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The Excellent Reader Jr: 5th (Fifth) Grade Language Arts Class (Semester Two)

Evelyn VanZant: 4th and 5th Grade Language Arts
Star Educator
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(168)
In this Full Curriculum Fifth Grade English Language Arts (Semester Two) course, Mrs. VZ uses award-winning literature and excellent Language Arts Instruction as she teaches Reading, Grammar, and Creative Writing.

Class experience

US Grade 5
In this 5th grade Language Arts course, students will improve their independent reading, comprehension, and writing skills by means of the five excellent literature books, multiple writing assignments, an embedded writing unit focused on narrative and persuasive writing, weekly vocabulary, grammar, and writing lessons.   As well as completion of the three special writing projects; an expository research project/presentation, a written and presented book review (on a book of their choice), and writing an imaginary short story connected to our final book. Specifically, by the end of this course, students will have improved their visual, oral, and written communication skills.
Using knowledge gained in my 23 years of teaching, I will guide your students and the class discussions to focus on the positive and character-developing attributes found in the stories we read.  Additionally, using common childhood scenarios, we will brainstorm ways to show kindness and be inclusive as demonstrated by the characters in our stories.
Homework Offered
Homework is not required for this course, however, completing the homework assignments will result in more academic growth. Homework assignments will be uploaded at the beginning of each book or unit and should take anywhere from 2-4 hours outside of class to complete depending upon how fast your learner reads. Readings may be completed by the student, by audiobook, or read aloud by a parent.
2 - 4 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Reading and Grammar assignments will be given a completion grade. Writing assignments will be uploaded and graded for accuracy. Special projects will be graded for accuracy and completion. Comprehension will be graded through class discussion participation and homework answers. At the completion of the class, each student will be given a teacher evaluation in which I use class time and written examples to clearly communicate how much the student has advanced in their skills. If requested a letter or numerical grade will be provided to the parent. 5th Grade grading rubric 1/5 Homework Completion 1/5 Class Participation 1/5 Expository research project and presentation 1/5 Written book review and presentation 1/5 Imaginary short story
Grades Offered
Student Supplies Required:

Voyage of The Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis 
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield 
Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman 
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford 
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, Newest Edition, Mass-Market Paperback
All of these may be purchased on Amazon or any other book retailer.
A Class 3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper (There will be weekly printable papers associated with this class)
There are some supplies that students will need to complete special projects.  Parents will be given at least one week's notice to gather these special supplies.

Recommended, but not required:  
If you would like your student to have daily grammar work, I strongly suggest investing in Daily Grams Grade Five.  This simple daily book teaches basic grammar concepts and gives daily practice in those concepts.  It would be a great addition to this course.  

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth book in The Chronicles of Narnia (fourth if you count them in the order written).  I simply chose this book because it is my favorite of C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia Series.  I love this book because of the quest undertaken by the characters who all have wonderful adventures at each stop along the way.  Two of my favorite characters are Reepicheep, a valiant sword-wielding mouse, and Eustace Scrubb, his polar opposite.  Reading the book for these characters alone would be well worth your time. 
Parental Guidance: 
In this story, the characters take part in sword fights, encounter a land where slave trading is still conducted, and visit an island where your worst nightmares come true.  Since this book takes place in the fantasy world of Narnia, we will focus on how the things learned in the fantasy world can influence us to make better choices in our own world.  Learning from the mistakes of the characters will help us grow and change for the better. 
Discussion Focus:
As their quest takes the characters from island to island, they each must face a great temptation.  Just as the characters make mistakes and learn from them, so should we be learning every day. 

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield (Fisher)
Written in 1917, Understood Betsy is our oldest book, but that does not detract from the story which follows young Elizabeth Ann to Vermont and, as Aunt Frances had often described it, “the horrible Putney Farm.”  This book has stood the test of time because it so vividly describes life in the early 1900s.  As Elizabeth Ann learns about life on the Vermont farm, we learn, too.  We learn about making butter, caring for a pet, and what it was like to go to school in the early 1900s.  
Parental Guidance: 
In a reflection of life in the early 1900s, the characters in the story have gender-specific roles.  The characters accept these roles as part of their society and the differences are not focused on or discussed in the story. 
Discussion Focus: 
Most of our book discussion will focus on the amazing transformation that young Elizabeth Ann undergoes as she is transformed from a shy terrified Elizabeth Ann into a confident resourceful Betsy.  Betsy is supported, encouraged, and empowered by her family on "the horrible Putney farm" and, through their support, we learn not to judge a book by its cover. 

Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman
While this book was around when I was a girl, I did not have the privilege of reading it when I was young, but I wish I had.  This exciting story follows Rudi Matt as he attempts to complete the climb that took his father’s life. To climb the fictional Citadel, the highest peak in the mountain range is all Rudi can think about.  Rudi’s determination to climb the mountain is almost equaled by his mother’s determination that he not climb it.  Rudi’s determination leads him to make some poor choices that endanger not only himself but others.  In this story, Rudi learns that to be a great climbing guide, he must first learn to put others’ needs before his own. 
Parental Guidance: 
While not graphic, the book talks about the death of Rudi’s father and his climbing companion, and the permanent injury that another climber sustained during that deadly climb.  Despite this knowledge, Rudi is determined to complete this climb for his father.  So determined, in fact, that he will lie, disobey, and at times even endanger the lives of others.  Along the way, Rudi learns that to advance in this world, one must consider the needs of others as well as your own.
In another section of the story, Rudi needs a rope to rescue a trapped climber, having none, he removes some of his clothing, ties the pieces together, and successfully uses them to rescue the climber. 
Discussion Focus: While obviously learning a good bit about mountain climbing in this book, we will also spend time discussing the rights and wrongs of some of Rudi’s choices.  As we discuss these, the students will be able to apply these lessons to their own lives. 

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
Told from an omniscient narrator’s point of view, this story follows three spunky family pets as they travel across Canada to reunite with the family they hold so dear.  These two dogs and one cat have adventure after adventure as they are attacked by wild animals, lost, and almost drowned during a torrential downpour.  As they travel the 300 miles on their journey, the reader finds the answer to, "will they make it?"
Parental Guidance: The use of guns is mentioned in the story and at one point in the story, the animals are shot at, but they are not hit.  During another part of the story, one of the dogs is attacked by a bear.  He is wounded, but the other animals in the story, help him to recover.  
Discussion Focus: Most of our discussion will focus on the “incredible journey” these animals take.  We will also discuss the incredible bond and devotion these three have for one another.  The author uses a modified form of personification when describing the animal’s adventures.  I will use this as a teaching point when writing from the omniscient point of view. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret:
Hugo, an orphan, is a young boy living alone in the Paris train station.  He has assumed his missing uncle’s job of maintaining all of the station clocks.  As in all excellent literature, there is a secondary story, as well.  In this secondary story, Hugo discovers an abandoned automaton, a mechanical man, that he repairs using parts from the clocks and parts he “borrows” from the toy maker’s booth in the station.  Repairing the automaton yields the answers to many of the story's questions. 
Parental Guidance:
While not graphically communicated, Hugo’s father dies in a fire, and Hugo is left feeling responsible.  Hugo then goes to live with his alcoholic uncle who disappears during the story.  He is later discovered to have drowned in a river.  His abandonment leads Hugo to a life of crime, stealing food to live and stealing the gears and tools he needs to repair the automaton. 
Discussion Focus: 
Our discussion focus will be looking at the bigger picture.  During the story, Hugo solves the mystery of the automaton and along the way discovers a new family.  The big picture was staring at him the whole time, but he was missing it due to his obsession with repairing the automaton.  As we discuss Hugo's choices, we discuss sympathy and how we can serve and help others who may find themselves in a homeless situation. 
Star Educator
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(168)
Saving my profile will allow you to receive 4th and 5th Grade Language Arts class listing updates.  I teach year-round with classes beginning mid-September, mid-January, and mid-May. 

Having taught for many years, I have learned the key to being... 
Group Class


weekly or $360 for 24 classes
2x per week, 12 weeks
50 min

Completed by 41 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-11
6-10 learners per class

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