Incredible Fifth Graders and More!

As I looked at some of the pictures I took this week, what stood out to me is how much I love seeing students teaching one another.  It just makes me happy inside and out!   Before I go on about that, here is a list of what I’ve included in this blog post.

  • Fifth Grade Teachers (not the adults – your child!)
  • Conferences
  • iPad Mini Arrival
  • Fifth Grade Quote
  • Cahokia Mounds Field Trip
  • My Reflections
  • Comments

Fifth Grade Teachers:  So . . . this week, I was able to observe a lot of great teaching and learning in our room.  One thing that was wonderful, was seeing kids teaching kids.  When I see this in a classroom, it always reinforces one of the many things that I love about teaching.  It is so powerful to listen to children explain their thinking and then to use their brilliance to guide others to deeper understandings.  Maybe this is just another perk to teaching fifth grade . . . these kiddos want others to learn and understand too.  They truly nudge one another toward further learning.  How awesome.

During math, two girls were teaching one another about their strategies on the ActivBoard.
During math, two girls were teaching one another about their strategies on the ActivBoard.

Conferences: As a reminder, conferences begin next week.  You should have received a pink paper this past week confirming a day and time that we will meet.  In addition, please consider bringing the question sheet with you to conferences.  If you would like, please feel free to print out another copy here.  CONFERENCE.SHEET

iPad Mini’s Arrival: They finally arrived!!!  This past Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to receive our iPad minis.  Each fifth grader at Robinson now has his or her very own iPad mini.  How cool is that?!?   We are starting off slowly, but you can see how excited  they were to receive them.  Also, you can tell that we can definitely work hard on them too . . . iPad minis aren’t just for fun and games.  They can be, but they are (and will be) for hard work and learning too.

Look at this excitement!
Look at this excitement!
Already working hard on the FIRST day with our iPad minis!
Already working hard on the FIRST day with our iPad minis!

Fifth Grade Quote: Seriously?  Another amazing quote?  Yep.  First look here and here to see some of our other quotes.  Then, look below at another one we shared and discussed this week.

Winter shared a favorite quote of hers with us this past week.
Winter shared a favorite quote of hers with us this past week.

Cahokia Mounds Field Trip:  Another field trip?  Yes!  The fifth grade is going to visit Cahokia Mounds next week in order to preview our Native American unit in Social Studies.  This is considered to be one of the greatest civilizations North America has ever produced.  It’s a National Historic landmark and is home to the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the US and Canada.  The largest mound in the park is about ten stories tall.  It’s believed that there were originally 120 mounds in existence in this city, and currently about 80 remain.  Look here to see some incredible photos featured in National Geographic.

My Reflections:  One of the main purposes of this blog is to inform you about the happenings in our classroom.  However, another important purpose is for me to reflect on the learning in our classroom and what can change to make things better . . . tomorrow and in the days to come.  So, without further ado . . . drumroll, please . . . my thoughts! 🙂

So, here is what I’ve seen and experienced so far in fifth grade and what I want us to work toward in the future.  I have started to see a lot of successful independent work, as well as some collaborative group work.  I have seen and heard a lot of children speak about how important they believe it is to be an individual and that it’s ok not to be perfect.  At the same time, I have not consistently seen what children say they believe match their actions.  I have noticed many children who love to read and write and enjoy any challenge presented to them during math or team building time.  I have heard children that are willing to share things they are unhappy about, as well as things that they are excited about.  I have seen children give up and get discouraged.  I have gotten to see the hearts of many of the children in our classroom and learn about their passions and dreams.  So, what do I do with all of this?  What do I want us to work toward?  As I reread these observations over and over and really ponder where I hope for our classroom to go, I see opportunity to learn skills for positive group work, reinforce what is required to successfully take on a challenge, while building stamina to work hard , and discussing what it means to live an authentic life.  I hope these goals don’t come across as too mushy or at all, non-academic.  I truly believe that it is incredibly important to grow in these areas while we continue to develop into intelligent individuals with integrity.  So, with all of that said . . . this is what we are working toward.  This is our current goal and is the underlying thread weaving through our learning these days.

Comments: After reading through everything in this post (thanks because I know it was a lot!), I wonder if you have some thoughts of your own to share.  Most significantly, what do you believe are important areas to address in order to support children’s social and academic growth?  Please comment below.  We’d love to learn from you thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Incredible Fifth Graders and More!

  1. Ms Turken, you are doing a fantastic job and I’m so glad to have this blog to read about the great things happening in your classroom! – Denise

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