Curriculum: Grades 5 and 6
Students in Upper Elementary, grades 5 and 6, build upon the foundations of K-4 with their core studies in English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Additionally, Spanish education continues into the Upper Elementary grades, with a focus on learning through creativity.
In addition to these core subjects, students are also exposed to the areas of Art, Health, PE, Technology and STEAM as well as Music. Throughout their 5th and 6th grade years, students also participate in Second Step, Collegium’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum program.
English Language Arts
English Language Arts in 5th grade centers on small group instruction, with student-centered lessons that (1) are at each student’s instructional level, (2) are highly engaging with high interest texts, and (3) are tailored to address specific student needs and aptitudes. Students will also get to choose their own independent reading books(at their instructional level) that are tied to mini-lessons and activities that make each reading opportunity meaningful to the student. Additionally, through whole group reading of “mentor texts,” students engage with complex texts and themes together as a class.
Students in 5th grade also hone their writing skills through personal narratives, poetry and research presentations. Technology integration allows for students to bring out their creative side with presentations in Google Slides. Students develop a sense of community and exercise their critical thinking skills by participating in and reflecting upon debates and discussions that are held in the ELA classroom.
Students in 6th grade English Language Arts experience books together in book clubs and have meaningful discussions to learn to respect and value each other’s perspectives. By exploring social issues through reading, students are exposed to topics and ideas that are not only current and relevant, but also are of increasing importance to our 6th graders as their minds and social awareness expand in adolescence. At this level, students are encouraged to engage in meaningful class discussions about the deeper meanings within texts and their connections to other artworks, readings ideas, events, experiences, etc. We hope to build and strengthen students’ ELA skills, while also building and strengthening their love for reading and a passion for expression through writing.
Students in 5th and 6th grades continue with the Eureka Math program, built upon the Common Core State Standards, which create a progression of learning that deepens the student’s ability to use and understand mathematical concepts. There are three key elements to this instruction: rigor, focus, and coherence.
5th Grade Math
Students in 5th grade expand their foundational math knowledge in areas such as place value, decimals, fractions, volume & area, and coordinate planes. Math instruction focuses on differentiated learning centers and project-based learning, while still devoting time to fluency and practice previously learned math skills and concepts. Students explore the real world applications during their math instructional time. There are various resources that help to support students, parents and teachers alike.
6th Grade Math
In 6th grade, students continue the Eureka curriculum, which provides both a well-organized learning progression and a high level of rigor so students can express and consolidate their classroom learning in order to master mathematical concepts.
As educators, we help and encourage our students to succeed by first introducing the concepts, then teaching and practicing the related skills, and then by applying what they have learned to real life problems and situations. Through a variety of learning experiences and activities, 6th grade students work individually and in small groups to gain mathematical experience and confidence.
Students in 5th grade continue with National Geographic Learning’s Exploring Science curriculum program, which is broken down into three main areas of study: Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science. Students learn and discover science concepts through experiential learning activities and projects, such as creating habitats for and observing snails in Life Science and investigating which materials conduct electricity in Physical Science.. Students also experience Science in the Park, which are hands-on, engaging science activities and rotations, in addition to participating in STEM challenges throughout the year. Additionally, students embark on virtual field trips to learn more about exciting ecosystems, such as coral reefs, deserts, and rainforests.
6th grade students learn and explore science using the Amplify Science curriculum program. Created by UC Berkley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, the program is phenomena-based curriculum, which has a do, talk, read, write and visualize approach. Amplify Science employs hands-on and digital components to engage all students. Amplify Science offers challenging and engaging lessons for each unit. It blends hands-on investigations, literacy rich activities and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, read, write and argue like real scientists and engineers. Through these various engaging activities students gain an understanding of their world.
Just like the K-5 science program, Amplify Science is composed of 3 major domains: Physical Science, Life Science and Earth and Space Science. Students in 6th grade study Physical Science, while 7th and 8th graders learn Life Science and Earth and Space Science respectively.
Students in 5th grade focus on times of discovery. Units include The Age of Exploration that focuses on the European impact on the Americas. Through 5th grade’s Spice Market project, students learn and better understand the powerful impact spices had on the world. Students also examine the motives and means for Westward Expansion in the United States. Students learn about the people who embarked on the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark expedition, discovering not only the trials and tribulations they faced, but the wonder and excitement they felt throughout their journeys. Also, students study the American Civil War and how it shaped our country to what it is today. Throughout the entire year, there is a focus on culture, recognizing and exploring different cultures that we find across the globe. This focus on culture prepares students for 6th grade’s Social Studies curriculum.
In sixth grade students study National Geographic’s World Cultures and Geography curriculum. The program is written by actual scientists and geographers in their particular fields of study and is current to what is happening around the world today. Students explore many different regions of the world to get a better understanding of each region’s unique geographical and cultural elements. Learning is extended and expanded through the annual Heritage Fair event. Our students are always very excited to demonstrate and display their own heritage and culture at the fair. Always a great experience, students walk around and explore foods and displays that both represent a multitude of cultures and origins and are unique to each student, bringing culture and heritage right into the school.
Special Area: Health
The Health program for the 5th and 6th level at Collegium Charter School focuses on a wide variety of topics that are always evolving in today’s ever changing environment.
Beginning with the 5th grade health curriculum, students will focus on diseases (infectious and noninfectious). Throughout this unit we will discuss the various types of contagious and non contagious pathogens that surround us in our everyday lives. We will work to address any myths that some students may have about specific diseases and stick to the known facts at this time as a guide to help us navigate through our world in the safest manner possible. On the topic of diseases we will address some of the non-communicable diseases that are present in our society, how those diseases impact us and safety measures we can take in order to ensure we live the healthiest lives possible.
During a student’s 6th grade year, they will study the effects of using substances which could include illegal drugs. Discussions take place in a comfortable and non-judgmental environment whereby students as well as the staff can clearly discuss the information based on scientific fact as opposed to rumor or hearsay. One of the main topics of these discussions is the physical effects on the body that some of these drugs can cause when they are abused. We also discuss “escape plans” for those that find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
Due to the quickly growing pace of social media accounts popping up daily, the Health teachers at Collegium take very seriously how these online interactions can wear on our students when they are at home as well as at school. We discuss the various different types of social media platforms available at this very moment and filter through each one in order to have discussions about its relevance in the school environment. We discuss do’s and certainly the dont’s when sharing information online. “Online Etiquette” is a term that we discuss in detail with students.
In addition to the topics that have been discussed above, the 5th and 6th grade health curriculum touches on First Aid and Emergency Response and what to do in specific situations, as well as the topic of Nutrition and what some of the do’s and don’ts are as students begin/continue their journey through into adolescents.
Special Area: Physical Education
The physical education program at the 500 building is designed to continue and enhance student learning as they progress through their academic journey. The goal is to promote the lifelong learner by providing knowledge and skills that can be used for a lifetime. We strive for students to engage in a physically active lifestyle. In return, this mindset sets the groundwork for the students to maintain an overall healthful life.
Our curriculum is standards aligned which provides continuous student growth within each grade level. Students will be introduced to team oriented activities and strategies. In addition, critical thinking exercises are incorporated which promote positive outcomes through peer cooperation and communication. The concept of personal fitness is also introduced. Students set personal fitness goals and challenge themselves within various fitness assessments throughout the school year.
In addition to the traditional curriculum components, there is an emphasis on exciting and unique experiences that promote various components of fitness. These school-wide events occur throughout the school year and incorporate various academic and non academic themes.
Special Area: Spanish
The Spanish Department in the 500 building encourages 5th and 6th grade students to explore Spanish through social learning. Students learn faster when trying to communicate verbally for necessity. That is why we incorporate how to ask questions and how to answer the questions. Student’s prior knowledge is activated, as students are engaged and encouraged to try their best and learn the language using Total Physical Response (TPR). TPR is a technique for teaching language using gestures and movements.
5th and 6th grade Spanish uses Sonrisas Level II curriculum and teaches standards that align with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The curriculum consists of storytime, art, partner time, and independent activities. In partner time, students work together, using their Spanish, to complete an activity that gives them more practice with language concepts. Also incorporated are fun Spanish games and other supplemental activities that help the students learn while entertained.
The goal as a Spanish Department is to inspire every child to learn a second language and prepare them for middle school to continue their journey as long-lasting learners of Spanish. We want to prepare the student for a better future as they use language to become active citizens in their careers, communities, and future endeavors.
Special Area: Technology and STEAM
Technology is all around us and is an important part of everyday life. That is why here at the Collegium 500 building we place a heavy focus on providing hands-on use of various types of technology such as computers, robots, and tablets in order to help increase each student’s level of digital literacy. In 5th & 6th grade, we focus on robotics, programming, digital citizenship, word processing, troubleshooting/problem solving, analyzing data, as well as the impacts of computing.
Our curriculum is vertically aligned so students will take the previous knowledge and skills that they learned in K-4 and build upon and deepen their understanding in 5th & 6th grade. Students will work as individuals and as groups to experience ways in which technological knowledge and processes contribute to effective designs and solutions to technological problems.
STEAM education at Collegium Charter School provides learning experiences where academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons in which students can apply concepts learned in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to the world around them. We remove the barriers of race and gender to provide students with equal opportunities for learning in these subject areas. Through their experiences, students learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills which they can apply to any occupation they choose.
Our STEAM curriculum introduces students to the engineering design process through hands-on activities and simulations as well as awareness of the STEM fields and occupations. As a 5th grader, students will be introduced to game design through Scratch. While 6th graders will be introduced to 3D Modeling through TinkerCAD. All students will utilize K’Nex to do physical builds that are aligned with their science curriculum. 5th graders will create animals and 6th graders will design gravity-powered cars. In addition, we look at the UN Global Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities through projects that utilize recycling.
Through the cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications, students are provided a turn-key solution that emphasizes innovation, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. It is our goal to pique students’ interest and excite them about learning in this manner.
Special Area: Art
Art is an opportunity for self-expression, development of multiple abilities, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness. Art activities are designed to boost creativity and encourage all students to open up their imaginations and explore how art can enrich their lives and help them make connections to the world around them in a fun and relaxing environment.
At the 5th and 6th grade levels, students dive deeper into the Elements of Art. We encourage them to take pride in learning new techniques, practicing skills, and using various materials to create their own masterpieces. Students are inspired as they discover diverse artists, various styles, and different cultures through exposure to art history as well as class discussions and drawing on their own experiences.
“Art is a place for children to learn to trust their ideas, themselves, and to explore what is possible.” Maryann F. Kohl
Special Area: Music
At Collegium, we value music because it is a powerful and unique form of communication that can change and impact the way children feel, think and act. We believe that students deserve a broad and ambitious music curriculum, rich in skills and knowledge, that ignites curiosity and prepares students for future learning and life skills.
We offer a comprehensive music education program inclusive of string, band, choral arts, and theatre. Our students develop a thorough understanding of music through performing, composing, listening, moving, and analyzing. Our methodologies include Orff and Shulwerk, amongst others, and our curriculum includes both American and world music to create a rich and diverse musical experience.
In our program, students develop self-confidence and a sense of achievement through many performance opportunities, both through lessons and extra-curricular participation such as our concert series. Our students develop cross-curricular skills such as problem-solving, perseverance, diligence, teamwork, time management, organization, responsibility, and cultural history through our comprehensive music program. Through our music programs, inclusiveness is a priority and we teach with a passion for the arts which will foster lifelong learners and lovers of music.
Second Step Curriculum for Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
5th and 6th grade students spend a majority of their educational day in the classroom focusing on academics.
However, students also regularly participate in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) through the Committee for Children’s Second Step curriculum. With Second Step, students not only learn skills that help them in the classroom, but also in most aspects of life. The following lists the skills and topics 5th and 6th grade students learn during their two years in the 500 Building.
Our fifth grade students learn from three SEL Units in the following areas:
- Unit #1 – Empathy and Skills for Learning
- Unit #2 – Emotion Management
- Unit #3 – Problem Solving
5th grade students also receive instruction in the following areas:
- Bullying Prevention Unit (BPU)
- Child Protection Unit (CPU)
Our sixth grade students learn from four SEL Units in the following areas:
- Unit #1 – Mindsets & Goals
- Unit #2 – Recognizing Bullying & Harassment
- Unit #3 – Thoughts, Emotions, & Decisions
- Unit #4 – Managing Relationships & Social Conflict
For more information and access to supplemental materials and family resources, visit the Second Step website at www.secondstep.org.