St. Mark 5th & 6th


Dear 2021-2022 5th & 6th Grade Students and Caregivers,

This year, 5th and 6th-grade students will not simply be taught content but rather experience learning. The purpose of school is not to earn grades, although students will earn grades. The purpose is to learn and to figure out how to become lifelong learners. These qualities can be encouraged at home as well as in the classroom. In the classroom, we will focus on the core competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

The first key to becoming a lifelong learner is being purpose-driven with our learning. By building this quality into our classroom culture, students can be set up for lifelong success in the world beyond school. You will see this being developed as we engage in games, discussions, goal setting and challenges along the way.

Another tool we will use in our classroom is gamification. It is a big word with a simple idea behind it. Gamification is the idea of applying the most motivational aspects of games to other industries, like education. For example, in a game, children are willing to try over and over again, simply to make it to the next level. Gaming concepts, like self-taught exploration and learning through failure, transfer to the classroom with great success. A key part of this success is that the learning is student driven.

Learning to take initiative in their schoolwork, attacking each assignment with enthusiasm, creativity, and effort, and overcoming challenges with their own curiosity and resilience builds independent learners.

Human beings are social learners. Social Cognitive Theory tells us that people acquire knowledge, rules, skills, strategies, beliefs, emotions by observing others. People also learn about the appropriateness of modeled actions by observing their consequences. Students will be provided frequent access to models of knowledge, skills, and behaviors. All learners need to see that the observation of the model and the learning itself will lead to valuable and important outcomes that are meaningful, useful, and worth the effort.

Finally, we will focus on growing in our faith as we fix our eyes on Jesus. What does fixing our eyes on Jesus have to do with our classroom and the earthly work we do there? As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we are reminded that while we work on learning to set SMART goals for our classwork, we also need to keep in mind our heavenly goal and our ultimate motivation to reach that goal. We will strive to reflect that goal as we interact with one another, supporting one another in our work and in our faith.

May God bless your year,

Mrs. Kristin Knickelbein