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Our Fifth Grade students are both the leaders and the role models of the Lower School. At the beginning of the year, elections for the Lower School Students in Action (SIA) group serve as an opportunity to begin the discussion about leadership and the responsibilities of successful leaders. Also, every year we spend three extraordinary days on an excursion to eastern Serbia designed to enable us to bond together as a unified team. Nurturing true PYP students, who model the PYP Learner Profile for the rest of our community, is our main goal and focus in the area of character development.
Our role as leaders continues throughout the year as we work to develop positive and lasting relationships with organizations both within the school and in the local community. This culminates in the last trimester, when Grade 5 students spend several weeks planning and initiating an action based on their studies during the PYP Exhibition. As the year ends, Grade 5 prepares for the move to the Middle School by participating in a transition program and visiting their future campus.
Brief Description of the Fifth Grade Academic Program
Our Balanced Literacy Program encompasses Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Word Study.
In the Fifth Grade, we encourage students to read every single day. In addition, students participate in DEAR - ‘Drop Everything and Read,’ an independent silent reading opportunity, teacher read-alouds, interactive read-alouds, shared reading, guided reading, and literature circles. Students have an opportunity to experience a variety of genres while being guided to develop their reading strategies as well as their comprehension/reading skills. They, therefore, learn to become very active readers, who respond to literature in a variety of ways.
In Writing, students have an opportunity to write, and to practice expression through independent writing, guided writing, reflective writing, and poetry writing. We examine specific writing formats such as reports, narrative, expository, and persuasive writing, and guide students to recognize, practice and independently use the structure of these writing genres. Through authentic writing projects, we not only cover particular grammar points, but we work on sentence structure, word choice, organization, research, and spelling skills.
In Speaking and Listening, we encourage students to demonstrate active listening skills while others are speaking, thus paying very close attention to what is being said. Students make a number of presentations throughout the year, on which they receive feedback from both their peers and teacher(s) which helps them grow as public speakers and prepares them for the culminating event of the year – The Grade Five Exhibition.
Word Study (Spelling) is yet another integral and very important part of our Balanced Literacy program. In order for learners to be able to- express and relay their thoughts to their desired audience, we introduce, practice, and reinforce Word Study as a part of our instructional program. We believe that by creating a classroom environment which encourages risk-taking and ‘having-a-go’ in Word Study, we help our students enjoy the exciting world of writing, while maintaining their fluency in this crucial academic area. Throughout the year, we guide the students through specific strategies such as: understanding graphophonics (sound-symbol relationship), studying words through word origins, and the use of a word study journal.
Grade 5 students will have the opportunity to identify and reflect upon “big ideas” by making connections between the questions asked and the concepts that drive our inquiries. They will become aware of the relevance these concepts have to all of their learning. Mathematical studies at ISB are tied to real world experiences by exploring the five strands of mathematics within the PYP framework: Data Handling Shape and Space, Numeracy, Measurement, and Pattern and Function.
The power of mathematics for describing and analyzing the world around us is such that it has become a highly effective tool for solving problems. It is also recognized that students can appreciate the intrinsic fascination of mathematics and explore the world through its unique perceptions. In the same way that students describe themselves as “authors” or “artists”, ISB’s programme also provides students with the opportunity to see themselves as “mathematicians”, where they enjoy and are enthusiastic when exploring and learning about mathematics.
In the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), mathematics is also viewed as a vehicle to support inquiry, providing a global language through which we make sense of the world around us. It is intended that students become competent users of the language of mathematics, and can begin to use it as a way of thinking, as opposed to seeing it as a series of facts and equations to be memorized.