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.
Fifth Graders will…
  • Continue to receive direct instruction in reading by working individually with teachers.
  • Be provided with opportunities to read for pleasure and for information. 
  • Continue to build their vocabularies and increase the number of words they recognize.
  • Use this developed knowledge to find the meanings of new, unfamiliar words in addition to the use of dictionaries or encyclopedias.
  • React to what they have read through active discussions, written reflections, and through projects of choice.
  • Use a Language Arts journal to log their written responses to texts read in the classroom.
  • Write for multiple purposes throughout the year.
  • Write stories, informational compositions, letters, and extensions of literature studied in the classroom. 
  • Learn to self-edit as well as serve as a peer-editor for their classmates.


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.
  • Using fractions and decimals in calculation.
  • Engage in geometric concepts like angles, area, surface area, and perimeter.
  • 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.
  • Spending time with maps and atlases on a regular basis. 
  • Develop maps of their own creation.
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.


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.
  • Using models and the scientific method to study and explain the process of nature.
  • Exploring and experimenting begin with a unit on circuits and energy and a trip to the MagLab.
  • To understand electricity, they study basic atomic structure.
  • Understanding energy consumption and their role as future engineers of renewable energy. 
Fifth graders have developed the maturity to design and execute their own investigations. 
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.
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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. 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.”