Fifth Grade


Fifth graders become more independent, sophisticated readers. As their skills and experience increase, fifth graders will have the confidence to take on literature and nonfiction that broaden their reading experiences significantly. The teacher facilitates their continued growth as readers by designing appropriate reading assignments, organizing literature circles, and facilitating discussions. Students will also continue to receive direct instruction in reading by working individually with teachers.

Fifth graders can read independently.

Fifth graders read for pleasure and for information. They continue to build their vocabularies and increase the number of words that they recognize. They deal with new words by breaking them apart and looking at the meaning of their various parts (prefixes, suffixes and root words.) They will find the meanings of some new words by looking the words up in dictionaries or encyclopedias. They will use many skills to help them understand what they have read.

Fifth graders react to what they have read.

Fifth graders discuss and write reactions to what they have read. They may be asked to keep a reading journal that logs their responses to novels or articles. These responses serve the dual purpose of making them more thoughtful readers and increasing the fluency of their writing. They are able to identify the character roles (such as hero and villain), motivations of characters, the author’s purpose and the lessons and morals of the stories.

Fifth graders write stories and informational compositions.

Fifth graders now are able to organize their compositions in a logical manner. This year, they will focus on adding lots of detail to everything they write. They will learn to support their ideas with logical reasons. They learn that it is necessary to include enough description if the reader is going to be able to create a picture of an event or scene in his mind. They will also improve their beginning and ending paragraphs.

Fifth graders learn to write various forms of letters.

Fifth graders learn the basic forms of letter writing. They write formal letters, casual letters, and invitations. They will learn the correct ways to open and close all types of letters and will experiment with various forms of handwriting (cursive, all capital letters, or other fonts) depending on the type of correspondence.

Fifth graders edit their own work.

After completing their writing, fifth graders share their work with small groups or the class. They receive suggestions and compliments from their classmates and then, using this advice, they improve and correct their own work. They are expected to go back over their story and add detail (and more detail); to substitute words that have been used several times; to check for correct punctuation; to look for incomplete or run-on sentences; to make sure that they’ve used the right verb (subject-verb agreement); to check for proper indentation at the beginning of paragraphs and to correct spelling mistakes.


Cornerstone uses the University of Chicago’s Everyday Mathematics program, a progressive curriculum that presents concepts in a spiral manner. This means that concepts are presented over multiple years so that students are given several exposures to skills before they are expected to master them.

Fifth graders work with numbers up to 1,000,000,000,000.

Fifth graders will be able to read, add and subtract numbers up to 1,000,000,000,000. They continue to use regrouping (carrying while adding and multiplying and borrowing while subtracting). They can write these numbers out in words and can change numbers to expanded notation.

Fifth graders continue to multiply and divide.

Fifth graders now know their times tables by heart. They learn to multiply any number by any 2 or 3 digit number that may or may not be a decimal. Fifth graders will divide whole and decimal numbers using long division.

Fifth graders study geometry.

Fifth graders study polygons and polyhedra. They will work with angles in triangles and quadrilaterals. They will learn to measure these angles using a protractor. They learn to identify line segments, rays, vertices and midpoints. They can calculate the area and perimeter of figures made up of square units. They will learn about proportions by making smaller drawings larger by using grids. They will also learn the parts of a circle: the diameter, radius, circumference, center and chord.

Fifth graders solve problems that contain several steps.

Fifth graders are given better tools and skills to handle more complicated problems. They learn to follow rules of the “order of operations” (that they must divide and multiply before they add or subtract) and that sometimes it is easier to rearrange a problem using the associative property [4 x (3 x 7) = (4 x 3) x 7] and the distributive property [(4 x 6) + 4 x 8 = 4 x (6 + 8)].

Fifth graders learn about factors and multiples.

Fifth graders learn to find multiples and factors of numbers. They will be able to find the least common multiple (LCM) or the greatest common factor (GCF) of two numbers.

Fifth graders work with fractions and decimals.

Fifth graders add and subtract fractions that have the same denominator (bottom number). They learn to multiply fractions and decimals by whole numbers. They continue to work with decimals with up to three places (0.000: tenths, hundredths, and thousandths) including changing decimals into fractions.

Fifth graders work with numbers in a variety of ways.

Fifth graders use fractions to show the probability (chance) of any event happening. They are able to show all the combinations that can be made with up to 4 items. After putting a group of numbers in order, they identify the range, median, mean (average) and mode. They continue to solve problems involving numbers that are less than (<), greater than (>) or equal (=) to each other.

Fifth graders work on other basic math skills.

Fifth graders continue to improve their abilities to solve problems involving time, money, and temperature; to measure and estimate length up to kilometers and miles, weight up to tons and kilograms and capacity up to liters and gallons; to decode and continue patterns; to solve word problems with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; to collect and display data on line, circle and bar graphs; and to locate ordered pairs (x, y) on line graphs.


Fifth graders study the southeastern region of the United States of America.

Fifth graders learn about the history of the southeast including early explorers, plantation life, Civil War, civil rights movement, and current events. Students will take a critical look at the history of the cultural dynamics of Native Americans, African Americans, and European Americans in this region. Fifth graders will investigate both social and environmental challenges faced by all who live in the southeast.

Fifth graders study the way people adapt to their environments.

Fifth graders look at how people in different settings (i.e. slaves, natives, share croppers, city folk, country folk, etc.) adjust to their environment and climates. They will also look at the ways we change our environments to meet our needs (building homes, roads, etc.).

Fifth graders learn to read world maps and atlases.

Fifth graders will spend time becoming familiar with and locating places on maps and in atlases. They learn to locate a point on a globe while becoming familiar with the hemispheres, the equator, continents, countries, states, and capitals. In addition, they will learn to draw maps of their surroundings including their classroom, school grounds, and community.


Fifth graders have developed the maturity to design and execute their own investigations. They are beginning to be self-directed learners, a quality essential for all successful scientists. Their focus has broadened beyond their own personal lives. Their desire to know extends beyond immediate personal needs or gain.

Fifth graders at Cornerstone Learning Community take their well-developed observation and descriptive skills beyond the classroom as they explore the surrounding community. They deduce, infer, experiment, verify, and solve simple problems. They use models and the scientific method to study and explain what they observe.

The focus for scientific inquiry in fourth and fifth grades is cycles and systems. Everything changes and often with predictable patterns. Everything is a part of and necessary to a larger whole. Topics of investigation may include the nature of matter, energy and force and motion.


Students are introduced to nine-week projects in the Fifth Grade. The goal for these projects is two-fold; first, to provide a deep and rich exploration of a single subject using cross-curricular methodology; second, to introduce and develop those skills which are required for a successful Middle School experience. The skills are: organization of time and materials, note-taking, integrated thinking (using Math, Social Science, Language Arts, and Science to explore World Hunger, for example), and multiple presentations of the experience (a classic report, a PowerPoint slide-show, and a play presentation on Florida, for example). Fifth Graders will be introduced to the tools and approaches to this type of learning in the first Nine Weeks. Projects include: Heifer International and World Hunger / Read-To-Feed; a Personal Writing Project based on a novel; States of the Southeastern U.S; Archaeology of the Southeast Region; Ecology and the Environment of the Southeast; and a Personal Interest Project – a fully integrated project that is their culminating academic experience as a Fifth Grader.


Fifth Graders attend formal art classes.

Fifth Graders will attend a formal art class with an art teacher once a week. They will do projects using a variety of materials and techniques and will be exposed to works of master artists. At Cornerstone Learning Community students are taught that art is a form of communication and a means of expressing themselves. Through this communication and self-expression, art becomes a source of discovery and joy.


Every student in kindergarten through eighth grade attends a minimum of two 50 minute classes in physical education per week. To reflect the National Association of Sport and Physical Education standards by providing meaningful, appropriate games and activities, the elementary physical education program explores and promotes the development of skill-and health-related physical activity components.

Students also have at least 30 minutes of recess everyday.


Fourth graders attend weekly music classes.

Fourth graders attend weekly music classes taught by a professional music teacher. The classes strengthen and integrate basic music skills such as singing and harmonizing, rhythm, reading, writing, theoretical analysis and creating of music and instrument playing. Instruction is hands-on and energetic so that children develop enthusiasm for music as a means of artistic expression. They also learn active listening techniques as they listen to examples of traditional music from a variety of cultures.


The creative drama process is engaging and active. Through the use of creative drama, Cornerstone students are given tools that will help them tap into their own creativity and exercise their imaginations. Each class is guided by the teacher as leader to explore, develop, express and communicate ideas, concepts, and feelings through dramatic enactment. In each grade level, developmentally appropriate activities are used to explore themes using elements of drama to give form and meaning to the experience.

The fifth grade experiments with characterization and character development. Drama games continue to be more complex and require students to “think outside the box”. Improvisation continues to be a developing skill with emphasis on more complex dialogue. Experimentation with scripts and staging serve as classroom exercises and are considered for production when they naturally develop as part of the process.