Academics

Intermediate Division

Transitioning from the Primary Division to the Intermediate Division in Grade 3, children are building on the solid foundation of the content and processes they experienced in Kindergarten through Grade 2. In the Intermediate Division the shift of responsibility changes from the hands of the parents and teachers to the students. Teachers scaffold their students toward becoming independent by encouraging children to take ownership of their learning. Our structure in the Intermediate Division reflects this delicate balance we must strike as the bridge from the lower grades to the upper grades. In Grade 3, students have a lead teacher and an associate teacher in the classroom; however, Grade 4 is the first year students have one teacher in the classroom, moving them toward independence. All of the grades are located on the fourth floor, which encourages a community among Intermediate Division students and teachers.  The School works on a ten-day schedule, which, in addition to three hours devoted to literacy and math every day, provides time for visual art, dance, class meeting, music, science, Spanish, spelling and social studies.
 
The social studies content of our curriculum often brings context to the concepts children are studying. The Intermediate Division is the first time children experience history as a unit of study. Beginning in Grade 3, students learn about the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance and immigration. In Grade 3 they transition to study of American Colonialism and Native Americans. In Grade 5, students look at the ancient civilizations of China and Greece, which launches the Middle Division study of cities.
 
Our academically diverse population requires all teachers to meet the needs of a wide range of students. Our need to remediate as well as challenge our students is imperative to our goal in the intermediate grades of creating independent, self-regulated learners. Differentiating instruction takes many forms within the classroom. Student needs are determined through ongoing assessments. Teachers group students based on their changing needs. It is the responsibility of the classroom teachers, with support from the learning specialist, to adapt to all types of learners.
 
Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders are given an opportunity to direct their own learning through academic goal setting. M.A.P. goals, also known as My Achievement Plan goals, are developed through a partnership among parents, teachers and child in the classroom and during conferences. Students direct their own conferences in the spring and present evidence of their best work. Another way students take ownership of their learning is through individual digital portfolios. The entries in their portfolios give children the opportunity to reflect upon their learning in many different disciplines and make connections among them. Peers, teachers and parents elevate each child’s understanding through questions and comments made available through their portfolio in an online blog.
 
In the intermediate grades we have a literacy liaison, math liaison and learning specialist devoted to Grades 3, 4 and 5. Classroom teachers schedule weekly meetings with the liaisons to discuss students and grade-level objectives, plan units of study, add resources, and learn new approaches to math, reading and writing. Children experience standardized tests (ERBs) for the first time in the Intermediate Division beginning in Grade 3. While ERBs are only another window through which to see our students' progress, they do provide insight to the programmatic health of our curriculum.
Teachers of all disciplines collaborate to implement a concept- and skills-based integrated curriculum, in order to give children a balanced academic experience. Teachers meet once a week for an hour to plan curriculum and talk about students. During this time, teachers share their discipline’s goals, objectives and essential questions, and look to make cross-disciplinary connections.
 
Intermediate teachers subscribe to the constructivist learning theory, where students acquire new knowledge by connecting prior experiences. This occurs through peer interaction, discovery and teacher facilitation. Teachers involve students in the curriculum by modifying units to accommodate interests and questions, as well as offering students choice in how they represent their new understandings. Integration happens throughout the day and also once during the ten-day schedule in the form of an Integrated Block. During this time, also known as I-block, all members of the grade-level team and all students spend two hours engaged in focused experience.
 
Kevin Fittinghoff
Intermediate Division Director

Academics: Intermediate Division

Grade 3

List of 11 items.

  • Library

    During their library class time, third graders enjoy reading and discussing non-fiction books in support of the non-fiction reading and writing they do in the classroom. Students are exposed to various elements of non-fiction texts, such as table of contents, index, sidebars, and discuss strategies for finding the information they need within these works. Third graders are also introduced to the basics of the Dewey Decimal system and begin to become increasingly independent library users and knowledge seekers.
  • Literacy

    Students grew their reading stamina and abilities as they practice the comprehension skills of connecting, visualizing and questioning. They specifically took turns toward reading more nonfiction during the second half of the year, as they learned to recognize whether a text is expository nonfiction, which intends to explain, or narrative nonfiction which intends to the tell a true factual story. Students looked at the text structures and use their knowledge of these structures to take more effective notes. They also looked more carefully at the reading comprehension skills of accessing prior background knowledge, determining importance by finding main ideas and supporting details, and building up strategies to deal with more technical vocabulary while reading nonfiction books. Students independently studied a wide range of topics and then form smaller research groups to zoom in on a topic of interest, reading across a variety of texts on the same topic and talking about their findings with the group. In writing, students worked on realistic fiction pieces in January and February. They learned to weave together details such as dialogue, action and setting, to make their stories come alive. The nonfiction reading work then overlapped with new non-fiction writing work, as students compose and revise their own expert books, moving through cycles where research work increases. The note-taking skills secured earlier fed directly into their own writing nonfiction projects. The Social Studies topics of Immigration, The Underground Railroad, The Great Migration and The Harlem Renaissance were featured prominently in this last phase of the year, helping students gain more control over researching and turning information into their own texts as writers. Students explored a variety of non-fiction genres such as biographical essays, photojournalism, expert books, documentaries and feature articles as they chose what form their own writing will take.
     
  • Mathematics

    In math, students were challenged to be accurate, flexible, and efficient in their thinking as they continued to solidify strategies for all whole number operations. As students worked to solidify strategies around multiplication, they made connections to division. During the New York City landmark investigation, students applied their multiplication strategies. Students also learned how to use the open array model as a tool to think about solving multiplication and division problems. Throughout the year third graders gained strategies to approach complex word problems. Using these strategies, they are expected to read and interpret the information presented, represent their thinking using mathematical notation, and clearly communicate their thinking using mathematical language. The end of the year concluded with an integrated study involving measurement and an introduction to fractions that allows students to estimate, calculate, and use logical reasoning skills to develop an understanding of tools and units within authentic contexts. Within each inquiry, students further developed their mathematical vocabulary and communication skills while working collaboratively with peers.
  • Performing Arts: Dance

    Grade 3 students begin the year building community through dance. They quickly embarked on various choreography projects, a favorite being an integrated art and dance project where they were asked to create solos and then small group dances based on New York City-inspired paintings. Throughout the project, students are able to re-familiarize themselves with the elements of the craft including space, time, energy, and body. They revised and shared their work several times, practicing and reinforcing good audience member and performance skills and even learned how to give and receive feedback in a constructive and positive manner. Later in the semester we moved into a creative exploration of the Lenape tale “Rainbow Crow.” This class choreography project was a collaboration between music and dance. They finished off with a very special visit to New York City Center to see Ailey II perform one of the world’s most renowned works, “Revelations.” This was followed by two fantastic in-school workshops with the Ailey dancers and a percussionist. Upon returning to school in January, third-graders began an intense study of the Harlem Renaissance, featuring jazz and tap. Children are working toward a spring performance based on their
    new learning.
  • Performing Arts: Music

    Music in third grade is an exciting time as students learned rhythms, rhythmic notation (including whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes), and a varied repertoire of songs (singing lyrics, solfege, and note names from the staff). Third grade students sang and performed a sophisticated repertoire of music related to the theme of New York City. Third grades students have composed a soundscape for the legend Rainbow Crow by performing on different classroom instruments. Third grade students learned to play the recorder, and are reading and playing notes B, A, G, C and low E on the five line treble clef staff with good posture, accuracy of pitch, and a pleasing tone.
  • Science

    This semester third graders explored the world of rocks and minerals. We began our study by examining various rocks and minerals and sorting them by identifying attributes. As students studied as geologists, they learned to gather information about minerals by using a streak test to distinguish between the observable and identifiable color of minerals, and assessing minerals using the Mohs scale of hardness. In addition to examining rocks and mineral samples in class, we examined rocks found in local parks and explore how New York City's unique geology has shaped the city and its environs. We also examined the many ways which nature weathers and breaks down rocks on the earth's surface. Through various investigations, student developed an awareness and appreciation of the role of rocks and minerals in our world and every day lives.
  • Social Emotional Learning

    Throughout the year, students focused on building a community both in their classes and as a grade. Students worked together with their peers and develop class rules. Children also practiced expressing feelings, learned to demonstrate an interest in the perspective of others, and became increasingly aware of their personal responsibility within the community. Independently, children were encouraged to develop self-awareness and communicate effectively by using "I - statements" that reflect on their thoughts, feelings and behavior. They learned that working hard brings rewards in the form of pride in one’s accomplishments, and that taking responsibility for one’s mistakes allows the whole community to move forward successfully.
  • Spanish Language/Literacy

    This semester students explored the theme of City and the concept of Experience in Spanish. This exploration has been visual, verbal and kinesthetic trough speaking, reading, singing, dancing, drama, role-play and games. Students have used notebooks as language resources to keep a record of new vocabulary and conversation starters. They have built on their prior Spanish knowledge and experiences to discuss how they were feeling, describe their families, and share activities that they enjoy doing in the city. They engaged in daily scripted conversations to practice pronunciation and vocabulary while learning about their classmates. Finally they made connections comparing New York City with cities in Spanish-speaking countries in South America.
  • Technology

    In the fall, Grade 3 students were introduced to strategies for using their new laptop computers safely, responsively, and creatively. They began the year by building touch-typing and trackpad skills, which continue to be practiced throughout the year via weekly “morning work” typing technique activities. Next, they established their electronic portfolio websites for the upcoming school year. Students created pages for each of their subjects, which they will later populate with documents, photos and video samples of their work for future reflection and preservation. Sites are private and not publicly accessible on the Web. The term concluded with an in-depth study of the built environment focusing on the bridges of New York City. Connecting to both their Math and Social Studies curricula, students learned how and why engineers use geometry to design the large-scale structures that connect the five boroughs. Students constructed models of beam, arch, truss and suspension bridges while exploring concepts of tension, compression, force, load, and the 2D polygon geometry that is employed in various bridge designs.
  • Visual Arts

    In the Art Studio this fall, Grade 3 students continued to develop their skills, working with a variety of materials and exploring the expressive qualities of two- and three-dimensional media including paint, collage, and clay. To begin the year, third-graders personalized their portfolios with a design painting. Students began a unit focusing on clay with explorations in clay to reacquaint themselves with its unique malleable qualities. They learned about the three basic forms of clay: ball, slab and coil, and practiced techniques for joining. Our clay unit culminated in the creation of sculptures of animals with the theme, “How animals take care of each other.” Continuing with the subject of animals, Grade 3 students exercised their imaginations, as they created torn paper collages representing themselves at play with any animal of their choice. Next, students mixed colors, and invented names for their colors, in the creation of their own “Color Mixing Recipe Book.” Grade 3 art integrated with Grade 3 classroom curriculum in several “Art Talks” on topics such as New York Paintings, Arts and Crafts of the Lenape, and Art, Poetry, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Finally, Grade 3 students considered how artists have combined colors, dots, shapes, lines and textures in a broad range of non-objective paintings before they made their own dynamic tempera paintings.
  • Wellness

    The students began the semester working on cooperative games and continue working on positive, effective communication strategies for groups or teams with emphasis on the 3rd grade theme of Experience. They learned street games of NYC and looked at the history of their development and the limitations of playing in an urban environment. The students continue to focus on movement education. We isolated the individual skills of dribbling or cradling, passing, and shooting in the games of soccer, basketball, Frisbee, and lacrosse and focused on how their movements are related. We gave the students multiple drills, exercises and differentiated learning scenarios to help develop the correct techniques and skills necessary to succeed in each sport and skill.

Grade 4

List of 10 items.

  • Library

    Grade 4 students use their library class time to refresh and deepen their understanding of the library’s organizational system, particularly focusing on the subject categories of the Dewey Decimal System, and practicing independently locating library materials. As the year draws to a close, students reflect on their experience over the course of the year as readers and researchers, thinking about how their reading and research habits and abilities have evolved and grown.
  • Literacy

    Across the year, students consolidate a variety of reading comprehension skills during reading times, including envisioning, empathizing and sympathizing, and pushing themselves to prepare for conversations. A large whole-grade study in Social Studies of Colonial America frames the students’ exploration of the Historical Fiction genre through reading and talking in Book Clubs. They end the year with an examination of the concept of Justice through the lens of reading and discussing books with social issues embedded, and connect their writing to their reading, in order to write for real audiences and make a change in the world. The genres of journalism and poetry are their vehicles. They also continue to practice listening to class read alouds and they respond through talking and writing, in order to grow deeper thinking through conversations.
     
    As writers, students work through the writing process in order to create original pieces, using self-chosen perspectives or topics as their focus. During the study on Historical Fiction, they work to weave together facts from the time period with fictional anecdotes and details in multiple scenes. Using mentor texts, including the class read aloud, “Blood on the River,” students use specific craft techniques to make their writing come alive and remain authentic to the time period. The last writing projects of the school year allow students to consolidate their understanding and independence with the writing process, creating poems and opinion pieces, and learning about current events in relation to historical time periods and movements in Social Studies. Students use specific revision techniques as they go back to weave through a variety of details in their entries and drafts. During the editing stages, students work to apply their ongoing knowledge of spelling patterns and grammatical rules and are encouraged to continually reread their own writing, looking for one thing at a time to independently edit. They are also expected to strengthen their abilities in working with a writing partner by the end of their fourth grade year.
     
  • Mathematics

    Grade 4 was filled with a variety of authentic investigations designed to solidify whole number operations. Students explored the relationship between number of students, faculty members, and project groups involved in Integrated Project’s Week (IPW) at The School. They applied their understanding of division by using the partial quotients strategy. Students transitioned from whole number operations into fractions by investigating their connection to division and remainders. They also explored the connection between fractions, decimals, and percents using a variety of math models in authentic contexts connected to the concept of Justice. As they continued throughout the semester they examined classification systems and uncovered more sophisticated relationships between two-dimensional shapes using measurement to prove their properties. Students were also asked to reflect on their problem solving mindset and were given opportunities to develop their strategies for tackling more complex problems. Most of all, fourth-graders were encouraged to be critical thinkers, efficient, and effective communicators of their ideas.
     
  • Performing Arts: Dance

    The concepts of Exploration and Justice have been integrated into many of our dance lessons. Students began the semester immersed in a study of modern dance. Not only did they learn the fundamentals of the technique and vocabulary, but they are also introduced to the history. This study was especially enhanced by a partnership with the Joyce Theater’s Education Department and the opportunity to see Parsons Dance perform live. As the semester came to a close, students were engaged in a wonderful integrated dance, music and art performance of “The Lorax.” The children work very hard to learn, rehearse, choreograph and perform concert repertory connected to the story. Their performance is truly the highlight of the year!
  • Performing Arts: Music

    The Grade 4 students learned many songs and musical games relating to the theme of Country. The repertoire included a medley of games from around the USA and a variety of play parties. Play parties provided a vibrant form of socializing and entertainment across the country from Colonial times onward. On the recorder, the students continued to work on developing fluency with B, A and G, and D and E in both octaves. The students developed increased mastery on the barred instruments using alternating hands at quick tempi. They also worked creatively with the magical story “The Frog Prince,” which included body percussion, instrumental work, dance and speech, along with mastering a variety of songs related to the curricular theme of Justice.
  • Science

    As part of their study of the concept Exploration, the students learn to program with sensors using Scratch, LEGO WeDo, and MaKey MaKey, a physical computing input board. Sensors including motion, distance, volume, conductivity and touch are programmed to construct experimental musical interfaces. The culminating project involves programming chance activated artwork and music. As part of their study of Justice, fourth-grade scientists explore the incredible diversity of marine life through a variety of experiments and readings. The hands-on study of salinity and temperature currents, fish and squid anatomy, and seashell classification as well as marine food webs helps students understand how organisms adapt to thrive in their environment. Each student researches a specific marine animal of her/his choice. Throughout the unit, the students ask questions, gather evidence and communicate their ideas orally and in writing.
  • Social Emotional Learning

    In Grade 4, social and emotional learning skills and objectives were imbedded in the children’s study of Country, Exploration and Justice. By examining the impact that exploration had on native peoples, children gained an appreciation for the impact that one group of people can have on another, and began to consider questions of responsibility and equity. Working in large and small groups, the children also developed SEL skills by practicing different constructive strategies for handling upsetting situations, continuing to show cooperative behaviors in group settings, and, in general, advocating appropriately for themselves and their peers in a variety of social interactions.
  • Spanish Language/Literacy

    This second semester and in connection with the library’s Leo’s Choice Award, we held our own Leo Lee award, where students were introduced to a Mexican folktale that evokes the world of the Aztec Empire, “La lagartija y el sol.” They continued working on their yearlong theme of country by reading “El viaje del bisabuelo” and finally they explored the traditions and customs of the Hispanic culture reflected in “Una cuchara para cada bocado.”
     
    They studied the Mayan culture and some of their most outstanding achievements and heritage to today’s descendent Maya indigenous groups. In conjunction with the study of Native Americans and their fiber arts in the Fourth Grade, students learned about native textiles from Central America and the cultures they represent. They explored the concept of nationality through the study of traditions and symbols that represent a nation and its people. In connection with their Science exploration of marine wildlife, students created their own paper “molas” (textiles from Central America) that they described in Spanish practicing subject-adjective agreement. Finally, they studied land and marine animals native to Central America.
  • Visual Arts

    This winter the fourth-graders had the opportunity to work in clay to sculpt a figure. The challenging task required creative problem solving and an understanding of attaching and balancing clay forms. In connection with the fourth grade's study of Colonial Crafts, the students explored the weaving process with paper and yarn. Following spring break, students experienced an in-depth painting unit. Fourth grade painters explored color mixing, composition, and brush techniques. Students ended the year with a set design project that culminated in a performance integrating their work in dance, music and visual art.
  • Wellness

    During the second half of the school year, Grade 4 students work on striking with an implement. They use a racquet and a shuttlecock to practice skills related to badminton. Students not only practice skills, but are also able to discuss the need for rules and regulations within the sport of badminton. Students participate in singles and doubles games as well as a small tournament with modified rules. Students learn about the history and creation of the sport of basketball, as well as essential skills for the sport. Students demonstrate understanding and knowledge gained throughout the basketball unit by displaying learned skills in several drills and game-like situations. Students are also introduced to the sport of rugby, learning some history, rules and regulations of the sport, and then making connections to sports they may be more familiar with. Connecting to the Grade 4 theme of Justice, students debate the need for justice in sports, and discussed how sports have affected justice in society throughout history.

Grade 5

List of 10 items.

  • Literacy

    The entire literacy year for Grade 5 is framed by a sense of researching the world - being a detective in order to uncover old and new ideas, using research skills to guide the way. Students continue to pay close attention to book choice, and use recommendations as a way to read new genres and titles. Students also work to set goals to build reading stamina and independence across the year. For the last phases of the year, students participate in multiple rounds of book club work, looking closely at the genre of mystery, working on reading nonfiction in research groups, and reading narrative nonfiction texts, such as biographies and debatable argument essays. Students learn to connect their traditional text reading to reading online and studying videos. They continue to develop their reading comprehension skills, focusing on making high level predictions, analyzing and interpreting, and synthesizing ideas across texts. Students also work to use text evidence as they talk or write about those texts and push themselves to strengthen their note-taking abilities. A variety of complex texts are read aloud, such as “The Westing Game” and “The Odyssey,” to support these different genre studies.
     
    Fifth-graders move through the writing process, going from collecting entries and ideas to publications. Students continue to use mentor texts to improve their own writing, learning how to ‘read like writers’ and emulate specific writing techniques. Their writing stems from the integrated studies of Ancient China and of Greece in Social Studies and through that, they write a variety of pieces connected to this research work. Their ability to think outside of themselves grows, as they move from writing about personal topics to writing about bigger ideas in the world. They also focus on strengthening the ways they write about their reading. Students explore the structure of essay writing in a variety of ways, by connecting to the reading of picture book biographies and other short argument texts, and looking for themes and patterns in order to develop original ideas. Students learn about the importance of writing for an audience, developing a thesis statement or claim, and supporting it with persuasive text evidence. A large portion of the students’ Word Study work continues with spelling and vocabulary, through the weekly word study. Students continue to learn a new Greek or Latin word root each week and five words that incorporate the root.
  • Mathematics

    We continue to place a great emphasis on making connections and developing strong representation tools in math. Throughout the semester, students continue to work on developing efficiency, flexibility, and accuracy when manipulating whole numbers. We begin an in-depth study of fractions, decimals, and percents, allowing us the opportunity to make strong connections among the three representations. We look closely at models such as the hundreds grid, the bar model, the number line, the clock model, and the ratio table. We investigate real world contexts for fractions, decimals, and percents. Following this unit, students look more closely at one context for fractions and percents by investigating probability. We record our results from various investigations by using line plot graphs and discussing mean, median, mode, gaps, ranges, and outliers. Finally, our students explore a variety of authentic contexts integrating geometry and
    measurement concepts.
  • Performing Arts: Dance

    In the second term of dance, students are challenged to grow in their technical and improvisational skills as well as their conceptual understanding of choreographic principles and application of intellectual ideas to their own work. In the extensive unit on yoga, students learn basic intellectual and physical principles of the practice of yoga. They learn to execute fifty poses in the following categories: standing, seated, inversions, backbends, forward bends, twists, abdominals and restoratives. For their digital portfolios, students create an extensive slide show where they post their research of specific character qualities they are purposefully developing through their yoga practice. They include photos of themselves in poses of their choice and write reflections on the qualities of character development, the meaning, and the learning that the yoga poses hold for them.
     
    Students also learn and memorize advanced warm-up techniques, complex movement combinations, partner work with weight and balance, Greek folk dance, and Ancient Greek dance history. They are introduced to basic theatrical principles such as stage areas, Greek choral work, and placement and body carriage to reflect the character development of any role they choose to portray. It is required that all of these elements be reflected in their choreography. During the unit on Ancient Greece, students study Ancient Greek art and choose artifacts and Greek gods and goddesses to be the inspiration for their own live sculpture poses. Based on these poses, all students choreograph group dances with appropriate titles and music. Students have developed an understanding of the elements of design, a philosophy of movement, and an appreciation for the value of communication through the art form of dance.
  • Performing Arts: Music

    During the second half of the school year, Grade 5 students continue to focus on developing their musicianship. By singing as a part of the Grade 5 Choir, each student begins to understand more about phrasing, dynamics (louds and softs), singing in parts and/or canon, music notation and symbols, and the general practice of performing as a member of an ensemble. As a part of grade-wide Ancient Greek Studies, students develop chants, incorporating facts about given city-states, for use at the Grade 5 Olympics. During the second half of the school year in Grade 5 Band, students continued to focus on developing their instrumental musicianship. Students worked toward proper embouchure and/or hand positions, breath support, reading rhythmic notation, and reading melodic notation. In addition, Grade 5 students performed as a traditional band in the final concert.
     
  • Science

    This semester Grade 5 students explored basic concepts in magnetism and electricity, learning about conductors and insulators, the parts of a light bulb and how current flows in closed circuits. They created, compared and diagrammed series and parallel circuits using circuit symbols. Students investigated the connection between magnetism and electricity, and design their own experiments to test the strength of electromagnets. In a series of mystery circuit experiments, students deduced the electrical circuit components by systematically testing materials with their own circuit testers. Finally, students experimented with making simple motors as well as dismantling broken appliances to learn more about their design. Throughout the unit, students developed strategies to analyze and solve circuit problems, and reflected on their work through discussion and journal writing.
  • Social Emotional Learning

    In Grade 5, Social and Emotional Learning skills and objectives are unearthed in the children’s study of history and ancient civilizations. Through lessons that address essential questions about culture, progress, and communication, students acquire a deeper understanding of themselves. Working in large and small groups, students also developed towards meeting SEL objectives through an awareness of human rights as well as a common understanding of world. These activities exhibit a greater understanding of respect and empathy for others, and help students to develop the ability to evaluate the consequences of their decisions.
  • Social Sciences

    Our study of ancient civilizations, as well as our exploration of various methods used to explore human history, brings us to ancient Greece this semester. Students are extensively exposed to mythology through both an in-depth look at The Odyssey as well as work with various other classic myths and their major themes. A grade-wide Greek-style Olympics is an integrated event with Wellness and designing Greek temples with Google Sketchup integrates technology. Throughout the year we discuss various elements of the cultures of ancient civilizations that inform and contribute to the modern world. Students engage in comparing and contrasting elements of ancient Greek culture with those of ancient China and are encouraged to find meaningful connections between ancient Greek culture and current Western culture. Throughout the year our focus on ancient civilizations aims to teach students to use history as a powerful tool for critically examining their own city, culture and world.
     
  • Spanish Language/Literacy

    This semester, Grade 5 students continue to integrate their study of ancient civilizations while focusing on the development of skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking in the Spanish language. Students focus on the study of ancient Inca Civilization and make predictions that allow them to decipher some of its mysteries. Fifth graders studied the differences between the verbs “ser” and “estar” and learned vocabulary related to mapping and geography that they used to describe the areas studied. In connection with their study of landscapes in art, they wrote descriptions of the Inca cities and landscapes using prepositional phrases. Inferring on their own roots, they investigated different aspects of the Inca society and lifestyle by learning about the different Inca traditions, beliefs and customs. April brought Poetry Month and the students worked on writing poems about the gods of Pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas. They studied clothing vocabulary and compared what a person might wear in one Ancient civilization to another. Finally, the students summarized their study of ancient civilizations with a poster where they represented the main aspects of the Inca Civilization.
  • Visual Arts

    Fifth-grade students continue to deepen their understanding of the yearlong concepts “culture” and “progress” in visual art class. They make both historical and personal connections through artistic expression. Following the Chinese calligraphy study in the fall, the students continue to learn and explore the process of ink painting this semester. They practice using a variety of images from nature and experiment on rice paper. Then, the 5thgraders learn to use the slab technique during the clay unit: students learn to use a rolling pin to create evenly flat pieces of clay and develop hand-building skills. Their final clay project, the inside & outside container, demonstrates their knowledge, skills and creativity. The semester ends with a collaborative project with social studies about ancient Greece. The 5th graders are inspired to work with wire as a medium to artistically portray Greek Olympic sport and dance, as well as gods and goddesses. They learn to manipulate wire with tools in the art studio, and capture the essence of movement through figure drawing, in collaboration with dance class. As part of this study, the students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and view the Greek and Roman galleries to enrich their learning experiences at the school.
  • Wellness

    We begin this second semester in Wellness working on our striking and hand-eye coordination skills in the floor hockey unit. We follow floor hockey with a fitness unit that emphasizes building endurance and the differences between strengthening and stretching muscles. This fitness unit then leads us into our study of the Olympic games in connection with ancient Greece. As we work on track and field events, the students also prepare and compete in the annual Grade 5 Olympics. The semester ends with an assessment of the students’ skills as measured by the Fitnessgram.

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