This SFUSD fifth-grade instructional guidance is organized into four sections: Culture of Learning, Academic Ownership, Essential Content, and Demonstration of Learning. We recommend you explore the four sections so you have a sense of what is available here and then focus on the Culture of Learning section for the start of the year. There you will find guidance on the development of 10 and 11-year-olds, setting up your classroom, building family partnerships, and launching the school year. For content-specific guidance go to Essential Content.
Our intention here is to provide an overview of fifth-grade instruction and make the information easily accessible. This is not a scripted manual - fifth-grade instruction is more complex and nuanced than these pages alone can illustrate. Still, there is a lot of information here that we believe will be supportive. Please do not feel compelled to dive into this website all at once. Please use it as a resource throughout the year as needed. This guide is one piece of the puzzle; your partnerships with students, fellow teachers, coaches, families, administrators, sites, and departments are all essential to supporting you in creating a learning environment where every day we provide each and every student with the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive.
The Instructional Guidance Team
Student-Centered Fifth Grade
Each and every student comes to the classroom with a wealth of strengths and lived experiences along with specific developmental assets, and needs. These constitute the root that instruction should be informed by and grow from. Honoring these roots, cultivate an environment where your students can tap into their joy for learning and nurture it with their classmates.
Support them to deeply engage in their learning by modeling, scaffolding, and providing ample opportunities to freely ask questions, openly explore and share their thinking, provide and use feedback, and ask for help when needed. Support each student to develop and demonstrate a sense of ownership for their own learning and that of their classmates - growing a sense of shared responsibility for academic and non-academic routines, procedures, and expectations throughout their fifth-grade experience.
Ten-year-olds feel like they can take on just about anything and delight in every minute of it. During this sunny year, children love to play, to learn, and to relate to others. This is a time for consolidating the gains from their early years as they find comfort in themselves, their teachers, their parents, and even their siblings. Tens relax in childhood as they gather strength for the impending challenges of adolescence.
Ten is the ideal age for large-group efforts - think class trips, plays, and community service projects. Tens do equally well in non-competitive activities and more traditional competitive games like kickball and tag. At ten, children love learning factual information, and they’re extraordinarily good at memorizing. With their receptive minds, they typically know all the rules. Their agreeable acceptance of rules about how things work makes this a wonderful age for teaching or reteaching mediation and problem-solving and introducing government structures and scientific principles.
Eleven-year-olds are, in a sense, electrified. As adolescence begins, cognitive structures in the brain are rewiring themselves at the same amazing speed with which the body is beginning to transform. Relationships with peers and adults are turning topsy-turvy. At home and in school, academically and socially, eleven-year-olds are busy engaging whole new worlds with a sense of outward boldness yet inward tentativeness. Their lives crackle with the energy of change as they begin to establish a sense of physical and emotional identity.
The Core Four
This page was last updated on October 31, 2023