Sierra School

sierra School

Language Arts (includes Reading, Spelling and Writing)

The fifth grade students explore the Houghton Mifflin text in their Language Arts program. They will continue to expand their comprehension skills and strategies, information and study skills, decoding, writing, grammar usage and mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and speaking skills. Their comprehension skills and strategies are expanded by understanding text organization, the author’s viewpoint, making inferences, drawing conclusions, and making generalizations. Information and study skills are developed by using reference materials, multimedia, electronic resources, time lines, and Venn diagrams. They will also learn to compare information in different forms, paraphrasing and synthesizing, collecting data while reading, and outlining. The student’s writing skills continue to be developed with more complex independent, shared, and coached writing activities which include combining sentences with helping verbs, introductory phrases, pronouns, and prepositional phrases, drafting a biography and a compare and contrast essay. Grammar usage and mechanics are refined and include different variations of nouns, verbs, adjectives, punctuation, pronouns, adverbs, contractions, and prepositions in a sentence. Writing skills are supported through the use of our fun and easy to use Step Up to Writing program. Vocabulary and spelling are developed with the use of thesauruses, dictionaries, word families, and spelling tables. The student continues to develop their speaking skills with group discussions, presenting an oral report, giving a speech, and planning a multimedia presentation. Sierra strives to offer a comprehensive Language Arts program that continues to build year after year.


The manner in which students learn varies greatly. An area of strength for one individual may be a weakness for another. This is what makes the mathematics program at Sierra so exceptional. Using the Scott Foresman Addison Wesley’s curriculum as a basis for our program, we ensure that each student progresses at his or her ability. In fifth grade, the students continue to develop an understanding of mathematic operations, geometry, measurement, algebra, data analysis and probability, and mathematical processes through a multi-sensory approach of multiplication of whole numbers and decimals, the division of two-digit numbers, fractions, measurement of solids, ratio, proportion, and percentages, integers, equations and graphing. By the end of fifth grade, the students use thoughtful and varied approaches to solve problems in an efficient manner.

Social Studies

The social studies program in the fifth grade welcomes the students to an exciting course entitled United States History: Early Years. The Houghton Mifflin text covers, history, geography, economics, civics, and citizenship. The studies begin with the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River. The students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas. They study the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers. Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era. They study the causes of the American Revolution as well as the course and consequences of the Revolution. The events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution are analyzed as well as the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic. The students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems. By the end of the year, the fifth graders will know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals. It is a wonderful year of learning and gives the students a great insight into the early years of United States history.


The fifth grade students continue to develop their understanding of physical and life sciences through the use of visual resources, literature, and teacher directed experiments. The students begin their year of life science with the study of organisms. They then proceed through cells and systems, the human body, plants, and interactions and changes in an ecosystem. They expand their understanding of earth science by exploring the water on earth, weather patterns, earth’s changing surface and protecting its resources. Physical science encompasses the study of matter, its properties and changes, forces in motion, forms of energy and electricity. Space and technology are always a favorite as the students investigate the universe, the stars, galaxies, earth in space, and technology’s changes over time. The Scott Foresman’s text promises a year of scientific knowledge and fun for the students.


Enrichment activities continue at Sierra through the music and drama curriculum. The fifth grade students expand their concepts of music, further their knowledge of he written forms of music, continue playing the recorder, and learn about the American musical traditions through practice and the exposure to important composers. They continue to develop a positive attitude for music through the active participation of singing and playing melodies while reading musical scores, assisting with developing the scheduled performances, and listening to a wide range of music. Composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Modest Mussorgsky, and Felix Mendelssohn. The material learned is shared at the puppet show, holiday events, and the favorite end of the year musical.

Visual Arts

The fifth grade students continue their understanding of the elements of making and appreciating art by utilizing the concepts introduced previously, observations, discussion, and creating their own art. They begin studying art of the Renaissance with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo, American art of the Nineteenth Century, and art of Japan. They become familiar with the shift from Medieval to Renaissance art, the influence of the Greek and Roman Art on artists, and the development of linear perspective during the Italian Renaissance. The students are able to differentiate and discuss works executed in different genres. They study the Hudson River School and works of art related to the Civil War. Other artists include Sandra Botticelli, Pieter Bruegel, Albrecht Durer, Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Currier, and Ives. The study of visual arts leads to a greater awareness of the world surrounding us.


The fifth grade students expand their understanding of Spanish and the Hispanic culture through speaking, grammar, writing, listening, reading, music, stories, videos, and games. They continue to develop their vocabulary, which includes numbers through 500, pronouns, and verbs, as well as describing daily routines, food, and drinks associated with different meals of the day, and activities for kids. The students will be able to describe places and people at school, how to locate things, and opposites such as old and new. Each year the students show a greater understanding of Spanish and Hispanic culture.

Physical Education (PE)

Students continue to develop an understanding of physical activity, team sports, and sportsmanship through a variety of individual and group activities, games and organized sports. The students develop coordination, grace, and control along with a sense of fair play and cooperation. They are provided opportunities in planning, organizing, and leading sports activities.


Students continue to develop their typing skills and reinforce their reading and math skills through the use of specific classroom software. In addition, they develop an understanding of technology and it’s usefulness through individual activities and programs.

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