The Island School, a private school on Bainbridge Island, offers an engaging fifth grade program for students from the Kitsap Peninsula, including Poulsbo, Suquamish, Indianola, Kingston, Hansville and Silverdale.
Our school provides an excellent academic education as well as the social/emotional learning (SEL) that is just as critical to a child’s lifelong success in building relationships with others. Social/emotional learning has been part of our educational program since The Island School was founded more than 40 years ago because, in our community, teaching children to be kind, respectful and inclusive is as important as teaching reading, writing and math. It is part of our mission to inspire in our children a lifelong enthusiasm for learning AND an appreciation and respect for themselves and others because this is education of the heart as well as the brain. We focus on the whole child, academically, socially and emotionally, while celebrating what makes each child unique.
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. Students are provided with multiple opportunities each day to improve their reading skills, to develop an appreciation for literature and to share opinions in writing and conversation.
- Reading independently
- Participating in literature circles
- Reading in pairs
- Sharing book recommendations
- Conferencing with adults
- Writing reflections about things we read
- 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 reading
In 5th grade, we focus on the process of writing with different methods of brainstorming, planning and organizing. We then produce multiple drafts, edit our own and other's work, revise and finally publish our completed writing projects. We explore a variety of genres, such as informational writing, historical fiction, newspaper articles, letters, creative stories, memoirs and poetry. We also use the 6+1 Traits of writing as an assessment tool.
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.
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