Holy Cross School

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade

In Fifth Grade, the curriculum is designed to challenge and foster inquisitive learning opportunities as students begin to prepare for middle school. There are many cross-curricular lessons that allow students to apply real-world application skills. All lessons are differentiated and taught with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences in mind in order to allow every type of learner to feel successful in an inclusive classroom setting.

Language Arts
The reading program follows the Reader’s Workshop format, which helps students develop effective strategies for processing increasingly challenging levels of text. The ultimate goal of reading workshop is to help every student learn how to use reading strategies independently and successfully describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose. Students use a variety of grade-level appropriate novels of various genres as well as the Treasures reading program.

The class uses Sadlier grammar series to identify sentence structure, paragraph structure, and mechanics of writing. Students have a weekly Writer’s Workshop to enhance creative journal writing and writing for a variety of purposes including narrative, response to literature, inform, and persuade, all while using standard English conventions.

Spelling and Vocabulary word study derives from a literature-based vocabulary workbook series and the Words Their Way Spelling Series. In spelling, students study word origins, context clues, prefixes, suffixes, syllables, and spelling patterns.  Vocabulary study includes finding and learning definitions through context clues and the dictionary.

For math instruction, the class uses the Saxon math program, which spirals our math curriculum. Students focus on creating a solid number sense of decimals and fractions, and the relationship between the three. Students solve problems involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication and division of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. In addition, students use two-dimensional coordinate grids to find and graph ordered pairs. They also measure, identify and draw angles using protractors. Lastly, they identify, describe and classify the properties of plane and solid geometric shapes and the relationships between them.

To enrich problem solving skills, students complete many real-world project based learning assignments that challenge them to collect, display, analyze, compare and interpret information. Students must apply learned strategies and apply them to real world scenarios.

Students use "Science Study Weekly" newspapers to dig deeper into earth, life, and physical science. They investigate changes of the Earth, its processes, and what shapes it. In addition, they also explore the stars, planets, and the solar system. Exploring, describing, and classifying states of matter by conducting experiments that focus on physical and chemical changes is also done. Students begin to study Newton’s Laws of motion to identify the relationship between forces and energy. In addition, they classify organisms based on similarities and differences and the ways they adapt to their environments. Students also incorporate many hands-on science projects and experiments on a weekly basis to apply the learned topics.

Social Studies
The class uses the McGraw Hill textbook series to discuss American History through the development of the Constitution. The curriculum studies American Indian cultures, European exploration, colonization, settlement, revolution against British rule, the founding of the Republic, and the beginnings of the United States. Students develop a solid understanding of the main components and characteristics of the United States government, and can identify and explain key ideas in government from the colonial and founding periods that continue to shape civic and political life.


Students use Loyola Press’s Christ Our Life religion textbook to grow in our appreciation of the Church as a worshiping community. They learn about the four pillars of the Church: the Apostle's Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, and Prayer and discuss and understand that Christ is present among us in the Eucharistic Liturgy and in the sacraments. Students also discuss all the parts of the Mass and their significance as they prepare to receive the Eucharist. In addition, the students participate in the planning and preparation of the school liturgies throughout the school year. They develop a deep understanding that we can worship God through prayer, loving service, and celebrating the liturgical seasons.

Enrichment classes: P.E., Art, Music, Technology, and Spanish


Teacher:  Corri Deegan

Corri Deegan earned a Bachelor of Arts from Washington College in Human Development. She earned her Master’s Degree in Leadership in Special Education from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Miss Deegan began teaching Fifth Grade at Holy Cross in 2012. She was awarded the Knights of Columbus Monsignor O’Donnell Teacher of the Year Award for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Miss Deegan is a member of the Holy Cross School Student Assistance Team, was a participant of the Archdiocese of Washington Faith Knowledge Assessment Review and the Math Curriculum Review, and has coached the Girls on the Run and Heart and Sole Teams at Holy Cross for the past four seasons. Her goal is to make every type of learner feel successful, to make learning fun, and to provide a stimulating learning environment that facilitates the use of a variety teaching strategies and materials in order to meet the individual needs of a diverse groups of students.