Language Arts & Social Studies

Our 5th grade language arts and social studies class is taught by Erin Green.


I truly believe that a robust, integrated language and social studies curriculum can change everything for a child.  The word integrate comes from the Latin root integrare, which means “to make whole.”  At UT Elementary, we believe in teaching the whole child.  Language arts and social studies go hand in hand, and come together to holistically craft a child’s education.

My goal for our class is that together we would be empowered by critically examining the world around us through current events and history, all while building a lifelong love of literature and finding freedom in writing.


Current Events:  We examine current events every Friday by watching Flocabulary’s The Week in Rap.  After watching the Week in Rap, we engage with the content through discussion.  Quite often, an event in the news will spark student interest, and lead to a workshop the next week, such as our toy workshop.  Many of these current events spark hard conversations regarding race, class, and gender.  We don’t shy away from these conversations, but rather, courageously and consciously engage.  You can read more about some of these hard conversations here.

Working Through History Backwards:  When learning the history of our country, we start with today, and work backwards.  This model was implemented at UT Elementary by Mary Ledbetter, and continues to serve students well by sparking curiosity and interest.  We start by talking about what the world is like today, and are constantly asking why?  what caused this?  We examine the effects and then look back at the causes, constantly keeping both today and yesterday in perspective.  For more on this teaching method, take a look at Mary Ledbetter’s blog.


Building a Lifelong Love of Literature:  Good books make learners of all ages come to life.  In Ms. Green’s class, we celebrate diverse, authentic, high quality literature and story telling.  We are always reading a book aloud together as a class, engaging in book clubs, and sharing book recommendations and reviews as a growing community of readers.  We practice building the habits that lead to a lifelong love of literature.  For book recommendations, click here.

Finding Freedom in Writing: Writing should bring freedom.  Written expression gives us the power to reflect on our experiences, to put words to our feelings, to speak out against injustice, to invoke thought and emotion, and to spur on change.  We write for many purposes, and celebrate our final pieces by publishing them through various formats.  You can take a look at a few student publications here.




For specific units and content, please see annual plans:



Some of the best resources we use are found at: