Fifth grade is resuming its routines after the holidays. We are back in the swing of things with our lessons, and in our room, that includes varied learning modules throughout our day. Focus and listening are critical components to learning; however, sitting a desk for more than an hour does not cement understanding and retention for my students. They learn so much more by interacting with our material in different ways. We read in our history textbooks about the Boston Massacre, but then we applied that knowledge to writing a newspaper article and giving multiple perspectives about the event. We learned about the Boston Tea Party by performing a webquest to write invitations to our own "tea party", which culminated in drinking hot tea and then dumping our tea bags a la the Sons of Liberty (however, we kindly used the garbage cans).
To practice writing in the text structure of comparison and contrast, we took a gallery walk of the 4th grade's International Fair projects, choosing two countries to compare and contrast their features. Again, moving about while studying activates different parts of our brains, allowing us to make deeper connections.
Fifth graders also learn by interacting with each other. To review parts of speech this week, students met in groups to sort sentences and break down the words into the eight parts of speech. This exercise required collaboration to understand the function of the words in the sentences and then agreeing with one another on the part of speech each word represented. We completed a whole class review of the sort and learned that some of us need to study conjunctions, pronouns, and adverbs. This led us to try a different method of review--playing some grammar games in the computer lab. Regardless of the concept, we work to meet all learning styles in fifth grade!