Grade 5 Curriculum
Students in grade five are at a pivotal point between childhood and young adulthood. A reflection of this development stage is their coordinated, balanced and harmonious movements. Cognitively the students are more able to understand questions and phenomena in a realistic and reasoning manner. The celebration of their abilities culminates in their participation in the spring in the Greek pentathlon, an Olympiad event with other regional Waldorf Schools.
History and geography become separate main lesson subjects. As the students study the progress of humanity through many phases of consciousness they are led to see themselves and the age they live in as heirs of an evolutionary process that they in turn will carry forward.
- Writing from ancient mythologies of India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Greece
- Compositions, dictations or copied from the blackboard
- Introduced to ancient forms of writing i.e. hieroglyphs and cuneiform
- Dictionary use is practiced; etymology and spelling
- Grammar reviewed; additions include direct and indirect questions, simple and continuous verb forms in all tenses, colon and the semi-colon, use of paragraphs, subject and predicate
- Weekly reading classes; formal book reports introduced; class reader for group study
- Speech work increases in complexity
- Book reports are assigned, submitted and reflections given back (3-6 reports)
- Drama continues with scripted plays, blend of individual parts for each student and choral work
- Writing of poetry through writing Ode to Apollo for Greek Olympiad
- Independent project (often geography) requiring research, reading and writing
- Mental math in narrative and written form math Fractions – multiply, divide; proper, improper fractions and mixed numbers with all processes
- Decimals – introduce, understand decimal notation, decimal fractions, interchange between fractions and decimals
- Carry out all four processes with decimals
- Apply the rule of three (if and therefore) to practical problems
- Calculation of perimeter and area of squares and rectangles
- Work with metric measurement including estimation
- Rounding off to two decimal points
- Calculating averages including average speeds
- Complex mental math involving more than one process
- Fractions- find lowest common denominator; highest common factor
Botany is introduced in Grade 5. Students learn about plants in context to their environment. The development of the complexities of the plant world is studied through the local and extended flora ranging from the primitive fungi to the vascular plants.
Ancient history and mythology are studied beginning with Ancient India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt and Greece. These places are studied mainly through myths, legends, stories, geography and sometimes, cultural experiences.
The students of grade five journey farther afield into the world by studying the North American continent with a specific emphasis on Canada. We look at the configuration of the land and how specific regions are connected to the economics of the area as well as the culture of each place. From the study of Ancient Civilizations, the children draw and paint maps of continents such as India as well as the continent of North America.
French & German
In Grade 5 the children strengthen their awareness of grammatical patterns and participate in, or even develop dialogues and sketches and short plays. Simple questions to a reading text are practiced with the whole group, later individually, and eventually questions and answers are done in writing. Sketches, little plays, word puzzles, guessing games and so on are still an important part of the foreign language lesson.
Every effort is made to give students the opportunity to be immersed in the French and German language, to enjoy their different melody and gesture and to experience their richness through poetry, song and story.
By Grade Five, the students become more proficient in singing parts, rounds, reading music and playing recorder. The students receive their alto recorder during the second half of the year. The minor scale is introduced at this grade as well giving the children more understanding how minor and major create different moods within a given song. In junior choir, the children become more comfortable singing in two-part harmony and work on blending and part-singing.
The students participate in one double movement period per week. During September, October, May and June we utilize the school field. In the winter term, Grades 5-8 come together to participate in four afternoons of downhill skiing/snowboarding at a local ski hill. Otherwise the students are transported to a rented Gym facility where conventional sports are taught. The students are now able to appreciate and be guided by rules. As the students become independent more emphasis is placed on skills development, technique and self-discipline.
The peak of the Grade 5 movement classes is the Greek Olympic event in late May. Several regional Waldorf Schools come together for this two-day event. The competition includes javelin, discus, running, long- jump and Greek wrestling. The students perform in each event and strive to do their individual best. Subtle training begins on the first day of class with running, stretching, and spatial dynamics -exercises for strength, form, and grace. Formal event training begins in late March.
- Access for free drawing with coloured beeswax crayons
- The teacher models reverence for the task which the children imitate
- The children are given the three primary colours with which to paint, out of which they will experience the secondary colours
- Have an art class once per week with their class teacher doing wet-on-wet painting reflecting the subject matter of the main lesson.
- The creation of main lesson books with beeswax crayons and/or coloured pencil crayons.
Practical Arts: Handwork
Return to knitting – sock making; long term project requiring patience, perseverance – leads to sense of accomplishment; learn to follow a pattern, new techniques managing 4 and then 5 needles; develops problem solving capacities as well as concentration and observation; requires awareness of balance and beauty and appreciation for what goes into making clothing (something they wear).
Practical Arts: Woodworking
Cheese knife and spinning top; using only hand tools and without outlining with pencil, students form wood into well, proportioned and aesthetically pleasing forms and, in the case of the spinning top, find symmetry and balance; develop keen observation and problem solving skills; main project is long term so it requires patience, perseverance and dedication; introduction to the nature of wood leading to appreciation of trees and objects made from wood
Students gather regionally to participate in a Greek pentathlon. In addition, the class might go on a camping trip at the beginning or end of the year. The class might make a day trip to the Royal Ontario Museum to view the Ancient Greek exhibit.