Fifth Grade

In the Cambridgeport 5th grade program, we work to meet the developmental needs of fifth graders by having students work half the day with one teacher for math and science, and half the day with their other primary teacher for english language arts and social studies. We believe this structure gives students the benefit of close relationships with their teachers and classmates, as well the depth and rigor possible when teachers can specialize in content areas. An added benefit is that the the experience of working closely with two teachers helps students prepare for a departmentalized approach in middle school. Our classrooms are filled with opportunities and supports for rich academic and emotional growth.

Fifth graders are exuberant, curious, social people who are ready to establish an identity and leave their mark on the world. Our first priority is to ensure that we create an environment where everyone feels safe, known as an individual and respected. We work on building a strong classroom community where all students feel free to be themselves, take risks, and learn. Each class spends time at the beginning of the year building community, but of course this effort continues throughout the year. Students and teachers work together to collaboratively create a set of classroom principles that guide us. Teachers put special care into being clear about expectations and rules to support students as they develop independence.

Our expectation is that children will work hard and take their learning seriously. When a student is not making a strong effort, or is making it difficult for others to learn, we work with that child to get back on track. We are guided in our work by the program Responsive Classroom, principles of mindfulness and our Cambridgeport Habits of Mind: Seek Out Challenge, Think Flexibly, Analyze and Interpret, Persevere to Understanding and Construct & Critique Arguments.

We strive to help students develop a sense of personal responsibility. Across the curriculum they learn to give and receive feedback, and to work productively on their own as well as in a group. Students engage in a variety of learning experiences, both individual endeavors and larger group projects. We have high expectations when it comes to the “social curriculum.” We expect students to be kind. This is not just “Don’t be mean.” We expect kids to show kindness actively – by greeting their classmates and teachers in the morning, helping out with a task, explaining a difficult concept to a partner, speaking up when something unkind is happening and reaching out to include people. We strive for an active, engaged community where students use their powerful voices to speak up for justice and equity. As with our academic curriculum, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Our curriculum, activities and class meetings all provide rich opportunities for learning how to be in the world. The community values students develop in 5th grade will enable them to be successful middle schoolers and caring global citizens.

Here are some snapshots of what you might experience as a fifth grader at C’port:
  • You are sitting by a window, engrossed in your writer’s notebook, searching for just the right words to capture a moment in you life when everything changed.
  • You’re leaning in, watching intently, to see what happens with the ingenious experiment you designed with your team to prove that air IS matter!
    You’re leading a herd of rambunctious goats out to pasture at the Farm School.
  • You are crafting a detailed annotated drawing showing the evaporation and condensation processes in a two bottle system
  • You are emceeing All School Share in front of an audience of 300 people.
  • You are huddled with your teammates, making a poster showing how yo\u solved a crazy hard math challenge in three very unique ways!
  • You’re playing the violin in strings class, and realizing that a scale in three part harmony sounds beautiful!
  • You are at a computer, putting the final touches on the comic panels you created from scratch to bring your historical research to life.
  • You’re talking honestly and powerfully about equity in an anti-bullying workshop created by and for your fellow fifth grade students.
  • You and your young reading buddy are curled up, lost in a wonderful picture book.
  • You’re dressed to the 9’s and dancing the tango, surrounded by all your classmates who are also looking absolutely fabulous!
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