The focus at Bel Air is to have a balanced approach to teaching Language Arts. Balanced literacy is a comprehensive program of language arts acquisition. It contains all of the components necessary for students to master written and oral communication.
Balanced literacy begins with creating a genuine appreciation for good literature. It includes teaching phonics, grammar skills, reading and comprehension strategies, and writing forms and skills. Direct and indirect reading instruction is partnered with shared reading and independent reading experiences during a daily class period.
My goal is to be deeply-rooted in the awareness of students' individual needs and progress with their reading and writing skills. Running record assessments are one way I accomplish this and it gives me an overview of the fluency, accuracy and comprehension within a fiction or nonfiction story. Semester benchmark test also assist with understanding the different 5th grade level skills.
I hope that all students find a way to love reading and writing. The 30 book challenge is one way to expose them to a wide variety of book choices. They may not like them all but they will be able to say they know what each genre is about.
Homework is a weekly activity and is required to be a successful reader. Reading Logs are a check in activity that allows the 5th graders to show what they know. I care that they are making connections at school and at home. The more they read the greater the chance they will understand new materials.
Writing is a critical part of expression within our world. The focus this year is to express different forms of thought through words. Narratives, biographies and points of view will drive young writers to explore their own ideas and show others how they truly see the world.
The focus in math class is for students to have a great number sense and the ability to manipulate numbers fluidly. We start with the facts hoping the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division rules are a quick accurate tool to find answers. We then will move on to diving deeper into multiplication and division with an emphasis of accuracy. This will be followed by fractions, the order of operations and other ideas that use number sense and algebraic principles. The shift to geometry will give students with good special reasoning a chance to shine and we will end the year with a mixture of odds and ends to complete the world of mathematics.
Homework is a large part of the process in 5th grade. Learning in the classroom is a wonderful experience and adding individual practice hours later at home reinforce the concepts the students are working through. Although the amount of problems may differ the general idea is that the objectives are to be thought about not overdone. I don’t assign large numbers of problem sets because you can show understanding in 3 problems just as well as 30. I care that students can accomplish a task, not repeat computations like a robot. An average of one page of problems a night is what should be expected. I also will assign computer practice on the website IXL. This site is a catch all for different grade level concepts.
Effort is a huge part of my philosophy in math class. If you show effort you will be successful on some level. Part of the grade is effort and the answers being correct are only a part of that equation. Showing your work in a problem is a must and I don’t take this idea lightly. You must prove that you can find the answer and not simply conjure one up. I do realize some problems are mental math but most can be proven and I expect this to be done.
I look forward to a wonderful year of learning and growing in the mathematical manor and hope that all of us can add a little understanding to our lives.