#NoOfficeDay – 5th Grade
Man, I look forward to these days. Those unfamiliar with #NoOfficeDays, these are days I spend out of the office with a specific grade level for the day. Last Friday I spent the day with 5th grade. Before I begin to showcase the highlights of my day, I must say, we as a campus get tunnel vision at times, focused on the students we have in our grade level from year to year. After spending time with our 5th graders, y’all are doing a phenomenal job! These students have come through the finest classrooms, led by the finest teachers and are all the better for it.
As the day began, I was jumping right into my chair at the teacher table for my first hour of guided reading. Students in Mrs. Tucker’s class were hard at it when in arrived and reading a passage covering the American Revolution, which they have been studying in Social Studies. I loved how the team was connecting across the curriculum, as students were sharing what they knew about Paul Revere as they read this story. This specific story shed light on a special young lady who played a similar role to Paul Revere as a 16 year old girl. The discussion had with two groups was engaging as we wondered why we had not heard of this young lady before and how unfair it was for the girls in the group to have this story go untold until now.
I transitioned into Mr. Braden’s room as students were working on some note taking in pairs, determining what exactly they were reading and whether the purpose for their reading was informative, analytical or both. As students shared their thoughts, it was obvious they had made some connections to this Folktale, Terrapin and The Hare.
Specials broke up the whole group conversation, and I began my specials rotation in the “Art Studio”. Students waled right in and engaged in a warm up activity defining a piece of art based on prior knowledge of art. Students clearly have the mind of an artist as they articulated details about a mask they were studying including whether it was 2-D or 3-D, if it have overlapping parts and the specific medium and media being used.
As I left art and entered the music room, students were just wrapping up a mini-lesson on reading music and jumped into a brain break which included some folk dancing and mighty nice footwork (not my footwork). Students danced to a choreographed routine, in which each of them knew the steps and participated fully. My time wrapped up with a Mi, Re, Do exercise in which students had the liberty to see with their hands, bodies or however they needed in order to decipher between the various notes. Each student was able to participate using their own learning style. Great job Mrs. Caldwell!
The final stop during specials was fitness and PE which had combined together for a little scooter basketball. Our students have so much fun while they are with our coaches and our coaches have a darn good time with them as well. Students were excited to play and anxiously awaited their turn to play again as they rotated around.
Getting back to 5th grade allowed me to see just how much our students mature from KN-5th. Students had been reading a Folktale, Terrapin and The Hare and were faced with a couple of reflective questions they needed to answer when walking back into the room. Once answered students participated in a “reading seminar” where they were able to share a question they may have had about the text and fellow students were able to weigh-in in an attempt to answer the question or add their own in-sight. It was awesome to see a teacher sit back and listen as students controlled the classroom for 45 minutes.
Returning from lunch and recess, which is always a good time to see how our students interact outside of the classroom, brought me to Mrs. Beck’s IC class to see some group presentations from a Mind Missions activity they had completed before lunch. Students were given materials to create a “shoe” that would provide comfort, warmth and work in weather conditions.
Students presented and model their shoes as they articulated why they designed their shoe how they did and after reflecting, we’re able to share what they may have done differently given a second chance. Audience members asked questions that proved students had throughout about their designs and showed they had been listening intently. Bravo to the creators, presenters and audience members.
I doubled back for math and revisited Mrs. Tucker’s class and ended my day in Ms. Mancilla’s room. Both classes were focused on an old favorite of mine, The Product Game. Students were in small group rotations in Mrs. Tucker’s room were I was able to play the product game with students to help them think about some questions they needed to answer about the game. Playing the game while answering the questions showed me our students have the ability to be successful, but at times need a concrete visual or must be a part of something in order to male connections to their learning. After playing a couple of games, winning one and losing one (still can’t believe it) I took my skills to Ms. Mancilla’s room to redeem myself. The day before Mancilla had provided me the lesson plan and shared I would be teaching, so I hope I didn’t let her or her students down. We worked through the necessary vocabulary and a was able to select a brave volunteer who played the game with me as an example for the other students I’m the room. After redeeming myself, students played the product game in pairs for the remainder of the class. Of course, as students packed up for the day I found a few more minutes to square off against one young lady as my first first opponent was a young man. Again, I left feeling on top of my game and let the students know I would be returning to defend my reign as they continued to learn some of the strategy needed to win the product game.
We are entering our 7th week of the school year and yes, I know teachers are feeling the pressure of needing to succeed in their grade level, but please remember, you cannot do it all. Narrow the focus, pick an area or two and rock and roll. Know that as students leave your grade and go on to the next, there is another teacher who is fighting the battle right along with you. If students keep entering 5th grade ready to succeed we are doing what is right by our students.
In closing, I couldn’t help but wonder, would one of our 5th graders be on stage one day, just as this young man was last summer at our AVID Summer Institute.