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Fifth Grade

Our curriculum is driven by the Diocesan Standards which align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).


Our curriculum focuses on the Sacraments, saints, and parts of the Mass. We study the Works of Mercy and put them into practice through service to others.

English - Language Arts

St. James School uses the writing program called Step Up to Writing. This program has a structured framework that teaches students a step-by-step approach to writing with graphic organizers, modeled writing, and a common language.

Students expand upon their previous skills as writers with instruction and practice in the areas of expository and narrative writing. A major research report, known as the Big Six, is one of the highlights of fifth grade. Other writing activities such as essays, literature responses, and poetry are integrated across the curriculum.

Students learn to spell the 700 most commonly used words in their everyday writing through the use of the Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program which promotes long term mastery of words used in everyday writing and builds students’ accountability for the correct spelling of priority words across the curriculum.

In Reading, we employ the Accelerated Reader Program (AR), use an Anthology, and explore books such as Sign of the Beaver in our Book Club.


We follow the California Common Core Standards for Mathematics. The first Standard is Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Fifth grade emphasizes the basic operations in decimals, fractions, introduction to Algebra, and application of Geometry.


Our science curriculum follows the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). St. James School uses the Integrated Learning Progression Course. The four units covered in 5th Grade are:

  1. Matter and its Interactions
  2. From Matter to Organisms
  3. Earth Systems and Processes
  4. Patterns in Earth and Space

In addition to the specific coursework listed above, computer coding is learned using dedicated Science Chromebooks and using computer science student volunteers from UC Davis.

Social Studies

The History curriculum encompasses early American history up to the Civil War. The emphasis is on the period of the American Revolution. Our Boston Tea Party unit allows us to go deeper into the complex ideas that led to the creation of our nation.


Native Peoples Project, Hatchet diorama, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe game creation, State Report, Living Museum of Presidencies, Adopt A Pilot event and The Boston Tea Party living history event.

St. James School educates the whole child. Therefore, Fifth Graders also attend classes in Music, PE, Art, and Library.