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Lower School (K-5)

Sometimes getting into the best colleges starts with six bottles of glue, seventy-four popsicle sticks, and two extremely invested teachers.

Nothing is more important to the academic development of a young student than the thoughtful guidance of experienced teachers and a mindfully constructed learning environment. To support each child individually at GUS, we employ two full-time lead teachers in grades K to 2 with a team teaching model in grades 3 to 5. This flexible model allows for learning and discovery in full-class, small-group, and individual configurations and is crucial to our experiential and cross-curricular learning philosophy.

Through collaboration, conversation, and hands-on experiences within a challenging curriculum, GUS students become active learners who understand the meaning and purpose of what they are doing. They also grow to understand their individual learning styles—their strengths, their weaknesses, what they are passionate about, and where they have the potential and opportunity to lead.

Kindergarten

What happens during a kindergarten day?

We plan our days so that kindergartners are busy, purposeful, and enthusiastic. Children are actively engaged in observation, exploration, problem solving, and creative self-expression. They acquire academic skills, and they also begin to understand their own cognitive processes. Our mornings begin with routines that introduce early literacy skills and important math concepts, and as the year progresses, we transfer responsibility for these routines to the students, fostering independence and self-confidence. We also share a story and a short lesson, often related to our theme, “The World Around Us.” Children engage in all areas of study: language arts, science, social studies, mathematics, Spanish, art, music, dance, physical education, technology, and community service, traveling to different parts of our campus for some of their classes.

Kindergartners engage in a wide range of activities on different days and at different times of the year. They play letter sounds games, write in their journals, tap maple trees, weave rugs, graph statistics, answer questions about probability, and work out math problems with small collections of objects. They do still life paintings, explore sequencing programs on the class computer, play theme-related board games, read quietly in the library corner or to a teacher, and play in the housekeeping corner, which has turned into a store, a castle, or a post office.

Students have recess periods daily. Research confirms that safe and supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits. This time to play, during which much social and emotional growth happens, is crucial for all ages.

Afternoons give kindergartners the opportunity to focus on in-depth projects, which might include an element of drama, science, or art, to integrate these disciplines with their theme studies. Just as we plan for students to make connections across disciplines, so too, we encourage them to apply their understanding in imaginative and constructive ways. Our overarching theme provides a platform for integrated projects and deeper learning.

How do we guide children’s behavior in the classroom?

The kindergarten program is designed for students’ success. The daily schedule allows for a mixture of active learning and quiet listening time. Children engage in a variety of tasks at their tables, playing games, writing papers, completing projects, and learning concepts with manipulatives and hands-on activities.

Building community and developing interpersonal skills are priorities in kindergarten. When children have difficulty working out social problems or disagreements, we provide them with problem-solving skills by encouraging the children to listen to each other and negotiate solutions, initially, with our guidance and, increasingly, independently. The children decide on the rules that govern the class; these rules are revisited often and sometimes change as the year progresses. Importantly, we take time in the moment to sort out an issue, building each child’s individual ability to dialogue and find a positive solution. Having two teachers in the classroom affords us this opportunity to impart important social lessons as well as academic lessons.

How do we handle a wide range of skill levels in kindergarten?

In the first weeks of the kindergarten year, we spend a great deal of time assessing the children’s reading, writing, and math skills. We establish a level for each child so they are working at a “just right” pace, not rushing to keep up, nor waiting for others to finish. We present classroom instruction to large and small groups and also, intentionally, to students individually. Having two fully credentialed teachers in the classroom ensures that students receive differentiated, individualized, and small group instruction. Children work and learn in small, teacher-directed and independent groups. Sometimes, groups rotate so that each child experiences multiple activities. Other times, children engage for extended periods in small literacy or math groups, allowing us to guide and expand their thinking.

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

Our theme in kindergarten, “The World Around Us,” engages the students’ innate enthusiasm for learning about and making sense of the world.  There are many opportunities for field trips and hands-on learning in our exploration of how we satisfy our basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. We learn about multi-stepped processes (such as planting, growing, harvesting, and preparing) that satisfy these needs. We study kindergarten physics—motion in humans and animals, motion in nature (wind, water, and sound), gravity and friction. We learn about simple machines and seasonal weather. In our clothing unit, we spin, weave, knit, and sew.  Each child makes a winter hat to bring home. In the spring, we build a doll-sized house model from the foundation up, after exploring shelter here and around the world.

Language Arts

Our kindergarten environment is rich in intentional literacy opportunities. We teach literacy skills in small-group lessons, devoting one day of each week to journal writing, with the goal of having the children write simple sentences and stories. The children learn about sounds in words and strengthen their skills in spelling and handwriting. On the other days, we focus on the multiple strands involved in reading acquisition, which include phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, phonics, sight vocabulary, attention to reading strategies through simple text, and comprehension.

Mathematics

We teach math to both whole and small groups, dividing our focus equally among math concepts, procedures, and vocabulary. Children use concrete materials and problem-solving techniques to ensure understanding and develop number sense. Kindergarten math lays the foundation for math study in many areas, including patterns, geometry, measurement, and computation. Cuisenaire rods are a manipulative used by the math program at every grade level. In kindergarten, the rods introduce the children to place value and computation.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

In kindergarten, children begin to develop a sense of self and actively engage in their classroom environment. We allow children the time, space and support to tackle interpersonal issues within the classroom at the time they occur. They interact in ever expanding circles, starting with individual friendships, their classroom community, and the school community, and particularly, in their relationships with their fifth grade partners. Their community service projects expand the circle beyond the school community, reaching far into the world when they form a partnership with a school in Nevis, West Indies.

We engage the kindergartners in lessons from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity.

Spanish

In kindergarten, students are warmly welcomed into la clase de español. Through song, dance, games, acting, and other movement activities, they are exposed to spoken Spanish that is comprehensible and fun. The children are encouraged to speak Spanish whenever they can and learn how to speak in a strong, confident voice with a good Spanish accent. Their independent work most often takes the form of an illustration with teacher-directed writing.

In the first two months or so of school, students learn their Spanish names, basic greetings, words to express basic needs, and vocabulary for classroom places and materials. All students learn and review this same vocabulary with increasing levels of complexity through fifth grade.

We then study el mundo alrededor de nosotros (the world around us), with the following units: Colors, Weather, and Fall; Clothing; Food; and Homes.

Each unit corresponds to a regular classroom unit that the students will have already completed, thus reinforcing kindergarten concepts while expanding Spanish language vocabulary. By the end of kindergarten, students should have an appreciation for Spanish as a fun way to make words and talk to new people. They should be able to perform basic greetings without support and provide single-word answers to clear, concise questions on known topics.

Visual Arts

In art class, kindergartners explore the work of Vincent Van Gogh and create their own still life drawings. When they are learning about shapes in their math class, the children look at the cut-paper assemblages of Henri Matisse and Joan Miro and then draw, cut, and glue their own assemblages. They experiment with using materials and lines to create texture and with recognizing shapes in bird and animal figures, and they paint and draw animal and bird portraits. Kindergartners also engage in printmaking, 3-D animal sculptures, bird masks, and self-portraits.

Music

In music class at GUS, kindergartners: develop their singing voices through vocal play, echoes, and solo singing games; build a repertoire of folk songs, singing games, and seasonal and community songs; develop steady beat competence through body beats, movement, and simple percussion instrument playing; and develop music listening skills through activities and stories based on Carnival of the Animals, by orchestral composer, Saint-Saens.

The “World Around Us” theme is integrated into music classes topically through songs, games, and stories based on animals, bread, apples, and building.  

Kindergartners perform alongside their fifth grade partners in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, kindergartners begin their year of dance learning to use their body language to communicate a favorite experience from the summer. Then, they work in groups to collaboratively physicalize a story, spelling out words with their bodies.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

 

Physical Education

Kindergarten physical education focuses on movement and games that incorporate many different movements. (running, skipping, hopping, leaping).  We also work on group tasks including forming lines, circles, and following directions. Our goals are to encourage healthy habits of physical activity, develop strong motor skills, and foster respectful play. We add some simple chase and tag games so students can begin to develop strategies for enhancing their own performance. All students participate in all games and activities. We create a noncompetitive environment in the lower school community to cultivate cooperation and good sportsmanship as the children mature.

Community Service

For their community service project, kindergartners form a partnership with a school in Nevis, West Indies. They interact through video technology, photos and writing to learn about the culture in Nevis and describe their own culture. Specifically, they sponsor a Bring Your Teddy Bear to School Day event to raise money to purchase supplies for the Nevisian school. They create posters, announce their event at an all-school meeting, and collect donations from all the classrooms.

First Grade

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

Our theme in first grade is “Who Am I?” Students learn about themselves and the living world around them. We engage in projects that focus on the five senses, the human body, and the life cycles of animals, plants, and humans. Hands-on projects integrate science, social studies, art, math, and language arts. To activate their thinking, first graders begin by illustrating what they think is inside their bodies on a small-scale outline.  Then they learn about the respiratory system, the nervous system, the skeletal system, the circulatory system, the muscular system, and the digestive system. As the students discover the complexity and function of each system, they record their understanding by building life-sized internal self-sculptures, using bubble wrap for lungs, streamers for veins and arteries, and buttons for teeth. This project encourages students to think beyond the facts and visualize the complexities of who they are as human beings. We turn from this self-exploration to the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly; we observe, care for, and record the progress of chrysalises in our classroom and set our hatched butterflies free. The unit ends with a much-anticipated visit to the Butterfly Place in Westford.

Language Arts

Literacy work is everywhere in first grade, from focused reading and writing time and journaling about interpersonal issues to recording scientific observations and acquiring vocabulary in mathematics.Theme units have a broader and deeper impact because they connect to other disciplines, such as literacy. For example, when first graders study the human body in theme, they reflect on losing a tooth and write stories chronicling their unique and often humorous experiences.

First graders spend at least 90 minutes each day on language arts. They practice phonics work and engage in such activities as writer’s workshop, author chair, and a nonfiction research paper and presentation. They create many written pieces to collect in their black books. Literacy work also includes daily direct reading and writing instruction in both individual and small groups. Having two skilled teachers in the classroom allows us to tailor individualized literacy instruction for each student.  In first grade, literacy work is engaging, dynamic, and appropriately challenging to build confidence and mastery and ensure continuous growth.

Small group instruction ensures that a range of learners is being challenged at their individual levels.

Reader’s Theater, taught in small groups, is one engaging way students learn fluency and expression.

Opinion, narrative, and informational writing are three genres the students explore.

Mathematics

Our goal in first grade math is to create mathematical thinkers who understand how numbers work and can apply that understanding throughout their lives. Our program goes far beyond the simple memorization of number facts and operations; instead, students build a strong foundation for solving complex mathematical problems. Cuisenaire rods, a math manipulative, form the basis of the program across all grades. The rods provide both a physical representation of quantities and operations and a common mathematical language that applies to basic addition as well as complex algebra.  

For an hour every day, first graders focus on mathematics challenges that require the manipulation of concrete materials to answer abstract questions. Using the Cuisenaire rods, we present addition and subtraction facts in multiple, concrete ways so that the concepts are accessible to all learners. Next, we present students with number models that match the rod examples. Children who benefit from visual support create number flashcards that are color-coded to match the Cuisenaire rods. Students move on to word problems and pictorial models and the task of creating number sentences that represent those problems. As children progress in their understanding, we challenge them to create their own addition and subtraction problems.

Visual models help students develop a deeper conceptual understanding of addition and subtraction.

First graders explore fractions, transformational geometry, and volume.

Math block is divided into whole group activities, small group stations, and individual practice.

We use the whole school campus for math—measuring tulip bulbs, hunting for symmetrical objects on the nature trail, counting leaves by tens—we encourage first graders to find uses for their math skills all around them.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

Twice a week we engage the first graders in a lesson from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity. As an example, in the Beginning Together unit students learn that getting to know each other will help them work well together in their open circle. They talk about what makes them different and the same and hear the story Shades of People, by Shelley Rotner. They consider what it means to reflect—to pause and ask themselves questions about an experience. How am I doing? What did I learn? They work together to choose some rules they will follow in their open circle and they talk about the importance of being honest and how they communicate with body language and tone.

Spanish

In first grade, students enter la clase de español with enthusiasm and a greater sense of self-confidence. As in kindergarten, they will use song, dance, games, acting, and other movement activities to learn. However, by first grade they also begin reading and writing small chunks of Spanish with increasing independence.

The first two months of school again delve into Spanish names, greetings, phrases to express basic needs, and a greater vocabulary for classroom places and materials. Over the next four years, students will go deeper and deeper into these topics.

We then delve into ¿Quién soy yo? (Who am I), with the following units: Describing Myself; Life Cycles; and Seasons and Weather.

By the end of first grade, students should be able to greet others without support. They should have a solid grasp of words, phrases, and some short sentences on each of the topics covered over the year. They should be able to sound out Spanish writing with support and approximate spelling of short words. They will speak in words and short phrases.

Visual Arts

Many first grade art projects relate to their theme and, particularly, to the unit in which students explore the places that make up their world. As they learn about themselves in the classroom, in the art room they paint self-portraits with tempera paints, create portraits of their families with oil pastels or watercolor resist, draw their bedrooms with colored pencils and markers, and help each other make full-size body portraits using tempera paint. As they consider their environment, they engage in place-based projects like drawing their house at night with oil pastels on black paper, making owl prints with ink and foam trays, collaborating to create a winter animals mural, using tracing paper and scissors to make snowflakes; building three-dimensional representations of shelters they invent for animals to live in in winter, and sketching flowers outside their classroom and then painting them in the style of Georgia O’Keefe. First graders use different media, such as pencils, tempera paint, watercolors, clay, pastels, glue, and tape, to engage in techniques of painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, ceramics, and printmaking.  

Music

In music class at GUS, first graders: develop their voices through extensive vocal exploration activities, pitch-matching activities, and learning about how their voice works; build a repertoire of folk songs, rhymes, singing games, and seasonal and community songs; continue to develop steady beat competence through body beats, circle games, and simple percussion instrument playing; perform rhythms through speech-based movement and simple instrument ensembles; perform ostinato accompaniments using proper percussion and barred instrument technique; and experience a wide range of tonalities and meters through listening, singing, and movement.

The “Who Am I?” theme is explored through developing the child’s singing voice, and by revealing how different body systems cooperate to accomplish singing.  In addition, thematic correlations of life cycles and body systems are reflected in songs, rhymes, stories, and music activities.

First graders perform in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.  

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, first graders devote a unit of study to learning about all the different muscles and joints in their feet and how they are used to bend and balance and move the body around.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

Physical Education

First grade physical education focuses on games that emphasize physical movement (running, skipping, hopping, leaping) and cooperation. Our goals are to encourage healthy habits of physical activity, develop strong motor skills, and foster respectful play. We add chase and tag games so students can begin to develop strategies for enhancing their own performance. All students participate in all games and activities. While many children at this age have already begun playing competitive town sports, we create a noncompetitive environment in the lower school community to cultivate good sportsmanship as the children mature.

Community Service

First graders sponsor an annual book drive for children in underserved areas as their primary community service project. The students create and hang posters around the school advertising their drive; they compose and rehearse requests for donations, which they present at all-school meetings; and they practice their math skills as they count, organize, and pack up the donated books.

Second Grade

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

Our theme in second grade is “Where Do I Live?” Second graders begin the year investigating the natural environment, learning, for example, how local plants and animals attain their basic needs. Focusing on the temperate forest, students learn about the New England climate and how human and animal life adapts to survive in this environment. They move on to explore their own neighborhoods and houses and consider how buildings provide shelter. They discuss the features of and differences among houses around the world and how climate influences the way a house is built. As part of their cartography study, in our “Wabi-Sabi” makerspace, second graders program Bee-Bots to navigate 3-D town models.

Second graders learn about the colonists, who inhabited the North Shore before them, how they struggled to survive in their new environment and interacted with the Native Americans they met. They learn about the migration of their own ancestors to North America. Finally, the students travel back to the formation of the earth and consider how the earth’s gradual changes have supported new life forms. They learn how scientists have used a variety of discoveries to piece together the puzzle of prehistoric life. The students use books, videos, discussions, museum visits, visiting experts, projects, and scientific techniques to learn about their surroundings. They demonstrate their new knowledge through writing, drawing, model building, and a wide variety of other activities.

Language Arts

Second graders participate in a balanced language arts program of reading and writing workshops throughout the year. We introduce and practice skills that help students develop into thoughtful and engaged readers and writers. In addition to comprehension strategies, students engage in phonetics exercises, fluency practice, and vocabulary development. Students learn in small groups, one-on-one with teachers, and from each other when they partner for reading practice. Students practice writing skills in narrative, informational, and opinion forms. They learn to communicate ideas in their writing, revise their work, edit for publishing, and present their work with confidence.

Mathematics

Second graders build their foundational understanding of such key math concepts as number families, equations, and place value. They work to attain fluent knowledge of basic addition and subtraction facts so they can compute larger numbers with greater ease. Second grade marks the children’s first formal introduction to multiplication as well as to adding and subtracting two- and three-digit numbers with regrouping. The children use Cuisenaire rods, number lines, hundreds charts, and other tools to build their mathematical understanding. They also practice clearly communicating their thinking.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

Twice a week we engage the second graders in a lesson from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity. As an example, in the Managing Ourselves unit students learn about what happens in their body and their brain when they get upset, and they practice calm-breathing techniques. They consider strategies for listening well to others and read The Blabber Report, by True Kelley. They talk about times when it might be helpful to talk to someone who can help.

Spanish

Most students enter the second grade clase de español with two years experience greeting others and naming the world around them in Spanish. In second grade, they will continue to sing, dance, and play Spanish games, but they will be asked to push their skills further. They will speak in short, simple sentences and be expected to read gestures and hear cognates to solve unknown words. They also will begin reading and writing simple sentences, and learn how to pronounce Spanish vowels.

In the introducciones unit, students learn more advanced greetings, like how to talk about their weekend activities and how to explain why they feel what they’re feeling with simple sentences. They learn how to ask and answer questions about where classroom materials are located. They also take several tours of the school to learn vocabulary beyond the classroom, including how to name school places and describe how we use them.

Our next unit is Soy yo (that’s me). It is a review of the first grade curriculum that focuses on language to describe appearance, personality, and interests.

We then delve into the ¿Dónde vivo yo? (Where do I live) curriculum with the following units: Home and Family; Weather, Seasons, and Nature; and Trees, Birds, and Life Cycles.

By the end of second grade, students should be able to form full sentence answers most of the time to questions on known topics. They should be able to discuss with some fluency how they’re feeling, what they are like, who they live with, weather, and characteristics of trees and birds.

Visual Arts

Second grade art emphasizes the elements of art and the principles of design. The children are introduced to the work of famous artists of the past and present. Art projects that are tied to the theme of “Where Do I Live?” include a class mural that is a map of houses around the world, created with watercolors and markers; oil pastel and watercolor paintings of trees on school grounds that students first sketch while outside; and oil pastel and watercolor paintings of houses of the world done from photographs. Place-based projects include making Native American corn husk dolls and sculpting and painting birds of New England from paper maché and tempera.

Music

In music class at GUS, second graders: continue to develop their voices through vocal exploration and pitch-matching activities; read and perform tonal patterns based on do-re-mi (the first three pitches of the major scale); build a repertoire of songs related to place, as well as folk songs, rhymes, singing games, and seasonal and community songs; sing independently through the frequent singing of round; read and perform duple and triple rhythm patterns; perform rhythms independently in multi-part instrument ensembles; listen to and learn about the instruments of the orchestra through Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and through attendance at a Cape Ann Symphony concert.

The “Where Do I Live” theme is expressed through the study of anthems of place, including the national anthem, the state song, the school song, and an original class song.  

Second graders perform in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.  In addition, the class performs anthems of place during a culminating “Heritage Day” class presentation.

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, second graders learn about balance, off-balance, and counter-balance, finding examples of these conditions in the world around them. Then, working with a partner, they incorporate balance and counter-balance into a choreography project.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

Physical Education

Second graders continue to engage in games that emphasize movement (running, skipping, hopping, leaping, and so on) and cooperation.  Occasionally, students are given free time to choose their own group activities, so they can practice problem solving and conflict resolution. The goal remains to encourage healthy habits of physical activity and strong motor skills. Everyone participates in all games and activities. While many children at this age have already begun playing competitive town sports, we create a noncompetitive environment in the lower school community to cultivate good sportsmanship as the children mature.

Community Service

For their community service activity, twice a year second graders collect food for the Beverly Bootstraps food pantry. They create posters, announce their food drives at all-school meetings, and organize the donations for delivery.

Third Grade

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

In third grade, students turn outward from learning about themselves to explore the world around them. We begin by learning about the word community and what is means. Examining several types of communities starting with the classroom and school community, we soon widen our lens to include students’ hometown communities. They each research their own hometown and create a town book highlighting the important places located there.

Students also examine the differences and similarities between rural, suburban, and urban communities. Starting with rural areas, we visit the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Brick Ends Farm, and Appleton Farms to observe firsthand to help us define this type of community. We discuss suburban communities and talk walking tours of the nearby neighborhood and see how these areas become more populated with people. From there they move on to study urban cities, and the multiple systems that operate within a city. We also take field trips to tour the North End, Boston Public Market, the Back Bay, and the State House in Boston. Integrating science, language arts, and engineering into our thematic units, students design and build skyscrapers at home and in the classroom, construct working elevators, and create a mock city within the classroom with fictional characters about whom they write small-moment stories.

Our year concludes with the students learning about a community in a different historical period, the Middle Ages. Their culminating project is a Medieval Morning celebration for which each student chooses a role. To prepare, the students research their role using nonfiction texts, take notes, and draft scripts that describe their characters and position in medieval society. In coordination with the Music and Dance program, students narrate their script, perform the recorder, and demonstrate a stick dance for families during the event.

Language Arts

Third graders begin the year learning the routines of reading workshop. They identify ways to choose books, learn how our library is organized, learn the many fiction and nonfiction genres, use a reading notebook, and practice strategies to select books that are “just right.” Upon setting these reading routines in place, students meet in small, literature-based, guided reading groups to focus on specific skills. Whole class units of study are also include. During our Mystery unit, students learn to make inferences and predict outcomes. In our poetry unit, the students learn about and experiment with descriptive language, personification, and similes. Lastly, aligning with our medieval study, we explore fairy tales. Students identify the elements of this classic genre, consider how culture affects fairy tales and why there are different versions, and write their own version of a familiar fairy tale.

Mathematics

We introduce third graders to a wide range of math concepts. Students begin with a review of our base-ten number system and their addition and subtraction strategies and learn place values up to 1,000,000. They move on to multiplication, fractions, decimals, and percents. They practice measuring with rulers and scales and learn the relationship between an ounce, a cup, a pint, a quart, and a gallon. In a plane geometry unit, they identify points, lines, line segments, rays, angles, planes, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, and polygons.

We contextualize mathematics using real-world scenarios. These may include finding multiplication arrays on skyscrapers or in the grocery store, locating types of angles around the school building, or identifying parallel and perpendicular lines on a city map or in artwork. Students also play math games with partners to practice fact fluency or explore math concepts. Students are always encouraged to use language to explain their mathematical thinking.

Technology

Beginning in third grade, students learn typing and word processing to enhance writing across the curriculum and to become proficient in using both MS Word and Google Docs. Student engage in projects in which they conduct research, collect data, and present their results to the whole school in colorful displays that include text, photos, and graphs. For their research, students use library resources, the Internet, video collections, and EBSCO databases. They cite resources with Easybib and create spreadsheets, graphs, digital photography, slideshows, and video presentations.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

Twice a week we engage the third graders in a lesson from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity. As an example, in the Strengthening Relationships unit they practice giving compliments that are true, specific, and positive and receiving compliments with a thank you and a smile. They discuss how it feels to be excluded and why people sometimes exclude others, and they practice some ways to include or help others who are left out. The children also consider what it means to cooperate and identify the skills that are needed, such as sharing, taking turns, staying calm, and agreeing on roles. A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams, works well to generate a conversation about cooperation.

Spanish

In third grade, la clase de español becomes more rigorous. Students are expected to express their needs, to greet each other, and to talk about classroom places and materials with little to no teacher support. In their introducciones unit, they review vocabulary for greetings, basic needs, and the classroom. They also learn how to talk about what they did (in the past) and what they are going to do over the weekend. When they review the Spanish classroom vocabulary, they attempt to make an aerial map with labels. They finish the unit by looking back at a comprehensive vocabulary list, identifying their own weaknesses, and making flashcards for extra practice.

Over the next few months, they review and expand their vocabularies from first and second grade. They cover the self, the home, the family, weather, seasons, and nature.

Then, the third grade delves deeply into ¿Adónde voy yo? (Where am I going?), with a unit on communities. In this extended unit, students will explore people’s roles and jobs within a community, cities and towns, services, businesses, and fun places. We will design and build a city after discussing what services must be included and what types of places we want. We will even discuss how to organize the city in space. Then, students will create citizens of the city and write about their appearances, personalities, job, and where they live.

By the end of third grade, students should be confident initiating greetings; talking about the classroom, their homes, their families, the weather, and nature; and discussing people, businesses, and services within communities.

Visual Arts

Third graders create many individual and collaborative pieces that compliment explorations prompted by our theme “Where Am I Going?” They construct 3D “dream towns,” which might be rural, suburban, or urban, using paper maché, recycled materials, and tempura. As a class, they create a mural that celebrates animals of the world. When they are finding palindromes using the hundred chart in math class, in art class they create symmetrical, intricate, and colorful visual palindromes. When they are learning about adjectives in language arts, in art class they draw monsters and the five adjectives that describe their monsters are part of the composition. Third graders explore depth of field by creating oil pastel landscapes in the manner of David Hockney. Finally, they work together to create art for our medieval morning.

Music

In music class at GUS, third graders:  perform basic technique for playing the recorder; relate pitch and rhythm notation to the playing of an instrument; read, sing, and play a repertoire of recorder tunes based on the G major pattern, the pentatonic scale, and the C major scale; relate classical music to a timeline, and listen to classical music selections in class and at a Cape Ann Symphony concert; build a repertoire of seasonal and community songs; learn about the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and the Native American flute; and learn about the origins of musical notation in the medieval period.

The “Where Am I Going” theme is expressed through the study of music of different world cultures, the exploration of musical notation in the medieval period, and the study of the recorder, an early medieval instrument.

Third graders perform in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.  In addition, the class performs a full program of recorder selections, narrations, and a Morris stick dance (medieval origins) for the culminating Medieval Morning.  

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, when third graders are learning about maps and mapping, in dance they learn about the trail or pathway a dancer travels through space, and they create a pathway dance map, indicating beginning and end, patterns of movement, and visual cues so another person can perform their dance.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

Physical Education

If the PE teacher assesses that a class is ready in terms of their skill level and ability to follow rules, third graders begin to play some team-oriented games, such as sideline soccer. As always, all students participate in all activities and we encourage them to strive for their own personal best and to measure their improvement against themselves and not others.

Community Service

As their community service, third graders compost for the entire school. They begin the year by learning about the purpose and process of composting and what food items can and cannot be composted. They create posters and share this knowledge with the school. Then, every day, the third graders empty the compost bins in each classroom, faculty room, and kitchen carrying the compost to the school’s recycling area. Third graders also tour Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, MA to see what happens to compost on a large scale.

Fourth Grade

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

Fourth graders are captivated by their theme “The Sea,” which is a favorite because of the memorable field trips and related arts activities. Our emphasis is on the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Maine, and ecosystems of the Northeast, but students learn about all of the world’s oceans and continents, as well as about the salt marshes, barrier reefs, rocky shores, tides, waves, and plant and animal life of these environments. Together, the students set up and maintain a saltwater aquarium in our classroom. We take trips to local beaches to gather mummichogs, dogwalks, sea stars, mussels, snails, shrimp, green crabs, Asian shore crabs, periwinkles, and barnacles. They experiment with water properties and densities, learn about fish anatomy, dissect a squid, chart the lines of longitude and latitude, and draw whales to scale.

We also explore how humans have learned to live with and use the resources of the sea. Our year begins with a visit from David Coffin, a Gloucester musician who specializes in sea shanties and early musical instruments. Students learn about the history of life on and alongside oceans, early whaling in New England, past and current fishing methods, and also the threats against and efforts to preserve oceans and the ecosystems they support. Students research and build models of actual lighthouses. Books we read include The Original Biography of Abbie Burgess: Lighthouse Heroine, by Ruth Sexton Sargent; Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus; Whaling Season: A Year in the Life of an Arctic Whale Scientist, by Peter Lourie; The Whale Scientists: Solving the Mystery of Whale Strandings, by Fran Hodgkins; and excerpts from Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick; and Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville.

Our year culminates in a three-day trip to Mystic Seaport, in Connecticut, where students sleep on a square rigger, the Joseph Conrad, and get a firsthand view into the lives of early sailors and a seashore community. Activities include climbing the rigging of the Joseph Conrad, creating keepsakes using traditional sailors’ tools, interacting with costumed roleplayers, singing songs with a chantyman, and touring the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world.

Language Arts

Fourth graders spend their year learning the components of writing and developing writing skills. In our comprehensive grammar and mechanics unit, students learn the basic parts of speech, the concepts of subject and predicate, how to use punctuation and capitalization, the difference between sentences and sentence fragments, and how to craft three-to-five-sentence paragraphs. The children write personal narratives, learning to generate ideas, use visualization to add detail and sequence, use descriptive language and emotion to add interest, revise for content, and edit for mechanics. In preparation for our Songs of the Sea performance, they write letters home, imagining themselves a member of the crew of whaling ship on a voyage. In our biography unit, students write a research paper about a person of interest, and they gather together props and a costume, write a brief monologue, and impersonate their subject at a Wax Museum event presented to the school community.

During their literacy block, fourth graders practice strategies that will help them become active, independent readers; they learn about the genres mystery, fantasy, adventure, realistic fiction, and historical fiction; they learn about the role of the narrator, point of view, and how to make predictions about what they are reading; they actively engage in literature discussions using Abbie Burgess and Number the Stars. The students learn about the features of nonfiction texts that help them access information—headings, captions, charts, a glossary, the index. They use this knowledge to research a sea mammal and create a Hyperstudio slideshow that they present to the class.

Mathematics

In keeping with the spiraling model of the school’s curriculum, fourth grade math students delve more deeply into concepts introduced in third grade. In our plane geometry unit, we move on to obtuse, acute, right, and straight angles. In problem-solving exercises, students begin learning to translate verbal ideas into the language of mathematics and to recognize cues that indicate which operation to use when solving a word problem. They learn the procedure for long division and the terms prime, composite, factors, multiples, square numbers, exponent, product, and quotient. In their measurement unit, they practice measuring by paces, decades, and centuries, and they learn the prefixes of the metric system. We revisit statistics and probability, fractions, and solid geometry. In a unit on transformational geometry, we introduce students to the concepts of translation, reflection, rotation, symmetry, glide reflection, and fundamental region. Incorporating their theme, students work in small groups on a whale-to-scale project. They draw graph lines and plot the points of a whale from 8½ x 11 inch paper onto a 4 x 20 foot sheet. Their result represents the average length of a baby whale for five different whale species.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

Twice a week we engage the fourth graders in a lesson from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity. As an example, in the How to Sort Problems unit we work with students to define dangerous and destructive behaviors, and we talk about why it is always important to immediately talk to a teacher or responsible adult in such situations. We talk about strategies for responding to annoying behavior and teasing and read Thank you, Mr. Falkner. We define bullying and help students recognize that bullying behavior is dangerous and destructive and must be reported to a responsible adult right away, and we consider the roles of the bystander and the ally.

Spanish

The fourth grade clase de español provides students an opportunity to speak mostly or entirely en español for 45 minutes twice a week. Students should be able to choose greetings and perform self-directed greetings in a variety of ways. They should be able to map out the Spanish classroom with bilingual labels for all classroom materials and places. They should also be able to discuss their likes and dislikes, their weekend activities, the weather, their families and homes, and their appearance and personality with little to no support. They spend the first few months of class reviewing and deepening understanding of this vocabulary, and identifying weaknesses to be targeted with flashcards and independent practice.

In fourth grade students also begin using Big Universe, an online education tool that has a collection of over 11,000 books (over 1,000 of which are in Spanish). Students will be expected to use this resource on their own time and occasionally in class to learn more about Latin American cultural topics and to practice reading assigned Spanish language texts. Additionally, once student email accounts are set up, they will be invited to use the online study and practice resource, Quizlet. On Quizlet students will sign into their class and have access to all their vocabulary lists, flashcard practice with correct Spanish pronunciation, and a variety of games and practice tools.

Once the class has reviewed and reinforced older vocabulary, we will move into El mar (the sea) with a unit on Coastal Communities and one on Sea Creatures. In the Coastal Communities unit, students will learn how to describe a coastal community paying specific attention to what distinguishes a coastal community from other types of communities. Students will finish the year with an in-depth report on a sea creature of their choice, synthesizing the different language structures, topics, and descriptive language vocabulary that they’ve been learning into one large project.

By the end of fourth grade, students should be able to understand spoken Spanish on familiar topics. They should be able to respond to questions in full sentences and produce questions and answers in discussion with little to no support (on known topics). They should recognize common Spanish language patterns and be comfortable assuming the meaning of cognates and new vocabulary in context.

Visual Arts

In fourth grade art, we make art related to our theme of The Sea, taking advantage of the rich visual arts history of Cape Ann, and we also explore a wide range of art traditions and seminal artists in those disciplines, including botanical studies, self-portraits, Paul Klee and abstraction, Frank Stella and collage, Pablo Picasso and Cubism, using recycled materials and Haitian folk art, and African Senufo and Aboriginal animal design. Students practice mixing acrylic paints on a palette and paint Impressionist seascapes, learning from Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and others about stippling, pointalism, and depicting the reflection of light. We visit the Cape Ann Museum, where students discover the myriad artists who found inspiration along Gloucester’s coast, among them Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, Fitz Henry Lane, and Winslow Homer. Students draw landscapes or seascapes and practice the fundamentals of horizon line, perspective, foreground and background, and creating space and light by using line.

Music

In music class at GUS, fourth graders: learn basic technique for playing the ukulele; relate pitch and rhythm notation to the playing of an instrument; sing, read, and play root melodies (the bass line which provides the harmonic outline for a song) and simple chords on the ukulele; perform the pentatonic scale and the C major scale on the ukulele; accompany folk tunes with simple ukulele chords or root melodies while singing; listen to and study classical selections inspired by the sea, as well as music performed at a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert; collaboratively create musical accompaniments to original poems of the sea; learn about the role of sea shanties aboard a whaling ship, and learn and perform a collection of sea songs and shanties; and build a repertoire of seasonal and community songs.  

The “Sea” theme is expressed through the study of music inspired by the sea, the creation of music to accompany sea poems, and the learning and performing of sea songs and shanties.

Fourth graders perform in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.  In addition, the class performs a full program of sea songs and shanties in their culminating “Songs and Tales of the Sea” performance.  

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, fourth graders engage in a series of mini master classes in square dance, African dance, tap, ballet, and hip hop, and they learn about the history of these styles, including shoes and costumes.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

Physical Education

In fourth grade we begin to focus on the skills students will need for the sports they play in upper school. We introduce games and activities that incorporate these skills and also small, in-class tournaments that promote good sportsmanship and teamwork. All students participate in all activities. Our goal is to help students work on the same skills but at the pace that is appropriate for them. We encourage them to seek their personal best and to measure themselves by their own improvement rather than the abilities of peers. Students will also continue to play many of the games they have been playing in past years but with added rules and greater intricacy.

Community Service

Fourth graders travel to local beaches to gather sea flora and creatures for the aquarium they maintain throughout the year in their classroom. Students take from the local coast and they become stewards of the local coast, returning periodically to clean up the trash on a local beach as their community service activity.

Fifth Grade

Science and Social Studies (Theme)

Fifth graders explore the theme of “The Land.” They start out by learning to observe and record information about the natural world around them on the school’s extensive nature trail. Then, they take these skills out into the diverse landscape and geological history of the North Shore. We discuss the layers of the earth, and how the tectonic plate movement has impacted continental drift over the past hundreds of millions of years. The students study plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and seismic waves and construct earthquake-resistant building models. e consider the properties of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, the effects of hot weathering, glaciers, and volcanoes, and how to interpret rock layers and index fossils to determine the relative ages of rock formations. We travel to Appleton Farm to learn about the history of how people have used the natural resources of New England. We visit Halibut Point State Park to explore glacial striations and granite and learn how quarry workers cut and transported granite in the 19th Century. Fifth graders’ hands-on exploration of “The Land” culminates in a three-day camping trip to the Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset, Maine, that aptly extends their curriculum, placing them in a natural setting in which they must work as a team to satisfy their needs while remaining conscientious about their impact on the land. Students’ responsibilities start on day one with the challenge of “packing in” all their food and equipment to their campsites. Over the next days, they work in the fields and barns, chop and stack wood, cook over an open fire, wash dishes with seawater, and explore the woods and shoreline. They also participate in daily lessons on natural history, ecology, and sustainability, experiencing deep environmental awareness through appreciation and preservation of the natural environment.

Language Arts

Fifth graders begin their year with a novel that explores the tradition of living off the land, such as Sign of the Beaver or My Side of the Mountain. Our exploration of the elements of narrative—theme, character, setting, point of view, and so on—along with units on grammar and mechanics and on research techniques, foster deeper engagement in their work in the forms of personal essay, fiction, comic strip or graphic prose, poetry, and research paper and presentation. Also, at the beginning of the year, as they hone skills of observing and recording on the nature trail, the students begin to keep their nature journals. They find inspiration in the nature writing of Cynthia Rylant, Rachel Carson, and Jane Goodall. In a unit on tall tales, we meet such characters as Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan and consider how that tradition has a rich connection with the American landscape. We explore the beauty and diversity of the landscape and national parks of the United States. Each student chooses a state and prepares a report and slideshow to share with classmates. In a unit on civil rights, students begin by reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham and the poetry of Langston Hughes and move forward, considering civil rights issues that persist today with such texts as Malala, A Brave Girl from Pakistan, In Our Mothers’ House, and This Day in June. Students choose their own topic and step through the process of research, report writing, and presentation planning in anticipation of an event to which the lower school and parents are invited.

Mathematics

Fifth grade math students delve deeper into problem-solving strategies so they can begin to solve higher-level, complex problems in mathematics and logic. They practice the strategies for performing operations with decimals, fractions, mixed numbers, and ratios. In units on measurement, they calculate the perimeter, area, and volume of rectangles, squares, triangles, and parallelograms; the radius, diameter, and circumference of circles; and the mean, mode, median, and range of sets of numbers. We introduce fifth graders to the concept of percent and they learn to calculate 5%, 10%, 15%, and 75% of a number. We also introduce the students to integers and they learn to add and subtract positive and negative numbers. In a unit on number theory, students learn about prime factorization, exponential notation, operation order, and Venn diagramming.

Social/Emotional Curriculum

Twice a week we engage the fifth graders in a lesson from our Open Circle social/emotional curriculum. We gather in an open circle—open because we include one extra space to underscore that there is always room for another voice and no one is ever left out—for a short lesson and conversation and a story or an activity. As an example, in the Problem Solving unit students identify the first two steps of problem solving: calm down and identify the problem, and they practice these strategies by filling out “I feel __________ because __________________” statements. We step through the problem solving process: brainstorming, deciding on a positive goal, making a plan and trying it, and overcoming obstacles. We consider the characteristics of positive and negative leaders and define what it means to be a positive leader in the classroom and on the playground.

Spanish

In fifth grade, students will be expected to participate en la clase de español entirely in Spanish (with exceptions for new students and those that joined the school recently). Students should be able to choose greetings and perform self-directed greetings in a variety of ways. They should be able to map out the Spanish classroom with bilingual labels for all classroom materials and places. They should also be able to discuss their likes and dislikes, their weekend activities, the weather, their families and homes, and their appearance and personality with little to no support. They spend the first few months of class reviewing and deepening understanding of this vocabulary, and identifying weaknesses to be targeted with flashcards and independent practice.

Students will continue using Big Universe, an online education tool that has a collection of over 11,000 books (over 1,000 of which are in Spanish). Students will be expected to use this resource on their own time and occasionally in class to learn more about Latin American cultural topics and to practice reading assigned Spanish language texts. Students will also use the online study and practice resource, Quizlet. On Quizlet students will sign into their class and have access to all their vocabulary lists, flashcard practice with correct Spanish pronunciation, and a variety of games and practice tools.

Once the class has reviewed and deepened vocabulary for greetings, classroom materials and places, the school, describing people, homes, nature, and communities, fifth grade Spanish will move into studying La tierra (the land). We will explore a unit on Land and Landscapes, learning how to describe the land and land features. In that unit we will also tackle how humans have interacted with the land, learning how to talk about land use, natural resources, and conservation.

The year will conclude with a unit on remarkable Latin American communities that made unusual use of the land: Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital and precursor to Mexico City; Machu Picchu, Incan city hidden in the Peruvian Andes; and selected communities in the Amazon River basin. Students will create a presentation on one of these topics and be expected to present orally, answering questions and also producing a written report.

By the end of fifth grade, students should be comfortable initiating conversations with simple and complex sentences on known topics. They should be able to speak and write in paragraphs, connecting sentences with transitions and based on theme. They should be comfortable with a teacher that speaks only in Spanish. They should be able to respond to questions in full sentences and produce questions and answers in discussion with little to no support (on known topics). They should recognize common Spanish language patterns and be comfortable assuming the meaning of cognates and new vocabulary in context.

Visual Arts

For much of the year, the fifth grade art class becomes a global studio. The students explore Mexican culture, ritual, and popular arts, and create art objects for the school’s El Día de los Muertos altar. They use weaving and wrapping techniques to create 3-D yarn “God’s Eyes” and embossing techniques to create milagros, metal-tooled religious folk charms used as votive offerings. Students also learn about Tibetan culture and employ resist techniques, using cray-pas oil pastels and water color paint, to create floral mandalas. They explore Indian ritual art and Mehandi, or traditional henna body art design. They create a work on paper, drawing a Mehandi hand design using balance, repetition, and alteration. Other folk art projects include mosaic tiles, found object masks, and tissue paper collage candles.

Fifth graders also practice the fundamentals of drawing the human body and expand their knowledge of the elements of composition. They practice gesture drawing—sketching the human figure in quick intervals to create movement and action; they draw hands communicating in sign language; and they complete self-portraits. They study how Georgia O’Keefe used enlargement and selective cropping as composition tools and create their own large-scale pastel floral drawings. They explore the work of Wayne Thiebault and experiment with techniques for creating positive and negative space, achieving depth of value, and drawing 3-D forms.

Music

In music class at GUS, fifth graders: learn basic technique for West African and Caribbean style drumming and percussion ensembles; relate rhythm notation to the playing of an instrument (drums and simple percussion); learn and perform drumming ensembles to accompany Caribbean, South American, and West African songs; improvise simple drumming rhythm patterns; collaboratively create original drumming ensembles; listen to and study classical selections performed at a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert; musically mentor Kindergarten partners through joint music classes and all-school performances; build a repertoire of seasonal and community songs.  

The “Land” theme is expressed through the study of drumming and its various expressions in different parts of the world.  

Fifth graders perform in all-school Grand Friends’ Day, Solstice, and May Day celebrations.  In addition, the culminating “Songs and Rhythms of the World” performances have included drumming and music around the world, as well as music of the South African Anti-Apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights movement.

Dance

In dance class, students create, express, communicate, and secure confidence through the study of movement. They participate in exercises that foster creativity, challenge them physically and expressively, require teamwork, develop identity, promote problem solving, and require that they describe their creative process. Children gain body awareness, coordination, locomotor skills, musicality, and choreography techniques through formal and improvisational modern dance lessons. The K–5 dance curriculum spirals from year to year, increasing in complexity. As an example, when fifth graders study poetry in their language arts class, in dance they choreograph spoken word dances.

In addition to the modern dance curriculum, students are introduced to a variety of cultural dance styles. To broaden our global education and dance advocacy, the entire GUS school participates in Dance Anywhere, an annual worldwide simultaneous celebration of dance!

Physical Education

In fifth grade we continue to focus on the skills students will need for the sports they play in upper school. We engage in games and activities that incorporate these skills and also small, in-class tournaments that promote good sportsmanship and teamwork. All students participate in all activities. Our goal is to help students work on the same skills but at the pace that is appropriate for them. We encourage them to seek their personal best and to measure themselves by their own improvement rather than the abilities of peers. Students will also continue to play many of the games they have been playing in past years but with added rules and greater intricacy.

Community Service

For their community service, fifth graders work with fourth graders to keep a local beach clean and free of trash. They are also the official paper recyclers for the school.