Learning

5th Grade

Our 5th grade program provides children with a strong start to being successful and independent learners throughout their St. Mary's experience, into college, and beyond.

5th Grade Curriculum

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Social-Emotional Learning

    Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important component of a 21st century education, and includes skills and competencies in self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; relationship skills; and responsible decision-making . We use the Developmental Designs approach to teaching SEL throughout our Middle School.

    Learn more about Social Emotional Learning here.
  • High School Partners

    This program will partner our 5th grade students with our high school juniors and seniors. The goal of Partners is to provide positive role models for our younger students and a valuable mentoring opportunity for our older students.
  • History & Social Sciences

    The social studies curriculum uses global themes such as change, interdependence, diversity, human migration, human rights, quality of life, and sustainability to explore the history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

    Students learn how the physical and political geography of the region influenced the region’s economic and cultural history. They study the roles that fishing, timber, and other industries played in shaping the economic and social development of the Pacific Northwest, and their impact upon the region’s natural environment and its indigenous cultures.

    Working individually and in groups, students read historical accounts, analyze historical issues, discuss current events, role-play, create art related to the content, and write persuasive essays on issues that affect their local communities and the region as a whole.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education will emphasize movement education, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. Students will learn to monitor, track, and improve their own level of fitness throughout the year in a variety of different sports and physical activities.
  • Homework


    When you go from nothing to something, everything feels overwhelming. We understand that the homework expectations at St. Mary’s are different than those at other schools. We also understand that kids work at varying speeds.
    In the Middle School and for many high school classes, parents have the freedom to say, “That’s enough for tonight. It’s bedtime.” We don’t want St. Mary’s to feel like a factory. Kids should be able to lead balanced lives that include family time, sports and other after-school activities, and just hanging around.
     
    • 5th grade students should expect to spend no more than thirty to sixty minutes on homework per night.
    • No homework will be specifically assigned to 5th graders over the weekend. No assignments will be due on a Monday, nor will tests be scheduled for a Monday. Students may choose to work on the weekend if they wish, of course. This may be necessary for longer projects or to complete makeup work.
    • Homework will not be assigned during vacation periods, including three-day weekends.
  • Science

    This course integrates physical and life science, earth and space science, and engineering. A key purpose and goal of this class is to guide students in thinking and acting like scientists.

    Scientific concepts in the course include cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and systems and systems models. This course, as with the other Middle School science courses, will be based on the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The Arts


    In Art, students will be exposed to many different media in the realm of drawing, ceramics, and printmaking. Students will be able to build new skills while expressing themselves creatively.

    One overarching theme of the year is the observation and use of negative space as a tool for drawing and for designing more interesting compositions and sculptures. They will complete drawing projects with colored pencils, watercolor crayons, colored tissue paper, and learn some basics of color theory and drawing three-dimensionally.

    During Choir, students learn and reinforce basic music literacy skills as they read, write, and perform music from varied genres and time periods. Students learn the basics of healthy vocal production, choral performance, and musical improvisation.
  • English & Literature

    The English curriculum frames reading selections, classroom activities and projects around essential questions such as, "How does making choices affect me?" and "What responsibilities do I have to my communities?" Students are asked to consider themselves in relation to their immediate communities: family, friends, and classmates.
    A Writer’s Workshop format provides a structured process for students to brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, publish and celebrate. Students receive feedback about their writing on a regular basis from their teacher, and peer editing is introduced so that developing writers learn how to best give and receive feedback.
  • Mathematics


    Our 5th grade math class is designed to give students extensive exposure to working with fractions, decimals and percentages. These concepts are built and developed through hands-on approaches and investigations that help students develop standard methods. In addition, they will explore basic number theory, factors and multiples, estimation, measurement, and two-dimensional geometry.