5th Grade ELA News


This week we started by exploring the various functions within the SBAC test. There are many tools - highlighting, notepad, strike through (to eliminate an answer you know is wrong, for instance) and that first lesson focused just on those tools. I wanted to be sure students knew what tools they had and how to use them before diving into the content of the test so that nothing is in their way and they have all the supports available to them. Then, they did an ELA practice test for the SBAC. Students worked in partners and it was really powerful. It was a great time for them to ask questions (of both me and their partner), work through questions together, and navigate many of the tools offered. I was really impressed with their collaborative work. I chose the partners so the pairings were intentional based on students' needs and strengths. Below are some of the things I heard from students as they worked:

  • "I find that if I go back and reread..." (great strategy!)
  • "Wait! You have a good idea but it asks us why not how."
  • "I know that one isn't it so let's cross that out."
  • "I have no idea what that word means but if I use context clues..."
  • "If we go back in the text..."
  • "We didn't cite our text evidence. We better go back and do that, like the question asks."
The kids seemed to enjoy the experience and we talked about how although they can't work with their partner on the real test, there were takeaways from that partner activity that they can take and apply to their independent test taking.

We also launched our next and final reader's workshop which centers around Civil War. I gave book talks, the kids listed their top 3 choices and I distributed books. They've just barely started reading and jotting down unfamiliar vocabulary words. We'll do this workshop over the next 3 weeks as the year comes to a close soon!


This week we started a new (and final) genre of writing: memoir. This is a fun but challenging unit. Kids love writing about themselves but memoirs can take on many different forms. While other forms of writing we have done are more formulaic, memoir is not. Some kids loved the freedom and others really struggled to get started. It will be fun to see how they turn out in the coming weeks as we work to draft and refine them.

Similar to reading, students participated in an ELA SBAC practice test - a performance task. The performance tasks require more written response (an essay in one instance!) and they also worked in partners. One student shared with her partner, "It helps me to get started on paper first." It was great to hear their ideas, strategies, and all the many things they've learned all year that they actually drew upon!

Finally, for Writing Prompt Wednesday, we started with a grammar lesson about spelling rules - i before e, except after c, doubling the consonant like in putting, and dropping the y and using an i when using ed and es, like in tried. Of course there are always many rule breakers which they discovered, too. Lovely English language!


Just a reminder that we are DONE with spelling for the year! Thanks again for all your support with spelling homework all year.

Bucket Fillers

We continued "Bucket Filler Friday" this week and students had the opportunity to compliment a peer, brighten their day, say something that would fill their bucket. Ask your child how their bucket has been filled.


I know we're nearing the end of the year but we're all out of erasers. If you have any erasers (pencil cap or otherwise), we'd love to have them to get us to the end of the year! Thanks for considering.