All of the fifth grade students of Language Arts teacher Emilie Dempsey begin their year with an exciting writing exercise. Many students choose to read their creative writing with a favorite Early Learning teacher and the children in that class.
The students write stories to accompany a picture book from the Galloway library. They start with a graphic organizer, so they know how the story will end from the beginning of the process. The young writers think about character development, considering various traits, such as a character’s age or background. They learn about a story arc, beginning with the setting, and continuing to rising action, a pivotal point, and ending with falling action. The students incorporate five lines of dialogue, including learning how to punctuate dialogue.
The students consult their vocabulary book, 100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know, choosing three new words for their stories. The young authors include the five senses, “What is the character seeing? Smelling? Hearing?” And they vary their sentence structures with conjunctions (remember FANBOYS? For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So?).
The students also visited the Maira Kalman The Pursuit of Everything: Books for Children exhibition at the High Museum for real world experience of investigating text as an accompaniment to illustrations.
Reading, writing, and sharing - what a great year to start the school year in fifth grade!