Start of the Year
At the beginning of fifth grade, there will soon be more challenging classes than easy classes for your average fifth grader. At this age, students start to gravitate toward and specialize in their best subjects. Teachers also notice the more gifted children in a given area. A clear fork in the path is laid out for the student at this stage. So, before the year begins, make sure you know what is generally expected of a fifth grader with this skills list.
Book reports will consume the fifth grader's nights and weekends. Required reading of higher-level books will be the foundation and purpose of these book reports. Students will even start to philosophize on their grade level. No longer will they only read fiction titles, instead they will complete tasks that require research skills. For some great tips, read Fifth Grade Reading and Writing Intervention Strategies.
At this time, students get their first dose of note-taking, albeit small compared to the types of notes they will be expected to write at higher levels. A four-page paper may not be uncommon here. Persuasive, expressive and narrative writings are all types of papers the fifth grade students will write in preparation for the rest of their educational career. They may also be required to write oral presentations, while self-corrected papers will be the norm. Find some writing tips at the 5th Grade Writer's Workshop.
Students have worked on division and multiplication math problems since the 3rd grade. Tasks have been simple, offering enough to learn the basics; but in fifth grade, these things change. Multiple digit problems will be done more regularly to increase the difficulty level. The order of operations is introduced in math, while more work will be done with fractions and decimals.
Science becomes more prominent at this grade level. Teachers will expect learners to think more like a scientist, asking questions and using the scientific method in multiple settings. Life science, earth science and physical science will be covered in some depth. Bright Hub Education offers a list of science experiments for middle school students.
U.S. history and geography will be in the forefront of this subject. The three branches of government, current events and major moments in the country’s past all make up the high points at the beginning of the year.