The Bronxville Elementary School staff welcomes your child to Fifth Grade.Fifth grade is an exciting time in your child’s educational journey. As Elementary School draws to a close and Middle School lies just ahead, we recognize your child’s increasing intellectual abilities and growing need for independence. It is during this period that your child is becoming more of an analytical and abstract thinker, better able to plan, problem-solve and process information. Fifth grade teachers work to support and encourage these growing competencies.Fifth grade is also a time when friendships take on greater importance, and when children become more conscious of their status within their peer group. Some are caught up with cliques and the difficulties associated with mounting peer pressure. Ten and eleven-year-olds are beginning to realize that authority figures do not hold all the answers, leading some to challenge parents and teachers when they had not done so before. Still, parental guidance and support is essential during this time. It is helpful to have rules and expectations clearly outlined and explained, with an emphasis placed on respect and consideration. As the oldest students in the school, fifth graders understand that they have certain privileges, but they also come to realize that those privileges are dependent on responsible, considerate behavior.
THE FIFTH GRADE PROGRAM
The fifth grade program in Bronxville is specifically geared toward supporting your child’s increasing independence. Using a modified departmentalized model, students work with different teachers for three academic subjects (ELA, math, social studies) but remain with the same core group of classmates throughout the day. In addition, one teacher acts as the “homeroom teacher”, in charge of overseeing the student’s academic and social development over the course of the school year. This approach allows students to adjust to the expectations and teaching styles of different teachers while at the same time receiving support from one main teacher and group of classmates. The fifth grade team works collaboratively to ensure that each student receives a consistent experience across the classes.
A central focus of fifth grade is to empower students make to positive changes in their world. The various aspects of their day challenge them to use their learning and skills in a variety of ways. The curriculum gives them opportunities to research global issues and possible solutions, and to become familiar with people who have and do make a difference. With each successive experience, fifth graders begin to take ownership of their actions and recognize they have the ability to initiate and be a participant in effective change.
During the fifth grade year, there are multiple leadership opportunities where students are encouraged to use their developing skills in literacy, problem solving, planning, and public speaking. Fifth graders participate in organizing all special events, including Spirit Days. Spirit Days are theme-based gatherings that promote team building while engaging students in service initiatives to benefit others. The Spirit Day committee is made up of a representative from each homeroom that works in conjunction with a teacher to ensure an exciting and smoothly run day. The representatives are responsible for helping to organize the day’s events, and for communicating effectively with their homeroom classmates. This requires making presentations in front of their class. Students are encouraged to initiate special committees and events. Some past projects have included a Lap-a-thon to benefit a school in Africa, a local area animal shelter, Ronald McDonald House, running a Math-a-thon in order to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital. Every day, fifth graders are given practice in balancing independence with responsibility. During seventh period, students choose the activity that they would like to work on and the classroom where they will work. At the start of the week, students plan out how they will spend their seventh period time, capitalizing on this time to meet with a variety of teachers and to complete long term projects. In addition, once each week, students attend small group instrument instruction. Students are encouraged to vary the subjects and rooms during the course of the week. For many students, this is a time for them to strengthen their areas of competence. If a student needs help on a lesson from earlier that morning, however, it is also that child’s responsibility to meet with that teacher during seventh period.
Student-led parent conferences are an integral part of students taking ownership of their learning. Students are active participants in the conference. They share their progress, as well as their strengths and weaknesses as learners, directly with their parents. Prior to the conference, each student completes a reflection with support from all of her/his teachers. The student then uses that information as a basis for the conference discussion. The child primarily runs the meeting, fielding many of the questions raised by parents and teachers. An action plan is created by the fifth grader, parents and homeroom teacher. The plan includes goals for the upcoming term that then becomes
the basis for focused improvement for the period following the conference. It is a living document that is referenced between the teacher and student as a means of charting progress toward achieving goals.
In fifth grade, students will take the New York State assessments in ELA and Mathematics. Please note the dates for these assessments in the school calendar. More information regarding these assessments will be distributed before the exam dates and information can also be obtained by visiting http://www.engageny.org/. Throughout the year classroom teachers will keep families informed of important activities. Class parents are assigned to each classroom and assist with the coordination of important events.
For more detailed information on the Fifth Grade Program, please see the pacing guides and the progress report.