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Courses Offered for Upper Elementary Division (3-5)

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Courses Offered for Upper Elementary Division (3-5)

Please find detailed information about each of the subject areas students in grades Third through Fifth grade are enrolled in. With lead teachers for all of these subject areas, The Fay School puts great emphasis on ensuring a well-rounded education for each student.

Language Arts

Upper Elementary (3-5 Division) students experience a balanced literacy approach to language arts that includes reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary instruction.  They develop reading comprehension skills and an appreciation for various genres of literature through daily reading activities. Through multi-sensory grammar instruction, students learn to identify the various parts of speech and participate in activities that extend this knowledge into their written work.  They also learn letter patterns that help them develop accurate spelling.  Students develop writing skills through participation in writing workshop during which they experience partner work, individual conferences with teachers and time for independent writing. 


Everyday Mathematics comes from the University of Chicago Mathematics Project and is based on decades of research and engineered to make sure that all students have an opportunity to succeed.  Numbers, skills, and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday lives. Students are challenged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking in their own words, and through the program’s writing component.  This program encourages students to be creative problem solvers and flexible thinkers, and it requires students to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking in their own words.  The five domains taught in Everyday Mathematics include: operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base-ten, number and operations in fractions, measurement and data, and geometry.  In the upper elementary grades, students also memorize basic math facts, and they use supplemental technology programs to enhance their mathematical skills and understanding.  Students also have the ability to access the Everyday Math online component for lesson overviews and extension activities.  


Our science curriculum in Upper Elementary builds upon the foundations of Lower Elementary in Earth, Physical, and Life Sciences through hands-on learning activities and nonfiction reading and writing. Fay Students learn to observe, experiment, and record in the best laboratory in the world: our green campus. From hatching chicken eggs to contemplating our impact on the Earth, students discover the world around them. Each grade participates in at least one science unit each year that is centered on the plants and animals who live here. From our Fay Farm to our Fay Forest there are many opportunities to explore dig into Science. 

Social Studies

Our Social Studies curriculum promotes increased awareness of self, family, community, country, and the globe. The Third Grade focus is on “Our Community and Beyond,” and students are taught to recognize that that community begins in the classroom. Children actively learn the meaning of respect, equity, cooperation, and citizenship.  In third grade, geography and map skills are also emphasized. The focus in Fourth Grade is on “Regions of Our Country,” and it presents the five regions of the United States through the lens of the four social sciences — economics, geography, political science, and history including a study of Texas history. In Fifth Grade, the focus is on “America’s Past.”  This curriculum covers American history from the first migrations into the Americas through the 20th century. Interaction with the personalities, places, and events that structured our nation leads students to be both keen observers of and informed participants in U.S. history. 


The Upper Elementary music curriculum focuses on helping students cultivate their music reading skills and expand their knowledge of music history. Students continue to develop their level of expertise in playing both unpitched and pitched percussion instruments in the classroom Orff ensemble. We also guide students in the areas of vocal technique and sight-singing, using the Kodaly method. Our primary goal is to enhance the music making experience for each student.

Each grade level has the opportunity to present a staged musical program. These shows are a beloved Fay tradition and provide many fond memories.


The Fay School’s Upper Elementary art curriculum encourages inventive thinking, creative problem solving, visual awareness, as well as intellectual, social and emotional development. We consider every student an artist and cultivate innate creativity and curiosity with hands-on exploration of art materials, as well as self-reflection during art-making.

Upper Elementary art focuses on age-appropriate assignments, guided experimentation, group demonstrations, and one-on-one instruction. All Fay School art students use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques as they develop individual expression, focus, and a strong work ethic.

The Fay School's art program allows children to engage in the creative process, take risks, solve problems, and develop insights. Their ideas take shape in a finished work of art. The Fay School is constantly changing exhibitions in several spaces throughout the campus to showcase student work.

Our goal is to provide a supportive studio environment where students can visually express themselves and experiment with a variety of processes and techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, and sculpture. As students move through the grades, they engage in deeper and more elaborate understandings of materials, processes, and techniques.

Physical Education

In Upper Elementary Physical Education, along with developing new and more advanced skills, we also emphasize the importance of endurance and personal fitness goals. Pace work, muscle strengthening, and stretching are components of each of our classes. In introducing new units, we begin with skill acquisition and development. In our volleyball unit, we focus on the fundamentals of the sport: serving, passing, and setting. In serving, we work on a consistent toss, maintaining a high elbow, and contacting the ball with a strong hand.  In passing, we focus on a balanced base, hand positioning, and a flat and frozen platform. In setting, we concentrate on high and triangular hands, contacting the ball on our finger pads (a “silent set”), and ending each set with a high follow-through.  We progress in each of our units to strategies in team play, moving to get open, and moving with a purpose. In our soccer unit, we encourage the students to maintain their spacing, forming a triangle with their teammates in game play, to ensure better passes. In our basketball unit, we work with the students on the fundamental skills of offense and defense. The students work on proper shooting technique, correct passing form, and moving to get open, keeping in mind spatial awareness. We finish each unit with an exciting class game, highlighting the skills the students have developed. Throughout the year, we continue to emphasize the importance of playing cooperatively, playing honestly, and playing as a team.


As receiving comprehensible input continues in upper elementary, the students’ acquisition of the target language grows as well. The use of props and acting for the purpose of storytelling in Spanish remains key. This makes acquiring Spanish still a fun an engaging process. It is in these grades that reading and writing in Spanish are developed, and output of the Spanish language becomes much more evident.


The Wolf Library serves our Upper Elementary students, as well as their teachers and parents. We have over 15,000 volumes of books and aim to provide a collection that meets the needs of our students. All students visit the library once a week with their class and other times with their teacher’s permission. The library program strives to promote a love of reading, and to help students become users and producers of all types of information. Online databases give students and their families access to resources such as encyclopedias, search engines appropriate for school age children, and web-based programs as tools for learning.  Upper Elementary students are offered participation in the Texas Bluebonnet reading program, and Fourth and Fifth grade students can also participate in the Read it Forward Book Club in the fall and in the spring.  Noted author visits enrich their learning and are usually coordinated with the Book Fair. 


At The Fay School, our students learn to be good consumers and discerners of information. We provide an interactive and safe environment with cutting edge, age-appropriate technology to enhance learning in a digital world. Technology is a daily part of classroom instruction and is integrated in a forward-thinking and innovative way. This prepares our students to have independent and collaborative experiences through the consumption of digital resources for instruction, research, production, and assessment.

In Upper Elementary we build upon the core skills learned in Lower Elementary. A higher level of skills, applications, and digital citizenship are introduced through computer class. Students are introduced into a 1:1 environment using laptops and a wide variety of digital resources that supplement our textbooks. Through our 1:1 program, students have greater independent and collaborative experiences that prepare them to become leaders in a digital world.


The Engineering Program strengthens reasoning and sparks curiosity. We know that kids are natural-born engineers. Our MakerSpace provides our students with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the Engineering Design Process. Students solve real-world problems through hands-on activities that are discovery-based, enjoyable and creative. Research shows us that engineering activities, in a collaborative learning environment, help build classroom equity. This inclusive educational opportunity nurtures a lifelong love of learning.