Written & Edited by: Ayush, David, Ishan, Nicolas, Hansith, and Dihain
At Design39Campus, 5th-grade students have a very engaging curriculum and schedule. Their subjects include regular ones such as Math, Language Arts and Writing, Science, and Social Studies, but also a wide variety of other subjects in the form of Deep Dives, Music, and MiM (D39C physical education). These subjects combine to create an involved learning experience for the 5th-grade students.
Schedule & Subjects
The fifth graders’ schedule is similar to that of the fourth grade. They start the day by reading their books. Reading is followed by Math, where they learn concepts like decimals, fractions, place values, graphs, and coordinate planes. The teachers emphasize teaching the students different strategies to enhance their mathematical skills. Sometimes, fifth graders are allowed to have time to do productive applications such as Lexia Core 5 and Khan Academy.
After Math class, the students have a 20-minute snack break. This is followed by IL (Integrated Learning), which is a combination of Language Arts, and Social Studies. This year, the students are working on different projects, such as writing different types of essays. They also learn California History. They have one TCI textbook which they do activities from.
Following IL is Minds in Motion (MiM), Design39’s PE. After MIM, students have a 40-minute lunch break where they eat and play on the playground.
Lunch is followed by read-aloud. During read-aloud, students first listen to a book they are reading as a class. Then, the students do a detailed study of the character traits, story themes, and setting. This is similar to the Benchmark curriculum that students follow in other schools.
The next part of the day is flexible. Sometimes, the students do science. They do parts of the Mystery Science or PLTW curriculum. Mystery Science is an online curriculum in which students go through several lessons concerning topics like basic ecology, and basic space science, but mainly scientific phenomena. Other times, they might have more IL.
This is then followed by a closing circle activity in which the students share their favorite parts of the day. On Friday, they have end-of-the-day recess.
Activities are split between two days, known as A Days and B Days. They are pretty similar for 5th graders where the core curriculum is concerned, but have a few differences in activities. They have MIM and Deep Dives on A Days and Explorations on B Days.
MIM is Design 39’s version of PE. It is more or less the same but is given a different name. Students start by running a lap around the school track. This is then followed by their sports activity that they get to pick once every 2-3 months.
Deep Dives are similar to middle school electives, where 5th Graders can choose which activity to partake in. These shift from time to time. As the name implies, Deep Dives allow students to explore an activity or topic comprehensively. Often, this will be something that is not part of the curriculum, but rather something that students are interested in. Examples include coding, word games, and chess. The school band is also a Deep Dive in which students play their specified instruments. The students in Band have 1-2 performances every year.
Every week, 5th graders will also have music. During the music, the students make their way to the music building, right next to the welcome center. The music teacher, Mrs. Spencer, teaches the students general musical topics. The students don’t go too deep into playing instruments, but instead, get an idea of what playing different instruments is like. It is for students who want to play a specific instrument, or get coaching on an instrument.
The 5th Grade Experience
The combination of an intentional schedule and subjects form together seamlessly to create an engaging learning experience. We interviewed some 5th-grade students to understand their points of view. “Teachers are awesome, and it’s very fun,” said one 5th grader we spoke to. “I really like it,” said another. The 5th-grade curriculum creates an involved, engaging, and all-around fun experience for 5th-grade students.