A Minion Reasons to Love 5th Grade

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 I am one third of the fabulous fifth grade team.   My areas of specialty
include science, grammar, orthography and writing.  Please visit each
page in the Navigation List to find out more about the subjects I teach. Each day your child will spend 90 minutes in each fifth grade classroom.  
Over the course of the week, each child will spend a bit more time with their homeroom teacher than with the other two. 


  In a Nutshell ...

Learning should be fun.  It should be exciting and satisfying.  It should be something that feeds our curiosities and steers us towards inquiries of our own choosing.  It should fill us with confidence and all around good feelings about who we are and what we can accomplish.  It should be happening all the time for all our lives. 

When I meet a new group of fifth graders, that is the message I hope they get - whether I say it out loud or model it in my own life.  When I learn something new, I get pretty pumped.  And when I get pretty pumped about something, I don't even try to hide it!  My enthusiasm for learning sets the tone for the environment I want in my classroom.  I want a classroom where my students and I can share and question and celebrate new ideas.

Recently I discovered the world of orthography.  I am fascinated by what I am learning.  I take every opportunity presented to me to learn more.  I've been to seminars and workshops, and taken both spellinars and lexinars online.  Not only have I learned the true nature of spelling in our language, I've also learned about scholarship and rigorous investigation.  Unlike any academic area I've ever studied before, for this, there is no textbook.  There is not a single resource book that explains all the things I have learned.  I must say that I like it.  It is "freeing" in a way.  When given a textbook, I tend to consider that my source and don't often seek information elsewhere.  But without a textbook, my students and I learn together.  We question, hypothesize, research, provide evidence, question our findings, dig deeper, and reflect on our findings.  We use an array of dictionaries and delight in finding something that will shed light on an existing question. 

My initial pursuit was to find a more effective way to help students with spelling.  But what I've found myself in the middle of is so many layers of amazing!  This IS a more effective way to help students with spelling.  It is also a way to model true learning.  Learning that is driven by individual questions and logical next steps.  It is learning that lingers in the back of one's mind.  It is learning that is constructed from facts that are meshed with previous understandings.  Layer by layer expertise is built, like a skyscraper with no top floor.