Fifth Grade Curriculum


“Active” study strategies are taught in fifth grade.   Since no one method will meet the needs of all learners, they are offered a repertoire of strategies.


This year, the students will study the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. Students will learn that the Church is the sacrament or sign of Christ in the world. They will come to appreciate the difference Jesus makes in our lives. Students will learn that there are many signs of Christ’s loving presence in our daily lives. People, especially, but also special or sacred things, places and times reveal the presence of God. Strands from Scripture, Church, Trinity, Morality and Prayer are interwoven into course content. Special attention is given to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Opportunities for its regular reception will be provided.

Sadlier We Believe


The students will be reading numerous chapter books of various genres and literary forms.  Students will examine literary devices and become familiar with the terminology.  Some of the books we will be reading include: Holes, A Year Down Yonder, and Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution.  Students will work in literature circles with a variety of texts beginning midway through the year.

Students will learn many reading strategies and techniques, some of which include: responding to text dependent questions, analyzing complex texts and its academic language, using context clues to determine word meaning, cause and effect relationships, character analysis, literary terminology, and self-monitoring reading comprehension.

The five-paragraph essay is a major emphasis in fifth grade.  Special focus will be given to the opening and closing paragraphs.

Students will use brainstorming techniques and a variety of graphic organizers to become more proficient writers.  Some of the writing strategies taught include:  writing a thesis, linking a closing paragraph to the introduction, finding a focus, working with paragraphs, brightening up boring beginnings, writing satisfying endings, replacing overused verbs, comparing using similes and metaphors and editing techniques.

During the course of the year students will become proficient in the following areas:

  • Analyzing an author’s style and purpose in both functional text and poetry
  • Discerning content and details in order to draw conclusions and inferences, and to determine missing information
  • Exploring myths and works of fiction as well as drama and literature from around the world
  • Knowing the parts of speech
  • Use of standard English to include proper sentence structure, transitions between complete ideas, phrases, appositives, modifiers, and tense
  • Applying punctuation, capitalization, and formatting titles
  • Analyzing media messages and forms of persuasion
  • Reading aloud with acceptable rate and tone, and responding by connecting text with oral instruction and responding in both verbal and written modes
  • Identifying plot, main events, cause and effect sequences, and state an appropriate title in order to retell a story
  • Applying metaphor and simile
  • Directing and responding to an audience in formal presentations and telling stories to groups giving evidence to support and clarify ideas
  • Increasing one’s personal vocabulary library through analysis and study of word relationships
  • Mastering the writing process and language conventions in creating and revising original compositions

Daily Grammar Practice
Easy Grammar
Various trade books


The Elementary Math Curriculum strives to put into practice much of the current research about how students best learn mathematics. Our core math program is supplemented by a variety of other diverse resources. Students work on classroom activities that often target multiple concepts. These activities are multi-level, offering a wide range of extensions and questions for students of all ability levels to address and think through; concrete, encouraging the use of manipulatives and other tools; and meaningful, usually based on real-life contexts and situations. Through the use of Flash Masters, Mountain Math,  and other games, students gain mental math competence and rapid fact recall. Technology is integrated in our math program through the use of interactive white boards and online math activities.

In addition, small-group and whole-class discussions are key for pulling out important ideas, comparing a variety of strategies used among students, and connecting the concrete to the more symbolic and abstract. Students learn how to record and express their thinking, both verbally, and in writing, as well as respond to, and learn from their classmates. There is also an emphasis on the development of a productive disposition in students toward mathematics as a sense-making endeavor, and toward themselves as persistent problem solvers, and successful learners of mathematics.

In fifth grade, students review concepts and procedures related to addition and subtraction with fractions; addition and subtraction with decimals; multiplication and division with fractions; multiplication with whole numbers and decimals; division with whole numbers and decimals; operations and problem solving; algebra, patterns, and coordinate graphs; and measurement and data.

Houghton Mifflin’s Math Expressions Common Core


Science concepts include simple machines, Earths oceans and plants and animals. Through hands-on activities and observations, the children relate science to the world around them. Air, water and temperature are also studied.


The focus is United States history beginning with Immigration and concluding with the American Revolution and Colonial Life.  Students engage in a multitude of research projects that culminate with thematic presentations. Students present information using a variety of media, such as: Podcasts, blogs, and classroom presentations. We also participate in the Walk Through the American Revolution and the Star of India overnight.

Social Studies Alive! America’s Past


Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.


The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.


Stella Maris Academy is dedicated to modern education by equipping every student in grades 3 through 8 with Chromebooks. This empowers students to excel in a digital era, fostering personalized learning experiences that encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. With Chromebooks, students engage in interactive lessons, explore diverse topics, and create and share knowledge through online platforms and applications. By integrating technology responsibly, we prepare our students to be digital citizens who navigate the digital world with integrity. Our commitment to Chromebooks reflects our mission to provide a well-rounded education that cultivates academic excellence and essential 21st-century digital literacy skills.


Our physical education curriculum builds on the basic skills learned in previous grades. Skills involving team sports (softball, kickball, soccer, volleyball and basketball) are enhanced at this level. Skills of responsibility, leadership, tolerance for others, and cooperation in small groups and teams foster an appreciation of recreation and physical fitness as part of healthy living.


Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.


Fifth graders prepare themselves for the Middle School curriculum by continuing their journey into the world of Spanish culture and communication. They encounter grammar in the context of reading and listening in the target language, as well as through structured activities designed to reinforce specific concepts. They approach Spanish in a variety of ways. They memorize prayers, watch videos that describe the costumes and habits of some Spanish speaking countries, sing songs, read articles from ¿Qué tal? magazine, do art and craft activities, and play games to improve their listening and speaking abilities. They do written activities related to videos and songs to improve their grammar and spelling. They are able to engage in simple conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

Instruction is differentiated for native speakers at every grade level.


The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

Beginning in Third grade and through Fifth grade, students begin to use the Library Catalog to access information, locate books and select information appropriate to the problem or question at hand. Students build critical literacy and thinking skills to evaluate texts based on validity of information. Students begin to utilize the Dewey Decimal System for book classification as well as the Digital Content Portal to access research and information in a safe and reliable way. Students then are able to create direct references to the text and learn how to cite information collected from a variety of sources (internet, books, digital media, etc.).  Students in grades 3-5 also learn how to practice ethical behavior when using print and digital resources (Including freedom of speech, intellectual freedom, copyright and avoiding plagiarism).  Students practice the skills needed to promote their personal safety online and recognize that all networked environments are public as well as the importance of ethical behavior in regards to digital citizenship.


The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!