Grade 5

Curriculum Guide


6 periods per week

The fifth grade English program forms a bridge between the Junior School and the Middle School. It aims to nurture basic skills and to develop them further through activities involving listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Following a balanced literacy approach to the study of English, as well as making use of technological tools, the course is comprised of shared reading, independent reading, writing workshop, vocabulary and grammar study.


Students are encouraged to view writing as a process involving prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. Throughout this process, they will also collaborate with their peers to improve their writing. A variety of writing will be explored such as narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and non-narrative.


Although grammar is taught in the context of student writing as they pursue accuracy and through literature and language texts, some class time will be set aside for a more in-depth study of grammar concepts.


Students are encouraged to increase the depth and versatility of the vocabulary they use in their writing. Students collect new words from their shared and independent reading material to study and practice spelling, and then are encouraged to incorporate all of these new words into their writing. Students also expand their vocabulary in writing as they go through the writing process. Both British and American standard spellings are acceptable.


Literature is a primary stimulus for both student discussion and a springboard to writing. During shared reading, selected novels and short stories are studied in depth, and students engage in discussions about what they read. In the independent reading portion of the course, students learn practices of effective readers, including the selection of books and responding to reading. A wide variety of quality literature is available for students to borrow in both the school library and the grade 5/6 classroom library. Students are encouraged to read extensively outside of the classroom.

Oral Skills

Students are encouraged to gain confidence in expressing themselves accurately and concisely through class and group discussion, as well as reading aloud their own work and the set texts. At least two formal oral presentations will be assigned during the school year.

Homework and Assignments
Students can expect to do approximately 15 minutes of homework per 40-minute English class. Homework may be in the form of:

  • Reading
  • Responses to literature we are studying (i.e. worksheets, journal writing, reading responses)
  • Vocabulary exercises
  • Grammar and mechanics exercises (worksheets, grammar exercise websites)
  • Process writing (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing)
  • Oral presentations
  • Blog/Wiki posts
  • Posters and other projects

Students will also complete occasional quizzes and tests on the course material.


  • WRITESOURCE New Generation
  • Skellig by David Almond
  • Harcourt Trophies 6
  • Houghton Mifflin Reading 6


6 periods per week

At each level, the mathematics program introduces and develops new topics and skills while building on the skills previously learned. Its aim is to develop an appreciation of the power and beauty of mathematics at appropriate levels of concrete and abstract development. Investigational and practical tasks are fully integrated into the work using a range of modes of learning, including doing, observing, talking and listening, discussing with other students, reflecting, drafting, and writing. Mental mathematics and problem-solving are used throughout the course. Students are encouraged to monitor their own progress and to develop confidence in using a range of mathematical skills. Topics include the following:

  1. Number and Computation - understand and build on number facts, improve numeracy and develop fraction, decimal, and percentage skills
  2. Measurement and Geometry - calculate areas and perimeters of shapes, identify and name a variety of polygons, plot coordinates and identify location, identify lines of symmetry, reflect, rotate, and translate shapes around a grid
  3. Data and Statistics - understand and collect different types of data, draw and interpret bar charts, pictographs, stem and leaf diagrams, pie charts, identify errors in displayed data, find averages
  4. Algebra - learn basic algebraic notation, collect simple like terms

Continuation of classroom assignments or reviewing for quizzes. 15 minutes per class period.

Assessment of the level of individual student progress is derived from a wide variety of sources that may include:

  • Class work
  • Homework
  • Projects
  • Quizzes and tests


4 periods per week

This is the beginning of a three-year general Science course in the middle school. The course is designed to provide students with a basic and broad understanding of Science, and is taught with an emphasis on skill and knowledge development through practical work. During the year, 5th Grade students will learn about laboratories, scientific equipment and the scientific method, as well as the main areas of Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and study techniques such as lab reports and research.

  • Exploring Science - An introduction to the skills, equipment and vocabulary used in scientific investigations. The use of the metric system of measurement
  • Material World - The nature and properties of matter
  • Energy - The different forms of energy and their uses
  • Temperature and Heat - The use of thermometers and the role of heat energy in everyday situations
  • Different Types of Changes - Distinguishing between physical and chemical reactions using examples from everyday situations
  • Life Basics - The characteristics of life, the major types of living organism and the life cycles of various animals

Homework and Assignments

  • Lab reports
  • Researching
  • Written reports
  • Oral and multimedia presentations
  • Practice questions
  • Reading

The development of the science skills outlined above will be assessed along with organisational skills. The development of scientific knowledge is assessed through a variety of assignments and quizzes.

Social Studies

5 periods per week

The fifth grade Social Studies curriculum includes the study of History and Geography.
In History the course aims to give students an introduction to the concept of history and then step back in time to study the rise of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome from cultural, historical and religious viewpoints.
In Geography students will become familiar with the main themes of Geography: Place, Location, Movement, Region, and Human-Environment Interaction.
Some of the course objectives are:

  • to develop skills in four strands: writing, reading and comprehension, oral expression, geography skills (map-work and atlas skills)
  • to foster historical imagination
  • to learn the basic geographical location of the places under study
  • to provide a firm basis of historical knowledge


  • Collect information
  • Map work
  • Continuation of classwork


  • Oral and visual presentations
  • Writing exercises
  • Research
  • Timelines
  • Graphic organizers
  • History Chronicles


1 period per week

ICT (Information, Communication and Technology)

The main objective of ICT classes in Grade 5 is to develop each student’s independence on the computer through engaging assignments in which skills can be transferred to all other curriculum areas.

By the end of Grade 5, students will have:

  • set up and managed an individual email account
  • gained experience using Google Docs to manage files as well as save, share and work collaboratively
  • developed some research and critical literacy skills
  • been exposed to online safety and Internet best practise
  • learned the basic concepts behind computer programming


1 period per week

Library Media Studies

The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the facilities and resources offered in the Middle and High School library. Students will learn about the borrowing policies associated with various resource types and how to locate those resources in the library, particularly through the use of the Alexandria Online catalog database. There will also be a large focus on technology use, as students will learn about media and reflect upon their own media usage through discussions and projects. They will deepen their understanding of digital citizenship and develop responsible online habits. The growth of information literacy skills will be a core objective of the course. An appreciation of literature and opportunity to read for pleasure will be addressed by participation in the Sakura Medal program.


The fifth grade language classes are scheduled with sixth grade classes. All three languages offered are timetabled simultaneously and classes in all three languages develop the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and are kept small to maximize language acquisition.

JAPANESE: 4 periods per week

The International School of the Sacred Heart offers two Japanese programs: as a Second Language (JS-for non-Japanese speakers) and Japanese as a First Language (JF-for Japanese speakers).

Japanese as a Second Language

The aim of this course is for students to acquire sufficient competence in Japanese to meet their communicative needs, to gain knowledge and appreciation of Japanese culture and to enjoy using the language so that they may become life-long learners. Students will acquire sufficient competence in Japanese by developing all four language skills. Students are placed in different levels according to their language ability. Classroom activities include oral, reading, writing, role-play, skits, interviews, essays, journals, projects, presentations, etc.

Japanese as a First Language

This course is designed for native Japanese speakers and follows the Japanese language curriculum program used in the Japanese schools. Students follow a balanced program, which incorporates development in the four language skills. Students develop critical thinking, linguistic sensibility and sensitivity through reading of fiction and nonfiction, appreciating poetry and writing on varied topics. Kanji skill is developed as well as relevant and accurate expressions in writing and speaking. Students are given the opportunity to connect with their own experience and to foster a positive attitude to Japanese culture and other cultures. Teachers use varied methodology in class and students are placed in levels according to their language ability.

FRENCH: 4 periods per week

Language as communication is the basic concept of the fifth and sixth grade French program. There are two levels offered to students who are placed according to their proficiency in the four language skills. Students will learn to read, to talk and to write about a variety of topics beginning with themselves and reaching out to the world around them. Grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary are presented in dialogues, descriptions, short stories, poems, small plays, drill exercises, educational games, songs, as well as using videos and Internet resources. They are integrated through specific projects and productions (dialogues, descriptions…). Emphasis is placed on vocabulary expansion, verb tense mastery and pronunciation. Students are encouraged to extend their language skills beyond the program when possible Within the study of the language students will also get to discover French culture, as well as other cultures include in the French speaking world known as La Francophonie. Each year, the French Department focuses on one country from the Francophonie and organizes events and workshops in relation to this country, in order to deepen the understanding of students, as well as to make the language alive. The levels taught are in line with DELF’s exams of French Ministry of Education and the levels of the Council of Europe' s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

Main Text: Et toi 1, Manuel + Exercise book. (A1 of CECR)
Homework and Assignments: Text comprehension, grammar and vocabulary

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: 4 periods per week

A student enrolled in the ESL (Language) program has additional English language instruction while other students are taking French or Japanese. ESL students use these periods for theme-based English language study with a communicative and genre-based focus. Content material is often based on the themes and the language skills addressed in mainstream classes.

ESL students in this program have generally achieved a strong communicative competence in their interpersonal use of language. However, because their academic language skills are still developing, additional ESL instruction is needed. This course aims to develop academic reading and writing skills, in particular. As student independence is also one of the goals of the ESL program, these classes also aim to further develop learning-how-to-learn skills, as well as compensatory strategies to enable students to continue to learn language independently. Instruction and assessment focus on skills which enable students to self-monitor, self-correct, and self-assess in order to become active and independent language learners.

Once a student has acquired a level of competency that allows her to function in the content areas along with her peers, she may transfer from the program to take either Japanese or French, provided there is a suitable class available.

Creative and Performing Arts

ART: 2 periods per week for one semester

The course aims to promote an enjoyment and appreciation of art while developing the necessary skills to enable the realization of successful works of art. Students will complete projects that give them experience in the areas of drawing, painting, and 3-D. Emphasis is placed on both creativity and skill development. By teacher demonstration and practice, students will learn to use art materials, equipment and techniques with confidence and proficiency. The development and improvement of observational skills will be encouraged as well as the ability to develop a thoughtful, original, and well-composed finished piece.

DRAMA: 2 period per week for one semester

This is an introductory course in Drama. The students develop confidence through warm-ups and a variety of simple Drama games. The skills learnt include enunciation and speech fluency, relaxation and concentration, and basic drama improvisation.

HOME ECONOMICS: 2 periods per week for one semester

Students learn to be independent in the kitchen. Through teacher demonstration and practice, they acquire knowledge about kitchen and food safety, basic kitchen equipment, measuring techniques, cooking terminology and techniques and dishwashing techniques. For nutrition education, MyPlate dietary guidelines is introduced so that they become comfortable and confident in their food choices. Table manners are also emphasized.

MUSIC: 1 period per week for one year

This course aims to develop an appreciation of music through a varied schedule of activities including guided listening, note-reading, composition, performance through singing and instruments. Ancient chants to popular songs of today are included in the range of this course as students are asked to deepen their knowledge of music as reflected in different cultures. An emphasis is placed on understanding rhythmic notation and developing sight-reading skills to improve their music literacy. It is hoped that students will come to understand the central place that music plays in our lives.

POTTERY: 2 periods per week for one semester

Students are introduced to clay and decorating materials. They develop skills in slab work, coiled pieces, sculpture and wheel work. Emphasis is placed on slip decoration. Students are introduced to the work of a variety of famous potters and sculptors and encouraged to develop their ceramic skills. Much of the work produced is functional but the emphasis is on creativity and problem solving.


2 periods per week

The aim of all Values courses is to encourage students to discover and define the values by which they live, to show concern and respect for all people and for their faith, to reflect on their own behavior and to value prayer and spirituality.

The Values program at Grade Five will focus on World Religions including Christianity.


The aim of studying Christianity is to encourage students to consider what it means to have a religious view of life. Students are asked to reflect on their own experiences and beliefs as well as the beliefs of others through the themes of Community, Story, People, Celebration and Values. An understanding and respect for the beliefs of others is always encouraged. The main focus is on Christianity but other world religions will also be covered.

World Religions

The aim of studying World Religions is to introduce students to the history and fundamental beliefs and practices of the major world religions. Students are encouraged to discover and define the values by which they live, to manifest concern and respect for others, to reflect on their own behavior and to value prayer and worship. An understanding of the common strands in all religions is fostered. The leaders and founders of the world’s major religions will be studied this year. We will focus particularly on Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.

Physical Education

3 periods per week

The Physical Education program promotes mental, physical, emotional and social development through guided sports activities. The students work in an educational environment which promotes an enjoyment of sport and provides opportunities for students of all levels to improve their skills, ability and understanding in the sport or activity being studied.

In Grade 5 students participate in a number of sports / activities covering skills, game play, rules and strategies.

Incorporated within the program is extensive fitness testing

Club Sports

All students are encouraged to participate in optional sport clubs, which are offered throughout the year. The clubs are non-competitive, fun, and occur throughout the week from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.