The next two weeks’ literature selection will feature a science fiction story, LAFFF.  We will focus on summarizing, story mapping, comprehension, inferencing, and new vocabulary.  We will also have literacy groups, with a continued focus on the same vocabulary words. Vocabulary quiz will be Friday, November 3rd.


I recently passed out to the students a book challenge to go along with their independent reading book.  It is optional, but highly recommended.  This challenge will help the students with reading skills.  With a focus on vocabulary, it can also help improve their reading level.  I told the students to fold it and use it as a bookmark and complete what they could as they are reading.  If they run out of room on the book challenge page, they can continue writing on a sheet of notebook paper.  They will start another book challenge when they start another book.  Below is a link to the book challenge (which may be formatted differently than the original).  I will have extra copies available in my classroom as well.  Thank you for your continued support in your child’s education!

Book Challenge Sheet

Old Yeller

In our Old Yeller unit, which will cover these next two weeks, we will work with new vocabulary words, complete a character study, and learn about idioms.

romp – an energetic and noisy way to play

strained – stretched to the limit, either physically or mentally

shouldered – balanced something across the shoulders to make it easier to carry; carried the weight

lunging – making a sudden forward movement

wheeled – turned quickly

frantic – wild with excitement or worry

picturing – creating a mental image of something

bounding – leaping

checking – limiting or controlling something

stride – the rhythm of your walking and the length of your steps

image by Journeys

image by FreeFigurativeLanguagePosters.pdf and Pinterest


Weslandia Unit


Click here for a video/audio recording of Weslandia               

outcast – a person cast out from home or friends

civilization – the ways of living of a people or a nation

tormentors – people that annoy or cause pain                                                                  

staple food crop – most important crop grown in a civilization

rind – a firm outer covering of a plant

tubers – thick part of an underground stem; potato

aromatic – pleasant smell; aroma

devise – to invent

innovator – a person who introduces new ideas, methods, or devices

complex – made up of a number of parts; hard to understand

envy – desire to have what another person has

bedlam – a state of disorder

scornful – having an attitude full of reject

grudgingly – unwillingly; not wanting to


Our Weslandia vocabulary terms helped us to better understand this great story by Paul Fleischman.  We reviewed the vocabulary terms all last week. We focused on different genres of literature and predicted the genre of Weslandia based on the cover.  As we read the book we confirmed our prediction.  After reading we used a fictional story formula (who, wanted, but, so, then) to summarize the story.  We also completed a story map and a cause and effect activity based on events that took place in the story.  We will finish our Weslandia unit by completing a flip chart recognizing the author’s usage of figurative language. Before completing our flip charts we will be reading A Chocolate Moose for Dinner, written and illustrated by Fred Gwynne to introduce us to figurative language as well as practice identifying and understanding the meaning of figurative language using other sources. We will also do stations this week with a focus on context clues, figurative language, and our Weslandia vocabulary.  Continue reading

A Package for Mrs. Jewls

This week (9/4) we will continue to focus on the same vocabulary words and skills through literacy groups.  Vocabulary quiz will be Friday.

This week (8/28) we will be reading a humorous fictional selection entitled, A Package for Mrs. Jewls, an excerpt from Wayside School is Falling Down.  We will continue to focus on story elements, such as characters, setting, plot, conflict, and solution, with more practice summarizing the selection, and adding a vocabulary study.  Listed below is the vocabulary we will focus on the next two weeks.

shifted – moved or changed position

struggled – tried but still had difficulty

wobbled – moved unsteadily from side to side

staggered – walked very unsteadily

interrupted – stopped briefly

disturbing – upsetting

specialty – a featured item or attraction

squashing – crushing or flattening

collapsed – fell down

numb – having very little sensation or feeling




Beginning Tuesday, September 4th, I am asking that your 5th grader please read at least 20 minutes each night during the school week. At this time, it is not required that the students complete a reading log or record their reading in their planner, and there is nothing for you to sign. Soon, I will introduce the students to a reading reward program, in which a reading log will be mandatory. I will send you information about the program when we are ready for it to start. Thank you for your help and support in your child’s education!


Today I came to school in a dress and shoes that were too big for me.  I had the attention of the students, as they thought I had lost my marbles.  I discussed with the students that it is important to choose books that “fit” them.  Choosing books that are too big or hard can become frustrating and books that are too little or easy will not be challenging enough.  To help students know what the right fit book is for them means knowing where their independent reading level is, both in fluency and in comprehension.  Please look for a note in your child’s take-home folder this week, which will explain our DRA testing.  Once DRA testing is completed, I will send home another letter explaining your child’s independent reading level.  By practicing reading within the student’s independent reading level each night, we should see improvement in your child’s reading level and in their confidence.  Thank you for your support!  Happy reading!

photo (2)

Letter to Parents

August 28, 2017

Dear Parents,

Welcome to a wonderful year in 5th grade at White Oak. I am so excited to get to know your child this year and to work with them in reading. I have high expectations for your child and their reading progress for this school year. In order for your child to achieve these high expectations, we will need to work together. Please ensure that your child reads at least 20 minutes, four to six days a week outside of school. With our busy school day, we don’t always have an opportunity to allow them to read independently.

Knowing their independent reading level is important as well. With the help of Mrs. Bybel, Mrs. Craven, Mrs. Nelson, and Ms. Smith, we will be conducting DRA testing beginning this week to help the students determine where their independent reading level is. This testing will occur over several days. DRA testing involves the student reading a book with a teacher and answering questions before, during and after reading; testing fluency and comprehension. This data helps guide our reading instruction in our classrooms, especially for small group instruction, and allows the student to know what level they should be choosing books to read independently.

Our reading testing will be completed by the end of September. I will be sending home your child’s testing results at that time. Thank you for all you do to read with your child at home! Together, we will make this an amazing year!


Mrs. Owens

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