Literacy and Homeroom Information

  •      Reading and writing are no longer considered to be separate subjects, but rather a part of our everyday curriculum.  Teachers provide direct instruction by modeling and teaching the behaviors, strategies, and tools of good readers and writers so students can clearly see how thinking is linked to those areas of study.  Students are also involved through instructional conversations that clarify their thinking and may occur with the entire class, in small group, with a partner or with their teacher.  This also helps them to learn about the thinking and reasoning of others. 


         Through testing at the beginning of the year and observation in the first month, we can learn about strengths and instructional needs of each student and help teach to those needs in both reading and writing.  Mini lessons that are done in class and small group are based on those needs.


         We believe in curriculum integration.  Reading and writing are important to all subject areas.  A lesson may be done during our reading time; however, we are using a science article or an article social studies related from Junior Scholastic.    


         Students have a writer’s notebook that they will use for the many writing lessons we will be engaged in as well as for personal journaling and prompt writing.  Students also will receive a Reader’s Response Journal which will be used for recording their reading and for use in our reading units.  Students will also write a monthly letter to me about their reading (they may choose a favorite book they read during the month, talk about a favorite character, highlight a new genre they tried, etc.)  Students DO NOT need to write in a log each time they read; instead they will provide me with this reflection each month.  They can write out a reflection in their RRJ or do it electronically and email it to me or print it.  No matter what option, they will need a parent signature before it is turned in (this signature shows me you have looked over and discussed the month’s reading). It is the expectation that students will read at home 100 minutes a week. 


         We will be using a variety of writing resources to meet the literacy standards for this year. We will start the year with a DBQ (Document Based Question).  Our question is: Why is Freedom of the Press Essential to Democracy?  We did two of these last year that focused on the use of water bottles and another on Valley Forge.  Students enjoyed both and will continue to use the same skills for this question (hook, background essay, pre-bucketing, document analysis, bucketing, chicken foot, thrash out and finally the essay writing). We will also be working on personal narrative, taking a stand and research. 


         We use read aloud books for teaching the reading units.  For example, we will use the book Front Desk to teach a variety of 5th and 6th grade standards.  We will also use Junior Scholastic all year for informational text reading and strategies.  Also, in our writing units we will do mini language arts lessons that focus on grammar, usage and mechanics.  We plan on ending the year with a unit on historical fiction which will tie in nicely with our social studies content.


         Another area of studies is our word study program.  Word study will focus on words and their origins, how they are used, looking at roots, prefixes and suffixes, etc.  We also for each word have a class discussion that brings excitement to the students. There will not be tests; however, we will do activities in class and students will keep a written log in journals that have been provided of new words and lessons, so they can work on incorporating these words into their writing.   


    Students begin to learn responsibility in a variety of ways in Family Three.  It is always tougher for the 5th graders, but I promise it gets better after the first card marking!  Some of the daily responsibilities include AM check in, turning work in, PM procedures (stacking chairs and getting mail), filling out the SAB (Student Assignment Book), etc. 


         Most assignment are due the next day unless otherwise noted.  You will begin to see routines.  For example, Math Magazines are due a week after assigned and Junior Scholastic assignments get two days. 


         I have a “No Name Basket” in my room.  Students who think they turned in an assignment can always check here. 


         I have an area that I keep “extra work” in case a student misplaces an assignment.  There are only one or two extra copies of work.  If a child has lost an assignment and no more are there, he/she can stay in during enrichment and use the original.  Family Three teachers will not make extra copies beyond the one or two (trying to save trees and paper).


         I feel like I left things out, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at my email  You can also check out my website (as I keep learning new things) for updated class news information.  I also will periodically send out emails with reminders or information.