Grades 3 - 5

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 Upper Grammar Stage

​​​Each of the core disciplines has its role to play in the building up of the whole and each has its own more specific set of objectives for the different stages at which it is being taught. Quite simply, at each stage there are things we want children to know, things they ought to be able to do, and habits, dispositions or aptitudes they ought to have acquired or be acquiring. Considering these in detail and in light of the general objectives of each subject, and considering each subject in light of the overall end, teachers in specific subjects and at specific stages can see how each stage builds upon the previous stage, how their work contributes to the "finished product" and how they can tailor specific classes and methods to serve these ideals more effectively.
Third Grade: The Medieval Year
Fourth Grade: The Modern Year
Fifth Grade: The American Year

Every week students and teachers in grades three to six will engage in a Touchstones discussion. The readings will occasionally integrate nicely with the time period being studied, though the primary purpose of Touchstones is to develop the habits of Socratic inquiry. Teachers and students will engage in close study of philosophical and literary texts, and will learn, over time, to speak clearly and listen attentively. The skills acquired in Touchstones will be carried over into all aspects of school and home life.


  • Deepen the habits of attending and noticing
  • Sit still and carefully observe art and whatever is the subject of rendering
  • Deepen love and appreciation of beauty
  • Begin to look at art contemplatively
  • Deepen appreciation of art and beauty in the life of faith
  • Be able to question art works for their meaning


  • ​Understand the significance of the Christian contribution to art​​
  • Begin to appreciate an art history perspective in addition to a cultural history perspective
  • Study and give explanations of art of relevant time periods, especially Medieval and Renaissance
  • Begin to give more complex explanation and interpretation of works of art
  • Continuation of rendering
  • Develop an understanding of and be able to apply the following principles in artistic work (drawing, painting and other media): line, shape, texture, color, value and form
  • Recognize and employ basic elements of space and perspective
  • ​Continue to learn how to look at, examine and see a painting and other works of art
  • Learn to tell the story of a painting
  • Learn how to justify why something is beautiful or not
  • Begin to reflect on experience of beauty
  • Develop drawing, painting and sculpting skills
  • Copy more complex images according to rules​


  • ​Continue to develop an interest in history
  • See the relevance of past to present
  • Develop love of country
  • Develop a desire to be both a good citizen and a faithful Catholic
  • Begin to understand self and culture​ as historical
  • Continue developing curiosity to know how things came to be and why people acted as they did
  • Appreciation of the beauty of saints, and integrity and courage of heroes
  • Cultivate a desire to imitate the good qualities of these saints and heroes


  • ​Understand key figures and events of Medieval, Modern and American History
  • Appreciate how the lives of the saints shaped the respective historical periods
  • Know how people in the Middle Ages understood God and man
  • Recognize how Medieval culture exhibits and understanding of truth, goodness and beauty
  • Know that Christianity has shaped the world and that the expansion of Christianity has brought increasing liberty, reason and culture
  • Distinguish how the Modern period differs from the past in its understanding of God and man, and truth, goodness and beauty
  • Understand how America understand God and man
  • Recognize how American culture exhibits an understanding of truth, goodness and beauty
  • Understand history of American in the context of Catholic and world history
  • Appreciate the novelty of America in relation to its European origins
  • Understand what it means to be a good citizen
  • Understand the difference between Medieval and Modern political forms
  • Understand key technological developments of the historical periods students' are studying
  • Recognize basic geography (major world land masses and bodies of water, European and U.S. states and capitals)
  • Memorize songs and chants for relevant kings and queens, states and capitals, original 13 colonies, etc.​
  • Recognize major periods of history using timelines
  • Understand how the differences between these periods and cultures are reflected in art
  • ​Compare, contrast and explain the essential characteristics of cultures, governments and figures in different historical periods
  • Memorize significant dates and be able to build timelines from them
  • Recognize correlation between "secular" history and Biblical/Church history
  • Explain the cause and effect of historical events
  • Discuss philosophical and theological questions that arise from history
  • Narrate historical stories
  • Read and recognize symbols on maps
  • Recognize how geography contributes to historical events
  • Write biographical reports and do basic research on important figures in history
  • Understand the contribution of major historical figures​

 Language: Literature, Grammar, Composition, Latin and Drama

  • Listen attentively to peers and instructor
  • Read and concentrate for long periods of time
  • Learn to ask questions about the moral or meaning of stories and symbols
  • Learn to speak directly and confidently
  • Be basically truthful and dependable


  • Acquire familiarity with classic folklore and literature of the historical periods they study
  • Begin to analyze and diagram sentences
  • Write complete sentences and paragraphs
  • Acquire facility in spelling and vocabulary
  • Have a repertoire of light verse, Psalms, ballads and historical mnemonic devices committed to memory
  • Memorize the fundamentals of Latin: primary declensions, conjugations and vocabulary
  • Memorize Latin prayers, hymns and phrases
  • ​​Be able to use prefixes, suffixes, and root words as clues to meaning
  • Be able to read chapter books without help
  • Recognize plot theme, symbolism and other literary elements
  • Evaluate characters in stories
  • Ability to identify the main idea of a story
  • Write complete sentences and construct coherent paragraphs
  • Read and write summaries of readings
  • Practice good penmanship, especially cursive
  • Write paragraphs and recognize topic sentences
  • Identify conflict, climax and resolution in a story
  • Write an organized, multi-paragraph composition in sequential order with a central idea
  • Research a topic using multiple books
  • Ability to understand more complex poetry
  • Narration: re-tell more complex stories in detail, with vocal clarity, poise and eye contact
  • Construct simple stories
  • Be able to read aloud with good inflection and diction
  • Recitation: students should understand and be able to follow rules for "Socratic" discussions; students should be questioning and discussing various texts
  • Follow four rules of discussion:
    • Read the text carefully
    • Listen to what others say and don't interrupt
    • Speak clearly
    • Give others your respect
  • Perform a play: memorize lines and help design costumes, props, set, etc.​


  • Acquire a foundation for logical reasoning through math
  • Be attuned to the relevance and significance of number and shape
  • Begin to appreciate the "aesthetics" of number through recognition of patterns


  • Deploy nu​mercy/counting: whole numbers into the millions, decimal place value
  • Recognize geometric shapes and calculation of perimeter and area
  • Have facility in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and whole number operations
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals up to the thousandths place
  • Use fractions (reducing, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing)
  • Measure accurately using both customary and metric systems
  • Estimate measurement when measurement tools are not available by comparison of surrounding or similar objects
  • Solve word problems
  • Count money and basic decimals
  • Acquire basic algebra skills (looking for unknowns)
  • Begin to understand proportions
  • Comprehend basic averages and ranks (median and mode; mean by grade 5)
  • Introduce classical geometric and architectural design (choose a building from historical time period being studied and analyze its geometric and proportional properties)
  • Analyze rounds and simple canons to identify simple progressions
  • Recognize and construct fundamental shapes in plane geometry: points, lines, rays, angles, parallels, perpendiculars, quadrilaterals and regular and irregular polygons
  • Analyze composition and use of light in art in relation to geometry
  • Analyze perspective in art in relation to angle measurement
  • Construct Platonic and Archimedean solids
  • Solve more complex codes such as a single replacement and translation code
  • Apply numeric methods in describing natural phenomenon—for example, estimate the number of leaves on a tree by modeling the splits in a branch
  • Memorize and master addition/subtraction tables (0-10)
  • Memorize and master multiplication tables and division (0s-12s)
  • Use mental arithmetic
  • Multiply single- and multi-digit numbers
  • Tell time to the quarter- and half-hour and to five minutes and one minute
  • Add and subtract decimals, and compare decimals and fractions
  • Multiply multi-digit numbers by two digit numbers
  • Divide larger multi-digit numbers by one-digit numbers
  • Find the area of two-dimensional shapes
  • Reason mathematically both orally and in writing through word problems
  • Use problem-solving strategies to solve real-world math problems
  • Add and subtract fractions and decimals
  • Identify and describe three-dimensional shapes, and find their volumes and surface areas
  • Use long division to divide large numbers by multi-digit numbers
  • Recognize numerical patterns in music and nature, and geometrical patterns in nature and art
  • Solve simple probabilities, including independent and dependent events, and simple truth tables for conjunctions, disjunctions, negation and implication
  • Read and use bar, line and circle graphs
  • Measure shape and position over time, such as tracking the phases of the moon, and simple astronomy, including solar measurements (measuring shadows and angles at different times of the year)
  • Count back change up to $100
  • Recognize basic Biblical numerology​


  • ​Develop a love and appreciation of beautiful music and its power
  • Understand the relationship between music, prayer and liturgy
  • Acquire the habit of patient, attentive listening and active participation


  • ​Understand the concepts of melody, harmony and rhythm
  • Be able to recognize beautiful music and be able to explain why it is beautiful
  • Recognize instruments by sight and sound
  • Be able to sing and, if possible, play an instrument
  • Be able to read music
  • Memorize lyrics and know how to sing liturgical music
  • Sing carols, ballads and authentic folk music from periods of history which students are studying
  • Sing the Hail Mary and Our Father in plain chant
  • Recognize forms of music from the periods of history which students have studied
  • ​​Acquire some musical skills, singing and/or playing an instrument
  • Be able to concentrate, listen and discuss a piece of music
  • Begin to learn how to sing/play various parts of a musical piece (applying students' understanding of melody, harmony and rhythm​)

 Nature Studies

  • ​Acquire reverence for nature as God's creation
  • Be able to attend to and notice nature
  • Have a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world and the mystery of living things
  • Have an enthusiasm for examining nature, and acquire the habit of curiosity regarding the physical world
  • Acquire a desire to experiment with what students' are studying and learning


  • Recognize the study of nature as part of the human endeavor to understand the world
  • Understand science as one aspect of the study of nature, which must be integrated into a more comprehensive vision of reality as God's creation, and thus behold nature in a different way
  • Recognize persons and animals not as historical accidents or the sum of their mechanical parts, but as living wholes that transcend their parts and are irreducible to them
  • Understand that as living wholes, organisms possess an inexhaustible depth and are worthy of our awe, wonder and affection
  • Understand that nature is, therefore, hierarchically arranged according to capacity for selftranscendence:
    • All organisms, including plants, exhibit some form of metabolism that relates to the world through appetite
    • Animals exhibit metabolism as well, but also a capacity for self-movement and an awareness through the senses
    • Human beings, in addition to these, move and transcend themselves through reason and will, are able to contemplate God and the world and can offer themselves in love
  • Render detailed observations of different organisms
  • Distinguish between genera in the plant and animal kingdoms
  • Specify essential differences between species​
  • Identify unique characteristics in different forms of animal life
  • Explain what these characteristics mean in the life of the animal
  • Identify essential differences distinguishing human beings from other animals
  • Botany
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Ecosystems
  • Natural processes that support life (e.g. weather, soil formation, water cycles)
  • Earth's place in the solar system: the finely-tuned astronomical factors necessary to support life

  • Continue to develop the skill of observing, rendering and cataloguing this knowledge in a "nature notebook"
  • Narrate the above knowledge
  • Begin to ask philosophical and scientific questions of nature
  • Gain detailed firsthand experience of nature through growing things, and recording the various stages of growth
  • Follow directions carefully when carrying out scientific experiments​

 Physical Education

  • ​​Practice teamwork and good sportsmanship
  • Aspire to physical gracefulness
  • Admire excellent athletic performances, especially their aesthetic qualities


  • ​Understand students' bodies and physical abilities as gifts​
  • Learn the rules of major sports and races
  • Recognize importance of discipline for achieving bodily excellence
  • Understand dynamics of competition
  • Acquire facility in throwing, catching, hitting and kicking
  • Learn to work as a team in order to achieve a goal
  • Compete against other students of similar skill level
  • Learn basics of contra, square and ballroom dancing​


  • Cultivate longing for God
  • Develop a personal relationship with Christ as friend and Mary as mother
  • Begin to value silence
  • Have favorite saints and relationships with them
  • Examine conscience, go to Confession, "offer up" a sacrifice
  • Strengthening of the conscience to begin to love God's will and wish to avoid sin
  • Take responsibility for faults for failures and apologize sincerely
  • Acquire a spirit of service, collaboration and genuine friendship


  • ​​Begin to recognize how the Christian culture of the Middle Ages is reflected in art, music, architecture, literature, the liturgical calendar, the structure of cities, organization of labor and the code of chivalry, and how this is transformed in the Modern period.
  • Begin to understand the importance of the Trinity and Incarnation
  • Know students belong to God's chosen people, and are part of his family, the Church
  • Know students are made for heaven, and that creatures and the created world exist to help them get there
  • Memorize books of the Bible, important verses, Apostles, Beatitudes, basic prayers of the Mass in English and Latin, sacraments and major events of salvation history
  • Know the parts of the Mass
  • Know the major moments of salvation history from creation to Pentecost
  • Understand basic teachings on Confession and Eucharist
  • Understand sin, grace and the sacraments
  • Know the Creed and understand each of its tenets
  • Know lives of the major saints of the periods of history students are studying
  • Know how to pray the Rosary
  • ​Give more advanced theological explanations of Church doctrines
  • Learn how to "assist" at Mass through acolyte training
  • Memorization and recitation of Scripture, Bible facts, catechism, prayers and hymns
  • Learn to pray liturgically, intercessory and contemplatively
  • Learn to regard and participate in sacred music as a form of praye​r


Touchstones ​
  • ​​Acq​uire the habit of asking questions
  • Learn to seek understanding together through group discussion
  • Think more deeply about fundamental human matters
  • Learn to read a text carefully
  • Learn to respect and listen to students' peers
  • Relate texts to issues in classroom and life
  • Be exposed to samples of good writings of literature, philosophy, art, math and science for many different cultures
  • Exhibit manners and respect for others​​