The students at the heart of this blog have been curious groups of fifth graders living in south-central WI. They enjoyed hands-on projects and finding things out for themselves. For several years, the students saw each of the three fifth grade teachers for 90 minutes a day. Mrs. Steven taught science, writing, grammar, and orthography (structured word inquiry). Most of the posts in this blog are about the orthography we learned, but there are also posts about other subjects too. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about us, please contact Mrs. Steven at email@example.com.
I recently retired with 26 years of experience in a fifth grade classroom (27 if you count the one year I was actually a fifth grader). I preferred the kinds of projects that incorporated skills from several academic areas, and when possible topics that were in the everyday lives and environments of my students. I also believed that students needed practice throughout their K-12 education with thinking on their feet and presenting their work to an audience. While I often had students present things to their classmates, I also had them present to the whole school (Science Fair and Photosynthesis Follies). They also worked with younger students, teaching them about English spelling.
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences had long been my guide in choosing classwork choices and study options. Having students aware of this theory and then having them identify their own strengths among the seven Intelligences that Howard Gardner named, allowed each student to be less inclined to compare him/herself to his/her peers. It also explained why each student needed to develop a unique list of effective study techniques.
Another area of specific interest to me over the last ten years was how the brain learns. I had taken several courses and attended workshops dealing with this topic. My plan was to demonstrate to students that things like repetition, use of rhythm, use of color, and amount of information all affect the likelihood of being able to store the information in their long term memory.
Currently I mentor new teachers in my school district and teach online classes in Structured Word Inquiry and Teaching Grammar to children.