The 5th grade readers have taken on complex nonfiction texts with unrivaled grit and determination. As the informational articles, books, and media they find themselves reading become increasingly complex, the students will encounter a variety of advanced literary techniques used by authors to heighten the level of the texts. So far, we’ve faced the challenges of determining implicit main ideas, using morphology to break apart and look inside technical vocabulary words, and exploring the hybrid structures of both whole texts and sections and paragraphs. Armed with strategies to overcome each new obstacle, the readers have been diving into their independent reading, and jotting about the complex nature of the texts, as well as the skills they are practicing to tackle this complexity. Over the next month, we will begin launching our very own personal inquiry research projects, where students will investigate topics of interest putting all of their nonfiction reading skills to the test!

A gateway to reading and exploring nonfiction texts with success is high interest in the books that are being chosen. While there is no shortage of nonfiction texts between 5-218 and 5-220, the students have expressed curiosity about other types of nonfiction pieces. If your own libraries at home are stocked with nonfiction books, we would love for you to share them with our class! If you choose to send any in, please label them clearly and they will be returned to you at the end of our unit in pristine condition. Our 5th graders thank you!

Coinciding quite nicely with our nonfiction reading, information writing is keeping the 5th grade writers hard at work. We are at the beginning stages of developing necessary skills to heighten the level of writing as we organize our thoughts about areas of knowledge and topics of interest, and the writers have already taught me about some of their passions and strengths. Over the unit, we will be learning to fill in “emptiness” in our writing by asking and answering questions we still have about our topics, as well as organizing the order our details with intention to make clear meaning out of our writing. The students are starting out with solid foundations, which opens up the doors to even deeper thinking and writing, and I am eager to see how far they can go. Be on the lookout for our final published pieces!

Social studies is a 5th grade favorite, and the students never fail to meet our research with excitement. As we explore the geography and early societies of the Western Hemisphere, we are admiring the work of paleontologists and archaeologists who bring us what we know about Pangea, the Bering Land Bridge, fossils, and more. This month, we will embark on an expedition researching the Natural Wonders of the Western Hemisphere. Wonderful!