•  What is English Language Arts?

    • English Language Arts is a category that includes several components of learning:  reading, writing, language, and listening & speaking.

    • As students move up in the grades, eventually, ELA becomes one grade, but at the 5th grade level, it is still broken into two grades on the report card:  Reading and Writing.  

      • The Reading grade will be made up of all reading-related tasks.  Reading comprehension, vocabulary work, literary responses, etc. all make up the reading grade.  Listening & speaking is also part of the reading grade.

      • The Writing grade will include written pieces, language/grammar tasks, spelling tasks, handwriting/cursive, etc.  This grade will be a combination of work done in Mrs. Orr's Reading class and Mrs. Liguori's Social Studies class.

    • Keep reading below to find out what kinds of work we will do in each of these areas this year!


    Reading & "Into Reading"

    • The "Into Reading" program is our new district-adopted reading curriculum.  Each selection within this curriculum focuses on reading comprehension strategies, skills, vocabulary, and text-based writing.  All selections in this program have science or social studies connections, and we will spend time investigating these paired texts.  

    • This program has several types of assessments to determine whether or not a student has mastered the intended skills and concepts.  There are short 5-question selection quizzes (that directly relate to the reading done in class), end-of-selection "fresh read" assessments (that test the same skills using a new/unfamiliar text, allowing a student to apply their learning to a new piece of literature), and end-of-module assessments (that wrap the whole module up and allow students to demonstrate all they have learned during that unit of study).

    • To encourage a reading-writing connection, the majority of the writing we do will be related to themes and concepts present within the reading.  This allows for a thematic approach to writing rather than isolated writing tasks that are difficult to connect.  At the beginning of the year, all writing is guided and modeled, and as the year progresses, students gradually write longer and more independent pieces using the skills they have mastered along the way.

    • The "Into Reading" program has a consumable book for each student - they can highlight, underline, write in the margins, etc.  We will also have online access to the book for homework and review purposes as needed.

    • Sometimes, we spend as little as a day working on a topic or skill and other times we spend a week or more.  It depends on the content, topic, readiness of the students, and whether or not we need deeper practice. 

    • Students should ALWAYS have a book with them for independent reading time. 


    • The Writing grade is made up of work done in Reading with Mrs. Orr and Social Studies with Mrs Liguori.  While the writing grade comes from work done in the these two classrooms, students are expected to take what they've learned and bring it into the writing they do in all of their classes, including Math and Science.

    • In ELA, we write responses to literature, personal narrative, creative stories, poetry, informative essays, opinion essays, and many other short and long pieces to go with our reading. 

    • All writing is done at school, as this allows me to observe students through the writing process.  When students write at home, it's not possible for Mrs. Orr and/or Mrs. Liguori to determine if students received support from a parent or more-capable sibling, used online tools they wouldn't have access to at school, or utilized AI software to assist or even complete the task for them.  By writing at school, we can ensure that the work students submit is truly their own and done at an independent level.  This allows us to determine strengths, gaps, and find the best way to model for them and support as-needed.

    Handwriting, Cursive, and Typing

    • Students are expected to write legibly at all times.  If we cannot read it, we cannot grade it.  Therefore, if work is submitted with difficult-to-read handwriting, students might be encouraged to redo the task in order for it to be legible.  Depending on the nature of the assignment, it is possible that the grade will be reduced due to the lack of readability.

    • Typing is a grade level standard.  Students are expected to "demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills in order to complete a writing task" (AZCCR 5.W.6).  We will be using Google Typing Club to track typing progress as well as other "on-demand" typing tasks that will gauge WPM typing speed.