A Program of Schools for Children

Grades 5 and 6

Growing Into Independent Learners

As fifth and sixth grade students at Lesley Ellis become more self-sufficient, they are encouraged to take increasing ownership over their own learning. They work on independent research projects, play a leadership role within the school community, and mentor younger children in their “buddy” classrooms. There is an emphasis on building and honing organizational and time management skills as the days get busier with a wider range of both collaborative and independent activities.

Developing New Skills

Fifth and sixth graders immerse themselves in new academic territory and practice new skills: they analyze literature, play leading roles in theatrical productions, explore ancient civilizations, create thesis statements, and apply the distributive property. The walls of the classroom expand as students transition between subject specific teachers.

There is a little more structure in an environment that calls for discipline and focus, while also providing the flexibility to respond to student interest and individual needs. As they grow intellectually, fifth and sixth graders continue to build a developmentally appropriate knowledge base, satisfy their curiosity, and fully engage in their learning process.

Grade Level Highlights

Service Learning

As fifth and sixth graders develop their understanding of the role they play in broader contexts, they appreciate the importance of helping others. The concept of service is a foundational pillar of the Lesley Ellis community, and a range of initiatives helps students increase their capacity for empathy and to make a difference.

  • Each year, fifth and sixth graders support the Windrush Farm Therapeutic Riding Center   for people with emotional and physical challenges. Their work on the sensory riding trail calls for their understanding of people with disabilities, their creativity in conceptualizing trail enhancements, and a personal stake in the project through trail maintenance.
  • ThinkGive empowers students to realize their capacity to positively impact their own lives and the lives of others through hands-on, collaborative acts of giving. With an emphasis on gifts of self, students share acts of kindness—a compliment, a helping hand, an expression of gratitude—demonstrating that small acts can have huge impact.


Theatrical Opportunities

Theatrical experiences open up a whole new world for middle school students, offering expanded means of self-discovery and expression. Through participation in the dramatic arts, fifth and sixth graders stretch their communication, decision-making, teamwork, active listening, calculated risk-taking and physical awareness muscles, while building self-confidence and sparking new interests. Students analyze scripts, practice different acting techniques, blend interpretation and performance in musical productions, and explore aspects of technical theater—all with increasing depth as they gain experience through the middle school years.


Edgemakers Innovation Curriculum

The EdgeMakers innovation curriculum is designed to help students apply new concepts and skills to real world situations, while empowering them to affect positive change in the world. Whether identifying a global challenge or one that impacts those closer to home, fifth and sixth grade students work together to imagine and implement change. With an emphasis on storytelling, design, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, the EdgeMakers curriculum expands each student’s understanding of their own capacity (and responsibility) to make a difference.

Makerspace Activities

Fifth and sixth graders have a dedicated schedule block for research, exploration, and building. Students develop design-thinking and system design skills to understand challenges from multiple perspectives before using practical hands-on skills to bring their ideas to fruition. One group designed and built a hydroponic garden that included planting and tending to seedlings, building a mobile garden cart, and the installation of an enclosed system to support plant growth.

Class Trips

Fifth and sixth graders are introduced to annual outdoor overnight experiences, which help them learn more about themselves, their peers, and the natural world. Outdoor education emphasizes the development of independence, self-confidence, problem solving, and community building. Past trips include Thompson Island, Alton Jones, and the Farm School.