- Experience farming through planting flowers and vegetables in our on-campus organic garden and individual classroom raised beds and by hatching eggs and observing chicks.
- Explore Japan in an in-depth cultural learning experience.
- Acquire and enhance math and technology skills with many hands-on manipulative materials and appropriate online applications.
- Find their voices as authors in their personal journals and by writing, illustrating and publishing books in Writing Workshop.
- Collaborate and partner with Fifth Grade Buddies in our year-long mentorship program.
- Pursue outside-the-classroom learning opportunities in Spanish, visual arts, technology, music, science, library, physical education and swim.
Through our Language Arts and Reading program, students gain the strong foundational skills necessary to develop into strong readers and writers. Each student is assessed individually and continually in order for teachers to provide various levels of differentiated instruction. Students learn to recognize sight words, letter and word sounds and syllables. They practice reading aloud with fluency and participate in conversations that build comprehension, as well as develop speaking and listening skills. Through Writing Workshop, students are Introduced to grammar, punctuation and spelling. They write and illustrate non-fiction texts and personal small moment stories. Students also dedicate time to handwriting, working on proper letter and number formation.
In addition to basic counting and computation, our students are exposed to age-appropriate algebra and geometry, measurement, data analysis and reasoning skills. Students use models, graphs, words, shapes and tangible “manipulative” items to gain understanding of both simple and challenging mathematical concepts. Students will explore number sentences, classify and organize data, and utilize online resources such as McGrievy Math, a proprietary program created by one of our teachers. Students gain reasoning and analyzation skills and apply them to real-world problem solving. Students express mathematical ideas verbally and in written form, providing greater proficiency and retention and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
Students identify rhythm, melody, form, texture and timbre with many participatory activities. They learn to identify notes, phrases and rhythm patterns and use pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments to demonstrate this knowledge. Students sing verse and refrain songs and practice in-tune singing (pitch matching) with a variety of folk songs from the United Stated and other cultures. Students differentiate between rhythm and beat and practice performance skills in seasonal concerts for parents and peers.
Physical Education & Swimming
Expanding mental, physical and social capabilities through activity and interaction, students participate in skill building activities in both our gym and swim courses. In classes designed to maximize participation, curriculum covers recreation, fitness and a range of creative pursuits. Red Cross Learn to Swim Program from Level I – III which covers primary skills, stroke readiness and stroke development. Students learn front and back floating and swimming in the process. There is also an emphasis placed on self-guided discovery and water games/play. At Old Trail, our swimming classes are tailored to the needs of each child, so that he or she can progress at a comfortable pace. The overall focus is for children to be happy and safe in and around the water.
Students experience science through play, nature walks, games and other activities. This curriculum is designed to foster an appreciation of the natural world while learning to explain how living and nonliving things work. Throughout the year students participate in walks on the school campus to observe environmental changes that occur during the different season. On these walks students identify local plants and animals and develop an understanding of why these habitats undergo seasonal changes. A fieldtrip to a farm presents a comparison of the domesticated farm animals and the wild animals seen and discussed on our walks.
Additional science units include a study of color where students mix primary colors to make secondary colors and separate color back out with paper chromatography. The water cycle and five senses units provide opportunities for experiments in sinking and floating, buoyancy, surface tension, optical illusions, and anatomy lessons.
Students begin their study of the bigger world through a fun, me-centered self-study. They have the opportunity to share favorite collections, stories and picture boards. Expanding that universe to include family and community, students study diversity and participate in service learning projects that benefit the school community. In American History, students compare and contrast the lifestyles of the Wampanoag Tribe and American Pilgrims. In an extensive unit on Japan, students research culture, people, landmarks, sports, and other class-generated topics of interest. They learn to count and write their names in Japanese and experience a day in the life of a Japanese child. In conjunction with their farm studies, students apply economic principles to farming—including the environmental impact on the value and cost of crops.
At Old Trail, the World Language classrooms have evolved in response to research on language acquisition and best practice so that every student can find success. Spanish classes are executed with comprehensible input in mind - the idea that language-learners must be provided with spoken and written messages in the target language that are easily understood. Outdated, grammar-based practices have been replaced with genuine engagement in the target language. The Primary division welcomes students to the rich and exciting world of natural language acquisition. Old Trail creates an environment with the right conditions for language to develop organically. Children at this level begin their engagement in a native like acquisition processes. They listen to stories, songs and other input that is relevant and to which they can connect emotionally, as this connection is what encourages them to internalize the language. Students communicate their comprehension through movement, art and simple phrases.
Students use a wide variety of the latest technology resources to enhance their classroom activities. Each student is assigned an Apple iPad as part of the Primary School One-to-One (1:1) program. The iPads improve classroom learning with technologies like virtual fields trips that take students beyond the classroom using virtual reality and 3D design and printing to enhance imagination. The iPads give students access to programs for drawing, introduction to computer science with drag and drop coding, and parents a window into student learning with electronic portfolios. Students learn how to use logins and passwords for various programs and websites for school and home use. Students perform internet searches, learn how to be safe online, and how to be good digital citizens. Each classroom has an interactive board, document camera, and AppleTV to support learning and collaboration.
Students have access to the Makerspace DIY space which includes robotics and LEGO Education. Basic keyboarding awareness, introductory robotics and camera use, are also introduced and used at this grade level.
Visual arts lessons are planned so that students obtain a richer understanding of class work by completing related studio art projects. These include self-portraits and family portraits and seasonal tree paintings, plus folk tale dragons, origami penguins and kites as an extension of the Japan study. Students are introduced to painting, collage and sculpture, utilizing a variety of techniques and processes. Students create “Wonderful World” projects inspired by books and songs. They are able to display their explorations of texture, line and shape in a variety of mediums including crayon, marker, tempera, watercolor, wood, wire and clay.