Home/Programs/Upper Elementary (Grades 3 – 5)

Upper Elementary (Grades 3 – 5)

The third through fifth grade curriculum follows California State Standards and California Common Core Standards (CCSS). We implement our program using quality textbooks and resources.

Language Arts:

▪Reading Comprehension & Fluency ▪ Writing ▪ Vocabulary

This reading program helps students become successful, motivated, confident readers and writers. Our program stimulates, teaches, and extends the communication and thinking skills that will allow students to develop positive attitudes and become effective readers, writers, communicators, and life-long learners. The program integrates the language arts of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing, and also uses language arts to explore content across the curriculum. The focus is on:

  • Reading Strategies: Predict, infer, monitor, self question, summarize, and evaluate
  • Reading Fluency, Listening and Speaking: Presentations, oral reading
  • Reading/Writing Workshops: Stories, letters, genre writing activities (descriptive, expository, personal narrative, and research based assignments)
  • Grammar Usage and Mechanics: Sentences, nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns, etc.

Small group, skill level instruction is an important aspect of teaching reading and math at our school. Continuing students at the Phoenix Ranch receive a Lexile reading score upon conclusion of standardized testing. That score allows teachers to start the school year with appropriate reading level materials. Read more about Lexile here. New students are assessed by the teacher and assigned accordingly.


▪Procedures ▪ Problem Solving

The Singapore Math program is implemented in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade, at appropriate level. This program was based on the concrete, pictorial, abstract approach. This approach, founded on the work of renowned cognitive American psychologist Jerome Bruner, encourages mathematical problem solving, thinking and communication. Teachers also employ the Excel Math program and the Scott Foresman math textbook for additional support.

Science and Social Studies

Students in upper division will experience a complete science program that is presented daily, utilizing the McGraw Hill textbook incorporating many hands-on experiments. Third grade units include the world of living things, work and machines, matter and energy, and the sun and the planets. Fourth grade units include: classification of organisms, describing matter, earth history, and electricity and magnetism. Fifth graders will explore plants, weather and climate, energy of sound and light, and earth resources and ecosystems.
The Houghton Mifflin social studies textbooks include: Early civilizations and California studies for third grade; Fourth grade expands our state history studying the missions, gold rush, statehood and beyond. Fifth grade studies United States history from early colonial life through the Civil War. This publisher offers much assistance to students with online support at www.eduplace.com/kids/hmss/


▪Spanish ▪ Music ▪ Physical Education

  • The Spanish Program is presented twice each week for thirty minutes. Theme books provide a growing vocabulary for our Spanish language learners. Fifth grade students begin use of Realidades, our Spanish textbook with accompanying DVD’s and CD’s to embellish the lessons.
  • Music is presented once each week for thirty minutes. The children will alternate between singing and exploring other forms of music. The program goals and objectives include: An Understanding of Basic Music Theory Concepts, Rhythm Band, Introduction to Classical Music, and more. Fourth and fifth grade students may register for band or Glee after school. Our music teacher offers small group instruction in a variety of instruments (provided at parent expense). Glee is taught from 3:15-4:00 on Wednesdays.
  • Students participate in physical education 3-days per week for 40 min. each class. Qualified teachers present a full athletic program that addresses teamwork, sport skills, coordination skills, aerobic conditioning, and fitness. Fourth and fifth grade students may also participate in our inter-mural sports program of competitive play in soccer, basketball, flag-football, and volleyball. The sports league involves a number of participating private schools interested in developing athleticism and character. Coaches are assigned to each team, practices are conducted and games played in 3 seasons (fall, winter, and spring).