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Language Arts

In my reading class, we took a break from small guided reading groups to read the fifth grade core book, Castle in the Attic. This is a new book in our program and the first time I shared it with my class. Students loved this fantasy story about a boy named William who develops the “heart and soul of a knight.” After receiving a “magical” castle from his beloved nanny, Mrs. Phillips, William helps a tiny silver knight who comes to life win back his kingdom and restore his honor. In the process, William develops the confidence and independence to say farewell to Mrs. Phillip.

With the support of an audio guide, students read much of the book on their own, answering comprehension and reflection questions as they read. At the conclusion of the book, we worked together to map the main character’s growth and transformation. Students were able to use their graphic organizer and notes to write an essay about character change.     

We ended the calendar year by assessing all students in reading. The DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) is administered twice annually to determine students’ growth in reading comprehension. It was very encouraging to see that all students have improved since entering fifth grade.

In January, we will focus on text structure in nonfiction text. This is a skill that will be introduced in whole class lessons and then explored in detail in guided reading groups.

In writing, students completed a couple of assignments before the holiday break. The first was a personal narrative. These stories ranged from The Day My Brother Was Born, to My Trip to Peddocks Island, to Gushing Blood! It was very satisfying for students to see their work hanging up in our pod. In addition, students worked on a creative narrative about a “winter scene.” The objective of the assignment was for students to add and develop details to a very basic illustration and then write about the scene they created. These are also on display in our pod.

We begin the New Year with a short poetry unit. We establish what makes poetry different from other forms of writing and then use a “rainbow of images” to develop a word bank of vocabulary about a winter topic.

For information about work that is being done in other fifth grade language arts classes, check individual teacher blogs. You can access them from my blog home page.

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