Lower School

Grades 1 through 5 are exciting years as students grow into fluent readers, confident mathematicians and inquisitive scientists. At Green Hedges, we believe that young students should exercise every part of their brain and every educational muscle. That’s why we take every subject seriously, from the 3R’s and STEM fields to world languages and the fine and performing arts.

Children may be born curious, but it takes the right learning environment to preserve and develop their curiosity. Questions are always welcome at Green Hedges, and faculty members love guiding students on their quest for answers. Students in the Lower School delve into a highly personalized, inquiry-based program under the tutelage of talented teachers who honor and cherish childhood. Green Hedges’ Lower School faculty cultivate in each student a passion for discovery that carries them through their entire lives.

(Our students) have a thirst for knowledge that has nothing to do with grades. It's kind of a discovery, but it's critical thinking at a very early age that propels them.

Faculty Member

In Lower School, there is one class per grade, each with 14-18 students. At times, Grades 1-3 are team taught with two full-time teachers in each classroom. This creates a very low teacher to student ratio to ensure that every child is an active participant in their own learning.

Social, emotional, and academic growth is fostered through a curriculum that encourages critical and creative thinking, ethical judgment and action, intercultural fluency, and local and global citizenship. The core of literacy, math, social studies, and science is complemented through specialty classes in French, art, music, technology, library, and physical education.

Below you will find an overview of our curriculum by grade: 

Lower School Curriculum by Grade Level

Language Arts

Reading

In Grade 1, formal reading instruction is taught within the individual and group reading conference. The individual and group reading conferences are the foundation for the Grade 1 reading program. A literature based reading series, trade books, Jr. Great Books, Making Meaning, Being a Writer, and a strong, systematic, sequential phonics foundation provides a base to which additional enrichment and reinforcement strategies are implemented. Trade books are introduced when appropriate. Children read aloud, read in groups, and work one-to-one with the teacher each week. During the reading conference, skills are enhanced and developed. Enrichment activities are used to reinforce the skills introduced during the conference. Children move ahead at their own developmental pace and are guided, stretched and encouraged by their teachers.

The study of literature is an integral part of Language Arts in Grade 1. The teacher reads daily to students. This provides an opportunity for the students to learn proper sentence structure; further develop a sense of rhythm in language; increase vocabulary and invoke an appreciation and enjoyment of literature. Some of E. B. White’s and Roald Dahl’s books are read.

The study of Phonics is important to Grade 1 students. Through the study of phonics, the sounds in combinations of the letters of the alphabet are presented in a systematic sequence of instruction that fosters strong phonemic awareness, phonics and early literacy skills.

Writing

Grade 1 students develop skills in creative and expository writing. They engage in journaling using various techniques. Students incorporate spelling, grammar and handwriting skills throughout this process. The students are taught the four basic parts of speech; singular and plural forms of nouns and pronouns; work with present and past verb conjugation; synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, abbreviations and contractions. ABC order is introduced, which facilitates research skills. The students learn to write complete sentences, using correct capitalization and punctuation, while writing declarative, exclamatory and interrogative sentences.

Spelling

In Grade 1 the spelling word lists are based on phonetic rules, which integrate seamlessly with the Grade 1 systematic phonics lessons. Bonus words are also added to the spelling list. They are based on vocabulary from literature, science, social studies and mathematics.

Handwriting

Students utilize Zaner-Bloser for consistent and systematic handwriting lessons.

Mathematics

The mathematics curriculum is designed to engage students in making sense of mathematical ideas and help them to become mathematical thinkers. The focus is on computational fluency with whole numbers. The program provides substantive work in important areas of mathematics: rational numbers, geometry, measurement, money, time, data and early algebra and the connections among them. The goal is to encourage students to look for patterns and begin to understand how mathematics applies to the world in which they live. The program relies heavily upon the manipulatives used in the Montessori program as well.

Social Studies

Students in Grade 1 are introduced to the four core disciplines of social studies: civics, economics, geography, and history. Important concepts of civics include understanding government at various levels, the political system, rules and laws, civic engagement, and democratic principles. Lessons on economics focus on the idea of resources including human, physical, and natural resources. These resources are essential for understanding the economic decisions people, businesses, and governments make. The geography strand uses maps and other representations of Earth to understand the relationship between culture and the environment, to analyze how human populations change, and to learn that some environmental changes occur on a global scale. Highlights of the history discipline include reasoning about chronological patterns, explaining how people’s perspectives can change, working with historical sources, identifying causes and effects, and developing claims from evidence. Through many engaging activities, students will learn about communities (from our solar system to our local town), goods and services, environments, and citizenship.

Science

Grade 1 students are exposed to a variety of experiences in science, which promote an understanding of self, the world and the environment. The science curriculum in Grade 1 introduces students to concepts in Life Science, Physical Science and Earth Science. The students investigate the skeletal system, respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system and the nervous system of the human body. The students research the metamorphosis of insects, with an emphasis on the Painted Lady Butterfly. Students learn about magnets through discussion, experimentation and observation. Weather is introduced with an emphasis on the seasons and the different types of weather each may offer. Throughout the science studies, students are encouraged to observe, investigate and discover for themselves as they engage in these topics.

World Language

In Grade 1, the emphasis of the French program is on listening and pronunciation skills. The development of communicative skills is fostered through a variety of techniques including singing songs, responding to basic commands, repetition of poems and rhymes, interaction with puppets and masks, and short conversations in the form of questions and answers. The program also introduces some of the cultural aspects of life in France and Canada. The classroom climate is one that fosters respect for self and others, active participation and collaborative learning. In addition to being encouraged to fully engage themselves in the French lesson, students are being taught to effectively communicate and collaborate with others.

Performing Arts

Music

The Green Hedges music curriculum aims to encourage students to develop a life-long appreciation of music, with the understanding that this means something different for every child. Grade 1 General Music is designed to provide students with the foundation needed for a comprehensive music understanding. The approach utilized in this course holistically expands upon the child’s innate musical ability, allowing the child to develop singing and hand instrument technique and repertoire, large and fine motor skills, tempo and rhythmic sensitivity, and aural skills.

The course follows the Orff Schulwerk approach to Music Education, combining music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons that are based on a child’s world of play. It also incorporates the Kodaly Method, a pedagogical method that is based on sequence that introduces new skills in accordance with the development and capabilities of the child.

Drama

Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every class learns, rehearses and performs a play for the entire School. By Middle School, students are comfortable being in front of an audience, and a number continue to perform on stage during the Middle School production or learn stage management, costuming and lighting.

Studio Art

Basic design elements of color, line, shape, form, pattern, and texture, color theory, and composition are introduced. The creative process is emphasized in Grade 1 with less emphasis on the outcome of the project. Students develop their skills in pencil drawing, tempera and watercolor painting, crayon resist, chalk, oil pastels, printmaking, paper construction, clay, sculpture, and weaving. Most of the art project themes connect directly to the core classroom curriculum, such as the study of planets and insects. Art history is woven into the art curriculum through teaching art techniques used by artists today and in the past.

Physical Education & Athletics

In Grade 1 Physical Education, students are introduced to cooperative games where gross motor and some fine motor movements are needed. Spatial awareness, personal space, and safety are stressed in every lesson. Different body awareness activities are explored and body parts are identified. Students are introduced to different sports (e.g. soccer, basket-ball, volleyball, football,). The skills for these sports are practiced in the form of drills and lead-up games. Students are taught about the benefits of exercise and are encouraged to stay active outside of class. Cooperation, good sportsmanship, and participation in class activities are essential requirements for success in the class.

Library

In Grade 1 Library, the early lessons focus on maintaining good library manners, following directions and developing listening skills. We review the care of books, the basic layout of the library and how to check out and return books. Early lessons also focus on identifying additional library terminology (e.g., spine and spine label, Dewey Decimal System) and reinforcing the classroom reading curriculum through exercises in predicting story outcomes, and differentiating between fiction and nonfiction. A wide range of age-appropriate, diverse literature is read aloud to the students, including classic and literary fairytales and fables, as well as “fractured” versions. Storytellers and authors also visit to share literature from their unique perspective.

Language Arts

Reading

The reading curriculum addresses skills in the five pedagogical areas of reading: vocabulary, comprehension, word identification, phonics, and fluency. In the Grade 2 reading program, students have one-on-one and/or small group conferences with the teacher where they read aloud and complete related work and activities tailored to their needs. Additionally, students develop active reading and comprehension skills with an emphasis placed on collaboration and positive interactions with peers through the Making Meaning program. Students are also grouped to read curriculum-related books together in literature circles and are responsible for independent tasks that contribute to group meetings. Lastly, students have several opportunities to independently choose a reading book and learn about the beauty of reading for enjoyment.

Writing

In Grade 2, students write on a daily basis as they develop their creative and expository writing skills. Students write stories, poems, research reports, and journal entries. Scaffolding tools such as the four-square and paragraph planner are used. Students also gain the experience of writing a rough draft and engaging in editing and revision exercises before composing a final draft that is handwritten or typed. A great deal of focus is placed on writing in complete sentences, and later on in the school year, writing a complete paragraph. Students develop and incorporate their spelling, grammar, handwriting, and typing skills throughout the school year.

Spelling

In Grade 2, Guided Spelling is used as the framework of our spelling program. The program is supplemented with words and activities from Word Journeys and Words Their Way to generate knowledgeable, independent, and thoughtful spellers. Students learn to look closely at words to discover the regularities and conventions of English orthography needed to read and spell. Students will learn to spell by segmenting words into sounds and syllables, adding prefixes and suffixes, and applying knowledge of spelling patterns to unknown words. An emphasis is also placed on spelling sight words and developing strategies to spell irregular words. Lastly, students engage in exercises and activities that hone their phonics skills to enrich their spelling and word study experience.

Mathematics

In Grade 2, the math curriculum is designed to develop a strong number sense and foundation for mathematical thinking. Our math program is based on the framework of Investigations, but is supplemented with numerous resources that are hands-on, interactive, and promote problem-solving skills, including Singapore Math. The curriculum focuses on computational fluency and explores the essential building blocks of mathematics, including place value using the base ten system, even/odd numbers, the hundred chart, patterns, basic addition and subtraction, basic algebra, money, time, basic fractions, 2D and 3D shapes, addition and subtraction with regrouping, logic and problem solving, basic multiplication, data collection and analysis, and measurement. All areas of mathematics are explored both abstractly and concretely. Accuracy and neatness are emphasized, and skills for collaboration and “out of the box” thinking are encouraged and developed.

Social Studies

In Grade 2, Social Studies Alive: Our Community and Beyond is the anchor text for the social studies curriculum. Students enjoy numerous activities that are designed to spark and build interest in learning about their own community, and other communities around the world. Students learn about immigration, and how our country is a diverse “melting pot” of different cultures and customs. Students also gain an appreciation for the similarities that transcend these differences and unite us all as humans. Map skills are introduced early on in the program, and they are continually revisited and built upon throughout the school year. The social studies program “zooms out” as we study different areas of the world, and “zooms in” on the U.S.A. and Virginia.

Science

Science Discovery Works is the anchor text for our science program. A great deal of focus is placed on developing understanding of the scientific method and its steps. Students engage in simple experiments where they can see the scientific method manifest. There is an additional emphasis placed on using all 5 senses to make observations. Formulating focused questions and drawing well-rounded conclusions are key components in every exercise and experiment. Students will learn how to gather data, develop a simple hypothesis, and record findings. Since mathematics frequently forms the basis for scientific ideas, the study of math and science are often combined, providing opportunities to apply, practice, and improve math skills and knowledge. Students practice all of these skills through learning about the following topics: Interactions of Living Things, Changes Over Time, Energy and Motion, States of Matter, and Germs and Wellness.

World Language

In Grade 2, the emphasis of the French program is on listening and pronunciation skills. The development of communicative skills is fostered through a variety of techniques including singing songs, responding to basic commands, repetition of poems and rhymes, interaction with the class mascot and short conversations in the form of questions and answers. The program also introduces some of the cultural aspects of life in France and Canada. The classroom climate is one that fosters respect for self and others, active participation and collaborative learning. In addition to being encouraged to fully engage themselves in the French lesson, students are being taught to effectively communicate and collaborate with others.

Performing Arts

Music

The Green Hedges music curriculum aims to encourage students to develop a life-long appreciation of music, with the understanding that this means something different for every child. Grade 2 General Music is designed to provide students with the foundation needed for a comprehensive music understanding. The approach utilized in this course holistically expands upon the child’s innate musical ability, allowing the child to develop singing and hand instrument technique and repertoire, large and fine motor skills, tempo and rhythmic sensitivity, and aural skills.

The course follows the Orff Schulwerk approach to Music Education, combining music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons that are based on a child’s world of play. It also incorporates the Kodaly Method, a pedagogical method that is based on sequence that introduces new skills in accordance with the development and capabilities of the child.

Drama

Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every class learns, rehearses and performs a play for the entire School. By Middle School, students are comfortable being in front of an audience, and a number continue to perform on stage during the Middle School production or learn stage management, costuming and lighting.

Studio Art

Basic design elements of color, line, shape, form, pattern, and texture, color theory, and composition are introduced. The creative process is emphasized in Grade 1 with less emphasis on the outcome of the project. Students develop their skills in pencil drawing, tempera and watercolor painting, crayon resist, chalk, oil pastels, printmaking, paper construction, clay, sculpture, and weaving. Most of the art project themes connect directly to the core classroom curriculum, such as the study of planets and insects. Art history is woven into the art curriculum through teaching art techniques used by artists today and in the past.

Physical Education & Athletics

In Grade 2 P.E. students are continuing to increase their athletic skills and knowledge of different sports. Review of personal space, spatial awareness, and safety rules are reminded throughout the year. Different large and fine body movements are introduced. The manipulation of objects, are practiced in daily lessons through drills and lead-up games. Body and muscle identification, use and development are discussed in their use with skill development. Cooperation, good sportsmanship, and class participation are still essential requirements for success in the class. Different muscle strengthening exercises are introduced and used in daily lessons to help prepare for the Presidential Challenge.

Library

In Grade 2 Library, the early lessons focus on maintaining good library manners, following directions and being good listeners. We review the care of books, the layout of the library, and how to check out and return books. In Grade 2, students are introduced to the online catalog and how to use it to find library media. Lessons also focus on identifying additional library terminology (e.g., Dewey Decimal Call Number and title page). Inquiry skills are developed through dictionary, thesaurus and magazine exercises. In coordination with the classroom curriculum, we will discuss the use of techniques, such as foreshadowing and inference, to build reading fluency and comprehension. Lessons will also focus on the characteristics of some of the most common genres. A wide range of age-appropriate, diverse literature is read aloud to the students, including various types of folktales (e.g., tricksters, pourquoi, fools tales) from cultures around the world. We examine how these stories are the same and how they differ. Storytellers and authors visit the class to share literature from their unique perspective.

Language Arts

Reading

In Grade 3, students learn and practice reading comprehension strategies through the Making Meaning program and independent reading. Comprehension strategies include retelling, making connections, visualizing, questioning, making inferences, determining importance, and synthesizing. Students also learn to understand text structure, identify main ideas, and summarize reading passages. Lessons typically begin with exploration of a text, which is read by the teacher and analyzed throughout the week with emphasis on a specific comprehension strategy. After instruction, students practice application in their daily independent reading activities. Students also participate in novel studies, author studies, and genre studies. Students participate in literature circles where they will have ample opportunities to discuss many elements of stories read in class.

Writing

In Grade 3, students learn and practice writing skills through the Writer’s Workshop method. Students build writing fluency through repeated exposure to the writing process using anchor texts. After learning strategies with the teacher, students then practice these in their own writing. Students participate in one-on-one writing conferences with the teacher. Grade 3 students learn to organize their thoughts using a variety of graphic organizers. Strategies for generating ideas are shared as students pull inspiration from their own lives and imagination. Students learn to write in a variety of genres, including the personal narrative and expository paragraphs. There is also a strong emphasis on writing mechanics, grammar and cursive handwriting. Students are encouraged to share their published works with the school community.

Spelling

Grade 3 students focus on patterns in single-syllable and multi-syllabic words. Students practice spelling words with patterns such as endings with double consonants, dropping e, changing y to i, and forming possessives. Throughout the year, students learn and practice strategies for spelling and memorizing single-syllable, multi-syllabic, and irregular words. Students review elements of phonemic and morphemic spelling knowledge and practice homophones, compound words, contractions, abbreviations, days of the week, months, and numbers. Students participate in activities designed to use spelling words in context and to identify related words in reading.

Vocabulary

Grade 3 students study 3 – 6 words each week. These words are selected from texts in the Making Meaning program. After learning the words as part of the original text, students practice using them in different contexts. Activities provide students with an opportunity to think more deeply about the words they are studying.Students practice identifying the parts of words including prefixes, suffixes, and bases. Dictionary skills are introduced so students have a reference for definitions, antonyms and synonyms. Throughout the year, students learn to apply strategies to help solve the meanings of new words they come across in their independent reading. In addition, students are introduced to vocabulary terms in other content areas, including science, math, and social studies.

Mathematics

The Grade 3 math curriculum aims to engage students as they learn and practice mathematical concepts and ideas. Throughout the year, students will build skills in the areas of number sense, operations, measurement, geometry, patterns, probability, and pre-algebra. Students will work with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals from hundredths to millions. Operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Activities and lessons support students in making sense of mathematics and encourage them to be mathematical thinkers, with an important emphasis on reasoning about mathematical ideas. Students are provided with many opportunities to achieve computational fluency, as well as to make connections between important areas of mathematics. Activities and lessons are designed to support and challenge a range of learners.

Social Studies

The Grade 3 social studies curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn key social studies concepts through engaging activities. Using the program Social Studies Alive! Regions of Our Country, students become active participants in experiential exercises that include role-play, simulations, group projects, and writing activities. The focus of the program is the regions of the United States. As students tour the country, they learn about the geographical, economic, political, and historical features that distinguish each region. Regular geography challenges provide opportunities for students to practice map skills and geographical terminology. Students participate in group exercises as they learn about the unique characteristics of each region. In the third trimester, each student chooses one state as a topic for a cross-curricular research project that incorporates social studies, language arts, library, art, and technology. These projects are showcased at the Grade 3 State Fair at the end of the school year.

Science

The Grade 3 science curriculum is designed to help students think like scientists. Students practice making observations, asking questions, making hypotheses, experimenting, recording and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. Topics include the engineering design process and the use of simple machines to solve problems. Students explore conservation and energy as it relates to earth’s natural resources; the animal kingdom and life cycles. Students engage in experiments and activities that are hands-on and provide opportunities to use the scientific method.

World Language

In Grade 3, while the program continues to focus on listening and speaking skills, it gradually introduces reading and writing. After listening to oral presentations of the material, students will be able to see the material in writing. They will practice reading it with the correct pronunciation and intonation, and finally practice writing some of the presented material in their workbook.

This lively and age-appropriate program uses songs, short dialogs, funny rhymes, and games to spark the students’ interest. The textbook and accompanying workbook encourage oral expression and reinforce basic structures through oral and written exercises. Students will occasionally work in groups or with a partner to work on a project or skit and present it to the class.

Performing Arts

Music

The music department at Green Hedges is invested in a culturally rich, musically diverse and thoughtfully sequential general music curriculum that focuses on securing a foundation of musical, theoretical and kinesthetic fundamentals. Our approach encourages students to be creative musicians and to grow in confidence as performers.

Students are challenged to use their bodies, voices, ears, minds, and imaginations to create, perform and understand music. They will create and perform music through a variety of experiences including classroom instruments, body percussion, movement, speech, and song. This year, we will use the recorder to explore melodic and rhythmic concepts.

Drama

Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every class learns, rehearses and performs a play for the entire School. By Middle School, students are comfortable being in front of an audience, and a number continue to perform on stage during the Middle School production or learn stage management, costuming and lighting.

Studio Art

There is further development of design elements that students were introduced to in Grade 1 and 2 that influence their own artwork. Projects become more involved and cross-curricula connections become deeper and more focused. Students learn to apply their homeroom knowledge in the art room using various art media and tools. The frog cycle is one science connection where students draw frogs, then create their own species in clay and later provide a descriptive paragraph about their newly created frog. Students learn to design their play props and backgrounds as part of their visual arts curriculum.

Physical Education & Athletics

In Grade 3 Physical Education, students continue to progress in athletic skills and knowledge of different sports and their rules. As needed reviews of class rules, personal space, and spatial awareness will be used. Identification of specific sports related skills should be cognitively achieved, and psychomotor skills should become more acute in relation to age appropriate skill development. Body parts and muscle identification are pointed out in daily classes to help students affectively relate to the relationship of the activities that help in improve muscular strength. Cognitively students will start to understand that certain exercises will develop certain muscles and this muscle will in turn make them stronger. General sport units for Grade 3 will include but are not limited to:

Soccer, basketball, volleyball, rhythm and dance, handball, field hockey, and the Presidential Challenge. As always, all classes will be closely evaluated on their class cooperation, participation, and good sportsmanship.

Library

In Grade 3 Library, we will briefly review library procedures, good library manners, the care of books, the layout of the library, and the use of the Library’s online catalog. Library terminology will be reviewed and new terms presented (e.g., publisher, publication date, place of publication). The building of inquiry skills continues in Grade 3 with the addition of nonfiction book, encyclopedia and atlas exercises. Students also learn how to cite sources using the MLA standards. In coordination with the classroom curriculum, we will continue to discuss the use of techniques, such as foreshadowing and inference, to build reading fluency and comprehension. Lessons will also focus on the characteristics of various literary genres, and three major literary elements: plot, characterization, and setting. A wide range of age-appropriate, diverse literature is read aloud to the students, with a focus in Grade 3 on folktales/tall tales from various American traditions. Storytellers and authors visit to share literature from their unique perspective.

Language Arts

Reading

The Grade 4 reading program follows a Reader’s Workshop method to teach literacy, balancing exposure to quality literature, explicit instruction in reading strategies and literary elements, targeted small-group instruction, and time for students to read just-right books independently. Through the use of read-aloud texts, students are taught reading comprehension strategies and practice discussing texts with a partner, preparing them to participate in literature circles in the second half of the year.

Writing

In Grade 4, students learn and practice writing skills through the Writer’s Workshop method, an interdisciplinary writing technique that builds students’ fluency and stamina in writing through repeated exposure to the process of writing. Using the Being a Writer curriculum, students repeatedly engage in the cycle of prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing stories as they participate in the different genre units. The genre units, designed around personal narrative, fiction, expository non-fiction, functional non-fiction, persuasive writing, and poetry, immerse the students in each genre by having them hear, read, and discuss good examples of the genre. Grade 4 students also learn to organize their thoughts through the use of graphic organizers, and use the traits of good writing and rubrics to revise and edit their work.

Spelling

In the Grade 4 Guided Spelling program, students become knowledgeable, independent, and thoughtful spellers who know the content of English spelling, know how to segment and spell by sounds, recognize patterns within words, add inflections, spell by syllables, add prefixes and suffixes, and apply morphemic spelling knowledge. They memorize many high-frequency words, use their spelling knowledge in a metacognitive manner, and know which spelling strategies to use in particular situations. The Guided Spelling program supports the development of thoughtful spellers through daily lessons that are teacher-directed, multisensory, and interactive.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary plays a critical role in children’s growth as readers. Grade 4 uses Making Meaning Vocabulary. The program teaches high utility words found in the Making Meaning read-aloud texts in conjunction with strategies that students can use to unlock word meanings when they read independently. Students learn 6 words each week through direct instruction in word meanings and challenging and fun activities that require students to think deeply about the words. Word learning strategies are introduced and practiced through discussion on vocabulary words.

Mathematics

The Grade 4 math program is designed to help all students make sense of fundamental ideas of number and operations, geometry, data, measurement, and early algebra as they learn to be mathematical thinkers through engaging and hands-on activities. The goals of the program are to develop computational fluency and problem solving skills, to engage students in mathematical reasoning, and to communicate mathematical ideas effectively in class discussions and written work.

Though out the year, daily math drills, games, and supplemental materials play a large role in the learning process. Showing all work for each problem, as well as making corrections on homework and tests, is encouraged. In addition, students will learn note-taking and study skills.

Social Studies

The Grade 4 Social Studies curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn about America’s past, from the first Native Americans who arrived from Asia during the Ice Age through the creation of the United States Constitution following the Revolutionary War. Using the program, Social Studies Alive! America’s Past, students participate in a variety of experiential activities including role-play and debates, and take part in individual and group research projects. Students learn to take accurate and concise notes in an Interactive Student Notebook. In addition, students practice map skills and learn geographical terminology throughout the year.

Science

The Grade 4 Science curriculum is an inquiry-based program that provides opportunities for students to understand how scientists study the world, while developing the skills necessary to function productively as problem solvers. Students learn how to ask questions and use evidence to answer them. In the process of learning the strategies of scientific inquiry, students learn to conduct and investigation and collect data from a variety of sources, develop and explanation from data, think critically and logically about results, and communicate and defend their conclusions. Over the course of the year, students will also develop and complete a long-term project based on their own scientific interests.

World Language

In Grade 4 French, while the focus remains on the development of students’ listening and speaking skills, students will also continue to develop their writing and reading skills and learn some basic French grammar like gender and number, agreement of adjectives and some verb conjugations.

This lively and age-appropriate program uses songs, short dialogs, funny rhymes, and games to spark the students’ interest. The textbook and accompanying workbook encourage oral expression and reinforce basic structures through oral and written exercises. Students will occasionally work in groups or with a partner to work on a project or skit and present it to the class.

Performing Arts

Music

The music department at Green Hedges is invested in a culturally rich, musically diverse and thoughtfully sequential general music curriculum that focuses on securing a foundation of musical, theoretical and kinesthetic fundamentals. Our approach encourages students to be creative musicians and to grow in confidence as performers.

Students are challenged to use their bodies, voices, ears, minds, and imaginations to create, perform and understand music. They will create and perform music through a variety of experiences including classroom instruments, body percussion, movement, speech, and song. This year, we will use a variety of melodic instruments to explore melodic and rhythmic concepts.

Band

In Grade 4 Band, the early lessons focus on the care of instruments and the development of a good embouchure and tone production. In the case of percussion, the focus is on proper hand position and keyboard note recognition. These skills are continued as students learn to read music notation, rhythms, and musical terms. Emphasis on good posture and consistent tempo continues throughout the lessons. Throughout the year, music history is woven into the daily performance. Students work towards a characteristic sound on their instrument and cohesive ensemble playing.

Drama

Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every class learns, rehearses and performs a play for the entire School. By Middle School, students are comfortable being in front of an audience, and a number continue to perform on stage during the Middle School production or learn stage management, costuming and lighting.

Studio Art

An introduction to art history, the art of different cultures and the social issues connected to art, add depth to the art program. Children are encouraged to plan, problem-solve, and prepare their work. Project topics are driven by the homeroom curriculum and deepen their understanding of different cultures, and science, and math concepts. Annual plays are being incorporated into student visual art projects.

Physical Education & Athletics

In Grade 4 Physical Education, students continue to progress in the athletic skills and games of preceding years, and are increasing their knowledge of sports and games. Students start to show more competitiveness so sportsmanship is a continuous reminder in class, and competition is stressed less then the fundamental skill development. Age appropriate psychomotor development is becoming more apparent and cognitive knowledge of the sports and games are being seen in the actions taken by the students during activities. Students are starting to be introduced to manipulation equipments (e.g. baseball bats, badminton racquets, field hockey sticks). Safety and rules of said equipment is stressed in each class when using them. Exercise training is increasing for endurance and strength putting more emphasis on the Presidential Challenge. Students are working and playing together more independently for the practicing of specific skills for sports. The sports that are planned for my units are becoming more consistent for previous years to allow gradual progression in these sports. These sports include but are not limited to: Soccer, basketball, volleyball, rhythm and dance, Jump Rope for Heart, handball, field hockey, badminton, baseball, and the Presidential Challenge.

Library

In Grade 4 Library, we will briefly review library procedures, good library manners, the care of books, the layout of the library, and the use of the Library’s online catalog and library terminology. We will also continue to exercise the inquiry skills introduced previously, such as locating information, evaluating the quality of that information, and knowing how and when to cite sources. Students will also learn how to define an information problem, organize and synthesize information, construct a full narrative, and use a variety of media to display findings. Literature lessons will focus on a review of the characteristics of various literary genres, the major literary elements: plot, characterization, and setting, and the introduction of themes, point of view, and making connections (book-to-book, book-to-self, etc). A wide range of age-appropriate, diverse literature is read aloud or book talked to the students. Storytellers and authors visit to share literature from their unique perspective. 

Language Arts

Reading

The foundation of the Grade 5  Reading curriculum is Making Meaning, a reading comprehension program that explicitly teaches comprehension strategies through read-aloud experiences. In addition, the students learn to use a variety of strategies to make sense of their own reading through guided and independent strategy exercises. Students utilize the strategies learned during Making Meaning as they participate in small group literature circle discussions throughout the year.

Writing

In Grade 5 writing, students study the writing process and spend the year prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing. Units of study are divided by genre and the Grade 5 curriculum includes the study of personal narrative, fiction, expository nonfiction, persuasive nonfiction and poetry. Students are immersed in each genre unit as they hear, read and discuss high-quality, published examples of the genre. Interacting as a whole class, in small groups and in pairs is an important part of the writing curriculum. Therefore, the program includes explicit instruction in providing constructive feedback and interacting respectfully.

Spelling

In the Grade 5 Guided Spelling program, students extend their knowledge of polysyllabic spelling and the generalizations for adding suffixes. They utilize the strategy of using related words as spelling clues; for example, operate is a clue for operation. They spell possessives, prefixes, and suffixes, Greek and Latin roots and unusual plurals. They review frequently misspelled words and master 375 sight words.

Vocabulary

In Grade 5, students study approximately 12 vocabulary words each unit. These words are chosen from the books read as a class during the Making Meaning reading comprehension program, which means they are relevant to the experiences the students are having in the classroom. In addition, some units focus on Greek and Latin roots, while others include study words for the SSAT. Student friendly definitions are provided and students are given opportunities to actively engage with each word through a variety of activities. Multiple exposures to words over an extended period of time is an important component of the program. In addition, students learn strategies to determine meanings of unknown words they encounter in their independent reading, such as using context and prefixes and suffixes to determine meanings.

Mathematics

In Grade 5 math, students learn how to apply concepts of place value and estimation. Students are asked to solve problems using exponents and order of operations. They will also identify prime numbers through factorization and apply problem-solving strategies to real life situations.

Students develop their ability to apply all four operations to fractions and decimals. Exercises help students to apply this knowledge to multiplying and dividing with improper fractions, simplifying fractions, making equivalent fractions, working with mixed numbers, estimating fractions, and developing relationships between fractions, decimals, and percents.

Students identify the connection between algebraic patterns, equations and addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through direct instruction, hands on activities, and worksheets involving integer patterns, algebraic patterns, and equations. Students are asked to apply formulas to customary and metric measures of length, weight, capacity, and temperature. Lessons on time will enable students to determine elapsed time in real life situations.

Finally, students will learn formulas and apply them to calculate measures of area, perimeter, and volume. Students will discover various geometric concepts that apply to real situations, explore geometric terms, learn proper application, explore three dimensional figures, learn and use surface net and scale drawing to build their own figures, determine the measurement of angles, graph using ordered pairs, and use symmetry and transformation to identify shapes.

Social Studies

In Grade 5, students study early man and the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. Each unit describes the geography of each society and how topography affected farming, settlement, migration and formation of governments. In addition, students learn about important aspects unique to each society, important historical figures, daily life in each of the societies and the various forms of government in the ancient world.

Science

Grade 5 Science explores living things, the earth, and the universe. We will investigate the characteristics of living things, animal and plant life cycles, animal and plant cells leading up to the body system, the solar system, stars, constellations, and space travel. Students will learn how to use the scientific method, and which we will continue to build on in the middle school. Our assignments will be aimed at improving science skills, including measuring, observing, drawing conclusions, problem solving, note taking, and scientific writing. We will also examine how science impacts our lives by reading, reporting, and discussing science in the news, and students will have the opportunity to work on independent science fair projects. Class time will be used to review homework, introduce and review new concepts, and to work on independent and group laboratory activities.

World Language

French

In Grade 5 French students will continue their study of French with a new emphasis on reading and writing skills. Grammar becomes an important component of the course, providing students with a useful tool to improve on their oral and written expressions. Videos and many audio recordings complement the program, giving the students the opportunity to see and hear native French-speaking people and get use to different accents. Oral participation is crucial for progress in language learning and there will be many opportunities in class for students to practice their speaking skills. The course will also expose students to the culture of the French-speaking world. At the end of the year the students will have completed the first half of a typical French I high school level.

Spanish

In Grade 5, GHS students begin their study of Spanish using an aural/oral approach in order to familiarize themselves with the sounds of the language. Students will speak and asked questions in Spanish. They will make up little skits about real life situations and will practice age appropriate vocabulary. Grammar will be kept to minimum. The aim of this class is to speak and to understand. As the year progresses, the students will begin to read and write more. Fifth grade is an introduction not only to the Spanish language but to Hispanic cultural as well. They will learn about the countries where Spanish is spoken and about the large diverse community of Hispanic peoples living in the US.

Performing Arts

Music

The music department at Green Hedges is invested in a culturally rich, musically diverse and thoughtfully sequential general music curriculum that focuses on securing a foundation of musical, theoretical and kinesthetic fundamentals. Our approach encourages students to be creative musicians and to grow in confidence as performers.

Students are challenged to use their bodies, voices, ears, minds, and imaginations to create, perform and understand music. They will create and perform music through a variety of experiences including classroom instruments, body percussion, movement, speech, and song. This year, we will use a variety of melodic instruments to explore melodic and rhythmic concepts.

Band

In Grade 5 Band, the early lessons focus development of a good embouchure, tone production and technique. In the case of percussion, the focus is on proper hand position and keyboard technique. Emphasis on good posture and consistent tempo continues throughout the lessons. Throughout the year, music history is woven into the daily performance. Students work towards a characteristic sound on their instrument and cohesive ensemble playing. Students perform band literature with independent parts.

Drama

Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every class learns, rehearses and performs a play for the entire School. By Middle School, students are comfortable being in front of an audience, and a number continue to perform on stage during the Middle School production or learn stage management, costuming and lighting.

Studio Art

Art themes are based on homeroom curriculum and include prehistoric and ancient art forms, art around the world and cultures of the seven continents. Students refine their art technique skills and knowledge of different materials to the next level in which they are able to determine what kind of material they might use for a certain project. Projects are more involved and require the student to make independent decisions or work in a group setting to solve problems and come up with a creative solution.

Physical Education & Athletics

In Grade 5 Physical Education students adequately understand the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor objectives for all sport lesson plans. Team sports include; soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, floor hockey, baseball, kickball, and team hand ball. In these sports strategies for the game are being discussed more and then practiced in play. The games and sport lessons are still geared toward age appropriate skill development. Students are also starting to become more acclimated to higher endurance activities (e.g. more laps, longer playing time), and performing more eye-hand coordination activities (e.g. juggling, throwing balls at moving targets, and speed cup stacking). The gradual progression of all athletic activities is starting to become more competitive so students are sharing in the beliefs of good sportsmanship and are starting to recognize the responsibilities of leadership on a team. The cooperation of the class proves to increase the quality of play.

Library

In Grade 5 Library, we will briefly review library procedures, good library manners, the care of books, the layout of the library, and the use of the Library’s online catalog and library terminology. The building of inquiry skills continues in Grade 5 with the introduction of newspapers and other primary resources. We will review the steps in the Inquiry/Research process introduced in Grade 4, including defining the task, locating the information, evaluating the quality of that information, and knowing how and when to cite sources. In addition, we will review organizing and synthesizing information, constructing a full narrative, and using a variety of media to display findings. Literature lessons will focus on a review of the characteristics of various literary genres, the major literary elements: plot, characterization, setting, theme or message, and point of view, and making connections (book-to-book, book-to-self, etc). A wide range of age-appropriate, diverse literature is read aloud or book talked to the students. Storytellers and authors visit to share literature from their unique perspective.