5th Grade ELA:
Welcome Back to School!
Fifth Grade Language Arts Program
Sherry Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.-Maya Angelou
Welcome to fifth grade ELA!!! This year, we will be combining reading and writing to create an ELA curriculum. The mechanical part of the grammar and vocabulary will be taught by Mrs. Quinn.
I’m very excited to be able to share our reading and writing curriculum with fifth grade students this year. This curriculum adheres to Common Core State Standards, and is based on 35 years of research and development made by the Teachers College at Columbia University, and spearheaded by Lucy Calkins. I know that the fifth grade students at St John Fisher School are really going to enjoy becoming better writers and readers, and I look forward to facilitating their progress!
The Teachers College Writing workshop model allows students to have the “last” word by allowing students to take something commonplace in his/her life and give it meaning. Students learn that their lives are worth writing about, and that they should care about what they write. Using the foundations of the curriculum, students will see that writing is a craft, and they will enjoy learning how to become better writers through hard work and practice. Writing will happen every day, and students will write in a variety of ways that touch on several different genres. Students will not be assigned specific topics, but will have flexibility to choose to write about what matters to them, within the guidelines of the specific genres of study.
What does Writing Workshop look like in the classroom?
Writing workshop begins with a mini lesson that teaches a new strategy. A sample of writing that is specific to the unit or genre being studied is demonstrated.
Helpful charts are on display in the classroom. These charts are visual reminders that reinforce writing strategies; they may help with dialogue, structure, elaboration or conventions.
Ideas are generated and students practice telling their story to a partner. Storytelling is a rehearsal for writing; students develop ideas. Students possibly create a timeline and identify their feelings at each point of the timeline.
Nurturing and growing the seed idea comes next through rehearsal; students are encourage to re-read their entry and think about the big, important events in this moment, what are they thinking/feeling at each point, how did they change as the story unfolds. Students learn to make a writing plan. Some ways to make a writing plan are:
-create a timeline that tracks our stories and emotion
-take small moments and break them into a beginning, middle and end
-make a story booklet with illustrations of four major events (this forces students to remember and start thinking about major themes)
-students then tell their story to their writing partner
-drafting is the next step in the process
-revision occurs next
-we will use a mentor text for examples of dialogue
-publishing process will allow students to publish their writing where it will be enjoyed not solely by the teacher but by their peers. It will be a big celebration!!
Grade 5 Writing Curriculum
By the end of fifth grade, students are more skilled at writing in various genres.
Unit 1: Raising the Level of Personal Narrative/Memoir
Unit 2: The Interpretive Essay
Unit 3: Informational writing
Unit 4: Research based argument essay
Unit 5: Literary and comparative Essays
Unit 6: Historical fiction/Mixed Genre Writing
Unit 7: Writing in the Content Area/Research based informational writing/Fantasy Writing
Unit 8: Poetry
The Reading Workshop is not like traditional literacy programs. We will not be using textbooks, workbooks, or whole class texts. The workshop model is founded on the following beliefs, which are rooted in literacy research:
-Learners need opportunities to read high interest, accessible books of their own choosing
-Learners need long stretches of time to read
-Learners need teachers to read aloud
-Learners need assessment based instruction, including feedback that is tailored specifically to them. Strugglers especially need instruction that is tailored specifically toward their specific strengths and needs, as well as extra time and help.
-Learners need a balanced approach to language arts, one that includes a responsible approach to the teaching of writing as well as reading.
-Learners need explicit instruction in the skills of proficient readers.
-Learners need opportunities to talk and write in response to texts.
What does Reading Workshop look like?
A reading workshop classroom relies on teacher-led instruction in the form of a mini lesson which aims to teach a specific reading skill or strategy. The mini lesson is intended to take ten minutes. A more significant block of time (30 minutes) is devoted to independent practice, where students read self-selected books and practice the skill taught in the mini lesson. During this time, I confer with individuals or small groups. This is the most valuable part of the workshop, as I will target the needs of each student throughout the week. The third portion of Reading Workshop includes time for students to share what they read and how they applied the mini lesson to their reading. The share will be either small group or whole class. The above structure will be CONSISTENT every day. Other elements of Reading Workshop include interactive read alouds, book clubs, guided reading and shared reading.
How will my child be assessed?
Assessment in the RWW is ongoing. I confer with individual students and groups of students, keeping records of the progress of the student. I will be taking notes on our conferences and periodically take a “running record” of a student’s reading. Student progress is measured against grade level rubrics for fluency, comprehension, written responses and participation in workshops.
(Accelerated readers will be part of the curriculum. See information below for that requirement.)
I will expect the students to keep a reading log journal. This should be an honest reflection of their reading each day. I will use this as a tool to monitor their progress. Please make sure that is a true reflection of their reading accomplishments.
I will use these logs to understand their reading progress. (Momentum, holes in reading list?, trends if not finishing a book, avoiding certain genres, is the student stalled?)
Since this is a program that is implemented in our SJF curriculum, I will ask the students to participate.
From my reading about reading this summer, here are some thoughts I found:
Kids motivation and interest in reading is higher when they have the opportunity to read in school.
Researcher Stephen Krashen found that students in free reading programs performed better than or equal to students in any other reading program.
Providing students the opportunity to choose their own books to read enpowers and encourages them. This strengthens their self-confidence, rewards their interest, and promotes a positive attitude toward reading by valuing the reader and giving them a level of control. Readers without the power to make their own choices can become unmotivated.
Direct reading instruction allows time to apply what they learn in the context of real reading events.
Give approval of their reading choice no matter what their reading choice because this is far preferable to their deciding not to read at all.
Our grades are weighted into three categories: