Fifth Grade


Gifted and high-ability math students are pulled out once a week on Thursdays to do enriched math activities with Mr. Kendall, Gifted Education Coordinator.

Enrichment activities with Mr. Kendall include challenging math games like "The 24 Game" (
http://www.24game.) and "Muggins" ( )
Muggins won a Mensa award for best game of the year when it came out.  Both of these games require fluency in multiplication and division facts, so they become an incentive for students to drill these facts so that they can do better in the games.  The key in both games is the ability to work with 3 and 4 numbers at a time to create a math sentence, rather than mere memorization of one number multiplied by another.  The games also rely on an understanding of the order of operations.  Once learned, these games provide an incentive for students to work hard on challenging word problems from the Techniques of Problem Solving (TOPS) series and the Hands-On Equations program described below so that they can earn game time at the end of the class period or for the next session.

Throughout the year students have worked on multi-step word problems from the Techniques of Problem Solving series (what they would call their “TOPS” folders).  All students work at their own pace, and I always encourage the students to remember that accuracy is much more important than speed.  Students have their TOPS folders in the classroom with them so that if they complete assigned math work early they are able to move quickly into these problems.  The number one priority is always the core SOL math content and the TOPS folders provide a form of enrichment that is easy for the classroom teacher to monitor while meeting the learning needs of other students.  If students get stuck on TOPS problems they are encouraged to skip the problem and move on to the next problem they can solve independently. They work through the difficult problems with me during our pull-out sessions.  Since the demands of the 5th grade math curriculum step up significantly from the expectations in 4th grade, I do not expect as much independent progress during the week as I would for a younger student. 

Each “deck” in the TOPS series has 200 questions.  For a sense of challenge level in the series for 5th grade students here are some descriptions:

           Deck B problems are an extension of 5th grade skills requiring students to apply their calculation skills in new ways.  

Deck C problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 5th graders and 6th graders.

Deck D problems are designed to be a good challenge for high-ability 6th graders and 7th graders.

 Most 5th grade students this year are working in Deck C. Any students working in Deck D are doing exceptionally well.

The second major component of the math enrichment curriculum is the Hands-On Equations (HOE) pre-algebra program, which begins in the third nine weeks.  It provides excellent preparation for 6th grade math, especially for those students who intend to take Algebra for high school credit in 8th grade. Students began their work in the  Hands-On Equations in third grade and continued in fourth grade In the HOE program the students learn the concept of a balanced equation through the use of a picture of a balance scale of the type used in science labs. The students use manipulatives that look like chess pawns to stand in for the variables and numbered cubes to represent the numbers in the equation.  Students learn “legal moves” where they put the same elements in each hand (pawn and pawn or cube and cube) and remove those items from the scale to simplify the equation. When students solve for the variable (“x”) they are required to check their work by plugging the variable back into the original equation.

The HOE program has a total of 26 lessons with 10 multi-step algebra problems in each lesson.  My goal for 5th graders is that they complete five lessons beginning from where they left off in 4th grade.  All students have met that goal this year and are excited to continue with the program into the 4th nine weeks. [NOTE: Some students were new to the program this year and also completed at least 5 lessons.] All lessons past Lesson 9 are multi-step equations that require the use of positive and negative integers and variables.  Since this is truly middle school level work that requires abstract thinking, some students are more ready to advance than others. Any students continuing beyond Lesson 17 are doing exceptionally well

E-mail Mr. Kendall if you have questions about this program:



Reading enrichment in fifth grade occurs through ability grouping in reading within each regular classroom or through regrouping across the entire grade level.  Students read appropriately challenging novels from such authors as Scott O'Dell, Katherine Paterson, Beverly Cleary, and Louis Sachar, who are highly recommended for gifted learners.  They engage in active discussions of the literature using the vocabulary of literary analysis.  Students also do critical and creative writing assignments based on the literature they read. 
CLICK HERE for more information from the 5th grade team, especially the "Pacing Chart" that delineates what skills will be taught during each of the four marking periods in language arts.