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Grade 5 Focuses on Current Events in Social Studies


Grade 5 Focuses on Current Events in Social Studies

Grade 5 students spend the winter months learning about current events in social studies. This interdisciplinary unit encompasses reading and writing skills and instills the critical thinking capacities students need to digest a wide variety of news sources. Using student-facing news hubs such as Newsela for practice, students learn about bias and objectivity and how to assess sources for relevance and reliability. According to Grade 5 Learning Specialist Liz Samuel, “Helping students evaluate sources and sorting them as objective or biased as students grow and develop their own lens for seeing the world is critical for their cognitive development.” Classroom discussions and activities also help students learn how readers bring personal experiences and perspectives to a text and learn about how that can influence how they think about and interpret a news article or report. 

As students progress deeper into this unit, they discover how primary and secondary sources are used in researching and reporting the news. Defining and differentiating between primary and secondary sources, identifying the author’s viewpoint, and analyzing information for sources of bias are also primary goals for this exciting and relevant study. For Grade 5 teacher Dean Lanois, “The current events study gives students tools to talk knowledgeably about topics with which they engage.” 5C student Levent says, “I got to choose a subject like space exploration, and I narrowed this broad topic down to life in space and the timeline of space exploration. I liked that as part of this unit, we could do research to find more information from different sources.” “Plus, it’s fun!” added 5B classmate Burton. 

To add texture and perspective to this study, St. Patrick’s parent Marisa Bellack (Audrey 5B, Margot 2B), who serves as Europe editor for The Washington Post, will be visiting grade 5 students this month to talk about her career path, how she vets sources for objectivity, and to answer questions from students about her work. 

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