Countdown to Christmas Break!

the-visit-coverWe are almost there. Soon it will be Christmas Break!

I know that everyone is excited, but we still have a few days to enjoy a sampling of stories about Christmas. This week we will focus our reading on several close reads about this wonderful time of year.

One of those reads will focus on the poem “The Visit” by Mark Kimball Moulton. This poem is the explanation of the origin of the classic “The Night Before Christmas”.

This is the information from Amazon:

In December of 1823, the poem now known as The Night Before Christmas was first published anonymously and has since become the best loved Christmas poem of all time. Now, for the first time in The Visit, Dinghy Sharp, a direct descendant of recognized author Clement Clarke Moore, shares her delightful story with us all, and reveals the history and origin of this beloved poem as it has been passed down for generations in the Moore family.

I am overjoyed about sharing this with the 5th grade at DES! We will also focus our reading on a certain green Christmas character. . .any guesses? Who, who, who in all of Whoville. . .might it be?

Homework this week: Read for AR Points


Parent Sneak Peek . . .We Can Synergize

20131211_111936Cooperative learning groups play an important role in our 5th grade reading class. Groups are made up of 5 – 6 students. Each student has a different responsibility in the group depending on the assignment.

Today we had a series of group learning activities to complete. In the first activity groups were given a passage that included a vital vocabulary word. The students had to use context clues and their schema (what they already knew) to determine the meaning of the vital vocabulary word. Using context clues to determine the meaning of new words is one of the major shifts in Alabama’s new College and Career Ready Standards. In 5th grade, we no longer memorize definitions. We compose our own definitions based on context clues within the text.

We also completed a “jig-saw puzzle” activity. The text was broken into small segments. Each group was assigned a segment to read. The groups composed short summaries of their assigned segments. Each group shared their summary aloud with the whole group. This put all of the pieces of our “jig-saw puzzle” back together, effectively summarizing the entire text.

The last activity involved answering open response questions. Groups were given questions about: the point of view and the impact of that point of view on the text, comparing and contrasting two settings, as well as making inferences from the text. Groups had to discuss their personal answers and then compose a group answer to the open ended question.

It is amazing to just walk from group to group listening to their ideas about the text. The 5th grade has come so far since August. We still have a long way to go, but we are excited about the journey!




Sharing our “Santa” Writing & Congrats!

20131209_144335I promised in the last post to share more writing samples from our persuasive writing assignment last week. The following sample is from Terion H. from Dadeville Elementary School.

Santa needs to get in shape because he can’t fit down the chimney.  One reason Santa should exercise is because exercise helps you sleep better. Santa needs his sleep so he will be ready for Christmas Eve.  Exercise also makes you strong.  Santa needs to be strong to put presents on his back.  One last reason Santa should exercise is to help fight diabetes because Santa eats a lot of cookies and his sugar might be high.  These are a some reasons why Santa should exercise.

Santa should really listen up. These students are giving some great reasons why he should get in shape!

I would also like to extend a big CONGRATULATIONS to Peyton F. and Zoe H. These two students are part of the Top Flight Gymnastics Team that competed in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. These girls brought back some gold!

We are proud of our 5th grade leaders at DES!



Santa Writing Assignment & Class Information for Dec. 9th – 13th

20131206_121105I published a student writing sample at the end of last week. The sample was from our persuasive writing project. The assignment was to give reasons (use logic) to convince the reader that Santa needs to get in shape.

I am pleased to publish another sample. The paragraph below was written by Laken H. from Dadeville Elementary School. I hope these paragraphs bring a smile to your face. . .they do mine! (I will be sharing even more with you this week.)

Since Santa can’t fit down the chimney, he needs to get in shape.  One reason Santa needs to get in shape is it fights obesity, so then he can fit down the chimney. Exercise also keeps his bones healthy, so when he goes down the chimney his bones won’t break.  One last reason Santa needs to get in shape is because he will sleep better, so when he is delivering toys he won’t fall asleep on my couch!

Sounds logical to me! This short little assignment brought so much joy to our class. I look forward to sharing more with you this coming week.

Homework Assignments

Monday – Read Story

Tuesday – Grammar Page in Learning Log / Finish Sloppy Copy of Writing Assignment

Wednesday – Review Grammar / Study Learning Log Notes

Thursday – Finish Final Copy of Writing Assignment / Study for Test

Friday – Read for AR Points




Santa needs to “Sharpen the Saw”

ImageThe 5th grade students finished this week’s writing assignment. The assignment fit perfectly with incorporating Habit #7 (Sharpen the Saw) into the curriculum. Habit #7 teaches us to take care of our bodies as well as our minds. The assignment was to write a persuasive paragraph about Santa’s need to get in shape (Sharpen the Saw). It was a fun assignment!

The writing prompt was:

Santa’s been eating cookies all year long and has put on some extra pounds. He is too big to fit down a chimney. Write a paragraph to persuade Santa why he needs to get in shape this season.

I am pleased to publish the following paragraph written by Zoe V. from Dadeville Elementary School.


Since Santa can’t fit down the chimney he needs to get in shape.  One reason Santa should exercise is that exercise fights obesity. Santa already can’t fit down the chimney!  Exercise also makes you sleep better.  Santa needs his sleep because he has to deliver all the presents in one night. One last reason Santa should exercise is because we don’t want him to have to stop and check his blood sugar all the time so he can just deliver gifts. These are just a few reasons Santa needs to get in shape.


I told you it was a fun assignment. Can you tell we discussed the health benefits of exercise? Can you tell they have a classmate and a teacher with diabetes? Oh my, I am reading these and cracking up. Some of the students got quite creative with their logic about the reasons Santa should get in shape.  I will be sharing more in the days to come. Maybe these paragraphs will persuade us to “Sharpen the Saw” too!




Parent Sneak Peek

20131203_101453This post is a sneak peek at what we are doing in Mrs. Wilson’s class.

Writing is an important part of 5th grade. We focus on using the steps of the writing process while composing expository, narrative, and persuasive forms of writing. We are focusing on writing a persuasive piece this week.

Persuasive writing is a type of writing that tries to convince the reader of an opinion or belief. One persuasive writing technique is logos. Logos is when the writer uses logic or facts to persuade the reader. The writer uses examples and facts to prove or back up an opinion or belief.

The class was given this writing prompt: Santa has been eating cookies all year and has put on some extra pounds. He is too big to fit down a chimney. Write to persuade Santa why he needs to get in shape.

The class brainstormed ideas about why people should exercise and stay in shape. The class used the brainstorm responses to draft a writing plan. Students then wrote their “sloppy copy”. Later in the week, students will edit, revise, and publish their final draft. I look forward to sharing some of their paragraphs with you!  (click on images below to enlarge)








Class Information for December 2nd – 6th

8636890It is hard to believe that it is December! The 5th grade won’t be slowing down. . .we are full speed ahead until Christmas break.

The students will receive a new Learning Log on Tuesday. It will need to be completed and turned in on December 13th. We work in these every day in class. Students should have these Learning Logs with them in class each day. There are also homework assignments in the Learning Log.


Monday – Read “Sailing Home” Lesson 11 in Textbook
Tuesday – Grammar Page / Sloppy Copy of Week’s Writing Assignment
Wednesday – Review Grammar / Read “Sailing Home”
Thursday – Edit / Revise / Publish Writing Assignment (if not finished in class)
Friday – Read for AR Points