Fifth Grade


Fifth graders become more independent, sophisticated readers. As their skills and experience increase, they will have the confidence to take on literature and nonfiction texts 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 of texts. Students will also continue to receive direct instruction in reading by working individually with teachers.

Fifth graders will be provided with opportunities to read for pleasure and for information. They will continue to build their vocabularies and increase the number of words they recognize through breaking the words apart into their various parts (prefixes, roots, suffixes.) They will use this developed knowledge to find the meanings of new, unfamiliar words in addition to the use of dictionaries or encyclopedias.

Fifth graders will react to what they have read through active discussions, written reflections, and through projects of choice. Students will use a Language Arts journal to log their written responses to texts read in the classroom. These responses not only serve as a means to making them more thoughtful readers but also to give them more opportunities to self-assess their fluency as a writer.

Fifth graders write for multiple purposes throughout the year. Students will write stories, informational compositions, letters, and extensions of literature studied in the classroom. They are expected to begin to develop logical compositions that are descriptive, creative, and thoughtful. Students will learn to self-edit as well as serve as a peer-editor for their classmates. These interactions will focus on compliments and suggestions that the students are expected to take into consideration when editing and revising their compositions. These suggestions could be about punctuation, spelling, or grammar, to dive into the subject matter of the created piece, or to make sure that the format of the writing is correct.


Cornerstone uses the Primary Mathematics curriculum. This curriculum is based on the Singapore Math curriculum and honors students’ thinking and ideas more than teaching a certain way to solve problems in math. Students will be given problems to engage with that can be attached to a real-world context to deepen understanding.

Fifth graders will work with whole numbers into the billions through multiple different concepts including but not limited to multiplication, division, prime factorization, calculations with parentheses, and estimation. They will also begin using fractions and decimals in calculation. Fifth graders will engage in geometric concepts like angles, area, surface area, and perimeter. They will also work with percents, ratios, averages and rates, and other forms of data analysis.


Fifth graders learn about the history of the southeastern region of the United States through the lens of marginalized people. Much of the focus throughout the year is on the history of the slave trade in the Americas, life on plantations, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and how these relate to and/or affect current events in our region, country, and world. These studies are culminated each year with a tour of the southeast with a focus on the Civil Rights Movement that includes time in Selma, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama, Tuskegee University, and Atlanta, Georgia. The focus of this trip is to see, smell, feel, and experience some significant historical locations that the students have learned about throughout the year.

Fifth graders will learn about various cultures of the world and how they have influenced our world. This study is culminated each year with our Five Senses Culture Fair in which each student researches and studies a culture and presents their findings in a way that activates all five senses of the audience.

Fifth graders spend time with maps and atlases on a regular basis. They will learn to read maps and atlases in order to develop knowledge and understanding of the hemispheres, equator, continents, countries, states, and capitals. They will also develop maps of their own creation, including a classroom wall map that depicts the southeastern region of the country to which they are continually adding information and details.


Everything is a part of and necessary to a larger whole. Topics of investigation in 5th grade include the nature of matter, energy and force and motion. They use models and the scientific method to study and explain the process of nature. Exploration and experiments begin with a unit on circuits and energy and a trip to the MagLab. To understand electricity, they study basic atomic structure. Students will begin to understand energy consumption and their role as future engineers of renewable energy. Students track solar panel data and learn how biofuel is made at Longview Farms.

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. The students develop individual science project during class time, acquiring the skills and organization to be successful at this independent task.

The third part of the year is developed around the understanding of the structure and function of matter as well as the interdependent relationships in ecosystems. Through gardening composting, and creating biobottles, students learn about the interactions between abiotic and biotic elements in a healthy ecosystem. This provides the foundation and structure for looking at life at a cellular level.


Fifth graders work on projects throughout the year that are designed to develop cross-curricular concepts and to provide opportunities that are necessary for a successful Middle School experience. The skills that are focused on are: organization of time and materials, note-taking, integrated thinking, and multiple means of presenting information (for example, a “traditional” written report, PowerPoint, a play presentation, or a robotics-based presentation.)


Fifth graders will have multiple opportunities to learn various languages of coding throughout the year. Students will be able to engage with platforms like Scratch, Python, HTML, and C++ based on interest and abilities.

Fifth graders will have opportunities to engage in collaborative projects using Hummingbird Robotics kits. These kits are designed to provide open opportunities for students to develop an idea, develop a plan, and attempt to carry out the plan using everything from cardboard to motors and servos.


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.


Fifth 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 Spanish Program in grades four and five continues the conversational approach to language acquisition using thematic units, games, poems, movement and literature. Listening to the Spanish language, developing good pronunciation and building vocabulary will continue to be the focus of each lesson. Within each lesson there will be the opportunity to learn and practice the mechanics of the language. Reading and writing Spanish will be introduces and practiced through worksheets and “libritos.”