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In Fifth Grade English, we strive to develop close readers, clear and expressive writers, and critical thinkers. Using literature as our hub, we’ll explore figurative language, theme, and thesis. As a class, we read and analyze Wonder; Wishtree; Seedfolks; A Wrinkle in Time; When You Reach Me; The Phantom Tollbooth; and Tom Sawyer. Students are also formally introduced to poetry and will explore a selection of short stories. We believe an expanding vocabulary enhances understanding and expression, so students will have weekly vocabulary assessments. Integrated with the reading, using IXL Online Grammar, students will study basic grammar topics, such as parts of a sentence, parts of speech, and phrases. This will help students improve mechanics and usage, and the concepts can be quickly implemented in writing. For some students, this is an introduction to structured grammar. Writing is a central aspect of our curriculum. Fifth graders will explore the entire writing process, from pre-writing to revision. Writing assignments include informal meditations on a theme, a variety of creative pieces, and expository essays about literature.
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade quarter long rotation, a seventh and eighth grade elective that meets twice per week all year, and an upper school elective (grades 9-12) that meets twice per week all year. As a part of this course, students produce works of creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming each student's portfolio and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
5th/6th Grade Art (Quarter-long Rotation)
This quarter long exploratory elective is designed to teach 5/6th grade students how to become critical thinkers and visual problem solvers. Students will become aware of the creative process, which includes brainstorming, problem solving, analyzing, and evaluating art. Design problems are solved using visual art structures and functions, while leaving room for a student’s own personal ideas and artistic style. They will experiment with a variety of materials and techniques.
5th/6th Grade Photography (Quarter-long Rotation)
You will need an inexpensive digital camera labeled, including a strap and memory card.
This quarter long photography class is an exciting mix of studio work, outside projects, and beginning Photoshop on the computer. Students will have opportunities to photograph at school, and at home, to combine them with fun and creative projects in the classroom.
5th/6th Grade Musical Theatre (Quarter-long Rotation)
In this rotating elective students will learn about the different instrument families in a Band & Orchestra program and the methods used to produce a sound on each one as they have the opportunity to try each instrument. Students will hear a brief history of American music and learn how music and cultures from around the world combined and evolved into what we listen to today. Finally, students will also learn how to create music in a simple Digital Audio Workstation. No prior musical experience required.
5th/6th Grade Strings (Yearlong Rotation)
Did you know that students who play music perform better on standardized tests? In this course, students will learn how to play some of the most beautiful instruments in the Orchestra: Violin, Viola, Cello, or Doublebass. Learning music takes practice, but it is really fun, especially when learning with friends! Students will learn how to read music, develop technical playing skills, and perform in the Winter and Spring concerts with the Middle and Upper School ensembles. No prior string or musical experience required.
5th/6th Grade Music Appreciation (Quarter-long Rotation)
In this rotating elective students will learn about the different instrument families in a Band & Orchestra program and the methods used to produce a sound on each one. They will have the opportunity to play each instrument and end the quarter as a small music ensemble. No prior musical experience required.
5th/6th Grade Drama (Quarter-long Rotation)
This quarter long course is designed to give students an overview of theatre from multiple perspectives. Through various projects and exercises, 5/6th graders explore elements of acting and performance. Special emphasis is placed on physical acting through pantomime and on verbal acting through readers theatre and storytelling. Students also work with ensemble-building and interaction with their peers.
5th/6th Grade Creative Writing (Quarter-long Rotation)
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade rotation, a seventh and eighth grade component, and an upper school elective. These three groups produce creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Most of the workshops are held in the computer labs, where students may easily compose, revise, and archive finished pieces. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming the student's portfolio, and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
Students in fifth and sixth grades are divided into classes by gender and receive instruction in a variety of team and individual sports and activities. Students receive instruction in skills and rules of the sport or activity at the beginning of the unit, often culminating in a class-wide tournament. Current offerings include softball, tennis, volleyball, touch football, soccer, badminton, track and field, basketball, floor hockey, mat ball, kickball, pickleball, and table tennis.
Additionally, the Presidential Physical Fitness test is administered to students each year. Young children learn to enjoy physical activity, yet also learn that a certain level of personal commitment and work is required to reap the benefits from their participation. They partake in developmentally appropriate activities that help them develop movement competence and should be encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity and unstructured play. For elementary children, the emphasis is on an awareness of fitness components and having fun while participating in health-enhancing activities that promote physical fitness.
The fifth grade course is an engaging exploration of American history from the pre-Columbian period to the end of Reconstruction. Major topics covered during the year include exploration and colonization, the American Revolution and Constitution, western expansion, antebellum culture and society, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Throughout the year, students are instructed in note taking skills, research skills, and report writing as preparation for more advance work in social studies. The course employs class discussion and cooperative learning exercises to communicate to students the importance of both effective oral and written communication.
Mathematics Course I
Recommended for fifth grade
We recognize that students come into fifth grade with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. This course is designed to ensure that all entering fifth graders are provided a firm foundation as preparation for all of Altamont’s rigorous mathematics curriculum.
Mathematics Course II (Required)
Recommended for fifth grade
Mathematics Course II builds on the students' previous mastery of whole number operations. Concepts covered are factorization; reasoning and operations with fractions, decimals, and percents; geometry; measurement; the standard algorithms for multiplication and division; probability and statistics; and problem-solving strategies. The curriculum establishes the mathematical foundation needed to succeed in future math courses by fostering the student's ability to solve problems, reason, and communicate mathematically.
This first course in science is designed to stimulate interest in the life, physical and earth sciences. It explores problem solving through the use of the scientific method and introduces many modern tools of science. This project-oriented approach to scientific topics includes the tools of science, scientific measurement, models and designs, populations and ecosystems, electronics, and rocketry. Laboratory activities are taken from a variety of sources. Field trips to area exhibits, museums, and nature centers supplement the classroom experience. Students end the fifth-grade year constructing and launching stage II rockets.
Computer Science Fundamentals
This introductory computer science focuses on the basics of computer science and internet safety. Through various “unplugged” activities and simulators provided by Code.org, students will be exposed to the concepts that will help them with future computer science courses. This course will be taught on a quarterly rotation.
Fifth Graders follow a Rotation (one quarter each of French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish)
This quarter-long course introduces 5th grade students to the culture and language of France in an investigative manner. Daily homework centers on discovering French food, sports and games, history and geography, fashion, literature, colonialization, etc. Students enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of France throughout the course. Students leave the course with an appreciation for the rich and varied culture of France and its impact throughout the world - not to mention acquiring several useful vocabulary phrases to get them going on their future study of French.
This quarter-long course provides an introduction to the Latin language and the world of Classical Studies. Students will enjoy comparative vocabulary study including derivatives and cognates in English. Along with the basics of Latin grammar, we will cover the lasting cultural legacy of Rome. Discussions on mythology, daily and private life, Mediterranean geography, and famous men and women of the ancient world round out the course.
This quarter-long course introduces Mandarin to 5th grade students and endeavors to arouse their interest in learning an Oriental language. Through this 9-weeks course, students will be taught to understand vocabulary and expressions related to common daily settings. They will repeat, recite and reproduce words or sentences with fair accuracy as they begin to develop interest in learning Mandarin.
This quarter-long course introduces students to the Spanish language through the study of common words and expressions, basic grammatical structures and culture. Group interaction, written and listening exercises, as well as songs and videos will reinforce correct pronunciation and assimilation of the language. Instruction is in both Spanish and English, but students are expected to use Spanish whenever possible.