinking about what they will do for the upcoming Talent/Lip Sync show. During this time, we also focus on new Chapel songs and work in our music textbooks and continue music theory. There is usually a project in the spring for music.
We will also begin working on three songs that will be sung during their Fifth Grade graduation ceremony.
Fifth Grade students continue to work on perfecting their keyboarding skills. Coordination with the core academic teachers and classroom projects and assignments allows the Fifth Graders to become more sophisticated in their use of the Microsoft Office Applications. Students become more proficient in the use of this program as they integrate the applications into work for other classes. This would include creating brochures and newsletters as well as a research paper. They will continue to perfect their Internet research techniques and be introduced to popular iPad and Mac applications such as iMovie, iPhoto, Garage Band, and begin some web page creation.
Third through sixth grade students attend classes the entire year.
Students acquire knowledge of various artistic techniques—color, texture, form, etc. through many hands on activities. We work with pastels, modeling materials, paints (acrylics and watercolors), paper weaving, and many other materials. Our Art program is constantly evolving depending on what inspires us at the moment.
Since our border heritage is so very influential to the Rio Grande Valley, our Art program is infused with an emphasis of these culturally rich traditions, customs, and vibrant colors. We do an in depth unit on Dia de los Muertos in which 1st-6th grades participate in this unique celebration of life. Through books, vocabulary, hands on activities such as art, altar building, & sugar skull making all grades contribute to a magnificent exhibition that highlights all the work that goes into celebrating this very special and often misunderstood holiday.
We have been invited to display artwork at the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, TX and created a community altar representing our school families at the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen. The upper grades participate in many events throughout our community and we are proud to have our works displayed in many different venues.
The upper grades, 3rd-6th, also participate in State and National art competitions.
St. John’s has had many student pieces selected, published, and/or displayed in various contests.
The Rosetta Stone Program is self-paced allowing students to learn and master the Spanish language at their level. It provides feedback on their mastery, allowing students to repeat units until they truly understand the content. Students can use the program at home, as well as at school. While the early lessons are speaking and listening, as the students become more proficient, they will also learn to write in Spanish. We believe the Rosetta Stone Program fits our unique needs at St. John’s for a comprehensive program that allows our students to learn and master Spanish.
Sacred Studies is a class for students in grades 3-5 that examine the stories of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and the life and teachings of Jesus. Through Sacred Studies classes, children study the ways personal and community values develop and what it means to be individuals of integrity. In Fifth Grade, students will study Christian Ethics. Each Fifth Grade student meets for Sacred Studies one day a week for one semester.
Fifth Grade Teachers