And so it begins…

It’s halfway through summer and thus begins the Back to School frenzy. Supplies, classroom goodies, and of course, lesson ideas. This will be my 15th year teaching (13th teaching 5th grade ELA and SS) and this summer I decided to rework my reading and writing workshops. I’ve tried out a few different things the past couple of years, and now I feel like I have a better grasp on what works with my students.


I have dabbled with Daily 5/CAFE, Reader’s Workshop only, only using our basal. Here’s what I have come up with that works for me and my students enjoy.

I will be using a Reading and Writing Workshop structure. More on that in my next post. Below are the focuses of the lessons and/or goals.

Monthly Writing Themes –  I still want to give my students choices of what they want to write about, but with some basic parameters. Students will get mini-lessons on writing traits and grammar, and be expected to try it out in their writings.

Monthly/Bi-Monthly Reading Genre Focus – As a class, we will have a chapter book that we will read together and base mini-lessons on (also vocabulary) (goes with pacing guide) – thus creating our genre focus. 

Vocabulary – This has always been a major issue for my students. I’m going to give them CCSS Verbs, Academic Vocabulary (all subjects), and a few words from our read aloud, each week. Tests will probably be every 2 weeks so students have enough time to work with and learn to use the words well. I will be utilizing these from Melissa O’Bryan (Wild About Fifth Grade).

Click to see on TpT

Click to see on TpT







Grammar/Spelling – This is an area I know I need to focus on a bit. I have a spelling workbook that I will use (tests each week). The nice thing about the spelling I have is that the students learn to use the words, so it’s an added vocabulary practice for them. As to grammar, I bought a practice workbook from Scholastic that I’m going to try to use. I will probably only do grammar 2-3 times a week – mostly having them incorporate it into their writing – testing every 2 weeks.

Now, I know that Social Studies isn’t part of ELA Workshops, but I thought I’d share what I’m going to do for that subject too. Our textbook is Harcourt Social Studies, and I’ve taken a lot of the textbook information and created my own SMARTBoard presentations and notes for the students. I also wrote my own tests (incorporating some of the textbook questions) and quizzes.

History (Social Studies) – This is one of my other favorite subjects to teach and there will be a lot of crossover with lessons in ELA as the year goes on. Each quarter we are to focus on a topic/standard. This can make the quarters drag if you don’t get creative. We have a textbook we use, and I will probably use some of it, but I have also been looking for lesson add-ons. I found these by Stephanie Rye (Forever in Fifth Grade) on TpT, and I am planning on adding them in after my Geography unit (which is the first one we are to teach).

Click to see on TpT


Okay, so this post turned out to be crazy long. I will write another one soon elaborating on Reading genre focuses and Writing themes that I’m planning on doing.

Feel free to ask me anything and/or leave a comment below!


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