5th Grade

Read Aloud

Read Aloud
Fifth graders continue to hone their conversation skills as they discuss characters, themes, messages, and symbolism in books. Throughout the read aloud period, children bring up questions, explore theories & ideas as the story unfolds. They practice how to lead a conversation, bring up additional evidence that connects to another's ideas, follow theories, revise ideas, and hunt for symbolism, themes, and messages an author 'hides' in the story.

Throughout the book, students practice writing about the story by answering questions using the R-A-D-D strategy- restate & answer the question, then provide 2 details that support the answer. In fifth grade, students often add on an explanation sentence to explain how the details in their writing connect to the answer. ​​

To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:

  • share something from the read aloud discussion

  • discuss ideas about characters, themes, messages, and symbols present in the book

  • share his/her read aloud goal- What skills are you working on in the read aloud conversation?

  • tell you if they are enjoying the story- ask:  ‘What do you like about the book?’ ‘What parts of the book do you like the best? Why? Can you share that part with me?’

Reader's Workshop

As students move to the fifth grade, books become more complex, in addition to multiple plots lines and many complex characters who have direct impact on the plot, readers have to figure out how plots connect and interpret the messages and themes author's send through the various plots. Readers use their knowledge of figurative language and author's craft to build visualize characters, setting, and interactions. They work on noticing symbolism and think about how the symbols author's include add to the richness of the story.

Fifth graders also learn about the world around them---growing up, history, current affairs, environmental issues, etc. Through the reading of nonfiction texts, when learning new information, often students work on projects to teach others about the topic they studied. Projects take many shapes and forms- skits, powerpoint presentations, dioramas, persuasive posters, and illustrated informational books are all different projects taken on by fifth graders.

Reading workshop is a time of the day when students are directly taught how to be a ‘strong’ reader. The period might start with the students looking at a shared text, reading small parts, and thinking together about ‘what is important’ in that part. Then together, students and teacher name what the author did- this ‘naming what the author did’- allows children to create a list of important places to read carefully. For example, the students’ list might include: reading carefully when you notice a strong emotion, reading carefully when the character’s problem pops up, reading carefully when a character interacts with another character, etc. Once independent reading starts, students work on building reading stamina, practicing reading skills. Most fifth graders enter the grade reading levels r/s and end the year reading levels u/v .

Through individual reading conferences, guided reading groups, and independent practice, students will actively work on becoming stronger readers. Teachers meet with students at least once a week to assess the child through a conference and teach him/her. In a conference, students receive reading ‘jobs’ to focus on until the next conference. Reading jobs are worked on daily, both in school and at home. The student ‘records’ his/her reading job in various ways—in a reading notebook, in a powerpoint presentation, in a packet, in a voice recording- the ways to record a reading job are endless! Students also have the opportunity to create book projects that are a reflection of the book or highlight a specific reading skill they have worked on.

Students who have mastered the focus skills at their independent level will move on to working on other skills such as prediction, inferring, synthesizing, and interpreting the text. When the teacher determines the student is ready, he/she will move on to the next reading level and begin to practice some the skills in the next level.

To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:
Show you their reading job & make sure they are practicing and recording their reading job​ in their notebook, on post-its
Talk about their current reading book-
Who are the important characters in the book? What are the positive parts of their personalities? What are the negative parts of their personalities (their character flaws)?
Ask your child to find & read parts in the text that support their ideas.
What are the characters struggling with?
What does the character need to learn by the end of the story? How do you predict they will change?
What message do you think the author is sending to his/her readers? What are the themes in the book?
Have you noticed any symbolism in your book? What do you think the symbols mean?

Unit 1- building the world of the story
Focus skills: story elements, monitoring for meaning, determining importance, synthesizing, interpreting ​

Unit 2- developing ideas about books- ideas about characters, lessons, themes, and symbolism
Focus skills: making inferences, supporting inferences with evidence, synthesizing, interpreting

​november/december- unit 3 fantasy genre unit
Focus skills: monitoring for meaning, determining importance, making inferences, synthesizing, interpreting themes & messages

Full of mythical creatures, legendary quests, daring heroes, and enchanted lands, fantasy books are sure to leave your kids feeling enchanted. The genre of fantasy pushes a child's imagination to the limits as they are immersed in a world filled with magic and the classic struggle between good and evil.

Unit 4- reading complex texts with meaning
Focus skills: monitoring for meaning, determining importance, close reading, making inferences, supporting inferences with evidence, synthesizing

Unit 5- social issues unit
Focus skills: making inferences, supporting inferences with evidence, synthesizing, interpreting

Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop
 Writing Workshop is the time of day when students are given instruction on and provided the opportunity to develop their skills as writers. During Writing Workshop, children choose their own topic or idea within a specific Unit of Study (personal essay, persuasive writing, historical fiction novels). Students are encouraged to write about topics that are personally meaningful to them, while learning how to write in that particular genre. Teaching also focuses on grammar such as writing in complete sentences, using the appropriate punctuation, and spelling.
Unit 1- Personal Essay

In the first writing unit, fifth graders practice the skill of essay writing by writing a personal essay about a special person, a favorite place, or something important to them. Personal essays are idea-based essays that convey a strong personal idea about something important to the writer. This is a great way to start of their 5th grade writing life, because as we all know, fifth graders have a lot of opinions to share! Fifth graders are challenged to think of all the different angels of their topic so that they develop more complex ideas. For example, a fifth grader writer's initial idea of 'Teachers are strict.'  may be pushed to the more sophisticated idea of 'When teachers are strict, it means they care about you.' Fifth graders practice using narrative (story-telling) strategies to support their idea through well-developed examples that include dialogue, thinking, and description. Fifth graders work hard during the revising process to re-read their pieces looking for specific examples that really support their idea, while cutting or getting rid of examples that are not as strong. 
Unit 2- Persuasive Essay
The second writing unit of the year builds off the essay writing students did in the fall, but in this unit, students read complex nonfiction texts, practice note-taking strategies, and then develop ideas about a 'hot' topic that interests them. Students read texts sets, watch videos, and research topics such as cell phone use in school, deforestation, video games, social media, or plastic use, all the while working to think carefully about all sides of the topic. Then, they choose where they stand on the topic- for or against- and develop a plan for their essay with ideas, reasons, and supports. They work on crafting a catchy introduction, writing body paragraphs that provide convincing evidence to the audience, while acknowledging the counter-stance so they can use their evidence to prove their point. To close their pieces, fifth grade writers craft conclusions that offer their readers a call to action.

Unit 3- Essay Writing about a Pair of Texts 
At this time of the year, our fifth graders practice two kinds of writing about reading- short response writing and Essay Writing. Both kinds of writing are based off texts they read. Students apply the strategies they've learned for reading complex texts to comprehend the texts. They read the texts with the question in mind, mark up the texts with notes, and then formulate structured short responses and essays that answer the posed questions or prompts. 

Short responses are questions posed about one text. Students learn to start their short response with a topic sentence that answers the question with an inference (idea) or a claim. Then they go back to the text to find specific details that support their answer. They write a couple more supporting sentences that include their details. Then they might end with a conclusion sentence that wraps up their short response. Our fifth graders have been practicing this structure across the year, as well as in third and fourth grade, so they are very familiar with it and become experts at writing about texts they read.

In addition to short response questions, students continue to build the essay writing skills they have developed over the year. In this unit, students write essays on paired texts. Paired texts are two texts that have something in common. Fifth graders learn to read paired texts & analyze what they have in common. Then they plan, organize, and write essays on the two texts using details from both texts. 

Unit 4- Narrative Writing- Historical Fiction Stories
In the spring students have fun becoming historical fiction writers. They write historical fiction stories based on what they learn in their social studies unit on immigration to America at the turn of the twentieth century. Fifth graders use what they learn about daily life, hardships, and contributions of these new immigrants to America in the early 1900s to create an imagined story, weaving in historically accurate details about the time period.
Using what they know about daily life back then, students imagine realistic problems immigrants from that time period would have encountered. As historical fiction writers, they make decisions about what part of the journey they want to be the backdrop of their story—leaving their home country, taking the journey to America, facing challenges when arriving to a new land- and then use their knowledge of how a fiction story goes to develop the plot of the story. They develop the main character with strengths and flaws and imagine how he/she would handle the struggles he/she faced at that time. They develop a turning point at the end of the story where they show how the main character has grown and/or learned a life lesson by going through their struggle. Throughout their story, students practice ‘showing, not telling’ by including dialogue that shows strong emotions, as well as setting and daily life clues that show their reader what life was like back then.

To support your child at home, you can ask him/her to:

  • share his/her writing with you- encourage him/her to read their writing aloud to look for mistakes they can fix (missed words, punctuation)

  • write about everyday events together (going to the park, visiting family)

  • make writing a part of everyday home life (write letters/emails to family, make a family journal, write lists)

Social Studies

Social studies is a subject which allows students to apply cross-curricular skills to content learning. Students utilize various skills acquired in reading and writing such as writing paragraphs, creating persuasive speeches and posters, while incorporating technology skills as they conduct research as they learn.

Information coming soon!


Module 1: place value and decimal fractions
In this unit, students will extend their knowledge of place value through the thousandths place. Students’ students will deepen their knowledge through a more generalized understanding of the relationships between and among adjacent places on the place value chart, e.G., 1 tenth times any digit on the place value chart moves it one place value to the right. Students apply these new understandings as they reason about and perform decimal operations through the hundredths place.E.

Module 2: multi-digit whole number and decimal fraction operations
In this unit, students apply patterns of the base ten system to mental strategies and multiplication. They will use strategies such as area diagrams and the distributive property. Students move from whole numbers to multiplication with decimals, again using place value as a guide to reason and make estimations about products. Multiplication is explored as a method for expressing equivalent measures in both whole number and decimal forms. Students will also work with division strategies such as using disks and the vertical written method. Students will apply these strategies to solve multi-step word problems using multi-digit multiplication and division with unknowns representing either the group size or number of groups. An emphasis on the reasonableness of both products and quotients, interpretation of remainders and reasoning about the placement of decimals draws on skills learned throughout the module, including refining knowledge of place value, rounding, and estimation.

Module 3: addition and subtraction of fractions
In this unit students will use strategies to determine the sum and differences of fractions. Students will explore least common multiples and making equivalent fractions.

Module 4: multiplication and division of fractions and decimal fractions
In this unit, students will extend their understanding of fraction operations to multiplication and division of both fractions and decimal fractions. Work proceeds from interpretation of line plots which include fractional measurements to interpreting fractions as division and reasoning about finding fractions of sets through fraction by whole number multiplication an understanding of multiplication as scaling and multiplication by n/n as multiplication by 1 allows students to reason about products and convert fractions to decimals and vice versa. Students are introduced to the work of division with fractions and decimal fractions. Division cases are limited to division of whole numbers by unit fractions and unit fractions by whole numbers. Decimal fraction divisors are introduced and equivalent fraction and place value thinking allow student to reason about the size of quotients, calculate quotients and sensibly place decimals in quotients.

Module 5: addition and multiplication with volume and area
In this unit students will work with two- and three-dimensional figures. Volume is introduced to students through concrete exploration of cubic units and culminates with the development of the volume formula for right rectangular prisms. Students will combine prior knowledge of area with newly acquired knowledge of fraction multiplication to determine the area of rectangular figures with fractional side lengths.

Module 6: problem solving with the coordinate plane
In this unit, students develop a coordinate system for the first quadrant of the coordinate plane and use it to solve problems. Students use the familiar number line as an introduction to the idea of a coordinate, and they. Students see that just as points on the line can be located by their distance from 0, the plane’s coordinate system can be used to locate and plot points using two coordinates. They then use the coordinate system to explore relationships between points, ordered pairs, patterns, lines and, more abstractly, the rules that generate them.


Module 1: place value and decimal fractions
Build the biggest number challenge (activity)
Spider- different forms of writing decimal numbers

Module 2: multi-digit whole number and decimal fraction operations
Thanksgiving task

Module 3: addition and subtraction of fractions
Doe pizza task

Module 4: multiplication and division of fractions and decimal fractions
Recipe project- multiplying and dividing fractions to serve different sizes

Module 5: addition and multiplication with volume and area
Volume city task

Module 6: problem solving with the coordinate plane
My community coordinate grid

Student Links

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