The Mighty Pencil and Fifth Grade Writers

Informational Writing

The informational reading unit we completed earlier this quarter helped prepare the students for all the informational writing we’ve completed over the past month.  All students completed an informative essay this week that will count as a summative assessment in the grade book.  We will use the FSA writing rubric to score the essays, so please look for a score sheet to come home.  The students have been given a copy of the rubric to keep in their binder and become familiar with the scoring criteria.  There are three scoring categories:  Focus, Purpose, and Organization (4 point max); Evidence and Elaboration (4 point max); and Conventions (2 point max) -all for a top score of 10 points.  The earned score will relate to the following grades:

Points Earned Grade Equivalent
10 100
9 93
8 86
7 79
6 72
5 65
4 58
3 or less 50

Text-based essay writing is the most complex tasks we practice all year.  It requires students to read, comprehend, take notes, make a plan, and craft an organized multi-paragraph essay with clearly cited evidence and clear elaboration. It is a lot of work and it takes time.  However, the foundation students are building in Language Arts will be valuable in their future courses.

Tropicana Speech Contest

Hopefully you are aware that students are working on writing a speech for homework.  The Tropicana speech classroom contest is next Wednesday.  This contest helps us achieve listening and speaking standards in a creative way, as well as give students experience building this life skill.  All students received a packet to guide them through the process.  This speech is an opportunity for you to hear your child’s writing and get involved.  The goal is a logical, clear progression of ideas.  Please take some time to read through the speech packet and help them prepare.  Let them practice giving their speech.  Time them and encourage them.  It’s normal to be nervous.  All students are expected to work through the process and deliver a speech.  However, because the project is mostly being completed at home, it will only count for a few homework grades.

Opinion Writing

We encouraged the students to select an opinion topic for their speech to further practice what we are learning in class at this time.  Moving on from Informational Writing, we are teaching students how to write a strong opinion essay.  Students are building on their knowledge of this type of writing from 4th grade.  We are working on crafting text-based essays to answer the question, “Are zoos helpful or harmful to animals?”  We will wrap up this essay early next week and it will also be scored with the FSA rubric and count as a summative assessment.


Most of our grammar instruction is embedded in our writing instruction, however, we are teaching commas directly.  Students are receiving instruction on where and why to use commas.  Also, students should be completing IXL practices in the KK section.  We will provide students with handouts to study, as well.  If time allows, we will go ahead and assess this skill before Spring Break. 

FSA Writing Test

On April 2, students will complete a text-based writing assessment.  They will either write an informational essay or an opinion essay depending on the prompt put forth by the state.  This test counts as part of their total ELA FSA score for 5th grade.  The remainder of the ELA FSA will be taken on May 2 and 3, focusing on reading and language standards. We would like to have breakfast items for students to enjoy before the writing test to fuel up for the task.  Please be on the lookout for a sign-up to come out soon.  Thanks!!

Check HAC

The third quarter ends next Thursday.  Please be sure you are monitoring your child’s grades in all subjects and let us know if you have any questions or concerns!  Thank you!

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