Beginning with anthropomorphic tales, the fall curriculum focuses on a familiar character archetype: the animal. Broach’s Masterpiece, O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and Oppel’s The Boundless comprise this first unit, with a focus on characterization and how nature mirrors humanity. The second phase: sidekicks. Segueing from the film Ratatouille, students will read Pax by Sara Pennypacker, which telescopes out from the strictly animal to human protagonists with animal sidekicks. Then, the curriculum shifts to multicultural folklore and a short story anthology, The Storyteller, through the lens of which students will explore the critical writing process in depth, beginning with the paragraph as a unit of logic. Collaboration and cooperation with Reading 5 will include a theatrical experience during which fables or fairy tales, and their animal and human narratives, will be “fractured” and performed. The final phase of English 5 extends to a broader study of the human as an animal—as a species, as community builders and as storytellers. Students, using a nonfiction text of their choosing, will produce a research paper to demonstrate what they have learned about both human nature and critical writing.
English 5 integrates a variety of language arts skills including grammar study, literary analysis, creative and critical writing, and vocabulary development. Grammar instruction covers parts of speech, sentence structure, syntax and punctuation. Students’ written compositions encompass a variety of genres including persuasive, expository, narrative, plays and poetry. Students study vocabulary using both direct and contextual instructional approaches.
5th Passport to the World Part I: Students will be required to examine major themes, concepts, and skills in geography. The course's focus is the web of relationships that exist between people, places and the environment, paying particular attention to Latin America and Europe. Emphasis is placed upon physical, human, cultural and political geography, using geographic tools such as maps, graphs, charts and more. Students will explore how to use graphic organizers to take notes both in class and from the textbook, with significant attention to assessment preparation. Reading comprehension and writing skills are strengthened through the research and writing process, with enhanced focus on source citation through Noodletools in order to create a working bibliography. Students will read a novel set in a country in the region of study written by an author from that country. Teachers will focus on creating an environment that promotes a curiosity about the people and places across the globe.Language
Explore the Prima Lingua curriculum, a Latin based comparative course that serves as a strong foundation for future language study. Prima Lingua has two main goals: to familiarize students with key grammatical concepts that English shares with other languages and to introduce grammatical elements (such as gender of nouns, agreement of adjective and noun, and the importance of inflection, or word endings). Prima Lingua also gives students an appreciation of the cultural aspects of language and exposure to the historical development of language, with examples mostly in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Greek and English.Library and Research
The Middle/Upper School Library supports students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers and ethical users of information. Collaboration with the learning community through age-appropriate information literacy instruction encourages our students to be lifelong users and creators of information. This collaboration is supported by a diverse collection of print and online resources for research, personal growth and enjoyment of reading.
Individual and group study areas in the library encourage collaboration, creativity and research. The MS/US Library collection includes print resources of magazines, newspapers and over 17,000 books. Over 50 databases through UDLib/search, individual subscriptions, including JSTOR and NYTimes online, as well as ebooks can be accessed on campus and at home. A full-time librarian provides individualized assistance with readers advisory, research and technology.
The fifth grade math course is designed to solidify the students’ abilities to perform operations with whole numbers. New topics introduced will be all operations with fractions and decimals, including the supporting concepts of number theory and divisibility strategies. The course then moves on to ratios, proportions, percents and probability ideas. Problem solving strategies include using basic statistics and non-routine techniques. The calculator, provided in class, is introduced as a tool for problem solving activities and investigating patterns. Enrichment activities are included with all student involvement in the Math Olympiad program.
Reading 5 develops fluency and comprehension through teacher-directed, student-selected fiction and nonfiction. Students learn to comprehend beyond the literal meaning of texts by reading a variety of genres, including historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy, short fiction, self-selected nonfiction and mysteries. A diversity of pedagogical methods elucidates curricular content: classroom discourse, literature-based vocabulary instruction and text-based response. Students' skills are assessed several times throughout the year to benchmark their progress. Strategies such as previewing, annotating, visualizing, chunking and connecting are just a few important skills emphasized this year. The “literature circle” experience builds rhetorical skill, fluency, comprehension, logic and higher order thinking. Student choice is crucial in the “lit circle” paradigm, and students choose one text from among a teacher-curated array four times throughout the year. Three Times Lucky and Junior Great Books comprise the whole-class reads while “lit circle” themes include: “anthropomorphic matters” (to correspond to English 5), “circuitous routes,” “sole survivor” and “super sleuthing.”
Each Middle School grade team has collaborated with the Director of Social Justice to create and support social justice themes that will tie-into the grades curriculum for the year. In fifth grade, the theme is Kindness, Friendship and Allyship. In addition, monthly Lunch n' Learns provide an opportunity for grade 5-8 students to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion. These lunchtime meetings are peer-led and faculty-guided by our MS Equity and Inclusion Coordinators Carmen Martinez and Rachel Ashbrook and Director of Social Justice Natasha Murray-Everett. Additional opportunities for students to participate in local diversity conferences are provided throughout the year.