Teaching Elementary School Grades

by | Aug 21, 2018 | Teaching Strategies | 0 comments

If you enjoy “Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)”, please make sure to check out the rest of the “Changing Grade Levels” series.

  1. Teaching a New Grade Curriculum
  2. Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)
  3. Teaching Elementary School Grades
  4. Teaching Middle School Grades
  5. Teaching High School Grades

Often new teachers in the Upper Elementary (Primary) grades are worried about being prepared for their students. Compared to the lower grades, there is a greater focus on content across all core subjects. Teachers moving from the Middle Grades are usually concerned about having appropriate expectations for students’ abilities. Just what are Upper Elementary students like and what can teachers expect?

Teachers moving to the Upper Elementary grades (3rd, 4th, and 5th) can expect their students to be much like the primary students but with greater skills and abilities. In general, students are still “sweet” but slowly move toward preteen attitudes, especially in Fifth Grade. Students begin to be more influenced and focused on the opinions and behaviors of their peers – especially if the students ages are varied (such as retained students or young students.) New teachers should keep a close eye on bullying issues, because students begin to hit puberty and the drama starts. Especially in Fifth Grade, teachers will notice a wide range of maturity levels as some students hit puberty before others.

Like any of the other education levels, the skills and abilities of students will vary. Learning problems become more obvious and cause problems in the Upper Elementary grades as students read to learn instead of learn to read. Many students with vision or auditory processing issues or even ADD can cope in the primary grades, but begin to struggle in Upper Elementary as the learning expectations increase. Teachers new to these grades should be aware of the possibility of underlying learning problems.

In the rest of this post, an overview of each specific grade level is provided, as well as bulleted standards expectations for each of the following disciplines: English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics (Math), Science (Sci), and Social Science (SS). (The learning expectations are general and may vary a little in each state.)

Elementary School – Third Grade

Third Grade is a transitional level for most students across the board. Most required state testing begin at this grade level, as well as increased expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics. This can be a challenging year for both teachers and students. Expectations for maturity and self-reliance are much higher than in the Lower Primary Grades. Students are expected to have developed enough dexterity to cut, draw, and assemble without too much assistance. Students will begin to recognize and form social groups within the larger group and attention should be paid to potential bullying and/or harassment that can follow these social cliques.

  • ELA –

    • Reading
      • Refer explicitly to the text as the basis for answers; fables, folktales, myths from diverse cultures; character traits, motivations, feelings and how their actions impact a sequence of events
      • Contextual meanings including literal and non-literal language; identify divisions of stories, dramas, and poems (chapter, scene, stanza); distinguish personal point-of-view from the narrator’s or characters’
      • Purpose of illustrations (create mood, emphasize an aspect of a character or setting); compare and contrast themes, settings, and plots of a book series or individual books by the same author
      • Proficiently read and comprehend stories, dramas, and poetry at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band
      • Phonics and word analysis skills (prefixes, suffixes, Latin suffixes, multisyllable, irregular spellings)
      • Read for purpose and understanding; grad-level accuracy, rate, and expression; self-correct by rereading as necessary
      • Find relationships between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures
      • Compare and contrast important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic
    • Writing
      • Write point-of-view opinion pieces, introducing a topic, provide supporting details, use linking words (because, therefore, since, for example), provide a conclusion
      • Write an informative/explanatory text; introduce a topic (include illustrations); develop using facts, definitions, and details; Use linking words (also, another, and, more, but); provide a conclusion
      • Write a narrative on a real or imagined experience; establish a situation and introduce a narrator and characters, sequencing events; use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, feelings; use temporal words or phrases; end with closure
      • With guidance and support from adults and peers – produce writing developed and organized for a specific purpose; develop and strengthen through planning, revising, editing; use technology to produce and publish independent and collaborative writing
      • Conduct short research projects; cite experiences or gather information from print/digital sources making notes that sort evidence into provided categories
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (research, reflection, revision) and shorter time frames (discipline-specific tasks, purposes, audiences)
    • Speaking
      • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher-led) as part of a studied text or subject, following agreed-upon rules, asking questions on topic and linking to other’s commentary, demonstrating understanding of the subject; determine visual, quantitative, and oral main ideas and supporting details of a text or media presentation; ask/answer questions about a specific speaker’s information
      • Report on a topic or text by clearly citing facts and relevant, descriptive details; read fluidly at an understandable pace with visual and audio support when appropriate; speak in complete sentences to provide details or clarification
  • Math –

    • Operations/Algebra
      • Interpret products of whole numbers; interpret whole-number quotients of whole numbers; use multiplication and division within 100 to solve problems (equal groups, arrays, measurement quantities) by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number; determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication/division equation relating three whole numbers
      • Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply/divide (Commutative Property, Associative Property, Distributive Property); understand division as an unknown factor problem
      • Fluently multiply/divide within 100 using properties of operations
      • Solve two-step word problems using the four operations, with a letter standing for the unknown quantity (mental computation, estimate by rounding); identify arithmetic patterns (addition/multiplication tables) and explain using properties of operations
    • Number and Base Ten Operations
      • Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100; fluently add/subtract within 100 using place value, properties of operations, relationship between addition/subtraction; multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10-90
    • Number and Operations – Fractions
      • Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts and a/b is formed by a parts of 1/b; understand a fraction as a number on the number line between 0-1 and being able to graph it; two fractions are equivalent if they are the same size/point on a number line, recognize and generate equivalent fractions, express whole numbers as fractions, compare two fractions with the same numerator or denominator using >, =, or <
    • Measurement and Data
      • Tell and write time to the nearest minute, solve addition/subtraction word problems involving one-minute intervals on a diagram; measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units (g, kg, l) to add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems
      • Draw a scaled picture graph/bar graph to represent data set with several categories to solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems; generate measurement data using rulers marked in lengths of halves and fourths of an inch and plot on a graph
      • Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures (square units); measure areas by counting unit squares (cm, m, in, ft, etc); relate area to multiplication/addition (area of rectangle in whole numbers)
      • Solve real world & mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons (perimeter, finding an unknow side length, comparing perimeter measurement to area of similar/different rectangles)
    • Geometry
      • Understand shapes in different categories (rhombus, rectangle, etc) may share attributes (number of sides) that can define a larger category (quadrilateral)
      • Partition shapes into parts with equal areas, expressed as a unit fraction of the whole
  • Sci –

    • Life Science
      • Describe structure in plants and their roles in food production, support, water/nutrient transport, and reproduction; investigate/describe how plants respond to stimuli (light, gravity)
      • Classify animals into major groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, vertebrates/invertebrates, live birth/egg layers) according to physical characteristics/behaviors; classify flowering/nonflowering plants (produce seeds, produce spores) according to physical characteristics
      • Describe how animals/plants respond to changing seasons; recognize that plants use energy from the sun, air, water to make their own food
    • Physical Science
      • Identify some basic forms of energy (light, heat, sound, electrical, mechanical); recognize that energy has the ability to cause motion/change; demonstrate that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or travels from one medium to another; demonstrate that light can be reflected, refracted, absorbed
      • Investigate/observe/explain that things that give off light often also give off heat; investigate/observe/explain that heat is produced when one object rubs against another
      • Measure/compare temperatures of various samples of solids/liquids; measure/compare the mass/volume of solids/liquids; compare materials/objects according to properties (size, shape, color, texture, hardness)
      • Describe the changes water undergoes (heated/cooled) using familiar scientific terms (melting, freezing, boiling, evaporation, condensation)
    • Earth and Space Science
      • Explain that stars can be different (smaller, larger, brighter) and all except the Sun are so far away they look like points of light; identify the Sun as a star that emits energy (light); recognize that the Sun appears large/bright because it is closest to Earth; explore the Law of Gravity by demonstrating that gravity is a force that can be overcome; investigate that the number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than seen with the unaided eye
      • Demonstrate that radiant energy from the Sun can heat objects, when Sun is not present heat may be lost
    • Nature of Science
      • Raise questions about the natural world, investigate them individually and in terms of free exploration/systematic investigation, generate appropriate explanations base on those explorations; compare the observations made by different groups using the same tools and seek reasons to explain differences across the groups; keep records as appropriate (pictorial, written, charts/graphs) of investigations conducted; recognize the importance of communication among scientists; recognize that scientists question, discuss, check each other’s evidence and explanations; infer based on observation; explain that empirical evidence is information (observations, measurements) used to help validate explanations
      • Recognize that words in science can have different or more specific meanings than use in everyday language (energy, cell, heat/cold, evidence)
  • SS

    • American History
      • Analyze primary/secondary sources; utilize technology resources to gather information from primary/secondary sources; define terms related to the social sciences
    • Geography
      • Use thematic maps, tables, charts, graphs, and photos to analyze geographic information; review basic map elements (coordinate grid, cardinal/intermediate directions, title, compass rose, scale, key/legend with symbols); label the continents/oceans on a world map; name/identify purpose of maps (physical, political, elevation, population); compare maps/globes to develop an understanding of distortion; use maps to identify different types of scale to measure distances between two places
      • Label the countries/commonwealths in North America (Canada, United States, Mexico) and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica); identify the five regions of the United States; label the states in each of the five regions of the US; describe the physical features of the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean; identify natural/man-made landmarks in the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean; investigate how people perceive places/regions differently (interviews, mental mapping) by studying (news, poems, legends, songs) about a region or area
      • Describe the climate/vegetation in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean; describe the natural resources in US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean
      • Explain how the environment influences settlement patterns in US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean; identify the cultures that have settled in US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean; compare cultural characteristics of diverse populations in one of the five regions of US, with Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean; identify contributions from various ethnic groups to the US
    • Economics
      • Give examples of how scarcity results in trade; list the characteristics of money; recognize that buyers/sellers interact to exchange goods/services through the use of trade or money; distinguish between currencies used in the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean
    • Civics and Government
      • Explain the purpose/need for government; describe how government gains its power from the people; explain how government was established through a written Constitution
      • Identify group/individual actions of citizens that demonstrate civility, cooperation, volunteerism, and other civic virtues
      • Identify the levels of government (local, state, federal); describe how government is organized at the local level; recognize that every state has a state constitution; recognize that the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land

Elementary School – Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade continues the progression of the concepts and skills begun in Third Grade. Many skills build upon what was learned in Third, so students who were behind in Third often need support in Fourth. Most schools assign regular homework in Fourth (although there is a trend away from homework in elementary), but not more than 30-40 minutes’ worth. Students are expected to write longer pieces, including essays with text evidence and research. Student begin to establish social “groups” and may bully those who are different or non-conformist more openly at this stage. Establishing and modeling expected classroom behaviors and interactions is essential to promoting a safe and engaging environment.

  • ELA –

    • Reading
      • Refer to details and examples in a text explicitly and when drawing inferences; determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem and summarize the text; describe in depth a character, setting, or event with textual evidence
      • Use context to determine meaning of words and phrases including allusions to characters found in mythology; explain the differences between poems, drama, and prose using elements of poems (verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions); compare and contrast points-of-view from different story narrations including the difference between first- and third-person narratives
      • Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text; compare and contrast similar themes and topics (opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures
      • Proficiently read and comprehend literature (stories, dramas, poetry) in the grades 4-5 text complexity band with scaffolding as needed
      • Apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills, letter-sound correspondence, syllabication patterns, morphology (roots + affixes) to read accurately words in and out of context; sufficient accuracy and fluency to read with purpose and understanding, on-level prose and poetry orally with expression, use context to self-correct
      • Define general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text; describe the structure (chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or excerpt; compare firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event or topic
      • Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably
      • Proficiently read and comprehend informational texts (history/social studies, science, technical texts) in the grades 4-5 text complexity band with scaffolding
    • Writing
      • Write point-of-view opinion pieces, clearly stating an opinion, provide facts and supporting details, use linking words (for instance, in order to, in addition), provide a conclusion
      • Write an informative/explanatory text; clearly introduce a topic; in paragraphs and sections develop the topic using facts, definitions, and concrete details, quotations; Use linking words (another, for example, also, because); provide a conclusion
      • Write a narrative on a real or imagined experiences or events; establish a situation and introduce a narrator and characters, sequencing events; use dialogue and descriptions to develop experiences and events showing character responses; use a variety of transitional words and phrases; use concrete words or phrases and sensory details; provide a conclusion that follows the narrated experience
      • Produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; with peer and adult support plan, revise, and edit writing; with some guidance, use technology including the internet to produce and publish independent and collaborative writing; demonstrate command of keyboarding to type one page in a single sitting
      • Conduct short research projects on different aspects of a topic; cite experiences or gather information from print/digital sources making notes that sort evidence into categories and provide a list of sources; Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama; explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (research, reflection, revision) and shorter time frames (discipline-specific tasks, purposes, audiences)
    • Speaking
      • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher-led) with diverse partners building on each others’ ideas; come to discussions prepared; follow agreed-upon rules; pose and respond to specific questions; review key ideas expressed and explain own ideas and understanding
      • Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media; identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points
      • Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner with appropriate facts, relevant and descriptive details in support of main ideas or themes; add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate; differentiate between formal English (presenting ideas) and informal discourse (small-group discussion) contexts
  • Math –

    • Operations/Algebra
      • Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison; multiply/divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison using drawings or equations; solve multistep whole number word problems having whole-number answers using operations including problems with remainders; determine whether an equation is true/false; determine the unknown whole number in an equation relating four whole numbers
      • Find all whole number factor pairs from 1-100; recognize a whole number is a multiple of its factors; determine prime and composite numbers from 1-100
      • Generate a number or shape pattern following a given rule
    • Number and Base Ten Operations
      • Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place is ten times what it represents in the place to its right; read/write multi-digit whole numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form; use place value to round multi-digit whole numbers to any place
      • Fluently add/subtract multi-digit whole numbers; multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and two two-digit numbers; find whole-number quotients and remainders with up to four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors
    • Number and Operations – Fractions
      • Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n x a)/(n x b) by using visual fraction models; compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators (find common denominators) using >, =, or <
      • Understand addition/subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts of the same whole, decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with the same denominator in multiple ways, add/subtract mixed numbers with like denominators, solve word problems involving addition/subtraction of fractions with like whole number denominators
      • Understand fraction a/b as a multiple of 1/b, understand a multiple of a/b as a multiple of 1/b and multiply it by a whole number, solve word problems involving multiplication of a fraction by a whole number
      • Express a fraction with a denominator of 10 as an equivalent fraction with a denominator of 100; use decimal notation for fractions with denominators of 10 or 100; compare two decimals to hundredths with >, =, or <
    • Measurement and Data
      • Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system (km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz; l, ml; hr, min, sec) and create a table of equivalent measures; use the four operations to solve word problems for distance, time, money; apply area/perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world math problems
      • Make a line plot of data set of measurements in fractions of a unit
      • Recognize angles as geometric shapes formed when two rays share a common endpoint measured by the fraction of a circular arc between the points intersecting the circle that are a n portion of 360⸰; measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor and sketch specified angles; solve addition/subtraction problems to determine unknown angle measurements
    • Geometry
      • Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular/parallel lines; classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence/absence of parallel/perpendicular lines and/or specified angles, recognize triangles as a category (right triangle); recognize/draw a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure
      • Partition shapes into parts with equal areas, expressed as a unit fraction of the whole
  • Sci

    • Life Science
      • Identify processes of sexual reproduction in flowering plants (pollination, fertilization (seed production), seed dispersal, germination); explain that although characteristics of plants/animals are inherited, some can be affected by environment; recognize that animal behaviors may be shaped by heredity/learning; compare/contrast major stages in life cycles of state plants/animals (incomplete/complete metamorphosis, flowering/nonflowering seed-bearing plants)
      • Compare the seasonal changes in state plants/animals to those in other regions of the country; explain that animals, including humans, cannot make their own food (energy stored in plants/animals transferred when eaten); trace the flow of energy from the Sun as it is transferred along the food chain (producers to consumers); recognize ways plants/animals, including humans, impact the environment
    • Physical Science
      • Observe and describe some basic forms of energy (light, heat, sound, electrical, motion); investigate/describe that energy has the ability to cause motion/create change; investigate/explain that sound is produced by vibrating objects and pitch depends on how fast/slow the object vibrates; describe how moving water/air are sources of energy used to move things
      • Recognize that heat flows from hot to cold objects and may cause materials to change temperature; identify common materials that conduct heat well/poorly
      • Recognize that an object in motion always changes its position/may change direction; investigate/describe that the speed of an object is determined by the distance it travels in a unit of time, objects can move at different speeds
      • Measure/compare objects/materials based on their physical properties (mass, shape, volume, color, hardness, texture, odor, taste, attraction to magnets); identify properties/common uses of water in each of its states; explore the Law of Conservation of Mass demonstrating the mass of a whole object is always the same as the sum of the masses of its parts; investigate/describe that magnets can attract magnetic materials, attract/repel other magnets
      • Identify some familiar changes in materials that result in other materials with different characteristics (decaying animal/plant matter, burning, rusting, cooking)
    • Earth and Space Science
      • Observe that the patterns of stars in the sky stay the same although they appear to shift across the sky nightly, different stars can be seen in different seasons; describe the changes in the observable shape of the moon over the course of about a month; recognize that Earth revolves around the Sun in a year, rotates on its axis in 24-hour day; relate that the rotation of Earth (day/night) and apparent movement of the Sun, Moon, and stars are connected
      • Identify the three categories of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic); identify physical properties of common earth-forming minerals (hardness, color, luster, cleavage, streak color) and the role of minerals in rock formation; recognize that humans need resources found on Earth (renewable/nonrenewable); describe the basic differences between physical weathering and erosion; investigate how technology/tools help to extend the ability of humans to observe very small/large things; identify resources available in the state
    • Nature of Science
      • Raise questions about the natural world, use appropriate, identified reference materials that support understanding (obtain information, individual/team investigation, generate explanations based on explorations); compare observations made by different groups using multiple tools, seek reasons to explain differences across groups; explain that science does not always follow rigidly defined method (scientific method), but methods of observation and empirical evidence; attempt reasonable answers to scientific questions citing evidence; compare the methods/results of investigations done by other classmates; keep records that describe observations, separating actual observations from ideas and inferences; recognize/explain that scientists base their explanations on evidence; recognize that science involves creativity in designing experiments
      • Explain that science focuses solely on the natural world
      • Explain that models can be three- or two-dimensional, an explanation in your mind, or computer model
  • SS

    • American History
      • Analyze primary/secondary resources to identify significant individuals/events throughout state history; synthesize information related to state history through print/electronic media
      • Compare Native American tribes in the state
      • Identify explorers who came to the state and the motivations for their explorations; describe causes/effects of European colonization on the Native American tribes in the state; identify the significance of early settlements within the state; explain the purpose of/daily life in early settlements in the state; identify the significance of minority settlements established in the state; identify the effects of European rule in the state; identify nations (Span, France, England, Russia, Netherlands) that controlled territory within the state prior to the United States; explain how Native American tribes formed and the purpose for their migrations; explain how the state started as a colony/territory; identify the causes/effects of military conflicts within the state
      • Explain the effects of technological advances on the state; describe pioneer life in the state
      • Describe the state’s involvement/purpose in the American Civil War; summarize challenges residents faced during the Reconstruction Era
      • Describe the economic development of the state’s industries; summarize contributions immigrant groups made; describe contributions of significant individuals; describe effects of the Spanish-American War
      • Describe the causes/effects of the 1920s Boom/Bust; summarize challenges faced during the Great Depression; identify the state’s role in World War II
      • Identify the state’s role in the Civil Rights Movement; describe how/why immigration impact the state today; describe the effect of the 1960s Science Movements on the state’s economy; explain how tourism affects the state’s economy and growth
      • Utilize timelines to sequence key events in state history
    • Geography
      • Identify physical features of the state; locate/label cultural features on a state map; explain how weather impacts the state; interpret political/physical maps using map elements (title, compass rose, cardinal/intermediate directions, symbols, legend, scale, longitude, latitude)
    • Economics
      • Identify entrepreneurs from various social/ethnic backgrounds who have influenced the state/local economy; explain the state’s role in the national/international economy and conditions that attract businesses to the state
    • Civics and Government
      • Describe how the state’s constitution protects the rights of citizens and provides for the structure, function, purpose of state government
      • Discuss public issues in the state that impact the daily lives of its citizens; identify ways citizens work together to influence government and help solve community/state problems; explain the importance of public service, voting, and volunteerism
      • Identify the three branches (Legislative, Judicial, Executive) of government in the state and the powers of each; distinguish between state (governor, state representative, or senator) and local government (mayor, city commissioner)

Elementary School – Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade moves students even closer to academic independence, stressing formal presentation and quality and punctuality of work. Fifth grade students are expected to be ready for Middle School by the end of the year, so teachers need to help students develop organizational skills and increase student responsibility. Academic complexity continues to advance as concepts and skills build upon each other, making mastery of skills crucial to student achievement. Homework assignments should take no more than 50 minutes. (Teachers who are team teaching should coordinate projects and homework in order to spread out larger assignments.)

Fifth Grade students may change quite a lot during the year. Many enter as elementary students but leave as middle schoolers. This can include a shift toward peer groups and away from adults. By the end of the year teachers will see a big range in students’ maturity and attitudes. Some girls may begin puberty, adding hormonal stress into the classroom. Teachers should have a plan to in place to support these girls, as this can be a very embarrassing and confusing time for them. (Male teachers may want to buddy up with a female teacher.)

  • ELA –

    • Reading
      • Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text; determine theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama
      • Determine meaning of words and phrases as used in text (figurative language, metaphors, similes); explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together structurally; describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point-of-view influences how events are described
      • Analyze how visual/multimedia elements contribute to meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (graphic novel, multimedia fiction/folklore/myth/poem); compare and contrast stories in the same genre (mystery/adventure) on similar themes and topics
      • Proficiently read and comprehend literature (stories, dramas, poetry) in the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently
      • Use letter-sound correspondence, syllabication patterns, morphology (roots/suffixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in/out of context
      • Read with sufficient accuracy/fluency grade-level text with purpose and understanding (prose, poetry) both silently and aloud using context to self-correct
      • Quote accurately from a text both explicitly and in drawing inferences; determine two or more ideas of a text supported by key details in summary; explain the relationship/interactions of two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in historical, scientific, or technical text
      • Determine meaning of academic/domain-specific words and phrases in grade-level texts; compare and contrast overall structure (chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; analyze multiple accounts of the same event/topic noting similarities/differences in the point-of-view represented
      • Draw on information from multiple print/digital sources; explain how an author uses reasons/evidence to support points in a text; integrate information from several texts on the same topic to write/speak knowledgeably about the topic
      • Independently/proficiently read and comprehend information texts (history/social studies/science/technical) at the high end of grads 4-5 text complexity band
    • Writing
      • Write point-of-view opinion pieces, clearly stating an opinion that matches the purpose of the task, provide logically ordered facts and supporting details, use linking words (consequently, specifically), provide a conclusion
      • Write an informative/explanatory text; clearly introduce a topic; in paragraphs and sections (headings) develop the topic using facts, definitions, and concrete details, quotations supported by illustrations/multimedia; use linking words (in contrast, especially); use precise language with domain-specific vocabulary; provide a conclusion
      • Write a narrative on real or imagined experiences or events; establish a situation and introduce a narrator and characters, sequencing events; use dialogue, description, and pacing to develop experiences and events showing character responses; use a variety of transitional words and phrases; use concrete words or phrases and sensory details; provide a conclusion that follows the narrated experience
      • Produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; with peer and adult support plan, revise, and edit writing; with some guidance, use technology including the internet to produce and publish independent and collaborative writing; demonstrate command of keyboarding to type two pages in a single sitting
      • Conduct short research projects using several sources to investigate different aspects of a topic; cite relevant information from experiences or gathered from print/digital sources summaries in notes and provide a list of sources; draw evidence from literary/informational texts to support analysis, reflection, research (Compare and Contrast characters/settings/events, explain author’s reasons and evidence)
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (research, reflection, revision) and shorter time frames (discipline-specific tasks, purposes, audiences)
    • Speaking
      • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher-led) with diverse partners building on each other’s ideas; come to discussions prepared; follow agreed-upon rules; pose and respond to specific questions and contribute to furthering the discussion; review key ideas expressed and explain own ideas and understanding
      • Summarize a written text read aloud or presented in diverse media; summarize speaking points made and explain how each claim is supported
      • Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, or sequence ideas logically with appropriate facts, relevant and descriptive details in support of main ideas or themes; include multimedia components and visual displays in support; adapt speech to a variety of contexts/tasks, use formal English when appropriate
  • Math –

    • Operations/Algebra
      • Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions; write simple expressions that record calculations without evaluating them
      • Generate two numerical patterns using two given rules, identifying apparent relationships between corresponding terms, form and graph ordered pairs on a coordinate plane
    • Number and Base Ten Operations
      • Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place is ten times what it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 times as much as to the left; explain patterns in the number of zeroes of the product when multiplying by powers of 10 including multiplying decimal numbers; read/write/compare decimals to the thousandths; use place value to round decimals to any place
      • Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers; find whole number quotients of whole numbers with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors; add/subtract/multiply/divide decimals to hundredths using models/drawings
    • Number and Operations – Fractions
      • Add/subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers) by making equivalent fractions with common denominators; solve word problems involving addition/subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators
      • Interpret a fraction as a division of the numerator by the denominator; interpret the product (a/b) x q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts and apply when finding area of rectangles; interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing); solve real world problems multiplying fractions and mixed numbers; interpret division of a unit fraction by a non-zero whole number and compute quotients, apply to solve real world problems
    • Measurement and Data
      • Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (metric/standard)
      • Make a line plot of data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, ¼, ⅛)
      • Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures (cube, cubic units); measure volumes by counting units cubes, cubic (cm, in, ft, …); relate volume to the operations multiplication/addition and solve real world problems
    • Geometry
      • Use a pair of perpendicular number lines (axes) to define a coordinate system with the intersection (origin) arranged to be 0 for each axis; represent real world/mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane
      • Understand that attributes of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category (all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares); classify and organize two-dimensional figures into Venn Diagrams based on the attributes
  • Sci

    • Life Science
      • Identify the organs in the human body and describe their functions (skin, brain, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, intestines, pancreas, muscles & skeleton, reproductive organs, kidneys, bladder, sensory organs); compare/contrast the function of organs and other physical structures of plants/animals, including humans
      • Describe how, when the environment changes, differences between individuals allow some plants/animals to survive/reproduce while others die or move
      • Compare/contrast adaptations displayed by animals/plants that enable them to survive in different environments (life cycle variations, animal behaviors, physical characteristics)
    • Physical Science
      • Investigate/describe some basic forms of energy (light, heat, sound, electrical, chemical, mechanical); investigate/explain that energy has the ability to cause motion/create change; investigate/explain that an electrically-charged object can attract an uncharged object, can attract/repel another charged object without contact; investigate/explain that electrical energy can be transformed into heat, light, sound energy as well as motion
      • Investigate/illustrate the fact that the flow of electricity requires a closed circuit; identify/classify materials that conduct electricity and materials that do not
      • Identify familiar forces that cause objects to move (pushes, pulls), including gravity; investigate/describe that the greater the force applied to it, the greater the change in motion; investigate/describe that the more mass an object has, the less effect a given force will have on the object’s motion; investigate/explain that when a force is applied to an object but it does not move, it is because another opposing force is being applied by something in the environment balancing them
      • Compare/contrast the basic properties of solids, liquids, gases (mass, volume, color, texture, temperature); investigate/identify materials that will dissolve in water and those that will not, conditions that speed up/slow down dissolving; demonstrate/explain that mixtures of solids an be separated based on observable properties (particle size, shape, color, magnetic attraction); explore the scientific theory of atoms (atomic theory) by recognizing that all matter is composed of parts that are too small to be seen without magnification
      • Investigate/describe that many physical/chemical changes are affected by temperature
    • Earth and Space Science
      • Recognize that a galaxy consists of gas, dust, and many stars, including any objects orbiting the stars (Milky Way); recognize the major common characteristics of all planets, compare/contrast properties of inner/outer planets; distinguish among the following objects of the Solar System (Sun, planets, moons, asteroids, comets) and locate Earth’s position
      • Create a model to explain the parts of the water cycle (gas, liquid, solid); recognize that the ocean is an integral part of the water cycle connected to all of Earth’s water reservoirs (evaporation/precipitation); recognize how air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed/direction, precipitation determine the weather; distinguish among the various forms of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail); recognize that some of the weather-related differences (temperature, humidity) are found among different environments (swamps, deserts, mountains); describe characteristics (temperature, precipitation) of different climate zones (latitude, elevation, proximity to water); design a family preparedness plan for natural disasters, identify the reasons for having such a plan
    • Nature of Science
      • Define a problem, use appropriate reference materials, plan/carry out scientific investigations of various types (systematic observations, experiments requiring identification of variables, collecting/organizing data, interpreting data in charts/tables/graphs, analyze information, make predictions, defend conclusions); explain the difference between experiment and other types of scientific investigation; recognize/explain need for repeated experimental trials; identify a control group explaining its importance; recognize/explain that authentic scientific investigation frequently does not parallel the steps of the scientific method; recognize/explain the difference between personal opinion/interpretation and verified observation
      • Recognize/explain that science is grounded in empirical observations that are testable and related with evidence; recognize/explain that when scientific investigations are carried out, the evidence produced should be replicable by others
  • SS

    • American History
      • Use primary/secondary sources to understand history; utilize timelines to identify/discuss American history time periods
      • Compare cultural aspects of ancient American civilizations (Aztec/Mayas, Mound Builders/Anasazi/Inuit); identify Native American tribes from different geographic regions of North America (cliff dwellers/Pueblo of the Southwest, coastal tribes of the Northwest, nomadic nations of the Great Plains, woodland tribes east of Mississippi River); compare cultural aspects of Native American tribes from different geographic regions of North America (clothing, shelter, food, major beliefs/practices, music, art, interactions with the environment)
      • Describe technological developments that shaped European exploration; investigate (nationality, sponsoring country, motives, dates/routes of travel, accomplishments) the European explorers; describe interactions among Native Americans, Africans, English, French, Dutch, Spanish for control of North America
      • Identify the economic, political, socio-cultural motivation for colonial settlement; compare characteristics of New England, Middle, Southern Colonies; identify significant individuals responsible for the development of New England, Middle, Southern colonies; demonstrate understanding of political, economic, social aspects of daily colonial life in the thirteen colonies; explain the importance of Triangular Trade linking Africa, West Indies, British Colonies, Europe; describe the introduction, impact, role of slavery in the colonies
      • Identify/explain significant events leading up to American Revolution; identify significant individuals/groups who played a role in American Revolution; explain the significance of historical documents (key political concepts, origins of concepts, role in American independence); examine/explain changing roles/impact of significant women during American Revolution; examine/compare major battles/military campaigns of American Revolution; identify contributions of foreign alliances/individuals to outcome of Revolution; explain economic, military, political factors which led to end of Revolutionary War; evaluate personal/political hardships resulting from American Revolution; discuss impact/significance of land policies developed under the Confederation Congress (Northwest Ordinance 1787); examine significance of Constitution including political concepts, origins of concepts, role in American democracy
      • Describe causes/effects of Louisiana Purchase; identify roles/contributions of significant people in westward expansion; examine 19th Century advancements (canals, roads, steamboats, flat boats, overland wagons, Pony Express, railroads); explain importance of explorations west of the Mississippi River; identify causes/effects of War of 1812; explain how westward expansion affected Native Americans; discuss concept of Manifest Destiny; describe causes/effect of Missouri Compromise; describe hardships of settlers along the overland trails west
    • Geography
      • Interpret current/historical information using a variety of geographic tools; use latitude/longitude to locate places; identify major US physical features on a map of North America; construct maps, charts, graphs to display geographic information; identify/locate original thirteen colonies on a North America map; locate/identify states, capitals, US Territories on a map
      • Describe the push-pull factors (economy, natural hazards, tourism, climate, physical features) influencing boundary changes within US
      • Describe impact that past natural events have on human/physical environments in US through 1850
      • Use geographic knowledge/skills when discussing current events; use geography concepts/skills (recognizing patterns, mapping, graphing to find solutions for local, state, national problems)
    • Economics
      • Identify how trade promoted economic growth in North America (Pre-Columbian-1850); describe a market economy, give examples of colonial/early American economy exhibited these characteristics; trace development of technology/impact of major inventions on business productivity during early development of US
      • Recognize positive/negative effects of voluntary trade among Native Americans, European explorers, colonists
    • Civics and Government
      • Explain how/why US government was created; define a constitution and its purposes; explain definition/origin of rights; identify Declaration of Independence’s grievances/Articles of Confederation’s weaknesses; describe how concerns about individual rights led to Bill of Rights in US Constitution; compare Federalist/Anti-Federalist views of government
      • Differentiate political ideas of Patriots/Loyalists/undecideds during American Revolution; compare forms of political participation in colonial period to today; analyze how Constitution has expanded voting rights from US early history to today; evaluate importance of civic responsibilities in American democracy; identify ways good citizens go beyond basic civic/political responsibilities to improve government/society
      • Describe organizational structure (legislative, executive, judicial branches) and powers of federal government according to Articles I, II, III of US Constitution; explain popular sovereignty, rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, individual rights limit the powers of the federal government according to Constitution/Bill of Rights; give examples of powers granted to federal government/reserved for the states; describe amendment process in Article V of Constitution with examples; identify fundamental rights of all citizens enumerated in Bill of Rights; examine foundations of US legal system recognizing role of the courts in interpreting law/settling conflicts

Review

Upper Primary grades switch the learning focus from learning to read to reading to learn. This increase in academic expectations can be difficult for some students, and previously undetected learning difficulties can surface. Students who lack expected skills may need specific support to prevent them from falling farther behind.

This age group experiences big social changes. Many teachers still see Third graders as “little kids,” but by the end of Fifth Grade many students have started puberty – and have a Middle Grades attitude. Throughout the Upper Primary grades, teachers need to watch for social cliques and bullying, as these behaviors increase during this time  period.

Teaching Ideas 4U - Amy Mezni - Everything you Need to Know to Teach Elementary School Grades

If you enjoyed “Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)”, please make sure to check out the rest of the “Changing Grade Levels” series.

  1. Teaching a New Grade Curriculum
  2. Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)
  3. Teaching Elementary School Grades
  4. Teaching Middle School Grades
  5. Teaching High School Grades
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Teaching Elementary School Grades
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