What is a literary essay anyway?!?

What is a literary essay anyway?!?  A literary essay is a piece of writing in which the author identifies a theme, or big idea, from a text by generating a thesis statement.  Within the literary essay, the author uses several pieces of evidence from the text to support the thesis statement.

As you know from above, we are learning how to write literary essays.  I think it has been so fun!  I just hope the fifth graders think so too! 🙂  In addition to writing, we have started a WebQuest in science.  And finally, we had the opportunity to listen to a famous author!  Check out the topics in this week’s blog post below.  As always, thanks for reading this week’s post.

  • Conversation Starters
  • Literary Essays 
  • Visiting Author
  • Science WebQuest
  • Acting?!?
  • Nipher Parent Visit
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class finished reading The Unwanteds this week.  What did you enjoy about this book?  Would you like to read the second and third books in this series?  Why or why not?
  • Tell me about some of the strategies authors use when writing a literary essay.
  • What is the purpose of a literary essay?
  • You began a WebQuest this week about classification in science.  What have you and your partner done so far?  What kind of animal might you create and present together?

Literary Essays: Over the past week, we have read and analyzed literary essays written by other authors. Next, we wrote parts of a literary essay together and then each fifth grade author wrote his or her our own supporting paragraph to a literary essay.  They were so great!  Later in the week, we read another short story, Spaghetti, and the next job was to create a thesis statement with a partner.  The next step (tomorrow), is for the children to work with a partner and write a literary essay about Spaghetti by clearly supporting the thesis statement with evidence from the text.  Check out some of the photos below to get a better idea of how to write a literary essay and to see an example of one written by another student.   Wait until you see how much we learn as we continue this writing unit . . . it’s going to be spectacular!

This is our anchor chart that reminds us of strategies authors use when writing literary essays.  We will continue to add on as we learn more.
This is our anchor chart that reminds us of strategies authors use when writing literary essays. We will continue to add on as we learn more.
After reading the book, Baseball Saved Us, the children read a literary essay written by another child about the book.  The children interacted with the text  by discussing the thesis and supporting evidence with a partner.
After reading the book, Baseball Saved Us, the children read a literary essay written  about the book. The children interacted with the text by discussing the thesis and supporting evidence with a partner.
Nataiya and Cheyenne are also reading the text closely in order to find the thesis and supporting evidence.
Nataiya and Cheyenne are also reading the text closely in order to find the thesis and supporting evidence.
Morgan and Lilly were discussing the possibilities of a thesis statement from the story, Spaghetti.
Morgan and Lilly were discussing a thesis statement from the story, Spaghetti.
Here is a list of the incredible thesis statements the students came up with this week.  Now, they are going to write an essay with a partner.
Here is a list of the incredible thesis statements the students came up with this week. Now, they are going to write an essay with a partner.
Here is an example of a literary essay about a book we read this week.  Click on the photo to make it larger.
Here is an example of a literary essay about a book we read this week. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Visiting Author: Holy cow!  We were so fortunate to have a famous author, Deborah Hopkinson, visit our school today.  You can check out her website by clicking here.  Ms. Hopkinson has written many incredible books and taught us a lot during her visit today.  One thing I l found interesting that she told us is that most of the time, authors never get to meet their illustrators.  Isn’t that crazy?!?  I always thought they worked together.  Apparently not!  She also had the kids do a writing exercise which was a great learning opportunity too!  How fortunate we are at Robinson to have incredible authors come visit us so we can learn to become better authors from them.

Here is Ms. Hopkinson talking to the fourth and fifth graders and Robinson.
Here is Ms. Hopkinson talking to the fourth and fifth graders and Robinson.
Look at all of these authors writing in their notebooks during the author visit!  They are so great!
Look at all of these authors writing in their notebooks during the author visit! They are so great!

genome_chartScience WebQuest: This week, your fifth grader began a WebQuest to learn about classification in science.  The goal of the WebQuest is for each fifth grader to learn how to navigate several sites on the internet in order to create an animal that is currently unknown to the world.  Click here to go to the site with this WebQuest and explore what your fifth grade scientist is learning.  On the site, you will see that we have the amazing Mrs. Bearden (check out her blog site by clicking here) to thank for her creativity in developing this site for our fifth grade scientists.  Thanks neighbor! (She’s our next-door neighbor at school.)

Acting?!? Little did you know that we do acting in class sometimes too, huh? 🙂  Today, we had a visitor come to our classroom to discuss relationships and the importance of observing tone of voice and nonverbal communication.  During the conversation, the children had an opportunity to play a game where they said a phrase with a specific emotion and the rest of the class had to try to guess the emotion.  For example, someone might have the phrase, “I cannot wait until spring break next week,” and have to act sad.  The rest of the class then has to try to guess the emotion by observing their nonverbal cues and listening closely to their tone of voice.  It was really a great learning opportunity for us all and was quite entertaining!

Here is one of our actresses as she was calling on children to guess the emotion she had acted out.
Here is one of our actresses as she was calling on children to guess the emotion she had acted out.

Nipher Parent Night:  This event is NEXT week . . . we hope you can make it!  Let use know if you have any questions about the evening.

NIPHER.NIGHT

A Smile for You!  This week, I am including a slideshow of some cute animal photos again.  I just couldn’t pick one, so I hope you enjoy them all.  (By the way, I just noticed that all of the photos, except for ONE, are dogs!  Hope you don’t mind.)  Thanks for sticking with us this week and reading all the way to the end!

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2 thoughts on “What is a literary essay anyway?!?

  1. dear ms.turken i really like the funny picture. my favorite one was, the picture with the dog with curls in the fur. it was really cool how the owner had the curls really nice and no fur was hanging out. from cori

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