Elementary School

What happens in pre-k to 5th grade

Children in these grades learn skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math, and how to apply them to all subject areas. They find out about the world and practice things like working with others and solving problems. They play sports, learn about music, draw and paint, and discover what interests them most. Here’s what you can expect in core subjects at each grade. Ask your child’s teacher for more information throughout the school year.

Pre-k and kindergarten

  • Learn through play

  • Develop skills in reading and writing, like recognizing and writing letters, learning new words, and telling stories
    (Beginning in kindergarten, schools use the Wit & Wisdom curriculum)

  • Build a foundation for math by recognizing numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, and identifying shapes

  • Learn about being part of a family and a community

  • Study weather, plants, and animals

  • Learn habits for staying healthy

  • Develop self-esteem and how to manage feelings, behavior, and independence

  • Learn to share and work with other children

State testing
Some tests measure where students are in different areas and help teachers know how best to support each child. The KRA is one of these tests. Children in Maryland take this test early in their kindergarten year to measure where they are in language and literacy, math, social skills, physical well-being, and motor development.

1st grade

2nd grade

  • Build reading comprehension skills, distinguish between fiction and nonfiction, and compare characters in stories

  • Add and subtract up to 20 and solve word problems

  • Investigate light, how plants and animals grow and live, and patterns in space

  • Study geography and the environment

  • Make comparisons between past and present

  • Read stories, fables, and folktales from different cultures

  • Ask “who, what, where, when, why, and how” questions about reading

  • Add and subtract up to 1,000

  • Measure and estimate lengths

  • Explore changes to our planet and how plants and animals adapt to where they live

  • Understand the difference between needing something and wanting something

3rd grade

4th grade

5th grade

  • Retell important details from fables, folktales, and myths from different cultures

  • Learn about point of view in writing

  • Multiply and divide numbers up to 100, begin to understand fractions, and solve word problems

  • Investigate insects

  • Study how individuals and groups protect rights and maintain order in our world

  • Learn about money

  • Study Baltimore’s history, culture, and economy

  • Explain differences between poetry, drama, and prose

  • Figure out the meaning of words and phrases in writing

  • Add, subtract, and multiply fractions, and solve word problems

  • Investigate changes to our planet, waves, and energy

  • Study Maryland’s history, geography, and economy

    Tip: Now is the right time to start planning for middle school. Some programs have entrance criteria, and grades and attendance in 4th grade count! Learn more about middle school choice.

  • Explain the structure of different kinds of writing

  • Learn more about a narrator’s point of view

  • Analyze how pictures contribute to a text

  • Continue to learn about fractions and study decimals

  • Study environmental and earth science

  • Explain the differences between the British colonies and America

    Tip: All 5th-grade students can choose the middle schools they'd like to go to next year. The first quarter counts toward entrance criteria, so keep working hard!

State testing

This spring, Maryland students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades will take PARCC tests in English language arts and math. The results show whether students are meeting standards for their grade and are on track toward high school graduation. In 5th grade, students also take the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment to see how they are doing in meeting standards in science.