5CE November Update

Curriculum Overview

Dear Families,
Welcome to November! We are excited to usher in a new month in 5th grade! Please use this Curriculum Overview as a guide to the wonderful work your students will be doing in our classroom this month. But first, please enjoy these pictures from our Halloween festivities last week!

Reading Workshop

This month, we will be reading Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. This book serves as a wonderful mentor text for our continuing work on character development. Over the course of the month, we will learn how to develop nuanced theories about our characters. Students will analyze their characters' dialogue and actions in order to predict, infer, and better understand their books.

We will also begin to study symbolism in our texts. The objects that a character keeps close to them can act as windows into their hearts and reveal important information. Students will also begin to use their Reading Journals this month...the lonely composition book in their desks will be put to good use!!

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Writing Workshop

Going hand-in-hand with our character study in Reading Workshop, 5th grade writers will be creating their own unique characters while drafting Realistic Fiction stories. We will spend time generating story ideas and then quickly move onto developing believable characters. We will give significant thought to the external and internal traits our characters possess, as well as their motivations and struggles.

Once we know our characters inside and out, we'll begin planning and writing the scenes of our story. Students will work hard to develop powerful leads and endings to their stories and will enjoy many conversations with their writing buddies to help fuel their ideas.

We are also pleased to welcome into our classroom every Friday, Dr. George Kurz, our Pennswood Pal. Our time with Dr. Kurz is invaluable, as he shares his words of wisdom from his own published stories. The class looks forward to his visit every week, and we love learning from such a wonderful mentor and role model.


During the month of November, 5th graders will continue their work with fractions. The second half of our unit has us finding the product of fractions, dividing fractions by a whole number, and solving word problems that will incorporate all of the work we've done thus far. This unit is the longest of the year, and the kids are working hard and putting forth great effort. Our Fraction Unit will culminate with a fun project just in time for the holiday season! Stay tuned for details about our Fun Fraction Cookbook!

We will end the month of November with a mini-unit on understanding and applying the formula for finding the area of a triangle. This geometry unit is always fun and interactive, and will be referenced again when we study angles later on in the year.

Social Studies

Our Social Studies activities for November revolve around us learning about our human ancestors. After participating in an archeological excavation, students will assemble their findings into 5 different hominid skulls. By examining artifacts and observing each skull's features, students must hypothesize about the capabilities of our ancestors. As we learn about each hominid in detail, students can revise their thinking and make some connections in history!

We will also analyze artwork from the Paleolithic period, also known as the Old Stone Age. We will study beautiful cave paintings, rock art, carvings, and personal decorations, such as necklaces in order to determine the reasons why these works of art were created. 5th graders will then have the opportunity to create their own artwork about an aspect of their life based on one of the reasons we'll study. Students' projects will be accompanied by a written statement that describes their art and explains the reason why it was created.

All of this work will set us up for our study of the Neolithic Period which welcomed the advancement of agriculture. Students are so enthused to learn about Social Studies, and we are having so much fun together!