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These curriculum summaries have been developed by teachers and administrators to serve as another way of communicating with parents. They highlight the core curriculum and expectations for student learning at each grade level.

The curriculum summaries describe what most students at a grade level are expected to know and be able to do by the end of the school year. They also reflect the goals of the various Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It is important to note that although children may learn and grow at different rates and through varied styles, all should make regular progress.

While we have high expectations for all students and encourage each student to work to their capacity, parents and teachers recognize that some students have more difficulty in school. Others will progress more rapidly and move well beyond these core expectations. It is the joint responsibility of school and home to provide support, challenge, and encouragement for all students.

English/Reading/Language Arts

The fifth grade reading/language arts program stresses a continuum of skills and strategies to further develop the literacy skills and strategies introduced in fourth grade.  Core instruction is delivered through the 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys reading program, key components of which include instruction in phonics and decoding, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, study skills, and writing (including grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling.)  Continued attention is given to skills in listening, speaking, viewing and representing.  The core anthology is supplemented by numerous print and digital resources that assist students in the development of close reading and analysis skills. Teachers also integrate reading with content areas such as science, math, and social studies.  Key concepts are presented to students in whole-class format while individual needs are met in small skill-based groups. Teachers also employ a variety of instructional models and activities to promote the development of fluency and comprehension.  The writing process is taught through direct instruction in the Empowering Writers program in order to meet state and local standards for writing in the expository, opinion, and narrative modes. A district-wide literacy portfolio plan assesses student progress in skills indicated by both the Common Core framework and the core reading program.  Most students in grade 5 will become more comfortable and proficient in the use of cursive for written expression.

Social Studies

The grade 5 social studies curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for History/Social Science, as well as the English Language Arts and Literacy. As per the state framework, it is the students’ first sequential and in-depth study of the United States. The growth of the United States from pre-colonial times through the formation of the United States and the adoption of the Constitution is emphasized. Local history is also incorporated. Current events are woven in by the use of newspapers, periodicals, or other news reports. Students are expected to demonstrate  further development of skills and comprehension in: map and globe use; graphing and charting; content area reading; critical thinking; written discussion; and a foundational understanding of their national heritage.  Class time may be used for teacher presentations, but there is an emphasis on student-centered learning.  Field trips are taken to view local historical sights.  Homework is assigned on a regular basis and is part of student assessment along with grades based on projects, formal testing, and classroom participation. Teachers will utilize historical fiction and nonfiction trade books to connect literacy to social studies.


The grade 5 science program emphasizes scientific inquiry and science literacy, and stresses the interconnectedness of science disciplines. The major units, Dynamic Life and Dynamic Earth, are addressed through formal lessons with the classroom teacher and additional investigations and outdoor field studies under the supervision of the elementary science specialist. In the Dynamic Life unit, students explore the characteristics of living things, how they are adapted to their environment and how they fit into the web of life through ecosystems. In the Dynamic Earth unit, students explore earth processes, weather and the water cycle. A culminating unit, featuring a review of science topics studied in grades 3-5, supports student achievement on the Grade 5 Science MCAS. Throughout the year, students will develop observational skills, record and analyze data, compare results of an experiment with a prediction, and communicate findings to others using graphs, charts, maps and models. Engineering design challenges are integrated to provide opportunities for students to apply science content. Classroom time may be used for teacher or student presentations, small group work, class discussions or laboratory experiments. Assessment strategies include homework, projects, lab activities and formal testing.


The curriculum of the Hingham Public Schools is aligned with and based on the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics. Hingham uses the Everyday Mathematics program (Wright Group) as its primary tool to teach the mathematics curriculum. Fifth grade Everyday Mathematics content emphasizes the following: Numeration – reading, writing and comparing negative numbers, fractions, whole numbers; powers of 10; prime, composite and square numbers. Operations and Computation – using algorithms to add, subtract, multiply and divide multi-digit whole numbers, fractions, and decimals; prime factoring; converting between fractions, decimals and percents; least common multiples and greatest common factors. Patterns, Functions and Algebra – simple algebraic expressions; rules for patterns; direct proportions; rate problems. Geometry – angle relationships and construction; defining triangles; coordinate geometry; translations; perimeter, area and volume problems. Measurement – measuring and estimating length, area, volume, weight and capacity; converting common units of measurement. Data and Chance – drawing and interpreting data. Hingham believes that concept mastery comes over a period of time, first through informal exposure and then through more formal and directed instruction. Teachers utilize a combination of whole group instruction, small group activities and individual learning experiences. Student progress is assessed using ongoing and formal unit assessments, as well as monthly basic facts tests. Students have the opportunity to participate in Continental Math League (CML) contest exams. Selected students are invited to participate in a pull-out Math Plus option.

Foreign  Language

The elementary foreign language program is a student-centered interactive approach to learning Spanish. Students are taught basic communication skills through function-based thematic units. They include such topics as greetings and responses, counting, colors and shapes, days of the week, months, weather expressions, clothing, animals, members of the family, etc. Initially, instruction is implemented via oral language with a gradual transition to written language. Cultural aspects of the Spanish speaking world are interwoven throughout the lessons as applicable. Use of the creative arts such as music, storytelling, rhyme, and drawing promote learning in an enjoyable as well as meaningful environment. Students in grades K-5 participate in the elementary foreign language program once per six-day cycle.


Grade 5 students are scheduled for art at least once in each six-day cycle. Students begin to create unified compositions that demonstrate their understanding of the elements and principles of art and design. They expand their repertoire of 2D and 3D art processes, techniques, and materials with a focus on the range of art effects possible within each medium. Students use observation, abstraction, expression, and symbolic imagery which demonstrates personal invention and/or conveys ideas and emotions. Students assess and reflect upon their work while continuing to explore artistry and personal aesthetics. Students learn to interpret the meanings of artistic works by evaluating how the subject matter reflects the culture and belief system of a society. Evaluation in fifth grade is based on students’ effort, participation, craftspersonship, and completing lesson objectives.


Fifth graders elect to study and perform in band, strings, or chorus.  Students in all ensembles will develop proper basic playing/singing technique, musical expression, note reading, and the ability to perform alone and with others.  Repertoire will be age and skill appropriate, designed to foster skill development while engaging students in meaningful artistic expression.

Physical Education

The physical education curriculum is designed to promote the skills and attitudes that are associated with sport, recreation, and good health.  The curriculum is presented through individual, partner, group, and team experiences.  Major themes for study include: movement, games, sports, physical fitness, and sportsmanship.  Intermediate grade instruction (4-5) moves more towards team sport orientation.  Greater emphasis is placed on skill development, concepts, and the rules and procedures of official sports.  Classes meet at least once in each six-day cycle.  Activities are presented in formal three to four week units.  Evaluation and grading reflect student motivation, participation, sportsmanship, and observation about skill development.

Computer Science

multimedia and productivity tools that will enable them to support the grade 5 project-based curriculum. Computer programming and coding skills are expanded and will extend student’s knowledge of fundamental programming concepts such as variables, loops and conditional statements. Cybersafety and online bullying prevention are reinforced with web-based lessons and discussion. Use of Chromebooks and Google products are heavily used to prepare students for middle school.


Students in grade 5 visit the library for  both formal instruction and book selection which includes read-aloud, discussion sessions, and peer sharing opportunities.  Students may also use the library for research for class assignments and projects.  The library media objectives include: review and reinforcement of skills learned K-4; using a variety of electronic, online, and print resources; develop information processing, location, interpretation, outlining, and notetaking skills; develop presentation skills; and introduction to media literacy in order  to improve critical  viewing and listening skills.


The health curriculum is designed to promote an understanding and an awareness of sound health and safety practices. The major themes are: health habits; disease prevention; safety and injury prevention; physical, social and emotional health; and drug, alcohol and violence prevention.  Grade 4 and 5 instruction takes on a more formal approach.  Units on alcohol, smoking and other drug prevention, nutrition and an introductory study of viruses and the immune system are taught.  Attention is given to an increased awareness of students’ own developmental changes.   Grade 4 and 5 students participate in the Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention program.  Class time is used for teacher presentation, class discussions, student projects, and specialist presentations by the nurse, DARE officer, or physical education instructors.

Suggestions For Parent Assistance

  • Develop good nutritional, rest, exercise, and safety habits.
  • Work with the school to develop good study skills and self-discipline.
  • Show an active interest in your child’s daily school activities.
  • Help your child to select materials and ideas from home which contribute to class activities and discussions.
  • Plan family experiences which support topics studied at school.
  • Encourage your child to pursue individual
    interests such as hobbies, arts, and athletics.
  • Volunteer in your child’s school and attend individual conferences and school events.
  • Consult with the classroom teacher about specific ways to help your child.
  • Provide a place and time for your child
    to complete homework assignments comfortably and on time.
  • Assist your child with the completion and review of homework, but ensure the final product is reflective of the child’s under- standing of the assignment.
  • Foster an interest in reading by reading regularly to and with your child.


Students in grade 3 will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Test batteries are projected to be in reading and mathematics. Students in grade 4 will also participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0). Projected test batteries, that may be administered online, include reading, writing, and mathematics. Grade 5 students will participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) in science and technology, and will participate in the revised Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS 2.0) in English/language arts and mathematics. Report cards document progress, and literacy portfolios and math folders contain samples of student work at all grades.

For more information

Questions about grade level curriculum should be directed first to your child’s teacher. The principal or assistant principal may provide additional information.

East Elementary

Foster Elementary

Plymouth River Elementary

South Elementary

Superintendent’s Office

Comments about this document may be directed to Dr. LaBillois at [email protected] or 781-741-1500.