Units of Study

October -December

Science mini-units (on-going through the year):  Beginning with Life Science and the Greenhouse

World Geography and Mapping


Endangered Species

Begin trout mini-unit in science (Jan. or Dec. start with Brook trout)


Physical science mini-units

Ancient American History: Inca, Aztec, Maya


Macro-Invertebrate mini-unit (possibly in conjunction with trout)

Earth Science mini-units

Trout stock out

May – June

Fifth Grade Play

Human Body mini-units

Canoe Trip

Science and Social Studies Projects

World Geography –  As part of our world geography unit, students will create a website on one of Earth’s continents, featuring natural landmarks and human- made monuments or architectural features on each continent. There will be specific focus on one country this year.

Inca/Aztec/Maya- Students will research topics from civilizations in the Ancient Americas.  They will create a travel brochure or fair focused on an aspect of one of these three pre-Columbian American cultures.

Endangered Species–  Students will investigate and report on an endangered species.     The report will have visual, artistic, and written components.

World Explorers- Students will research and present the life of a world explorer. There will be both written and performance aspects to the presentations.  (With a class play, we may not do all aspects of this unit.)

Brook Trout Project- Students will hatch brook trout eggs and rear trout in the classroom, later releasing them into an appropriate habitat

Class Play- Play to be determined by class based on interest and project explorations The date of the class play will be Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:00, as part of the all school assembly.  We will have an open dress rehearsal that week for parents unable to attend the afternoon performance.

Language Arts

Reading Workshop

In the beginning of the year, students have been reading independently as we observe their strengths and abilities:

–  How they choose and stay with the books they choose

–  How they attend to what they are reading

–  How they read orally

–  How they share their understanding of what they have read

–  How they view reading and what makes a good reader

It is our goal to provide opportunities for students to read for meaningful purposes – both for what we feel is meaningful and for what they think is meaningful.

We will be doing the following types of reading this year:

Independent Reading

Instructional Reading/Conferences

Oral Reading – individual or with reading partners

Read Aloud

Literature Circles (we have begun leveled reading book groups)

Group Novels (we will begin with Tuck Everlasting later this fall)

Choral Reading

Reading while sharing writing

Reader’s Theater

Kindergarten buddy Reading

Reading and Responding to text in Journals

Paired Reading

Author Studies

Reading a Variety of Genres: such as poetry, historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, informational text, etc.

On-line reading comprehension/fluency/vocabulary programs (Lexia or Reading Assistant)

Writing Workshop

Using the Writing Cycle – Brainstorming/Pre-writing, Composing, Revising, and Editing

Writing Process – We will explore the writing process from generating ideas to publishing work. Students will have writing assignments, writing invitations (optional prompts), and choice topics to write about throughout the year.  Writing conventions and topic development will be areas of focus, but we will write in many genres, including expository pieces (such as essays, reports, and biographies), fiction, poetry, detailed scientific writing, and persuasive essays.  In addition to reading with partners, we have begun a weekly Author’s Circle to give students an opportunity to share their writing with their peers.

Using the Lucy Calkins writing program as a guide and focusing on each of the three main elements in the new Common Core standards for written composition, we will write extensively in Narrative, Informational, and Persuasive genres.


Everyday Math Program – Please refer to Unit Letters at the beginning of each unit to explain the concepts and applications being used.  The letters have an answer key for the homework on the last page in case you are asked to help with an assignment.  Some of the methods and algorithms that are taught in the Everyday Math program may be unfamiliar to parents. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions that were not answered in the family letter.

We will also be using Kahn Academy this year. I have been pleased with the way the website individualizes work for each student and everyone can work at his or her own pace.


–  Homework is generally given Monday through Thursday (some longer assignments will extend through the weekend). Homework should not take more than about 50 minutes per night.

–  Every week students will receive homework assignments and reminders. It is the student’s responsibility to bring homework folders and/or binders back and forth from home to school each day and to keep track of assignments.

–  Students are also expected to read an average of 30 minutes or more daily in addition to their homework assignments, including weekends..  We are asking them to try reading different genres throughout the year and to be critical readers who are able to recommend books for others. They may be bringing their assigned classroom novels or non-fiction books home to read. They will often have sticky-notes on which to jot down questions, thoughts, predictions,  responses,  and new vocabulary as they read.

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