WildAboutFifthGrade 2012. Powered by Blogger.

The Secret to Testing Success - Teach Critical Test Prep Vocabulary All Year Long!

FREE SAMPLE ALERT: I have something amazingly exciting for you to try out to ensure your students will have success on the state test this school year!

I've been working hard on creating a test-prep instruction pack to go along with my best selling Common Core Critical Verbs vocabulary word wall set. 

This instruction pack is really helping me to intentionally introduce each vocabulary word to my students plus it's giving my students time to analyze, discuss, and master each individual word. And I'm sooo happy with their progress. 

After all, students can't do well on the state test, if they don't know what the state test is asking them to do, right?!?

This test-prep vocabulary instruction pack contains 12 weeks worth of critical verb test prep practice. 

I'm so excited for you to try this resource out, so I'm posting a FREE SAMPLE of Week 1 for everyone to have! 

I would love your feedback on the resource if you choose to download!!  

The free sample includes four critical verbs commonly found in the directions of state tests.  Students will study the words all week and then take a quiz over the words on Friday.  See below for pictures of the graphic organizers and quiz included.

If you love the free sample,  download the full 12-week resource HERE.   

Also, check out the other test prep resources I have available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and help your students ACE that big test this year!

Get to Know Your Readers With Reading Response Letters - and Do Away with Pesky Reading Logs Forever

Procedures & Expectations in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Who Needs to Use Reading Response Letters in the Classroom?

You do! They are the perfect supplement to your daily conferring during Reading Workshop time! Reading Response Letters guarantee you hear from each reader, each week! They also replace those pesky reading logs (you know the ones that everyone lies on anyway - sorry/not sorry).

Reading Response Letters:

  • Allow your students time to reflect on their reading and to think deeply about the text 
  • Give you the opportunity to respond and guide/push your reader's thinking about text
  • Offer authentic situations to write/talk about text with an adult and peers
  • Are a safe place to ask questions about text, practice and write about reading comprehension strategies, and give and offer book recommendations

So What are You Waiting For?

Grab my freebie to see if you can make Reading Response Letters work in your classroom this year! This freebie outlines the procedures and expectations needed for success.

Reading Response Letters are the best way to see what your students are reading.

Learn from My Mistakes

I've experimented with Reading Response Letters ever since Fountas and Pinnell published their first Guided Reading book. It took me several years to fine tune a set of Reading Response Letter procedures/expectations.

Reading Response Letters in the Classroom
** Affiliate Link **

Stick With it and You Won't Regret the Outcome

I must admit, I wanted to give up and give in many times. Grading and responding to Reading Response Letters can get very overwhelming without an organized system. But don't fear, I'm sharing my tips and tricks with you so you you don't have to reinvent the wheel.  Click HERE to learn more about Reading Response Letters today!

Use this sample to model reading response letters for your students.

A simple way to get all your students writing complete paragraphs

What is a paragraph?

Raise your hand if your students struggle with writing proper paragraphs? Me!! Me!!

If your students are like mine, they write entire essays all in one paragraph or they don't understand the components of a paragraph so they just break up their writing wherever they want.

Sound familiar?

I'm constantly telling my students, "break up your writing into paragraphs," but it just doesn't happen. Why not??  Because I finally realized my students don't even know what a proper paragraph is.  Ahhhhhh!!!!

Once this realization hit me, I decided that next week our writing workshop focus will be all about writing complete paragraphs - understanding the components of a paragraph, and remembering to indent new paragraphs. We've got to check off proper paragraphing skills before middle school.  Right??

To hit this skill I created Paragraph Writing 101.  This lesson can also be found in my Opinion Writing 101 Unit - but I pulled it out to work on next week and to give to you as a free sample from my new Writing 101 Series.  

This FREE Paragraph Writing Lesson Sample from my Writing 101 Series will help you teach your students HOW to write a proper paragraph. Let me do the lesson planning to make your life EASIER! 

Paragraph Writing 101 will teach your students the T.E.E.E.C. paragraph formula to ensure your writers never forget a topic sentence, example sentences and a closing sentence again!!

Included in this Paragraph Writing FREE lesson is the following:

► A Lesson Plan
► A Word Wall Card
► A Learning Target Slide
► Two Practice Slides
► Two Student Book Practice Pages

After teaching this lesson, your students will have a better understanding of how to write a proper paragraph! No more one paragraph essays!!!

I hope you find this resource as helpful as I do.

Enjoy and happy paragraphing!!!!

4 Ways to Conquer Cooped Up Craziness!!!

Anyone else's students a little rambunctious lately?  In Michigan, our kiddos have been cooped up way too long without fresh air and Vitamin D and it's causing an unhealthy case of "stir crazy!"

1. Stick to Your Guns

When the craziness sets in each year, I always start to pull my hair out in frustration, but then I remember that the crazy can be conquered with routine consistency (review and practice those classroom rules over and over) and 'sticking to my guns' per say. Otherwise, I'll end up looking like the meme below.......Ahhhhhhhhhh

2.  Give Me Five

Instead of trying to pull out all the bells and whistles or doing a little song and dance to keep em' entertained, I simply become more structured. In our school we use "Give Me 5" as our attention grabber. When I need my student's attention (after a quick turn and talk to a partner, or voices are just getting a little too loud) I put one hand in the air and say Give me 5, and then I quietly count backward until 1.  I show the counting backward on my fingers and other students join in as well. When I get to 1, any students who are still talking receive a warning.

3.  Be strong!

If a student earns a warning, give it to him/her regardless of how you feel. Students crave fairness and it will only take a time or two before the craziness begins to subside. Click HERE for a FREE editable template (created by my teammate Stephanie Rye of Forever in Fifth Grade) to help you set up a warning consequence system with your students and to help you keep track of those warnings.

4.  Prior Proper Planning

Unstructured time is also a nightmare during these long winter months when the kids don't get near enough exercise.  I make sure to plan for every. single. minute. of. the. day! To fight the frenzy, I return to the uber organized and over prepared teacher I was in September!!  Sometimes, at this point in the year, we have all started to slack a bit in our routines and expectations and that can fuel the fire. When our day is properly planned, our classroom runs like a well oiled machine (most of the time LOL).

Further, transition times are where all heck begins to break loose when we haven't had recess for a week.  I make sure that every transition follows the SAME routine.  Before we make the transition I always say "When I say Go - (and then I give the directions, for example) - quietly bring your reading folder, notebook, pencil and book to your spot on the carpet.  I'll meet you there in 2 minutes. You may GO." Or, "When I say Go, you need to put your math paper inside your math folder and line up for library. You may Go." This way students are listening because they're waiting for me to say GO, they also don't move while I'm giving directions (which drives me insane).

If several students are not transitioning properly, I choose some students to act out a review of what it SHOULD NOT and SHOULD look like when coming to the carpet, or lining up.  Then, I give out warnings to students who continue to not follow procedures.  I remind myself to 'stick to my guns,' be fair, be consistent and I will conquer the crazy!!!  Good luck and fingers crossed for some warmer temperatures to get these kids outside running around!

Find Read Aloud Books That Your Students Will Love

Fifth grade teacher friends, are you looking for the best 5th grade read aloud books?

If you're like me you probably enjoy switching up your read alouds once in awhile and trying something new.  But finding that something new can be a lot of work. When I'm looking for my next read aloud I ask my coworkers for ideas, scour my favorite celebriteacher blogs, stalk the Nerdy Book Club blog, and take recommendations from my fellow literacy fanatics on Instagram.  All of these steps take time and I'm spending this time over and over again throughout the year. Why is finding the perfect read aloud always so hard?

Cue lightbulb -

and then it hit me.........

I realized that instead of repeating this process continuously, I needed to put all of these AMAZING recommendations into a list that I could refer to whenever needed.  AND even better, that I could share with all my fifth grade teacher friends like you!!!

So, here it is friends!!  The BEST fifth grade read alouds - chosen by those who know best.  You!!!


All of these recommendations were gathered through your responses on my Wild About Fifth Grade and our Fifth Grade Freebies facebook pages.  I threw in some of my own personal favorites as well.

To make your life even easier, because who has time to search for things?!?, here are links to the read alouds mentioned in the FREEBIE if you're interested.

Historical Fiction:


Realistic Fiction: 


Fantasy/Science Fiction:


Happy Reading!!!

Back to Top