Grade 5 Writing

Narrative Vignettes

Unit Sketch

This first unit of the school year sets up the routines for writing workshop: studying author's craft through mentor texts, using a writing notebook to collect ideas and try out craft moves, using Google Docs to draft, revise, edit and publish, and writing partner routines (collaborating, constructive criticism, and peer editing).

The read aloud and mentor text for author's craft are Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate and A long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The poetry element, "Thursday Poetry Workshop" will focus on narrative prose (like Home of the Brave).

In this unit, students will write narrative vignettes from different perspectives of the characters in Home of the Brave, Kek, Ganwar, Lou, Hannah, Dave and Kek's aunt. In addition, students will write prose poetry telling their own family history migration stories.

This unit accompanies the first Social Studies unit Human Movement.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • We can learn from mentor authors and replicate their craft moves.

  • Our perspective shapes our experience and makes it our own.

  • The same event can be interpreted in different ways.

  • Character development brings life to stories.

  • Effective writers develop realistic characters.

  • Writing a book from multiple perspectives can strengthen a story.


Students will be able to...

  • Define perspective and its role in stories

  • Define the genre of realistic fiction and identify realistic fiction stories

  • Predict character perspectives about a single event

  • Develop realistic events/conflicts for use in vignettes

  • Develop characters through a variety of writer strategies (internal and external dialogue, action, description, inner/outer traits)

  • Predict and envision character reactions to events/conflicts

  • Write in first-person as two different characters who are involved in an event - include a beginning, middle, and end

  • Develop believable characters using sensory details and descriptions

  • Use effective pacing to show character response and reaction

Feature Articles

Unit Sketch

This unit accompanies Reading: Informational and Research. Students start by writing feature articles on topics of personal expertise. They incorporate categories and subcategories: topics and subtopics that are signaled with headings and subheadings and with accompanying portals for information, including glossaries, text boxes, sidebars, diagrams, charts, graphs, and other visuals. Students will work towards well-structured, well-elaborated, engaging feature articles on topics they are engaged and feel passionate about. In the second bend, they write a feature article based on the research they conducted in the Reading: Informational and Research unit.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Writers can teach readers about a topic at which they are an expert.

  • Writers can explain factual information and ideas clearly.

  • Writers can use nonfiction text features in their own writing.

  • Writers help readers become informed about a topic that is important to them.

  • Writers will construct writing with focus.


Students will be able to...

  • Write feature articles on topics of expertise.

  • Group related information logically using categories and subcategories

  • Use linking words and phrases to show relationships between pieces of information

  • Use domain specific vocabulary, including terms and definitions specific to the topic

  • Write for an audience and with a voice

  • Create well-structured, well-elaborated, engaging feature articles

  • Publish their work in a correct format, employing text features thoughtfully using Google Docs or Pages

  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism

Reading and Writing Poetry

Unit Sketch

This is an ongoing year-long unit in whicstudents will read a variety of poems and write original poetry. They will explore the purpose and impact of poetry and understand that poets create meaning from the inventive use of imagery, form, and figurative language.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Poems should be meaningful to themselves

  • Poems convey meaning and emotion

  • Poets create meaning from the inventive use of imagery, form, and figurative language

  • Technology is of value for collaboration and sharing


Students will be able to...

  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting

  • Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences

  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings

  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategiesUses knowledge of language and its conventions when writing speaking, reading, or listening

  • With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthens writing as needed by planning, revising and editing

Writing forAdvocacy

Unit Sketch

This is a Reading/Writing companion unit to the Social Studies unit, Slavery Then and Now. This is a digital media-focused unit, with many of the "reading" resources being videos from news sources, such as CNN10 and Ted Talks, and websites, as well as articles.

In the Reading portion, students will read articles, watch CNN10 and Ted Talks, and research websites about anti-slavery organizations.

In the Writing portion, students will write a transcript for a Ted Talk, which they will then present publicly for #myfreedomday (which falls in March).

Students will become advocates by creating awareness against Modern Day Slavery.

  • What is modern day slavery?

  • What are the types of modern day slavery?

  • Who does modern day slavery affect?

  • What organizations/people are fighting against modern day slavery?

  • What is the government’s role in the fight against modern day slavery?

  • What is our role as consumers in the fight against modern day slavery?

  • What is your role in the fight against modern day slavery?

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Readers and writers recognize that a good argument is supported by reasons backed by evidence.

  • In order to debate an issue, one must become an expert on the issue, back up their own claim, create awareness and call to action.


Students will be able to...

  • Write about and debate on a specific topic from a text

  • Determine an author's perspective in order to understand how their ideas fit into the issue

  • Discuss choices authors make to shape the content of their stories

  • Read a text and ask, "How might this information apply to my argument?"

  • Summarize an argument by putting the author's idea in their own words without changing the author's message

  • Use reasons and evidence to back up an argument

  • Use their annotations to facilitate evidence-based conversations about a text

Decisions Writers Make

Unit Sketch

This unit is a culminating unit for fifth grade. After being introduced to the three genres of writing (narrative, informational, persuasive), students have choice in the product they produce.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Writing is a process; their first draft is not their final draft.

  • Planning develops and strengthens their writing.

  • Writing is improved through revision and editing.

  • Writing is a tool for communication so it must be understandable to the reader.

  • Collaboration enriches writing.


Students will be able to...

  • Revisit strategies for generating ideas

  • Push the development of their writing

  • Organize writing to create a logical and clear sequence

  • Use their understanding of different modes of writing to choose appropriate structures for their pieces

  • Analyze text for strengths and weaknesses

  • Use revision and editing strategies to improve a piece of writing

  • Write with rich vocabulary (juicy words)

  • Use proper writing conventions to raise the quality of writing

  • Distinguish between narrative, informational, and opinion (persuasive) writing