5th grade writing

December Update

  • As we roll into the winter months, students are finishing up units of study and beginning new ones.

    Both grade levels published a personal narrative, which they shared in a writing celebration with another class.

    Third graders finished their fiction reading unit and have begun studying nonfiction. By reading many types of nonfiction texts, we will learn how to determine the main idea of the book/article/section, and what are the details that support the main idea. We will also learn about the different structures of nonfiction text. After we have a good handle on reading nonfiction, we will create a writing piece about a topic in which we are experts.

    Fifth graders are wrapping up their fiction unit by finishing the mentor text Home of the Brave, a fascinating story about a boy who came to America as a refugee from Africa and is separated from his family. It is a powerful book and we have had many rich discussions about it, as well as opportunities to write about our thoughts and ideas in reading responses. Next week we will begin our nonfiction reading unit, focusing on the skills of determining main idea, word-solving unfamiliar vocabulary, and understanding nonfiction text structures.

    Both grade levels have been working on practicing grammar goals for capitalization, punctuation, and homophones this month.

    In math, third graders are beginning unit 3, which focuses on different mathematical operations. They will use place value to develop and practice strategies for addition and subtraction of 2- and 3-digit numbers. They will represent multiplication using arrays, and then develop strategies for solving harder multiplication facts. At this point, the students should be somewhat fluent with multiplying by 2, 5, and 10. Soon we will add harder fact families (3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9). Practice at home is essential to gaining fluency in these basic facts, and will make a huge difference in your child’s progress. Since we will now be learning strategies for multidigit addition and subtraction, it will also be helpful for your child to regularly practice +/- basic facts at home as well, so that they will be more comfortable using them to solve multi digit problems.

    Fifth graders will be starting unit 3 soon, which focuses on fraction concepts, addition and subtraction. They will build on fraction concepts learned in fourth grade to understand fractions as basically a division problem. They will also use visual models to make estimates, add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers, and check the reasonableness of their answers. Finally, the students explore strategies for fraction-of problems.

    Don’t forget to have your child regularly use the online math program Dreambox. The program suggests that if a student uses Dreambox for 60 minutes per week, they will show significant progress in their math skills. We try to use it occasionally in class each week, but it is something that should be a regular habit at home. They login by going to the Gibbs School homepage, then to the Media Center, then to Math Resources. They will see the link to Dreambox. Their login information is on their homework planner.