5CE January Update

Curriculum Overview

Happy New Year, 5th grade families!

How wonderful it is to be back into the daily grind with your sweet kiddos!!!! Ashley and I look forward to picking up right where we left off, but we so appreciate the renewed energy and enthusiasm that we all have towards learning and growing together. We're looking forward to a great month ahead!

Reading Workshop

It was so lovely for us to hear about all the good books students read over winter break! This class contains an enthusiastic bunch of readers, and their love of reading is contagious; I loved my book recommendation from one child and read "Down the Rabbit Hole" over break after being intrigued by their comments during conferencing. :)

January welcomes a new unit on historical fiction for 5th graders. Using our read-aloud, "The Watsons go to Birmingham ~ 1963," by Christopher Paul Curtis, students will see how fiction and non-fiction merge together to create this special genre. We are learning how important it is to gain knowledge of the time and place in which the story takes place. However, we are also discovering that learning about the setting naturally leads us to ask even more questions! Using the "Watsons" as our mentor text, students will learn how to live the fictional storyline and the historical timeline simultaneously.

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in historical fiction book clubs with their classmates this month. Students will read a variety of picture books touching on many important and significant events in history. Using the strategies they already know, along with new skills, students will hopefully open their eyes to a genre that can often be intimidating to young readers!

We're excited to travel this journey with them!

Writing Workshop


We will begin our work with research this month, and students are eager to make the switch from writing with a personal voice to writing with a more authoritative tone. Kiddos will begin this unit by brainstorming possible topics of interest related to our studies in Science or Social Studies this year. Once students find their topic, they will learn how to develop an essential question, which will help steer them down a focused research path. For example, rather than writing about Mummies in general, a student may choose to write about "Why the process of mummification was important to Ancient Egyptians" or "How the process of mummification helped ensure a smooth transition to the afterlife."

Similarly to our narrative and fiction pieces, students will continue to use strategies to develop enticing leads and conclusions that will capture their readers' attention. Additionally, students will collect information from a number of sources and learn to organize and take notes in their own words.

We can't wait to share our research progress with you!


Woo hoo! The first week of January is almost under our belt, and students will be taking their math midterm (super impressive!) on Friday. We have completed our 5A textbooks and workbooks and will be kicking off our unit on Decimals in the next couple of days. This unit will explore:
* place value and rounding decimals through the ten-thousandths place
* multiplication and division of decimals by tens, hundreds, and thousands
* estimation and multiplication of two decimals
* conversion of measurements

As we begin our work with decimals, students will come to appreciate the relationship between decimals and fractions (and later on, percentages!) Understanding how these three topics intertwine is extremely important as they pursue advanced math topics.

Social Studies

5th graders have just entered (or traveled back in time) to the Neolithic Period. During the "New Stone Age," the development of agriculture changed the lives of humans significantly. Students are exploring the many aspects of life that were impacted by this development and how these changes naturally led to more-permanent settlements, and eventually city-states. We will also be discussing the conflicts Sumerians faced around agriculture and the resolutions they found. This will then lead us into discussions and activities based around social organization; And if you can believe it, we'll be using JUGGLING activities to show the differences between hierarchical and egalitarian societies. :) By the end of January, we will study 16 Sumerian achievements and discuss how they have impacted our daily lives, as well.

January will see the culmination of our Early Man unit, and students will be creating a final project that illustrates how the 3 key periods they have studied connect connect to our daily lives. Stay tuned for more information. :)