50 Activities for 5th Grade

Hands-on ideas to engage digital learners in meeting standards and learning goals

graphic image that states 50 ideas for fifth grade

Fifty ideas for using a digital approach to help fifth-grade students meet standards and learning goals.

1. Set learning goals

The simple act of writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them, so have students take some time to set personal goals to accomplish this school or calendar year. Developing goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) can help even more.

students 3 goals and ideas for steps they can take to achieve them

Have students use the goals as a home screen on their devices so they see a daily reminder of what they are working to achieve.

Explore a SMART Goals lesson plan

2. Celebrate culture

Creating a safe and respected community culture in your classroom is essential. Have students complete and share a culture poster about themselves, including where they are from, family traditions, and more.

culture poster template image

3. Create and send a digital postcard

After learning something new, have students tell someone else using a postcard! Students could write a postcard from:

Working with a digital tool, like Wixie, makes it easy to combine text, images, and audio to create the postcard, as well as copy/paste the project URL to share it.

Explore a Postcards from the Past lesson plan

4. Produce a fictional news broadcast

Watch a couple of news broadcast segments as a class and discuss how they effectively inform their audience about news, events, and other topics.

Have small teams work on a broadcast that includes segments like a main story, an expert interview, a human interest story, and the weather.

Explore a News Broadcast lesson plan

5. Design a vision goard

Have students create a vision board to represent what it will look and feel like when they reach their goals. A vision board is a collage of images, words, and short phrases that provide a tangible idea of what your future success looks and feels like.

poem about a giraffe in the shape of a giraffe

The visuals representing the goals serve as a reminder of what the future can be, so have students print or post the vision boards where they will see them regularly.

Explore a Vision Board lesson plan

6. American Revolution projects

When every student completes the same task, like creating a trading card or comic, project work is easier to manage. While this is effective, students also thrive with choice!

American Revolution project choice board

Create a choice board or task your students with sharing their learning in the medium they choose.

7. Design wanted posters for vocabulary terms

While defining a word and using it in a sentence isn't very exciting or effective, students do need explicit vocabulary instruction. Asking students to create a Wanted Poster for a vocabulary term gets them to consider how it might be used or encountered in an everyday context.

sample wanted poster for the term famished

Students could also create Wanted Posters about various literary genres or terms like "totalitarianism" they encounter in Social Studies classes.

8. Design a how-to book or presentation

What can your students teach others? Procedural writing is an excellent way for students to become experts in a topic and feel confident about their ability to share the information with others.

To cement learning and inspire others, encourage students to closely examine the parts of a rule they struggle to understand or share the process of doing something they are passionate about. Use a flowchart to help students break down the process into each essential step.

Explore a Procedural Writing lesson plan

9. Write a letter to or between characters in a story

Taking the perspective of a character in a story can help students understand their motivations and better comprehend their response to events in a story. Have students use stationery to write a letter to or between characters in a story.

sample letter between two characters in a Percy Jackson novel

Give students a prompt that requires them to use evidence from text to justify their opinion or make an argument about it.

10. Publish a personification story

Have students personify an object, and then write, illustrate, and publish a story about it.

Explore a Personification Stories lesson plan

11. Create an ABC's of... 

After researching and learning about a topic such as geography, matter, or ancient civilizations, have students use an A-B-C format to share knowledge they have learned.

student H is for Hardness page

Assign individual letters to students and combine into a class project.

Explore an ABC Book lesson plan

12. Paint with pointillism

Pointillism is a style of painting developed by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac that uses small, individual dots of color to create the illusion of shapes and images.

Challenge students to create paintings with pointillism. Digital art tools make it easy to change the size and color of the paintbrush as well as magnify to help students change the size, spacing and color of small dots to make a larger image.

sample of pointillism painting of the African Savannah

Explore a Paint with Pointillism lesson plan

13. Create visual versions of poetry

Visual versions of poems are great performance tasks that require close reading. Have students use a digital publishing tool to type a poem from their favorite poet or one they may have written and add illustrations and voice recordings to help the reader and viewer better understand and connect with the poem.

Explore a Visual Poetry lesson plan

14. Inform with infographics

Infographics are visual representations of information that make complex ideas and large amounts of data easy to understand.

Instruct students to research information or collect data on a science topic. Then, have students create charts and graphs, analyze the information, and create an infographic to display the findings.

Explore a Creating Infographics lesson plan

15. Design a new book cover

Ask your students to create new covers for the stories they are reading. To design an effective book cover, students need to think about how they can use imagery to share knowledge of characters, setting and events in order to attract new readers.

Go even further, by asking them to design a complete book jacket — including a cover image, a plot summary, a book review, information about the author, and quotes or teasers from the story.

Explore the Design a Book Cover lesson plan

16. Celebrate everyday heroes

Popularity and fame make someone an idol, but these traits don't make them a hero. Challenge your students to help you compare what makes an idol and what makes a hero.

Task students with finding a local hero and raising awareness about their work in your community and what actions and characteristics make them a hero.

Explore a Commemorative Ceremony lesson plan

17. Design an Arcimboldo-inspired self-portrait

Giuseppe Arcimboldo is an Italian Renaissance painter known for his portraits of people that use objects like fruit and books. Challenge students to create Arcimboldo-style self-portraits by combining clip art images in an imaging tool.

sample student arcimboldo portrait

Explore an Arcimboldo-Inspired Self-Portraits lesson plan

18. Create a character scrapbook

Ask students to demonstrate knowledge about a character's physical traits, feelings, experiences, and actions by creating a digital scrapbook. Students can include images of important events, diary entries, objects important to the character, letters from friends, and more.

Explore a Character Scrapbook lesson plan

19. Publish a historical magazine

Have students create a newspaper or magazine to show what they have learned about the events, politics, and culture of a different time in history. (template)

Explore a Day in the Life lesson plan

20. Raise awareness with a public service announcement

Students in fifth grade are starting to have the capabilities and passions to change the world. Have students create a public service announcement to raise awareness, inform others, and change behaviors.

When developing a public service announcement (PSA), students have a chance to practice and apply persuasive writing skills in a real-world, authentic context. A short PSA targeted at a particular audience also encourages students to focus on writing organization, as well as voice and word choice.

Explore a Conservation PSA lesson plan

21. Create a community field guide

Ask students to go outside, or even look out a window, and simply observe the plants and animals there. Have them find a plant they find beautiful or an animal that interests them. Use a digital paint program to have them sketch their object and add text labels and insights about what they notice.

Students can then use their observations and sketches, along with a field guide, to help them identify the species if they don't know what it is. They can add additional information or notes to create a field guide for other species that live nearby.

Explore a Fantastic Field Guides lesson plan

22. Craft a concrete poem

Concrete poems are poems where the words are arranged in a shape that reflects the topic of the poem. Because creativity, presentation, and productivity tools let you resize, move, and rotate text easily, they make it easy to move text to create a desired shape.

poem about a giraffe in the shape of a giraffe

Ask students to write a poem in small phrases or stanzas. Then, use the font, size, color and rotation options to use it to create a larger image.

23. Send a thank you card

Practicing gratitude can have a big effect on our happiness. Empower students to show their gratitude by writing a thoughtful letter to someone for a gift they appreciate. Remind them gifts can be objects like clothing (material), but also things like friendship and support (immaterial).

Students can always print the message, but if they share digitally, they can record their voice and/or create a video, making it even more personal and special.

24. Create a book bento

Have students create a book bento to retell important details about a text or to visually celebrate their favorite title. Find a bento box background, like this one in Wixie, then have students arrange images about the book and add hyperlinks for an interactive collage.

25. Craft an if/but comparative

Comparing and contrasting is a powerful learning strategy. Crafting an If/But comparative report promotes analytical and creative thinking.

student if/but comparative paragraph on quadrilaterals

Have students craft an If/But comparative report to showcase how two topics they are studying, such as animals, book characters, or geographic regions, are similar and different.

26. Conduct an interview with a figure or object from history

Research a historical event and ask students to share their newfound knowledge and opinions by creating a fictitious interview with a person (or object) who was there.

Explore an Artifact Interviews lesson plan

27. Plan an event

Planning the details for a party, including needed space (geometry) and a budget (decimals), requires students to practice and apply math and argument skills to a real-life scenario.

Explore a Plan an Event lesson plan

28. Write a blackout poem

To write a blackout poem, you cover up words on a page of text until the leftover words form a poem. Using a digital approach means you don't have to pay for or destroy printed books.

Use a paint program to add a section of text from a favorite poem or book you are reading. Then, use the paint brush tool to blackout words, until a new poem appears.

blackout poem made from text in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Read the text and circle words you find interesting, then read them in order to listen to your poem. Circle additional words to fill out the idea and blackout (or pink-out, as the case may be) the rest of the words and add additional painted decoration.

29. Take a brain break

When the mind needs a break, a creative activity can help. Use a digital art tool to sketch or simply play a digital game.

Remember scratch art? Wixie has a collection of pages with a variety of backgrounds students can "scratch" using an eraser tool.

sample scratch art doodle

30. Create a character coat of arms

Small, but mindful, changes can move a task beyond remember and retell. For example, replace a typical character trait cluster assignment with the task of developing a coat of arms for a story's protagonist that represents traits of the main character.

Creating a coat of arms provides students with an opportunity to think about objects, colors, symbols, and mottos that reflect a character's personality, passions, strengths, and experiences.

Wixie has a Coat of Arms template that makes it easy to add color, text, and images to show comprehension.

31. Paint pop art

Share examples of Andy Warhol's work and then discuss the idea that mass-produced products from everyday life can be inspiration for art and the object of art itself. What objects do they find or use today that have their own beauty?

Many art and social media tools have filters or color options. Ask students to use clip art of common objects, like the Wixie example below, or capture a photo with their phone.

Students can then duplicate the image and apply filters and color options as they create Warhol-esque repeating images.

Explore a Pop Art lesson plan

32. Write a haiku

Combine close reading and descriptive writing with visual haiku. Haiku poems are a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Haiku always contain a kigo (season word) to indicate the time of year.

Have students start with a photo as inspiration or write first and add visuals to enhance the meaning.

sample spring haiku

This spare form of writing forces students to choose words wisely. Share haiku and have students read closely to find the kigo word as well as identify other highly descriptive words.

Explore a Harmonious Haiku lesson plan

33. Conduct a charity challenge

It seems like so many people around the world are working tirelessly to keep everyone safe, healthy, and fed. Research the charities in your community, then ask students which charity deserves a 1 million dollar donation?

Have each student present their charity choice to the class and argue why the charity deserves the money.

image with student charity idea

Push students further by transforming their opinions into formal letters or emails to philanthropic foundations on behalf of these charities.

34. Tell tall tales

Legends and tall tales are stories filled with unbelievable events or exaggerations that explain a person's character or how something came to be. Ask students to write, illustrate, and record their own tall tale about a historical figure or location.


Explore a Legends and Tall Tales lesson plan

35. Create surrealist art

Inform students about surrealism. You might inspire them by reading a book like Pish, Posh, Hieronymus Bosch.

Have students use paint tools to illustrate bizarre creatures juxtaposed around a normal self-portrait and then write a poem about the way the surrealism makes them feel.


This example takes advantage of the mirror symmetry options for the paint brush in Wixie.

Explore a Surreal Symmetry lesson plan

36. Host a commemorative ceremony

Ask students to design and lead a ceremony to honor a person or commemorate an event in history; this is a great way to involve students in student-wide culture and history days.

invitation to event

Have students consider designing invitations, programs, posters, speeches, and videos as well as organizing space, agenda, and activities.

Explore a Commemorative Ceremony lesson plan

37. Design a superhero

Tap into students' passion for comics and superheroes by asking them to share some favorites. Then, ask them what qualities or "powers" make a great superhero.

Discuss as a class, and then ask each student to design their own superhero and explain how their traits make them a hero.

Explore a Design a Superhero lesson plan

38. Promote a book with a movie-style trailer

Have students create book talks in the form of movie-style trailers to promote their favorite books and get other students excited about reading them.

Explore an Entice Your Reader lesson plan

39. Design a school lunch menu

After researching nutrition and journaling about their own food consumption, task teams of students with designing a menu for a week of school lunches. Teams should strive to both encourage healthy eating and reduce the amount of food waste.

Compare menu designs and work as a class to craft a presentation that showcases the best ideas to the food service team at your site.

Explore a Healthy School Lunch lesson plan

40. Propose community improvements with a pop-up plaza

Introduce students to the popular trend of pop-ups plazas to improve and revitalize communities. Students research an area in their community that they would like to change. After interviewing community members for their needs, students design a model of the intended space and write and pitch a proposal to help fund their pop-up.

Explore a Pop-Up Plaza lesson plan

41. Create a historical survival guide

Combine research, empathy, and how-to writing by asking students to create a how-to or survival manual for a time in history you are studying. What tools are essential? What strategies should you employ? Where should you go? How will you get there?

42. Write your own word problems

Visualizing word problems in Wixie by using the paint tools to draw models or by adding images from the media library can help students better identify key pieces of a problem and the relations between them. 

image of fraction word problem

Have students use a paint or image program to draw models that help the viewer (and themselves) visual quantities and relationships in word problems.

43. Survey peers

Capturing, analyzing, and communicating data is essential for success in our information age. Maximize opportunities for your students to create, give and display the results from surveys they create.

Consider having them graph results and communicate their findings through an infographic.

44. Create comics, cartoons, and even graphic novels

Comics and cartoons are a great way to engage students in the stories they are reading and information they are researching and exploring. Have students create comics for a fun way to practice narrative writing, retelling, sharing understanding, teaching others, raising awareness, and more.

Explore additional ideas and lesson plans for creating comics

45. Produce video biographies

Turn informational writing into a motivating experience by having students create a video biography of a historical figure.

Explore a Video Biographies lesson plan

46. Host a tourism trade show

Learning about a new region, state or country should be fun and steeped in a practical and real-life application. After viewing tourism promotional materials, task students to work in teams to research and pitch their area of interest in the form of a brochure, slideshow or social media post.

This makes for a fun way to get students to practice writing and speaking in a world language classroom.

Explore a Tourism Trade Show lesson plan

47. Share your support

We are growing more aware of the need for both mental health and social-emotional skills. Foster a positive classroom culture by creating unique cards that share a note of support or a compliment.

Tools like Wixie let you print multiple copies or pages onto a single sheet of paper, making it easy to print, fold, and share. Great for dropping in a classmate's lunch box or backpack.

48. Create a playlist

Have students tap into their musical side by creating a playlist that matches the theme in a story, a chemical reaction or a historical event. Ensure students explain the reasoning behind their choices.

playlist template idea

49. Make a mandala

Mandalas have been around for thousands of years and are highly structured forms of art that use repetitive patterns.

While mandalas are a form of radial symmetry, they have also historically been a form of meditation and a way to get to know oneself more completely. Making a mandala can help students reflect on their lives and their world.

Go on a quiet walk and let students pick up things that capture their eye, like fallen leaves, sticks, and flower petals. You can also collect found objects and recycled materials and have students use these objects to create a tangible or physical mandala.

image of mandala made from spring-themed clip art

Using a digital tool, like Wixie, to create a mandala provides students with unlimited access to a range of shapes they can use repeatedly. This makes it easy to create mandalas that reflect one’s interests, passions, and aspirations.

Explore a Make a Mandala lesson plan

50. Make mock social media posts and pages

Have students take on the viewpoint of a character in a novel you are reading and create a mock social network page to reflect traits, events, and perspectives they have analyzed for this character.

Once they have experience with digital projects, let students choose the product or way they will demonstrate understanding… simply make them argue their case before they begin. No matter what you or they choose, transfer as much responsibility as possible to students to motivate and empower them to control their own learning.

Melinda Kolk

by Melinda Kolk

Melinda Kolk (@melindak) is the Editor of Creative Educator and the author of Teaching with Clay Animation. She has been helping educators implement project-based learning and creative technologies like clay animation into classroom teaching and learning for the past 15 years.

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