Academics » Upper Elementary (3rd - 5th)

Upper Elementary (3rd - 5th)

Our Upper Elementary classes are responsible for helping our young learners from 2nd grade become more mature learners and ready for the challenges of middle school and the beginnings of adolescence.  There are enormous strides in growth in all our core subjects during these 3rd - 5th grade years.  Our focus is to keep learning fun!  While student studies and responsibilities are becoming more challenging, teachers use integrated STREAM lessons to keep them excited, creative, and ready to learn.  By the time a student finishes the 5th grade, they have learned:


Language Arts:  This subject encompasses many areas of learning including reading, reading comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and rules for punctuation.  But most importantly, our teachers help young student minds foster a true love of reading.  Statistically, if a child is an avid reader they continue to excel and learn for a lifetime.  We utilize a Reader's Workshop model.  The whole class is not always reading the same book at the same level and at the same pace.  Students are reading on their own.  We try to encourage a community of readers making personal choices in reading material with guidance from their teacher.  Our vocabulary studies include the study of word origin and exercising knowledge of affixes, and morphology which results in vocabulary growing exponentially as opposed to the memorization of words. Children are taught spelling rules and then how to apply the rules of spelling through explicit instruction.  Due to the large amounts of learning in Language Arts in Upper Elementary Grades, we have categorized their learning standards.


3rd Grade Language Arts:  In 3rd grade, our students make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. They learn what it takes to be a good reader through reading workshops and one on one conferencing. Students discuss books in small groups and ask questions about what they are reading. Students use interactive notebooks and graphs to organize their thoughts about the books they read. Students are introduced to many literary genres and a variety of print forms. They learn organizational methods that help them prepare for more complex writing assignments and learn to write persuasive, fiction, and informational writing pieces.  


4th Grade Language Arts:  Our 4th grade curriculum includes listening and speaking, reading, spelling, grammar and correct usage, writing (including narrative, opinion, and expository), and handwriting. Students continually read from a wide variety of genres to study various literary styles and vocabulary, and to improve study and comprehension skills. Our students continue to improve their grammar skills, study the eight parts of speech of the English language. The teaching of spelling focuses on word roots, patterns, and families.  Students continue to practice cursive handwriting using the Palmer Method of Handwriting.


5th Grade Language Arts: Our 5th grade curriculum focuses on choice of reading materials, again to foster a love of reading with stories that appeal to those students. Reading skills are taught using the books the students are reading. Teachers confer with the students regularly to assess their engagement with books of all different genres. Our students study the eight parts of speech and writing.  Writing genres include narrative, expository, research reports, essays and letter writing and is practiced daily. Grammar usage and mechanics are reinforced through writing, as well as speaking and listening skills. Our vocabulary program consists of a weekly study of Greek or Latin roots and 10 words containing those roots, presented throughout the year in 30 units. They must learn definitions, match the meaning, synonyms, and antonyms, completing the sentence, analogies and parts of speech. 



Our students are challenged in math with a rigorous curriculum and our teachers follow the NC math standards.  Grades 3 and 4 participate in Reflex Math to encourage excitement for math and improve their computation skills. By the end of 5th grade, our students have learned addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of large numbers, decimals, fractions, and mixed numbers.  Word problems become multi-step. Math geometric concepts such as perimeter, area, angles, and volume, are also covered. Our math curriculum incorporates Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company 2020, which includes enrichment and remediation strategies for our students.


Social Studies:

Each grade focuses on different themes.  Our 3rd grade students focus on the human environment, communities, government, and citizenship. Our 4th grade students focus on North Carolina history and our state's role in early settlement, revolutionary and civil wars, economic development through the years, geographic regions, counties and cities, and cash crops.  Our 5th grade students focus on American history from Native Americans to Post-Civil War Reconstruction. There is also a great emphasis on the geography of the US, along with states and capitals.



Our students study physical, earth and life science with each grade studying in more details. Topics include electricity, energy and heat, biology unity and diversity, and ecosystems. With our STREAM curriculums, there is much emphasis on science inquiry, process, tools, and experimentation. Students are challenged to ask questions, discover answers, and try experiments. Our teachers use the Pearson Interactive Science with NGSS as well as many additional online sources such as Project Learning Tree, NC Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom, and NC Environmental Education. These students love their lessons of the chicken and duck lifecycles, tending to our chicken coop, our classroom bunnies, and taking care of our master garden.


Religion:  Our religion studies concentrate on the roots of Christianity, the Bible, and many of the Catholic prayers such as Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Guardian Angel, Act of Contrition, The Angelus, The Rosary, Hail Holy Queen, and Stations of the Cross.  Students participate in weekly School Masses.  There are several service projects woven into their school year that reinforce helping our neighbor and those in need - canned food drives for our local homeless shelter, volunteering at the food pantry, monthly dress down days for local charities, eyeglass collections for The Lions Club, visiting local nursing homes, etc.  


Spanish: Our 3rd-5th grade students are learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone. This incredible language program allows our students to progress at their own pace, get feedback for the spoken word, and set benchmarks as they learn.  When these students transition into our middle school, they can continue Spanish or choose from 20+ additional language options to study through Rosetta Stone.


Enjoy this PPT of our students and teachers in ACTION!