It’s Back! #NoOfficeDay – 5th Grade

The arrival of fall means I get to break out the sweaters, indulge in a pumpkin spice latte from my neighborhood Starbucks, but most importantly continue the tradition of spending an entire day within a specific grade level at Sigler Elementary, otherwise known as my #NoOfficeDay.

Last Friday I was able to spend my day with the staff and students in 5th grade. My frequent readers may remember I am a former 5th grade teacher, so when I return to 5th grade for the day, it brings back fond memories of my teaching days.

Memories – My 5th Grade Team

5th grade starts their day with specials or their PE, music, art and library time so that is where my day began as well.

The art studio at Sigler, which is home to the talented @TNewsome1, was my first stop. Fifth graders were working on their “Sugar Skulls”. I learned a sugar skull is a symbol used in celebration of Dia De Los Muertos that has a balanced design known as symmetry. The students had already sketched their sugar skulls on paper and created a mask that they were ready to paint. I was able to lend a hand and get the paint supplies passed out to the students and watch their sugar skulls come to life. (I was able to begin sketching mine as well, but I can’t hold a candle to the student art coming out of the studio)

5th grade artists demonstrating their creativity

After sneaking out of the art studio, I was able to follow the sound of music and make my way into the music room and take my place among the students. @caldwellkiera was leading the students through a very impressive piece of music that required the students to differentiate between what she was singing versus what they were singing. I know there is a musical term for this, but I am not able to recall it. Anyone able to help? Regardless of the term, the students demonstrated this beautifully and they sounded wonderful. I wonder if their sound is at all attributed to the fancy new stools the students were sitting on? I was also impressed how they can all sit up so straight! 

Perfect signing posture
It is so hard to leave with just a short time to rotate through the specials rotations, but I tore myself away and made my way into the gym to witness the fanciest of footwork from Coach @Cliff_Lazarine and @troberts3233. The after school soccer club starts this week and the 5th graders were getting a chance to practice their futbol skills in anticipation. I cannot help my competitive spirit from coming out when I enter the gym, so I may or may not have scored five quick goals, helping each of the teams. I love seeing our students compete and do it at a high level. We certainly have some talented futbol players and do not sleep on @Cliff_Lazarine. The guy has got some quick feet! 
Only the goalie can use their hands
My specials fun was over and @ames4unc was ready to put me to work. Math was getting started and @ames4unc was really the one who had been working hard as she had spent some time getting @plickers set up for her math class to use after just seeing it herself, the previous night during a leadership meeting. Taking the risk paid off, as students loved the new instructional tool and I believe they will be able to use it again soon. 
Plickers

After using @plickers to assess their math knowledge, the students were divided up into three groups and two of the groups were able to spend some time with me working on multiplying decimals. We were focused on increasing our understanding multiplying decimals. Yes, we can count the number of times the decimal moves and find the correct answer, but we were focused on proving why that method works. Just a solid reminder that 5th grade math is no joke. 

Multiplying Decimals

As my time working with decimals ended, I was off to the Science Lab. Students in the lab have been studying matter and identifying key terms such as mass, volume and density through a series of hands on activities. In addition to learning all about matter, they just returned from camp and were reflecting on their learning while away camping. Today’s lesson specifically focused on ecotones and we concluded with a brief review of density. @SOC54 and I had some big shoes to fill with @Bsol2 being off campus. I believe we did a decent job of educating our budding scientists and can only hope @Bsol2 returns soon and does not find the damage to be irreversible. Of course I am kidding. The students did a great job with both of the learning targets and deepened their knowledge of density and ecotones. 

An ecosystem, an ecotone and density

As the day went on, I was welcomed into our next 5th grade classroom by @pmmancilla and her students. As the principal of a bilingual campus, I am mindful of the importance we place on acquiring the English language and working with our students so they are proficient in English before transitioning to middle school. The first small group I saw worked with me on an English Language Development (ELD) lesson which helped them differentiate between the types of conversations students have with adults and their peers. Students were so excited to engage me in a conversation and then practice a different type of conversation with their peers. Examples of each were provided and after the opportunity to practice both, students were able to create a specific conversation with a peer and yes, we focused on quotation marks, commas, periods and question marks. As my time expired with the first group, group two gathered around the table and we switched gears to a friendly Product Game competition. As I mentioned earlier, when competition presents itself, I cannot hold back. We have to remind our students that the teachers, or in this case, the principal, can still have the upper hand. There was no way, I was “letting” them win. 

ELD and the Product Game
Happiness in defeat. #mrarendalwayswins

After lunch and recess the students and I settled in with @mrssarahtucker. As mentioned before, students have been studying matter. To review, a jeopardy game was prepared and I was able to lead them through the highly competitive game. After a back and forth jeopardy game, students learned a very non-scientific word, which was probably my fault, but it helped them understand the word, matter. We used the word “stuff” to describe matter and made it fun to say. When the jeopardy board was clear and no questions remained, students used the final minutes of the day to collaborate via Google Classrooms and reviewed an article focusing on Matter. Did you know there are actually five states of matter? 

Collaboration and Google Classrooms

My first #NoOfficeDay of the 14-15 school year was a success and I cannot wait until my next one. As the amazing staff at Sigler Elementary continues to embrace our focus on instructional technology, my visits become even more engaging with the students and I conclude each visit with a renewed appreciation of just how hard our teachers work to ensure our students at Sigler have the best education possible. 

I have included the Twitter handles of the teachers I spent time with and would encourage you to follow them and share in their learning. Of course, be sure to follow @mr_braden as well. He was not mentioned above, as he spent his day connecting with his students’ parents during parent/teacher conferences. 
Finally, share this with your administrator/s and/or teachers. I believe my first responsibility as a principal is to connect with my students and teachers and keeping my calendar clear, one Friday a month to schedule a #NoOfficeDay helps me do just that.