Fourth and Fifth Grade
Fourth graders are encouraged to become independent readers and inspired creative writers. They broaden their literacy skills through guided reading, response journals, oral reports, class collaboration and personalized instruction. Their writing becomes more intricate as they compose detailed, multi-paragraph stories that include a topic, details, transition words and conclusions. Math computation skills become more advanced as students strive to solve multi-digit multiplication and division problems using a variety of strategies. Social Studies takes on a new perspective with a variety of hands-on, peer group projects that enable students to learn about the early history of the United States and travel the world using interactive map skills. The inquiry-based science curriculum introduces the scientific method as students learn about systems of the body, plants and animals and how they interact with the environment. Students become enthusiastic learners who care about one another’s well-being and have a genuine passion for their own education.
Kitta Daled reinforces the textual skills and vocabulary of the Chumash through daily review and interactive activities. We complete the last five portions of the book of Bereishit (Genesis), while cultivating more advanced fluency of Rashi text. Students apply life lessons and middot taken from the stories in Chumash through discussions and role playing. They develop a connection to their Jewish heritage by understanding the Jewish calendar, preparing for the chagim, learning the meanings behind their customs and reinforcing their commitment to Jewish law. As we begin our Navi (Prophets) journey, we connect our past to our future. We gain an understanding of the history of the land of Israel through map studies and engaging projects. Students learn how to summarize chapters and understand the sequence of events in Navi. They begin the study of Torah Sheh Ba’al Peh (oral Torah) with Mishna, Tractate Sukkah. They accumulate knowledge of important Jewish concepts and terminology (Yediot Klaliyot) over the course of the year. We stress Hebrew reading fluency and accuracy—the most important skills students need to further their study of any Judaic subject. Judaism becomes a way of life students will carry with them through their years at Politz and beyond.
The final year of Elementary School is a challenging and joyful stage in our students’ Judaic Studies journey. As boys approach this new juncture, we stress routine, respect and regular communication to help them transition into responsible, young adults. Building upon their existing knowledge base in Chumash, they will delve into Sefer Shemot (Exodus) and Sefer Bamidbar (Numbers), with a strong emphasis on reading, vocabulary and Rashi skills. We also make use of technology to connect the epoch of the Torah with our students, such as utilizing Google maps to “visit” the Nile and better understand the Torah’s narrative. Lessons on leadership and its challenges abound in Chumash Shemot and are discussed through the stories and lessons of the Chumash. An integral part of these discussions revolve around the art of making nuanced decisions under pressure and keeping an eye on the bigger picture at play. We also use technology for text analysis and translation, allowing students to express their ideas in their own unique ways. Boys receive their first Gemara (Talmud), a true highlight of fifth grade. The introduction to Talmud is the beginning of a lifelong pursuit that will sharpen their intellects, explore the “why’s” and increase their understanding of Jewish law in all areas of daily living. An in-depth study of the people, culture and current events of Israel enhances this comprehensive program.
Fifth grade girls expand upon the strong Judaic foundation they built in the elementary grades. They continue their study of Chumash with Sefer Shemot, using the skills they gained in the Lehavin U’lehaskil program to continue their journey towards academic independence. They utilize the classic commentator, Rashi, to hone their reading, interpretative and analytical skills. Using elements of Project Based Learning, they enhance and deepen their understanding of the impactful events of Yetziat Mitzrayim (The Exodus from Egypt). The study of our early Nevi’im (Prophets) continues with an exploration of the various leadership styles and challenges of our early years in the Land of Israel. They also study how the behaviors of the Jewish people affected their relationships with their surrounding neighbors. Because “lo hamidrash haikur, ela hamaaseh” (study alone is not the point, but also the related action), we address the girls’ interpersonal relationships using the acclaimed SHALOM Secrets curriculum, which employs real-life scenarios and Torah-based wisdom to develop and nurture the social interactions with peers and the adults in their lives.
The cooperative and innovative learning environment in fifth grade empowers students to become dynamic, independent learners. We implement a structured approach to learning that builds upon students’ creativity and individual strengths. Their strong balanced literacy foundation has prepared them for a literature-based program in Language Arts, with novels selected to expose them to a multitude of genres. They strengthen their reading comprehension skills by discussing and analyzing literary elements such as themes, character development, author’s purpose, language conventions and figurative language. Fifth graders shape and expand their ideas by experimenting with several types of written expression, including informative, persuasive, descriptive and narrative writing.
As students have fine-tuned their knowledge of fundamental Math concepts, they are now able to apply their understanding of these concepts to more complex problems. Emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking, which connects to the mastery of abstract reasoning skills using various activities. We introduce basic tenets of algebra and geometry to ease students’ transition to Middle School math. Our students investigate the history of the United States, beginning with Native Americans, in Social Studies. They explore the historical and environmental factors that shaped our country’s early history. Students develop a well-rounded view of their place in American society by learning all aspects of the United States government.
We strongly believe that S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) is the gateway to critical thinking and developing vital conceptual skills. These skills enable the students to problem solve, work collaboratively, conduct research and plan and execute a design process—building the foundation for their future success.