What's Happening in Fifth-grade Language Arts? These things were happening in the years that I taught this course, way back in 2005 or so. Enjoy reminiscing about the past.


Sees Behind Trees

During the summer of 2006, incoming fifth-grade students read Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris. Upon returning to school in the fall, they discussed characters in this book and the theme of identity the book involved. In the process, students proceeded through their own naming ceremony and communal sharing of character gifts. Discovering one's own unique character traits and gifts is central to this lesson. All summer reading selections allow students to start the year with some common ground as the class tries to discuss literary concepts together.

Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt is the first book that the kids will read together after school begins. Before reading, students engage in a variety of activities to stimulate interest in the topics of the book, including four-corners, discussion partners, and genre brainstorming. During-reading lessons include making a mural, storyboarding, presentations of storyboards, identification and writing of examples of symbolism, personification, and other uses of figurative language, and drawing of body biographies. After reading, students write compositions comparing characters from the beginning to the end of the story and can discuss, identify, and analyze symbols in the book. They make a mandala, showing symbols in their own lives and making comparisons to those of a character in the book. Vocabulary for the unit comes from the book itself, and students use sentence strips and word splashes to learn new words from context, resources, and collaborative work. To see pictures from this unit, connect to pictures, and take a look at some fifth-grade work.

Jerry Spinelli and literature circles

Literature circles involve small groups of students studying a book. Literature circles in fifth grade this year involved three books by Jerry Spinelli: Crash, Maniac Magee, and Wringer. After hearing about the books, kids expressed a preference for a book that they would like to study. Once assigned to a small group and given a time frame by which they needed to complete their book, the students decided the number of pages they would read for each assignment, completed bookmarks and other activities showing the reading strategies they used to complete their reading, and performed a final presentation on their book. Along the way, they learned about theme and how it differs from main idea and moral, and they wrote a two-paragraph essay about a theme and lesson in their book and applied it to their own lives. Learning to use a topic sentence, specific examples, a concluding sentence, and transitional elements were important skills learned. Take a look at the reading strategies the students employed when reading their literature circle books. Check out documents related to literature circles.

Sitton spelling unit practice

The Sitton Word Study Program allows the kids to practice spelling concepts by learning patterns that recur within words as they are used differently. Students study how to make plurals, add suffixes to words with different vowel/consonant patterns, and discover when to double consonants, among other lessons. They then apply these concepts to spelling of words in a variety of activities, including at-home activities and those found in a workbook they complete periodically.


For this unit, students investigate the differences between poetry and prose. They discuss many elements of poetry, including sound, rhythm, imagery, shape, and figurative language and learn and use basic poetic terms. Finally, they focus on reading and writing using three of these elements: voice, imagery, and figurative language. In a poetry booklet that they complete, they read, write, and analyze poems involving each of these elements.

To access the poems that the students will be reading and studying, just click the link that follows:

To access the terms and beginning guided notes, just click for guided notes.

Charlotte Doyle Webquest


Book reviews for the Reinberger Library

At the end of fifth grade, each student will have the chance to read professional reviews of new books that the Reinberger Library is considering ordering. After reading many such reviews, students will choose a book that they would like to read and write a persuasive paragraph suggesting why the library should order the desired book. If the library feels the persuasive paragraph presents a valid argument, Mrs. Ross will order the books. A month or so later, then, students will be responsible for reading their chosen books and reviewing them. Reviews from past classes may be found on Mrs. Mozenter's website. Assignments for this unit may be found by clicking the following Book Review Link.


In fifth grade, students will become familiar with the five main parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They will learn to differentiate between subject and predicate and to diagram simple sentences with these parts of speech. Each week, they receive a weekly grammar review, which covers a grammar concept covered earlier in the year.

Word Web Vocabulary

This year, the fifth graders are trying a new vocabulary program based on prefixes, suffixes, and roots. This program, Word Web Vocabulary, allows the students to expand their understanding of words exponentially by focusing on the broken down meaning of each word. Additionally, students learn an acronym and a "wicked word of the week" with each new unit. We cover about two units a month and intersperse our vocabulary study here with vocabulary in books being studied, word study, and grammar and punctuation lessons throughout the year.