Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12

Grade 5

Fifth graders delight in the responsibilities that come with being the oldest students in Lower School. Beginning in September, they exercise leadership in the dining hall among their peers. A yearlong relationship with a first grade Book Buddy often becomes a friendship that lasts beyond the school year. In early spring students go away with their classroom teachers to a leadership program at an overnight camp in Maine. A class play is put on in May for the entire school community. And in late spring, participation in a mock trial designed by the District Attorney's office can bring students to a local courthouse.

Click on the subjects below for a summary of the Grade 5 curriculum.


How can I become a strong reader and an effective writer?

A 90-minute literacy block is scheduled daily. Reading instruction is an integral component of literacy. Our goal is first and foremost to foster a love of reading. Research data indicates that in order for students to develop as readers, they must be afforded ample time to read. Therefore, we are committed to providing time for students to immerse themselves in reading books of their choosing as much as possible. Students learn to select books they can read with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. Our Lower School approach supports the five essential foundational pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Fifth graders strive to broaden their experiences as readers and strengthen their skills in Reading Workshop, with an eye to genre and level of difficulty. Students are guided to select books they can access with confidence and competence. Writing Workshop exposes students to poetry, memoir, the friendly letter, bursts of writing, and children’s picture books. Vocabulary study is accomplished through direct instruction. Students incorporate new vocabulary in creative projects.


A 60-minute math period is scheduled daily for students in Grades 1 through 5.

Our approach draws on best practices, and highlights problem solving as the focus of mathematics. Opportunities to engage in conversation about the process are promoted and valued. We expect learners to construct and maintain positive attitudes toward math, to persevere, and to monitor their own thinking.

We begin each day with Every Day Counts: Calendar Math. As additional math experience, this provides time for preview, review, practice, and discussion of critical math concepts and skills. It increases engagement and motivation while building mathematical understanding.

Math In Focus with a coherent sequence of topics forms the core of our mathematics curriculum. It affords learners the opportunity to engage in model drawing experiences, which tap into their visual-spatial and reasoning strengths. At each grade level, time spent on topics allows for depth of exploration followed by mastery. This deep level of understanding eases the journey into higher levels of math.

Central Subject

How does the past influence the present?

Portions of the curriculum are influenced by Central Subject, which focuses on American history from around 1750 to 1850. An overview of colonial times and the American Revolution is followed with an in-depth examination of life in a rural 1830s New England village. Students can learn from the recent past — their own family stories — but they can learn even more by putting those stories into perspective when they compare them with stories from the more distant past. Old Sturbridge Village comes to life with fieldwork done on site.


Investigations include a study of simple machines; a mechanical engineering project designing windmills; food and nutrition; human body systems; learning how to use a compound microscope to study plant and animal cells; and an introduction to astronomy.


American artists and their work is a major focus of the Grade Five curriculum. “A Sense of Place” is the title of the unit that was designed to teach students how our environment and the time period in which we create can affect our artwork. The students study folk artists, realists, post-expressionists and artists who sometimes have developed their own unique style. They analyze the subject matter and the materials used, do research in Library class and write papers about their chosen artist. A major part of the process is also producing a large acrylic painting in their artist’s style. Many books, artist prints and videos are viewed during this rich Art History unit.

Opportunities follow that will allow the students to be creative while working on clay projects, printmaking, and drawing assignments. Learning about perspective, making objects look three-dimensional and adding texture to their work is taught through of use of many art materials.

Computer Skills

In fifth grade computers, students solidify their knowledge of correct keyboarding techniques, word processing, Internet safety, multimedia presentations, and computer hardware. In addition, students’ revisit programming concepts through MIT-developed Scratch and the movie making process of SAM Animation. Through TypingAce.com, every fifth grade student has an individualized keyboarding plan according to their skill level that ensures the correct finger positions and increases their typing speed and accuracy (15-20 wpm). Through various projects, students exhibit their knowledge of computer skills/concepts they have learned. By the end of fifth grade, the instructional goal is to arm students with basic computer application skills so they are ready and confident in their abilities and prepared for middle school.


Spring is the season for fifth graders to take the stage in a musical. Through the school year, we work toward a full-scale production, nurturing the students' abilities to work well with all classmates and be at ease speaking in the Theatre.

The play itself is introduced to the youngsters after the Winter Break. Drama and Music classes are devoted to rehearsals, from then until the May performances.

Every child gets a speaking part in the Fifth Grade Play, with larger parts going to those who prefer them.


After studying traditional rounds and canons and singing Revolutionary Era songs to go with their Central Subject theme, students prepare for their culminating performance: The Fifth Grade Play. This musical/dramatic event in May incorporates improvising, arranging, and all the musical and teamwork skills they have learned over their years in the Lower School.

Fifth graders may also participate one of three ensembles—Chorus, Band, or Strings. These ensembles perform at assemblies and concerts.


In Grade 5, Spanish classes are designed to increase students’ verbal proficiency with the language and include more opportunities for practicing reading and writing in the language. Topics build upon their four years of previous study and will also include poetry and science. Students are fully immersed in Spanish and produce a great deal of creative work.


During library classes, fifth graders are mastering an array of information skills, strengthening their reading talents and further developing an appreciation for books. Two formal research assignments are completed during the school year following the Modern Language Association’s standards of research methodology and documentation.  Students learn how to read and choose books for their first grade book buddies, and master an array of skills to prepare them for Middle School.

Physical Education

At this level, the focus moves toward team sports and fitness activities. The emphasis is on developing skills through specific drills, leading up to the actual playing of various team games. The curriculum at this level involves teams sports such as soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, paddle tennis, basketball, volleyball and softball (rag-ball). There are opportunities to develop and strengthen fitness skills. Jump rope, obstacle courses, scooter boards and tumbling skills are experienced at various times in the year. Many games are more involved and call for decision - making, strategy, teamwork and application of manipulative skills.

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