Finishing Strong

Every year the last weeks of school come and life starts going CRAZY FAST!!  It seems that I have time to take pictures of things, but not to write about the things I take pictures of (wait, do I say that at the end of every year?  I should go back and look….)!

So…since I hate to leave things all messy and untied, I’ll end the year the way I began it–with a highlights reel.  Here’s to the last few BUSY weeks of 5th grade with some of the BEST kids around.  Have a great summer, friends of Rm. 202!

Check it out. 🙂


In April we had a whole school Outdoor Learning Day, with the focus being on how to get kids outside more often.  I had to take Ms. Turken’s lead and  try math outside.  On this particular day, we were working on division problems with a little bit of a “scavenger hunt” around the playground.  Funny how just a change of environment can make for so much less whining about long division!!



Ok, so granted, this picture TOTALLY doesn’t do this day justice, but imagine our whole school with All Children Exercising Simultaneously to some really great music, with really cool routines created by our 5th graders, and that’s ACES Day.  Always a fun one!


This year, as with the previous few years, our class (along with the other 5th grades) adopted a pilot through a program with Southwest Airlines.  He is our own First Commander Marcus Smith, whose kiddos go to Robinson and who is a beloved Kirkwood resident.  Here are some pics from our culminating activity–a paper airplane flying contest!!

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Ok, so I admit it, these are not The 20somethingkids that you were expecting to see, but they are pics of my kids nonetheless!  This was a great night of fun at the Cards game, where our Honor Choir–along with the choir from Tillman–got to sing the National Anthem!  SO fun to see Cardinal and Kirkwood red everywhere you look!  Go Cards!


This year Mrs. Kesler helped every grade level get something ready for our first ever Robinson Spring Sing!  While I expected greatness because of what I know about both Mrs. Kesler and our Robinson kiddos, I was BLOWN AWAY by how amazing it was!  (And like the ACES Day section, I feel REALLY bad about not posting a video, but I couldn’t get a good quality one!!  I know, bummer….don’t be mad, ok? 🙂 )  Can’t wait for Spring Sing Take 2 next year!


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Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the parents who made this night of food, friends and fun possible for us!  What a touching way to say Goodbye to 5th Grade!  Those shirts are perhaps the best part–we can take our memories with us!  And they looked really great when we all wore them on our last-day field trip!


One thing I hadn’t yet tried, but was SO EXCITED to do this year was 20% time.  Some schools call it Genius Hour, and it’s not really equated to 20% of our time, but you hopefully get the idea that it’s a project that kiddos could do that was completely of their interest.  Some friends had some extra time in the last few weeks to investigate something of their choosing, and MAN WERE THEY EXCITED!!  We had so many fabulous projects, and spent our afternoon after Field Day presenting our new learning.  It is so cool how interested they all were in the new expertise their friends had to share!

Ok, so apparently the theme of this post is “I don’t have pictures or videos of everything I want to tell you about”–and somehow that happened here, too.  I wish I could show you the smoothies that Owen made for us, the posters that Max made about radio waves and how they transmit music, the dance that Cate and Mia choreographed and then taught the class, the Keynote the Grace created to show how she learned to do makeup (including a before and after picture of how she tried it out on her sister!) or the demonstration Tom did about the most effective jump shot in basketball, but I don’t have them.  Just know that THIS IS ONE TALENTED GROUP OF KIDDOS WHO DIDN’T DISAPPOINT WITH WHAT THEY SHARED WITH US!!

Well, as they say in the movies (or at least Looney Tunes, right?)–that’s all folks!  It’s been a wild ride since our first Fifth Grade and Fearless post, and I wouldn’t have changed a minute!  Here’s to a great year in middle school and MANY more years of changing the world after that!  Remember your GRIT and all that you learned about respecting yourself and others at Robinson and GO GET ‘EM!  I MISS YOU ALREADY!!

5th Grade On Stage

On May 21, 2013, 5th Grade did something they’d been working up to all year–they performed a musical that they had planned, written, choreographed, staged, costumed, and acted in!  It began as a seed of an idea early in the school year, and blossomed into something bigger better than we could have even imagined.  They really did a stellar job.  But not on their own: our amazingly fabulous music teacher, Mrs. Kesler, was there every step of the way helping them make their dream a reality.

The general premise was of a 5th grade class who was learning to write autobiographies in Writer’s Workshop and the scenes were the memories they came up with to write in their pieces.  A couple of them were “real-life”, like reminiscing about Missouri Day and Box Town, but the other two vignettes twisted truth a little further: one was about a visit one day in kindergarten from a leprechaun and his minions that involved an arm wrestle over some chocolate “gold”, and the other was a crazy escapade to Cahokia Mounds that involved lots of dancing.  It was a great example of what can happen when you let kids run with their ideas, focus on their passions and do what is often “off limits.”  Trusting them with the plan and the execution could have been hard for some, but I love that Mrs. Kesler knew that that was the right thing to do in order to really make it “theirs.”  And theirs it was.

(Wish I had more pictures of it–we really did work for almost 9 months on it.  But I only have pictures from the performance.  Boo. 😦 )


Backstage on performance night with Jernandra, Sophia and Anna C. They were portraying kindergarteners in the scene with the leprechaun. I was Mrs. Bearden (quite a stretch, huh?)


The art room worked as the “green room” for kids to wait in when they weren’t on stage. We had a Skype connection worked up between the gym and this room so we could see what was going on on stage. Teachers and students were in charge of following the script to help actors know when they needed to go over for their next scene. This was really a genius idea that worked out SUPER well!


Aiden and Don were stage managers and did an amazing job of making sure it all went down as it should. They were in charge of lights, music and all other stage cues to keep us on track. Definitely the two best guys for the job!


We call these next two pictures “The Many Hats of Mrs. Hong” because aside from being a fabulous teacher, she showed her skills in make-up…


…and hair, as well. Is there anything she can’t do? I don’t think so. 🙂

group pic

Group pic after the performance

  Have you ever taken on a huge project like this one?  How did it go?  What did you learn?

5th Grade Class Meeting

So we did it.  Remember last week when I explained our most recent class meeting?  Well, the class meeting that we wanted to have with the rest of our grade happened this afternoon.

Even with 80 people in the room, we tried to follow the same class meeting protocol that we normally use.  We used a general flipchart list, since each 5th grade does things a little differently, but still put dots for things they liked and things they learned the most from during the week.  After those two rounds, our chart looked like this:

I loved how all those dots around “Weather Unit” ended up looking a little bit like a cloud.  Most of us started a big storm project in science this week (which I’ll write about soon!), and our kids are really jazzed about it.

Normally round three would be based on the question “What do you want to talk about?,” but in this case, we had gathered to discuss recess, so we didn’t need that one.  We started into the problem solving phase of our meeting, after laying a few ground rules:

As they shared their concerns about what was going wrong, we made a list of what was mentioned.  After our 5 minutes was up, our list had some pretty yucky stuff on it like people being left out, some kids being rejected when they ask to play, arguing, poor sportsmanship, pushing and shoving, interrupting games just to be funny, and worrying about who’s popular and who’s not.

We spent some time trying to problem solve around this topic, which proved to be pretty difficult with such a large group.  Kiddos explained what they meant about how some thought they were more popular than others and wouldn’t let them play or tried to show off and always be the best at every game they played.  We all agreed that our behavior did not match up with what we know to be true about Robinson’s 5th grade–that we are leaders, and that we support each other and rally around causes to help make everyone better.  We agreed that this was not ok.

The teachers did a little more in this meeting that we normally would–again because of logistics–but also because we wanted to make it very clear to our friends that this would not be tolerated.  At Robinson, you are expected to be respectful to others no matter where you are–the playground in addition to your classroom or anywhere else you are at school.  We left the meeting with a call to have each kiddo think about how they fit into this yucky puzzle of disrespect that has been happening outside.  Everyone has something they can do differently on Monday.

After we got back to our classroom, I had my kids do their regular Friday Note that always follows class meetings.  As always, they could tell me whatever they wanted to, but I also had them add their goal for what they would do to make recess better on Monday afternoon.  They understood that they each play at part in making our grade the best it can be, and I know that they will take the charge to change something tomorrow.   Can’t wait to see what it is!