Curriculum and Instruction
Welcome to the new school year! This informational sheet has been developed to
introduce you the work in which we are engaged in redeveloping our district curriculum
in Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics utilizing an approach known as
Understanding by Design or simply “UbD.” This document includes information about
UbD as well as descriptions of some of the essential components of learning for this
What is UbD?
The instructional staff of the Asbury Park Schools, in consultation with the developers of
the UbD approach, is entering the second year of learning about and applying aspects of
understanding by Design into our classrooms. New units of study in Language Arts
Literacy and Mathematics have been and will continue to be developed for teachers to
use this year as part of a collaborative approach to design, sharing, and peer review of our
Understanding by Design (UbD), or “backwards design,” is a framework for planning
curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student achievement. Emphasizing
the teacher’s critical role as a designer of student learning, UbD works within the
standards-driven curriculum to help teachers clarify learning goals, devise revealing
assessments of student understanding, and craft effective and engaging learning activities.
Curriculum and Instruction Staff for 5th Grade
In addition to your child’s Teachers and the Principal or Vice Principal of your school,
the following staff members are ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you
have about our district curriculum (732-776-2606):
Mrs. Andrea Bates, Asst. Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Grades4-8 x2588
Dr. Robert A. McGarry, Director of Curriculum and Instruction x2443
What will my child learn in Language Arts Literacy this year?
Like fourth grade, fifth grade is an exciting year of transition. Having built an elementary
foundation in reading, writing, literature, history, and science, students are now ready to
start tackling complex literature and ideas. The fifth grade units present a series of ideas
related to the life of the mind: play, invention, clues, conflict, exploration, and coming of
age. In the unit on “playing with words,” students explore the delight of literary language.
This leads into a unit on “inventive thinking,” where students learn about scientific,
artistic, musical, and literary inventors. As the year progresses, students will learn how
literature can provide insight into culture and history. The units provide many
connections with history, science, and the arts. While building vocabulary and learning
multiple meanings of words, students will begin to study etymology, thus gaining insight
into the relations between languages. Students will develop their writing within many
genres: reflective essays, reports, journals, stories, responses to literary and artistic works,
and more. In their essays, they will be able to articulate a central idea and illustrate it with
examples, integrate information from several texts, and discuss literary themes. As they
continuing to learn grammatical concepts and refine their style, students at this level will
demonstrate some command of Standard English grammar and usage. By the end of fifth
grade, students will be ready for deeper study of literature and the origins of words.
What will my child learn in Mathematics this year?
In Grade 5, mathematical learning focuses on three critical areas:
1. Developing fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, and developing
understanding of the multiplication of fractions and of division of fractions in limited
2. Extending division to 2-digit divisors, integrating decimal fractions into the place value
system and developing understanding of operations with decimals to hundredths, and
developing fluency with whole number and decimal operations
3. Developing understanding of volume.
What else will my child learn this year?
Because our curriculum focuses on the whole child, in addition to the subjects described
in detail here all students engage in intentional learning in Social Studies, Science, Art,
Music, Spanish, Health and Physical Education while developing skills in technology and
learning how to use the library to find and organize information.
More information is always available on the web under “our district” at: