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South Meadows Elementary



The math series entitled “Everyday Mathematics” forms the core of the our fifth grade mathematics curriculum.  As part of this program, your child will be bringing home assignments and activities, called “Home Links”, to do as homework throughout the year.  Keep in mind that on several Home Links, there are problems with more than one possible answer.  This series encourages different ways of thinking.   Before each unit, a "Family Letter" is sent home which describes the unit's concepts and provides a key to the home links.  These answers are for your convenience as you are supporting your child's mathematical thinking.  Click on the "Everyday Math Family Letters" link to access the Family Letters for all the units, at anytime.  

Students are allowed to take home their Student Reference Books (SRB), which are very helpful for parents, too!  If you would like to keep one of these books to support homework, you may sign one out for the year.   Fact memorization is helpful in 5th grade math and beyond.   Please encourage your child to work on these facts as part of the daily homework.


The fifth grade science curriculum is divided into the following three units: Systems & Survival, Objects in the Sky, and Structure & Properties of Matter.  In each unit, students will have a science journal that will contain our notes for the different labs and ideas on important questions that we will be investigating.  For all Science Tests, students are given Test Reviews prior to a test date.  We encourage students to study these reviews in advance, review their notes in their science journal, and study important vocabulary words throughout the unit. 

Michigan Model Health is taught during PE/Health class.  Fifth grade health class emphasizes nutrition, getting along with others, and maturation.  Parents will be notified in advance of dates when maturation lessons will occur.


During social studies, students explore early American history with an emphasis on understanding how three worlds interacted, the settlement of North America, the American Revolution and the forming of our government. Students will be given Test Reviews to help prepare for the tests.  We encourage students to study these reviews in advance, review their notes and study vocabulary cards throughout the unit.

Reading & Writing

The Lucy Calkins Workshop model is used for both reading and writing.  Our goal is to step up students’ reading work to higher levels of agency and independence.


What does a workshop look like?

A reading or writing workshop has some basic parts.  It begins with a whole class mini-lesson that teaches a specific skill or target.  Students then use most of the workshop time independently reading or writing.  While students are reading or writing, the teacher meets with individual students to conference on skills and also with small groups of students to practice a target or discuss a shared book.  The workshop ends with a wrap up whole group meeting. 

Throughout the year your child will be writing a variety of genres including personal narrative, persuasive essay, research and memoir.  This program is meant not only to teach students qualities of good writing, but it’s also designed to help them develop stamina, focus, structure, detail, a sense of purpose, an appreciation for conventions and an enthusiasm for writing. During each unit, your child will learn more about qualities of good writing and about writing processes. They’ll also learn a variety of strategies to draw upon during each stage of the writing process.  We teach the conventions of good writing, which include punctuation, grammar and strategies for accurate spelling. Much of the instruction on the conventions (or mechanics) will take place during our daily word study time, and your child’s growing proficiency with the conventions of writing will transfer into their work during writing workshop. 

How is a workshop approach different from other language arts programs?

In the workshop there are rarely book reports, reading quizzes or vocabulary worksheets.  Instead there are book talks, read-alouds, conversations on strategies, discussions about great books and great writing, lots of reading and writing time, choice and the satisfaction of finishing a great read or piece of writing.  

How will my child be assessed?  How will I know he/she is making progress?

Your child has taken the NWEA reading assessment in previous grades.  Their 4th Grade Spring score, along with standardized fall testing will be used as a baseline to measure growth when compared to later assessments throughout the year.  We also use Teacher College Assessments to determine their Guided Reading Level (A-Z).  We will be assessing each child the first couple weeks of school to determine their guided reading level or reading ceiling (highest level of independent reading).  Your child’s reading ceiling is his/her beginning instructional level and will be periodically re-assessed to measure continued progress.  Additionally, the DRA will be used to assess reading fluency (speed & accuracy).  Anecdotal records of targets, instructional strategies used and goals met will also be noted on an ongoing basis.   Reading is reported a reading rubric used.

Writing rubrics & curriculum checklists will be used to identify personal targets for writing instruction.  Along with a monthly writing project, samples of your child’s writings will be used throughout the year to measure growth.  

What can I do to support my child at home? 

The one factor that will have the greatest impact is to give your child the gift of time.  At home, your child will be expected to read at least 20-30 minutes daily, to write many nights and to return to school with the assignments completed, their reading book and their writing journal.  To be successful with the reading program it is also important to make sure your child is reading books at his/her level.  We will help the students do this in the classroom.  However, if you are looking for a book or want to check a book’s level, you may find it helpful to go to the “Scholastic” website and search for a title’s “guided reading level” under “Book Wizard”.  We have links to these sites on our class websites too.

Word Study

Your child will continue to participate in the Words Their Way word study program this year.  Although word study is only one of the many daily literacy activities in our classroom, this instruction provides students with a valuable tool in the complex task of learning to read, comprehend, and enjoy a variety of texts.  

In Word Study and Vocabulary lessons, students learn strategies for decoding, spelling, and understanding the meaning of multi-syllabic words. Every week, we’ll review and practice previously taught skills while explore important new ones. Students will also participate in frequent, brief assessments in spelling, word meaning, and word analysis so that we can immediately address learning needs.  

Spelling instruction occurs within a flexible small group and is based on your child’s spelling acquisition stage.  Each spelling group has a specific target & works toward identifying and using that target.

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