Older Kids: 4th and 5th

Older Kids Curriculum

Older kids encompasses 4th and 5th grades.


We encourage our students to see the beauty that is mathematics. Talking about math, discussing the different ways to solve problems, and encouraging kids to see the challenge of this fantastic puzzle we call mathematics is primary. At Rivendell our math curriculum is individualized. Each student works in his/her own computation book. Simultaneously, they work in a fraction or decimal book. Our students work at their own speed until they have mastered the material. Then they take a test at the end of each book. We also have one-to-one and small and large group mini-lessons in important topics such as: why a common denominator is necessary and then how to find it or how to solve simple algebraic equations. Our math specialist also leads small group classes for our fifth graders to prepare them for middle school. In  addition, our math specialist comes into each class every week to do an incredible hands on math session with our kids. These sessions focus on using manipulatives to solve problems in the area of

  • logic
  • patterns
  • measurement
  • statistics
  • probability
  • geometry
  • estimation

Literacy: Reading and Literature Study

Reading at this level is the ability to decode words and access background knowledge so as to make sense of those words. Reading is taught through a workshop model. Our students are introduced to word attack strategies and review comprehension strategies in mini-lessons. They then discuss and explore these strategies in both small and large groups. They read across genres in self selected books and are challenged to read 40 books over the course of the school year. In addition, the entire class reads and studies several class novels throughout the year. We explore literature together to have our students practice the big questions of life by exploring them in novels with us. Both our fiction and non-fiction studies are integrated with topics being explored in science and/or social studies.

Literacy: Writing

Writing cements all other thinking. When a student writes about his/her learning  or thinking she/he is not just engaging in a  substantive  process, but they are crossing over into a generative process. Our students write across the curriculum. Writing is taught through a process approach in a workshop setting where students brainstorm, draft, conference, edit, revise, and publish their writing. Some of the things older kids learn in writing, vocabulary and grammar are:


  • Write simple essays that contain topic sentences, support statements, details and a conclusion
  • Write narratives that have a beginning, middle and end and contain main characters, action, a problem, setting, and a solution
  • Edit and revise essays
  • Write narratives, expository and persuasive essays, literature responses, research reports, and analytical essays

Grammar and Punctuation

  • Use commas
  • Use quotation marks and apostrophes
  • Master proper use of parts of speech


  • Spell roots, suffixes, affixes, prefixes and syllables
  • Understand and explain the meaning of words and all their forms
  • Use the roots and affixes to find the meaning

Topic Work: Science and Social Studies

Rivendell older kids, as do the rest of the school, study science and social studies on a four year rotation. In older kids we focus on immersing our students in the scientific process. Rivendell kids are natural questioners who are constantly asking why. In social studies we strive to help our students develop civic skills and an understanding of different perspectives that are fundamental in a democratic society. We ask students to examine their thoughts, feeling and actions in relation to each other and their school and community as a whole so as to develop into active and engaged citizens. We understand that knowledge and understanding are acquired through active exploration, so during our topic work children do not just sit and listen, but they actively engage in discussion, investigation, and questioning. Our children constantly ask how does what I am learning relate to my experiences, thus furthering their understanding and knowledge of themselves and the world.

Special Subjects

For each unit students demonstrate their knowledge of the subject through a recitation. Recitations are a project completed at home over a three week period and presented in class. This activity allows for creativity and choice while helping students learn the important skills of time management.

Our students also have teachers for the following subjects: technology, art, music, science and engineeringSpanish, and P.E.