Art in English Class? You bet!

abovethecloudsIt is no secret that you never know what to expect in our 5th grade ELA class. Hey, it is no accident. In fact, it is by design. The students do not like being bored and neither does their teacher. LOL!

We often integrate social studies, science, or music into our class. I figure . . . why not art?

Integrating arts across the curriculum and providing access to arts education benefits literacy skills. The National Literacy Act of 1999 defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write and speak English and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary: to function on the job and in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

On Tuesday students will read a poem titled “Willow and Ginkgo” by Eve Merriam. Students will identify adjectives and similes in the poem. Students will then view the painting “Above the Clouds” by Georgia O’Keeffe. Small groups will brainstorm adjectives to describe the painting and similes to go with the painting. The class will then compose poetry using the adjectives and similes from the brainstorm session.

This should be fun!

This Week’s Homework

Tuesday – Thursday: Learning Log Pages

Friday: Read for AR Points

Monday’s CAFE ELA / Student Opinions

Cafe3We had another successful CAFE ELA today!

At “C” students read an informational text about matter. This text passage corresponded with their 5th grade science class.

At “A” students worked with Mrs. Wilson to analyze a portion of the text, identify vital vocabulary, and determine the meaning of vital vocabulary words.

At “F” students chose a book from today’s selection to read. They logged their reading progress in the CAFE Log.

At “E” students worked in groups to expand their grammar skills by playing Education Galaxy on the iPad.

I wondered how students felt about CAFE ELA. I asked the last class of the day to answer two questions:

Why do you like Monday’s CAFE ELA? What has been “different” about your 5th grading reading class?

These were a few of their responses:

I like Monday’s CAFE ELA because we can move around the room and do different things. We can play on the iPad. Another reason I like it is because we synergize. (P. Fourtenbary. – DES 5th Grader)

I like Monday’s CAFE because I get to learn and have fun at the same time. I can work on my AR goal and play on the iPad. (K. Hall – DES 5th Grader)

I like Monday’s ELA CAFE because we move around and have different things to do.  We don’t get bored.  (L. Dunn – DES 5th Grader)

Something is different about this reading class. We get to move around. We have fun things to do but we learn. (K. Sands – DES 5th Grader)

The 5th grade reading class is fun.  It is hard, but Mrs. Wilson is sweet. (K. Slaughter – DES 5th Grader)

This class is different because we don’t just read out of a reading book. I like that. We get to read novels and other fun stuff. (P. Fourtenbary – DES 5th Grader)

In 5th grade reading we get to talk, have fun, and still learn.  We have never been able to do that before. This class is not boring. (K. Hall – DES 5th Grader)

Most of these responses are referring to the various instructional methods we incorporate each day. For example: turn and talk. During turn and talk students are often discussing a response to a question I have asked. I love to hear the answer they have “synergized” to compose. The group leader delivers their answer to the whole group.

Theme or THE MEssage / CCRS RL.5.2 / Video Lesson

logoLet’s ASPIRE to greatness! This post includes a video lesson that will help you master Alabama CCR Standard (RL.5.2)!

Students in 5th grade should be able to: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text. (RL.5.2)

We have been working on this skill in our 5th grade at DES. The theme can also be called the “message” or “lesson learned” in the text. It helps to ask yourself, “What life lesson did the main character learn?”  Sometimes one might also ask, “What life lesson can I learn from reading this?”  Answering these questions help us identify the theme.

Give it a try!

The Archery Competition

Thomas was participating in the 12 year old Archery Alabama State Competition. He was in the final round and it was his turn. He grabbed an arrow and twisted the tip with his finger tips. He heard his dad scream, “Go get him Thomas!” After that, everything seemed to go quiet.

Thomas placed the arrow in position on the bow and pulled back slowly. He was so nervous. He felt his hand starting to shake. “Breathe,” he told himself. He took a deep breath and his hand calmed. He stared at the bulls eye and aimed his arrow. He had practiced this a thousand times and now he was ready. He released the arrow.

Even though it only took the arrow two seconds to reach the target, it seemed like forever to Thomas. It whirled through the air in a straight line heading for its destination. Then it happened. A perfect bulls eye was hit. The crowd roared in excitement and Thomas did it. He won the state championship.

What is the central message or theme of the passage above?

A. Nice guys finish last.                              B. Hard work and practice pays off.

C. Archery is a fun sport.                           D. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

I challenge you to be the first DES 5th grader to answer this question in class!

This 3 minute video lesson on determining theme will help you master this skill.

This week’s HW:

Monday & Tuesday – Finish Learning Log

Wednesday – TEST DAY

Thursday & Friday – Read for AR Points

The Sunshine Shop Grand Opening & Covered Wagon Projects

Wow! What a week!

DES had the grand opening of its Sunshine Shop. The Sunshine Shop is full of goodies that students can shop for. It takes special money to shop in this store. It takes DES Dollars.  The only way to get DES Dollars is either to display leadership skills or reach a WIG (Wildly Important Goal). Teachers help students set WIGs (WIGs should be measurable, academic goals). When students achieve their WIG they receive DES Dollars to spend on the days the Sunshine Shop is open.20140313_081032

It is hard work to reach a WIG. I had one student who had a WIG to bring her “C” average in my class up to a “B”. She did it in a big way. She brought it up to a 83. She doesn’t plan to stop there. She will be setting a new WIG. . .90! That is what it is all about!

20140313_153715The 5th grade also brought in their covered wagon projects this week. This project was the conclusion to their learning unit on Westward Expansion in Mrs. Smith’s Social Studies class. Their projects are displayed in the main lobby of DES. Take a look if you stop by in the next couple of days.

Good job 5th grade!




ELA CAFE Monday / Parent “Sneak Peek”

CAFE2The 5th graders have loved having ELA CAFE on Mondays! This is a sneak peek at this past Monday’s CAFE.

At “C” they read a passage about Westward Expansion. This text passage corresponds with their current topic in Social Studies. Students had to answer questions that led to summarizing and making inferences about the text passage.

At “A” they worked with Mrs. Wilson to analyze a text passage. The purpose was to identify the theme of the passage, identify unfamiliar words, and determine the meaning of those words.

At “F” students chose a book from Mrs. Wilson’s book selection for this week. They read and took an AR test if they were ready to do so.

AT “E” students worked in small groups to expand their skills by playing a grammar iPad game called Education Galaxy.

We can’t wait to ELA CAFE next Monday!

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Constructed Responses / Link to Online Game! / This Week’s HW

20140303_104920Here are a few more pictures from the 5th grade’s Wonderland Hall!

Being able to respond in writing to an open response question is a skill that 5th graders need to master. It is also one of the hardest things to get them to do. Why is this so hard? I have asked myself this question over and over again. I truly believe that in our fast-paced, wait for nothing lives taking the time to write out a thorough response to a question is absolutely foreign to today’s students. It shouldn’t be! Answering a constructed response questions thoroughly will be a focus in 5th grade at DES this week. This is a great video lesson below.

I love to play games that help me learn. I know that you do too! Here is a link to a game that will help you master context clues.

20140303_105000This Week’s HW

Monday & Tuesday – Learning Log Pages

Wednesday – Study Vocabulary

Thursday & Friday – Read for AR Points

ELA CAFE / Parent Sneak Peek

CAFEOne of the great things about a class blog is that parents can get a “sneak peek” at what we do in class. Today we had ELA CAFE. This instructional method has 4 sections. Students move from section to section completing the task at each section. Students have a CAFE Log to journal their work in for the day. During CAFE students work independently, with a partner, with a small group, and conference with the teacher. As their teacher, it is great to hear them explaining their reasoning to each other in partner and group time. It is amazing to watch the small groups celebrate when they score well on the iPad game they were assigned.

At “C” – Students read an informational text about Dr. Seuss, summarized the main idea, and made inferences based on the text.

At “A” – Students cross checked answers and worked together to answer questions about homographs.

At “F” – Students read a book from the daily selection and took AR tests on their chosen book. (Most of today’s choices were by Patricia Pollaco)

At “E” – Students expanded their vocabulary by working on an iPad App assignment.

ELA CAFE was a Win-Win today! Great job 5th grade!









ASPIRE to Greatness / Alabama CCRS / This Week’s HW Information

logoThe countdown is on. We have 8 weeks until Alabama’s new ASPIRE test. Are we ready?

I can’t answer that. I do know we have worked hard and we will continue to do so up until this year’s testing window. The test is just that. . .a test. It is important. It will give us valuable feedback. It will not be the end of the world. . .LOL!

I will continue to post links to games or lessons that I believe to be beneficial to students. These links cover Alabama’s new College Career Ready Standards. The following link covers Point of View / Author’s Perspective.

AL (RL.5.6): 5th grade students should know how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences a story.

After the video lesson, you can go to this link to take on online quiz on author’s point of view.

This week’s HW:

Monday / Tuesday : Learning Log Sheets

Wednesday : Finish FINAL copy of Expository Essay

Thursday : This is TEST Day

Friday : Read for AR Points