Wow, I am the worst! Please accept my apologies for not updating the website over the last few... let's just say a long time. Since the last post, we have knocked out The Watsons Go to Birmingham novel study and researched/wrote a newspaper article on an important event during the civil rights movement.
Currently, we are starting a new novel, I Am Malala. We will be using a humanitarian lens to look at womens rights, with an emphasis on equal access to education. We will be reflecting on the various opportunities that are offered to us and not others. One of our goals will be for us to start thinking about things we feel are unfair and why? It will lead us into an upcoming writing unit: persuasive/opinion writing.
In writing currently, we are on stage two of our research unit. In stage one we wrote about the civil rights and looked at the struggle and strength it took to enact change. Now, we are celebrating Black excellence by researching famous and influential African-American artists, inventors, athletes, and leaders. Our goal is to create a small visual biography about our person and their successes and accomplishments.
This week we start two new units that will take us through to Christmas Break. First, in reading we begin Number the Stars. We'll work on reading elements, such as theme and characterization, but we'll also be flexing our critical literacy muscles by asking questions like who has the power, who is the insider/outsider, and who is telling the story? We'll also spend time exploring and unpacking social justice issues of discrimination, prejudice, and hegemony.
In writing, we'll be beginning our writer workshop narrative unit. We'll be learning strategies to help us create powerful and meaningful stories. We'll brainstorm on how to generate ideas, and then we'll use some tools to construct a handful of great first drafts. Finally, we'll pick a seed draft to focus on and turn into a final narrative that's meaningful to us and engages the reader.
Last week, we answer questions like what is a blog and why do people blog? Now it's time to join the fun. Blogging will be a way for us to express our thoughts, ideas, and feelings about our hobbies and interests. We'll establish an online community of writers and work on strategies to develop our writer voices, such as focusing on a topic, understanding our audience, and word choice.
In reading, we are continuing to talk about reading strategies, such as asking questions, making connections, and monitoring comprehension. We are recording our thoughts in our reader notebook and using a mix of independent reading books, read alouds, and short stories.
This week we began Wordly Wise unit 2 vocabulary. We will be working in this unit every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next two weeks.
I don't know about you but I am crazy excited to be back at school and I'm really looking forward to helping this 5th grade group be as successful as possible! So far, we've had an awesome start to the year. We've co-constructed our class goals and expectations, we've chosen our lucky first couple of books to read, and we're learning the ins-and-outs of our routines.
The next couple of weeks will see us exploring the different genres of literature and analyzing the characteristics of each. For example, what makes science fiction different from fantasy? In our writer workshop, we'll be focusing on how to respond to and talk about our reading by writing reader responses and also book reviews.
Below I am attaching a copy of our class syllabus, which includes our goals, weekly schedule, and homework policy. Please remember to check the website regularly for curriculum updates and important announcements.
Neighborhood 5th Grade English Language Arts