Program
Upper School (4th - 8th Grade)

4th and 5th Grade

Welcome to 4th and 5th Grade

The fourth and fifth grades support moving from concrete thinking into the abstract. Students build on the beginning research skills they have acquired, and apply them to long-term projects in science, language arts, and multi-cultural studies. The curriculum is inquiry-based, and Essential Questions are introduced throughout the students’ experience. Project-based learning, based on these questions, helps students become skilled and confident public speakers. In upper elementary, students participate in goal-setting and in parent-teacher conferences, a practice that continues in middle school.

Program Elements

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    The language arts program combines reading, writing and word study and is guided by Essential Questions. Reader's Workshop, a methodology developed by Lucy Calkins at Columbia University, is used to guide our small, collaborative reading groups. Although writing is embedded throughout the curriculum, it is in Writer's Workshop that students focus on the craft of writing. Students write narrative pieces such as memoirs and short stories, and expository pieces such as persuasive paragraphs, essays, and poetry.
  • Social Studies

    Our classrooms make history come alive through active role playing and meaningful simulations based on essential questions such as "What is the real definition of civilization?" The curriculum runs on a two-year rotation between studies of California history and an examination of ancient Japanese and Mayan cultures. Individual research assignments link directly to the language arts program.
  • Science

    The science curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of the scientific method. Students frequently perform experiments and build models and they are challenged to extrapolate what they have observed. Subjects include geology, earth science, and biology. We spend a great deal of time on environmental stewardship/environmental studies and how we are connected to the world, which also integrates into the history curriculum and Outdoor Education program.
  • Math

    Math classes emphasize the traditional strands of the math curriculum, which include multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents and geometry, while the Math Lab sessions allow for more open-ended problem solving. Students play math games and use mathematical manipulatives which allow them to see, touch, construct, and ultimately, arrive at mathematical solutions based on their discoveries.

The Mosaic Project

Every year the fifth graders attend the Mosaic Outdoor School in the Santa Cruz mountains. The Mosaic Project brings together students from three schools that differ socioeconomically. The social-emotional curriculum is
designed to build self-esteem, address issues of difference, and promote inclusion while building new friendships.

Specialist Program

Library: once per week

Art: twice per week

Spanish: three times per week

PE: three times per week

Music: twice per week

Technology: twice per week

Drama: once per week

Giving Potluck

An annual community service event facilitated by our fourth and fifth grade students, the Giving Potluck:
  • honors our mission of fostering community and developing a social conscience
  • empowers students to make a difference
  • donates proceeds to non-profit organizations researched and chosen by students

Current Parent

At this school, our kids are encouraged to be scholars, athletes, artists, collaborators and leaders, in their own time and in their own way.

4th/5th Videos

Upper School Faculty

    • Math and Language Arts

      Pauline Bohn

      Math and Language Arts

    • Math, Reading, Current Events

      Annie Gordon

      Math, Reading, Current Events

    • Science and Language Arts

      Kristin Lorenz

      Science and Language Arts

    • Social Studies

      Katherine Obertance

      Social Studies

Our mission is to challenge students to be self-reliant thinkers and lifelong learners. We inspire academic excellence, nurture students’ natural love of learning, and encourage them to be confident, creative individuals who are responsible to each other, the community, and the world.