Fifth Grade

Fifth graders at ACDS bring their increased capacity for complex thought and problem-solving to this grade’s collaborative, project-based activities.

Homeroom units feature in-depth studies of the U.S. states, a research project examining each student’s family history, and many creative and non-fiction writing activities. Fifth graders read a variety of literature selections, many of which connect to social studies themes and events. In fifth grade, teachers introduce letter grades to student report cards.

Our fifth grade homeroom teachers provide instruction in Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies.




Language Arts

  • Enhance reading comprehension strategies by discussion of themes
  • Exposure to different authors and genres
  • Increase writing skills by studying narrative, expository, descriptive writing
  • Development of paragraph and sentence structure
  • Spelling and vocabulary
  • Public speaking
  • Research skills


  • Review of basic operations
  • Estimating and rounding
  • Division up to three digits and decimal dividends
  • Fractions and mixed numbers, decimals, and percents
  • Geometry

Social Studies

  • United States geography and history
  • Globes and maps
  • History of Native Americans and world explorers
  • Revolutionary War and American colonies



Students learn the fundamentals of performance during 4 weeks of rehearsing a full-length musical theater performance. Each student gains self-confidence by actively performing on the stage. The students' efforts culminate in a final production with two live performances for students and parents.

  • Learn memorization, characterization
  • Develop acting and performance skills including music and singing, timing and choreography
  • Learn costuming, set design, stage balance and stage directions

Drama teacher, 5 week unit


Music at ACDS incorporates tonal instruments, dance, and voice in the Orff Program.

  • Basic music theory as a foundation for reading music
  • Integrate movement and dance while developing their voices and discovering the joy of singing
  • Learn the songs of our country and other cultures
  • Experience the beauty of great works of music and learn about the composers who wrote them

Music teacher, 1 class per week


Students explore their unique creative abilities while they experience and develop artistic skills using a variety of media and subjects; student artwork is displayed in ASSETS, our school-wide talent show, and in a variety of local art exhibitions.

Art teacher, 2 classes per week


  • Emphasis on speaking and listening
  • Reading and writing new vocabulary, additional verbs
  • Simple grammar concepts
  • Cultural activities
  • Geography and history

French teacher, 3 classes per week


  • Nutrition
  • Body
  • Robotics with Lego EV3*
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Ocean currents
  • Weather
  • Submersibles*
  • The moon and stars with Star Lab

*All elementary science units contain STEM elements and activities; however, those with asterisks have a particularly strong STEM focus.

Elementary science teacher, 4 classes per week


Students visit our fully-equipped computer lab to begin planned curricular projects that they continue in the classroom using iPads and laptops. Besides using the devices for a variety of independent work, students use the devices, including the interactive whiteboard, for small group work and collaboration. At the end of fifth grade, students can use the suite of applications in Microsoft Office and Google Apps for Education to reflect on and share learning. Students are able to make clear and engaging presentations using a variety of media in multiple applications. Students continue to expand on previously developed skills in coding to create more sophisticated programs across the curriculum.

Technology teacher, with lab visits as scheduled


Fifth grade students visit the library once a week. Our full-time librarian reads stories to the class, and students are encouraged to check out books to bring home. Fifth graders do various research-based projects and use the library to find books to support their project.

Birthday Book Squad (BBS)
When they reach the fifth grade, students are also invited to join the Birthday Book Squad. The BBS delivers “Birthday Books” to students on their special day, which the students then donate to the ACS Library’s collection. The BBS students produce a biannual newsletter featuring book reviews they write. Each year, BBS hosts a school-wide BBS Book Drive. Since the event began in 2007, BBS students have collected more than 6,000 books and redistributed them locally and globally to those in need.

Librarian, 1 class per week

Physical Education

Regular weekly P.E. instruction builds fitness, coordination and skill progression, while increasing students' readiness to learn in all subjects.

P.E. teacher, 3 classes per week

Field Trips

Fifth grade students enjoy multiple offsite field trips during the year, including a one- week field trip to Walker Creek Science Camp in Marin.

The overnight Walker Creek trip extends the ACDS life science curriculum, focusing on botany, zoology, relationships, and interdependence in nature. Students, camp guides, and teachers live and learn for five days and four nights. Highlights of this week include team building activities, a solo night hike, the challenging trek to Walker Peak, tide pooling at Tomales Bay, and the Barnyard Boogie (another rite of passage, this is an ACDS fifth grader’s first school-sponsored social and dance).

And fifth grade field trips don’t stop there! In past years, students have visited Chabot Space and Science Center, attended “The Nutcracker” and visited Sacramento.

Big Buddy Program

This year, it’s time for fifth grade students to step up and become a Big Buddy for one of our younger students, a responsibility and ACDS rite of passage our fifth graders eagerly await during their elementary school tenure. Throughout the year, the Big Buddies meet to work, play and learn together with their Little Buddies in a variety of activities and school events. The Big Buddy Program is a highlight of the ACDS experience for our younger and older children alike.