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How much writing for 5th Grade?


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I never know if I am doing enough in writing, and I am always convinced that I am not doing enough! It is such an important area for many areas of their future lives.

What does your 5th grade writing plan look like for next fall? Please be as specific as possible in every area they will physically do any writing for anything. My boys always want less writing, and I don't want to be influenced by that fact next year. So I really want to know what realistic expectations are, and around how much I perhaps could be expecting of them. I realize children are all individuals, and need to be taught as such. So I want to balance what they really can do with what perhaps I could be expecting and goals to go towards.

The writing they have done this year for 4th & 3rd:
*Lots of copy work (scripture, literature, poetry, etc.)
*One sentence at a time dictations for writing and spelling (we find this really works for their learning of spelling, but that spelling programs don't work for them in regards to learning)
*Rod and Staff English
*Marie Hazel's flag note booking sheets for ECC
*Cursive for my just turned 9 year old
*Some writing for geography and science with MFW ECC
*Narration ~ we are unfortunately inconsistent on this.

Dictation is daily. Copy work has been anywhere from 1 - 5 days a week this year. R&S English is 4 days a week. Cursive is daily.

I have been thinking for 5th for my oldest of adding IEW to R&S. He loves to read and has shown some interest in creative writing. I would like to do more writing with him.

I always feel like I am missing something in this area.

What are you doing, or have done, for 5th for writing? 5th seems to me a turning point in this area, and I want to approach it wisely. I should start written narrations for oldest? History Writing?

Thank you! :)


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My boys will be going into fifth grade this year. Both write creative fiction (my hFA son writes copiously when it comes to fiction, and dreads narrations). My other son writes lovely narrations, but needs to work on his spelling, and on organizing his content.

So this is a year for me to work on outlining with the both kids. That's one thing we are working on.


I really want to make writing a focus this year, but I want it to MEAN something. I think it is all to easy for me to assign a narration, or a dictation, or copywork and call it good. When I was throwing away gobs of old papers this week I got to thinking about how writing something should be an accomplishment that one would be proud of. I'm not saying one wouldn't throw them out or consign them to the fire at a later date, but I want to be reading through them at the end of the year and seeing accomplishment and growth, and not just tossing everything. So I'm really planning on cutting down the superfluous writing, and helping them to really reflect on what they are doing when they write. I think that will probably mean a lot less writing across the curriculum and a lot more focus on one thing at a time.


Probably not what you want, but I'm sort of reflecting a lot on writing lately and how it should be contemplative and be worth the time to do it right.

Not that there won't be some copywork and dictation, but I just really want to integrate it and see that it has personal meaning and value. 

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I have a DS currently finishing up 5th grade. I generally only consider what he does in his writing curriculum and momma-made assignments to be his writing, but it looks like you're looking for grand total of pencil to paper?


R&S English: barely any, mostly done orally with diagrams on a whiteboard

R&S spelling: roughly 20-30 words daily (workbook and tests)

Lit: none

Wordsmith Apprentice: a paragraph or two daily (not always actual paragraphs, but we shoot for that volume)

History: a list of facts or paragraph summary 2-3 times a week (notebooking)

Science: summary once a week or less (notebooking too, but this subject is mostly reading and hands on)


He doesn't do dictation beyond two weekly sentences in spelling, and I rarely assign him copywork anymore.


Next year he'll start organizing those lists of facts into actual outlines, keep up the summaries, and work through Cover Story.

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My 5th grade son wrote a paper to final draft stage every 1-2 weeks this year. We alternated with IEW and Maxwell's School Composition. For each paper he wrote an outline, then he wrote a rough draft/"messy copy", then we edited each paragraph together, then he typed the final draft. Most of the learning occurred during the editing time.

Each of our kids date their papers and keep all final drafts in a large 3-ring binder. It is great to look back through the papers to see the progress. The kids also enjoy reading their old papers and stories to each occasionally.



Forgot to add the other writing he does:


R&S English grammar--writes out about half of exercises each day.

R&S Spelling--workbook section

IEW Fix-It--daily rewriting of the corrected sentences for cursive practice

Vocabulary Worskshop--workbook page

Lapbook--1 activity per day

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My son is rather opposed to writing. He much prefers narrating to me. As a result, most everything is oral discussion.


Next year he is writing one essay (approximately five paragraphs and one and a half to two handwritten pages) a week. Each Monday he outlines an essay topic of his choice from the previous week's work (science, math, history, literature, whatever). Wednesday, he writes a completely horrific draft. Thursday, he adds text based evidence and creates a fairly decent draft. Friday, he finalizes the draft in nice (legible) handwriting.


That is it. I mean he has to right down his math problems and provide definitions on science and math tests, but not really writing. He has been told that if he can use his grammar knowledge and nice handwriting then he does not have to continue copy work, handwriting, or grammar. If he can apply the concepts to his essays, I am happy. If he is not applying them, then they get added back in on top of the essay.


In Perfect-Schoolyear World the essay thing will work right away. I have a feeling there will be a bit more grumbling and fussing at first.

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I suspect you're going to get some massively different answers because people are following such different paths for writing.  I don't think one path is clearly superior to others, so I would say to read all these and then listen to your gut and think about your own goals.


Fifth is next year for us.  I suspect we'll do much what we did this year for fourth, but it will just continue to be a little more, a little more push for quality, a little more length because they're getting more fluent with words.  We do Bravewriter.


* longish (usually a good paragraph long) dictation passage from literature once a week

* shorter sentence dictation as part of spelling

* freewriting once a week

* written narration once a week

* currently we write notes for science and history, but those are changing next year, likely to be replaced with some writing about projects but I don't know what exactly

* writing project once a month - this is a longer or more structured piece of writing that we take all the way through the writing process to revise and "publish" - print out, put online, read aloud, make a cover... whatever is appropriate to make it feel finish and worthy of being proud about

* writing self-assessments - a short report about what they're learning, once every 2-3 months

* writing for incidentals - this is writing that comes up pretty routinely, at least once a month, to write something for a contest, to write for the co-op newspaper, to write letters to family, etc.

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My current plan for each day next year in 5th (which I think will be suitable based on his writing ability this year in 4th) is to do the following each day:


1) Portion of a writing program - up to one paragraph written at a time (and sometimes less - it might be a brainstorming lesson or a few sentences of copywork)

2) Grammar or spelling (probably around 30-45 words written total across exercises)

3) Math is mostly done at the whiteboard, but he does either the Problems or the Exercises section of AoPS Prealgebra each day (for Review and Challenge sections, I split things up over 2-3 days as needed)

4) 2 pages of Lively Latin

5) Possible notebooking in history or science - short though (2-3 sentences or just drawing a diagram and labeling something).


This child is writing phobic, so I'm planning a spelling and writing focus for the year. I think focusing on spelling will help the writing phobia, and just writing a little something every day will also help (as we moved toward writing 4+ sentence narrations at the end of this year, I saw it becoming much easier for him).

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