English Language Arts

5th Grade

5th Grade ELA Course Summary

In 5th Grade English Language Arts, students explore the different factors that can positively and negatively influence a community and how groups of people have fought for their rights, particularly immigration and civil rights. Students build their social-emotional skills through the core texts Seedfolks and The Breadwinner, learn about the impacts of plastic pollution in Protecting the Earth, and explore movements for equality in Young Heroes and Belonging to a Movement. In each unit, students engage in process-based writing projects connected to the core texts that develop their narrative, informational, and opinion writing skills. 

Using authentic, engaging texts, teachers help students develop their language comprehension and address grade-level reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening standards. Over the course of 5th Grade ELA, students deepen their understanding of the world around them through thematically-aligned, knowledge-building units, embedded daily writing instruction, and frequent opportunities for in-class discussion.

After completing the 5th Grade ELA course, students will have the reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills, and the relevant background knowledge to set them up for success in middle school ELA. 

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Recommended Sequence

Unit 1

17 Lessons

Building Community: Seedfolks

Students explore the theme of community through the book Seedfolks, wrestling with how prejudice and racism impact the way people treat each other and the ways in which that can influence a community.

Unit 2

30 Lessons

Exploring Human Rights: The Breadwinner

Students explore the Taliban's influence on the Middle East through the lens of human rights in the book The Breadwinner, and practice narrative writing by rewriting scenes from other point of views.

Unit 3

16 Lessons

Protecting the Earth: Plastic Pollution

Students explore how plastic pollution is choking the world’s oceans, and explore a variety of solutions for reducing plastic waste and reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.

Unit 4

34 Lessons

Young Heroes: Children of the Civil Rights Movement

Students study the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the children who experienced its hardships, victories and defeats firsthand by reading and analyzing multiple accounts of the same event.

Unit 5

31 Lessons

Belonging to a Movement: One Crazy Summer

Reading the novel One Crazy Summer, set in 1968 Oakland, CA at the height of the Black Panther movement, students explore the meaning of community, identity, and what it means to be part of a revolution.

Alternate Units

Alternate Unit 2

29 Lessons

Friendship Across Boundaries: Return to Sender

In the novel Return to Sender, students explore the complexity of immigration and stereotypes, and interpret how authors highlight different characters' perspectives.

Alternate Unit 4

33 Lessons

Exploring Mars: Spirit and Opportunity

Students explore the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, grappling with the complexity involved in space missions through reading, analyzing photographs, and participating in engineering and design labs.

Alternate Unit 5

26 Lessons

Seeking Truth: A Wrinkle in Time

In this final 5th grade unit, students read about the nuances of good versus evil and how unconditional love can overpower darkness in A Wrinkle in Time, the first science fiction novel in our curriculum.

Can't find the unit you're looking for?
Visit our archives to find units that we've retired from our core curriculum.

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