English/Language Arts

April 19, 2018

Testing is over!!  As we celebrate the end of End of Grade testing, we are moving into our final units of the year!  We will be ending the year with some fun, hands-on learning in reading and writing!

Reading: We have started the documentary novel, Countdown, which is about a girl named Franny in 1962.  It is a really engaging read about the tension in the Cold War and includes a lot of cultural and political primary sources from the time!

Writing: Students have picked topics and are beginning to research their ABC books!  Ask your student what their book is going to be all about.  We cannot wait to see the final products!

As always, please let us know if you have any reading or writing questions/concerns.  The countdown to summer has begun!

March 13, 2018:

As we move into the fourth nine weeks (Can you believe it??) we wanted to send out an update about all things English Language Arts!  Ms. Stanley’s Newbery challenge is still going on (until April 27th) AND we have a March Madness schoolwide book competition!  Students can fill out a book response form for ANY fiction or non-fiction book they read during the month of March.  Each response that a student turns in will get tallied up to earn inches of tape for their class…and that tape will be used to tape Mrs. Bristow to the wall during an assembly on March 30!  PLUS, the winning class in fifth grade will earn an hour of gaming time!  Currently, Mrs. Johnson’s class is in the lead!

Test Preparation and Practice:

As we approach the End of Grade testing, we will be making sure students are exposed to different types of test questions including selected response, constructed response, and extended response. You can see samples of these types of questions here.

Students can also practice with these various test questions at usatestprep.com

Account ID: Pitner35

Username: firstname.lastname

Password: Pitner

This is a great site for practice and students can have some fun earning points and playing games.  Let your child’s teacher know if you have trouble logging on!

Writing/Reading Updates:

We are continuing our opinion pieces and moving into the revising/editing stage of the writing process, next we will publish and share!  We are also continuing to read about Jackie Robinson in Promises to Keep. Students have enjoyed learning about this legend breaking the color barrier in baseball.  We will be taking a break from vocabulary until after Spring Break!



February 1, 2018:

Wow!  Fifth grade is flying by.  We have been working hard on poetry since we got back from Winter Break.  Students have written limericks, haikus, sonnets, concrete poetry and more.  We have also been analyzing poems by Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes.  We have found rhyming, tone, mood, figurative language and discussed author’s purpose.   They have been working hard!

Challenge: This week Ms. Stanley introduced a reading challenge to all 4th and 5th graders to read as many Newbery books as they can by April 27th!  There are some fun prizes in store for anyone who finishes 5, 10, or 15 books!

A paper went home explaining the challenge and how students can log books on Biblionasium. If you need a copy of this please reach out to Ms. Quesenberry or Ms. Johnson!

Writing: We will kick off Opinion Writing with the question: What Matters to You?  Ask your students what they are writing about.  We will be working on strong opinion statements, relevant reasons, and facts/examples to back those reasons up.  Strong writing is the focus in 2018!

Reading: February is all about Jackie Robinson in fifth grade!  We will be reading Promises to Keep and making connections to Social Studies and the Civil Rights Movement.  This will be perfect timing for Black History Month.  We will be reading about other Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Jesse Owens.  Vocabulary will be based around the material we will read!

November 13, 2017:

Mentor Sentence: This week’s mentor sentence is all about punctuation!  It contains an apostrophe, quotation marks, exclamation point, 2 periods (one at the end of the sentence and one to abbreviate “Mister”), plus 2 commas.  Wow!  The quiz this Friday will focus on different uses of punctuation.

Writing: Students have been working hard to plan out a great narrative using a story arc.  They took this plan and began drawing out a comic to help them think about details, characters, and the passing of time.  This week we are starting to write out our narratives based on our comics.

Reading: We kicked off book clubs last week with a bang!  Students will begin reading their novels this week.  The lessons will focus on various reading strategies: making connections, visualizing, making predictions and asking questions.  Ask your child what book they are reading and maybe you can follow along at home!

Mentor Sentences 

Every week your child is working on “Mentor Sentences” in Writing class.  This is an amazing and authentic way for students to study grammar through an author’s work.  This is how we will cover and master the Fifth grade Language standards this year.  A mentor sentence is deliberately picked out by teachers for the week from a text that students are familiar with.  Then every day students have a different activity to do with the sentence:

Monday: Students write down anything and everything they notice. The class discusses these “noticings” and the teacher points out the area of focus for the week.  This week we are focusing on commas.

Tuesday: Students label something within the sentence.  Right now we are working on labeling the subject and predicate.  Soon students will start labeling various parts of speech.

Wednesday: Students revise the sentence.  This is a favorite day!  Students have to add/change something in the sentence to make it “better” without changing the meaning.  We have great discussions on this day!

Thursday: Students imitate the sentence.  They use the style of the author and the focus of the week (currently commas) to write a brand new sentence.

Friday: Students take a weekly assessment.  They will have to edit two mistakes in the sentence and write a sentence using the weekly focus. Look for these with graded work in Thursday folders.


Dear Parents,                                                                                                                                     August 1, 2017

Thanks for visiting the ELA page of the fifth grade blog!  We are so excited to dive deep into reading and writing this year.  We are currently launching our reading and writing workshops in class.

The goals of our reading launch unit are:

· Describe what Reader’s Workshops look and sound like and their responsibilities in each.

· Set up a Reader’s Notebook and articulate the purpose of each “tool” included and how to use them independently.

· Choose just right books as well as books in the grade 4-5 text complexity band.

· Compare and contrast literary and informational texts and explain why a text is a specific genre.

· Use the standards board to improve their learning as well as to measure progress toward learning targets.

· Perform a close reading of an independent text.

· Compare and contrast paraphrasing, summarizing, and retelling.

· Read with sufficient fluency to support comprehension.

· Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions; carry out assigned group roles.


The goals of our writing launch unit are:

· Develop a Writer’s Notebook, understand the purpose of this tool as well as how to use it independently.

· Use the standards board to improve their learning as well as to measure progress toward learning targets.

· Depict seven purposes for writing and produce an example of each.

· Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

· Draw on all writers know of previous work with narrative writing.

· Assess their work, review their options, and make decisions about what needs to be done.

· Tackle stories of personal significance and dramatize those stories.

· Step inside the shoes of the character (themselves at a different time and place).


Let us know if you have any questions or concerns!

Cassie Quesenberry and Shoner Johnson