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Performing Arts in 5th Grade


Third through 5th Graders begin the year with a theater unit that culminates in January with a fully-staged musical. The theater curriculum is based on VAPA standards and strives to be process-based, students learn a wide variety of theatrical skills that can be applied broadly to performing arts and life in general. The goal of the theater program is to instill self-confidence, support team building and meaningful collaboration, and reinforce the importance of taking risks in a safe and inclusive environment.

During second trimester, students in 3rd- 5th grade transition to a more ensemble-focused curriculum. Recorders are introduced in third grade and reinforced in fourth, preparing students for wind, brass, and string instruments offered in fifth. Students begin reading notes off the treble and bass staves, literacy concepts are introduced and reinforced in ways that build off of the Kindergarten through Second Grade curriculum. Music play and creative movement still exists in the general music curriculum (3rd and 4th grades) but with more structure; games and creative movement are usually included as the last component of tiered Orff lessons. To enhance their social and personal development, students learn to share, cooperate, take turns, take risks, perform in front of their peers, and experience personal success through performance.

In 5th Grade, students select an instrument and perform as members of the Westerly Band or String Ensembles; they are expected to stay with these instruments in middle school to develop their skills on their chosen instrument over a number of years.

Students in 5th Grade will:
  • Continue reading notes off treble staff. Bass staff introduced for students who select corresponding instrument. 
  • Continue expanding on the “language” of music, expanding on dynamics, articulations, and creative expression. 
  • Move expressively to live and recorded music
  • Use solfege to understand melodic shape, sing melodies in solfege
  • Play an instrument
  • Decode and perform more complex rhythmic patterns
  • Critical listening to music recordings
  • Build skills on either a string instrument or band instrument
  • Build social skills - cooperation, teamwork, adaptability, resilience, and risk-taking through performance in musical
  • Memorize lines and choreography
  • Pantomime
  • Learn stage directions
  • Learn strategies for successful public speaking
  • Play improvisational theater games
  • Discuss character development
  • Learn to clearly articulate when speaking in front of an audience
  • Memorize lines and songs to perform in a musical theater production
  • Collaborate with each other and the director to perform as part of an ensemble cast