The Island School, a private school on Bainbridge Island, offers an engaging 5th Grade program for students from the Kitsap Peninsula, including Poulsbo, Suquamish, Indianola, Kingston, Hansville and Silverdale.

Language Arts
Social Studies
Technology & Music
Language Arts

Our fifth grade literacy curriculum grows from our students’ strong motivation to communicate – both in writing and through speaking – and their love of reading. Large blocks of time each day are devoted to these areas.

We are passionate about reading, and that enthusiasm for books infuses our classroom. Our daily Reading Workshop provides students with opportunities to improve their reading skills, to develop an appreciation for literature and to share opinions in writing and conversation.

Activities include:

  • Reading independently
  • Participating in literature circles
  • Reading in pairs
  • Sharing book recommendations
  • Conferencing with adults
  • Writing reflections in reading response journals
  • Reading with “learning buddies” in second grade
  • Discussing class read-alouds
  • Discussing elements of literature (characterization, setting, conflict and resolution)
  • Developing reading strategies – comprehension, accuracy and fluency
  • Developing vocabulary through our read-aloud program

Our daily Writing Workshop period provides time for writing and sharing work with classmates, as well as mini-lessons on various aspects of effective writing. We explore a variety of genres, such as informational writing, historical fiction, newspaper articles, letters, creative stories, memoirs and poetry.

Topics for mini-lessons include:

  • Six Traits of Writing – organization, word choice, voice, fluency, content and conventions
  • Steps in the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing)
  • Craft – leads, similes, character development, showing not telling, etc.
  • Revision techniques
  • Sentence structure
  • Paragraph development
  • Grammar usage
  • Spelling rules and strategies
  • Rephrasing information in one’s own words

Students improve their writing mechanics by studying punctuation, capitalization and spelling through exercises and editing practice.

Oral Communication
Fifth graders love to share their opinions, their writing and their observations.

Opportunities for oral communication:

  • Present research projects
  • Recite poetry
  • Perform original songs
  • Share writing
  • Perform in the fifth grade play
  • Participate in Morning Meeting
  • Make announcements at all-school assemblies
  • Share problem-solving strategies
  • Present information to younger grades in their classrooms

Our fifth grade math curriculum is both challenging and lots of fun. Using a variety of activities and games, students are continually challenged to make sense of problems and to persevere in solving them, to reason abstractly and quantitatively, and to explain their mathematical thinking in drawings, models and words.

Students build Number Sense through:

  • Developing strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and by applying them to number and story problems
  • Exploring factors and multiples
  • Developing a sense of quantities up to 1,000,000
  • Finding equivalent fractions, decimals and percents
  • Adding and subtracting fractions and decimals

Students build Spatial Understanding by:

  • Locating points on a coordinate grid
  • Recognizing and reasoning about geometric properties
  • Estimating, measuring, and drawing angles
  • Exploring relationships among angles, line lengths and areas of similar polygons
  • Using the Logo programming language to draw polygons and plot points on coordinategrids
  • Understanding the concept of volume and characteristics of units of volume, such asshape and size

Students explore Probability and Statistics by:

  • Planning and conducting surveys
  • Organizing and representing data as fractions and percents
  • Organizing and representing data in line plots, circle graphs, and on bar graphs

Students use Measurement by:

  • Estimating and measuring with metric and U.S. standard measures
  • Comparing sizes of measurement units
  • Calculating with measurements
Social Studies

The fifth grade social studies curriculum is a project-based integrated curriculum designed to promote students’ curiosity and interest in their world while teaching them the skills they will need as life-long learners. The year begins with our exploration of the Pacific Northwest as we focus on the journey of Lewis and Clark, which is followed by a unit that examines the reasons for permanent settlement in this area. We integrate reading, writing, and history into our Oregon Trail unit as students write a piece of historical fiction, read contemporary diaries as well as novels about the trail experience, and explore major events of the era. We look at United States geography and Washington State in greater depth. In the spring we focus on issues of immigration in U.S. history in addition to researching our family histories and weaving them into our spring production, Paved With Gold. Our month-long Cultural Study in March focuses on a different country each year and provides students with the opportunity to become global citizens. Using the students’ natural curiosity, we explore many geographical, cultural and historical aspects of other countries.

Activities include:

  • Visiting Fort Clatsop
  • Participating in pioneer activities at a local farm
  • Developing a board game of the Oregon Trail
  • Singing songs relevant to our curriculum
  • Organizing Thanksgiving baskets for the local food bank
  • Orchestrating Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF
  • Cultural Study
  • Civil Rights Forum
  • Research projects during Cultural Study

Fifth grade science includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

In Volcanic Geology and Geography, students:

Study the structure of the earth, continental drift, subduction, volcanism, and the regeneration of plant and animal communities following volcanic eruptions. As part of this study, students visit Mt. St. Helens

In Brain Science, students:

Study the structure and function of various parts of the brain, with a particular focus on how we learn

In Sustainability Studies, students:

Study issues related to quality of life, use of natural resources, production of consumer goods and sustainable practices

In Energy, students:

Study energy production and use, including fossil fuel mining and use, alternative fuels, efficiency and new technologies. This unit prepares our students for our spring Power Trip to Eastern Washington

Technology & Music

Using the student laptop computers (MacBooks), students practice:

  • Keyboarding skills using in-class and online typing programs.
  • Word-processing skills and managing their work on MacBooks
  • Using online reference resources for research
  • Constructing and manipulating geometric shapes using Geo-Logo
  • Evaluating online resources
  • Using safe, respectful and courteous online practices

Fifth graders learn to play the harmonica in the fall, attend music class weekly with the fourth graders, and have the opportunity to play in the Fifth Grade Band, if they choose. Song writing is an integral part of our original spring production, Paved With Gold.