Our fifth grade students are on a mission; they want to change the world - today. They regularly spend time questioning industry professionals, thinking creativity, and engaging in community service. A quick visit to their classroom will show you that they are creating a meaningful, relevant, and fun atmosphere that would motivate anyone.
The fifth grade teachers, Kim Ledbetter and Anna Crane, realize that hearing from subject matter experts in various areas brings a relevancy to learning that cannot be imparted by textbooks. As part of their study on biochemical cycles, for example, they brought in a water engineer, April Grippo, to discuss the current drought in Cape Town. Pastor Paul Joiner holds open sessions to answer any deep questions about faith; Trooper Kelly and Trooper Briggs discussed the importance of service and safety.
Team5 students, as they are affectionately called by Kim and Anna, are encouraged to think outside the box. These students don't write the boring book reports that we used to do; they make full-scale movie trailers to promote the books they read. When students were given an enrichment challenge in the fall, one student, Andrew Vaughn, made an anti-bullying video. The teachers also make sure to collaborate with all the special teachers at the lower campus. This happened when art teacher Karen Green led an incredible art project on Greek architecture as a part of their study on the ancients, when librarian Dean Noblin worked with them on their book reports, and when computer teacher Teresa Wood helped them reinvent the book report, just to name a few.
Students participate in service activities both on and off campus. Once a quarter you can find the fifth grade students on a prayer walk, praying over teachers, administrators, students, facilities. "We ask that God would be glorified in all we do, for his divine holy protection, and to grow us in live, trust, and obedience," says Anna Crane. These two teachers give each student $10 at Christmas to bless someone. Mary Claire Griffith took her $10 and challenged her church to get involved. By the time she finished, Mary Claire had collected more than $1300 for St. Jude. Mrs. Ledbetter says, "Mrs. Crane and I believe that our children need the opportunity to serve and give to others. When given the opportunity, children will rise to the challenge." They definitely rose to the challenge when serving at the Harvest Share fundraiser recently.
The kindergartners are delighted when Mrs. Ledbetter's class reads to them every other Monday. Here's what some fifth graders had to say about working with the little ones.
"I think about it like we are making a difference in their lives that will help them read better." Ethan Denoncourt
"I think it is good for them and good for us." Landon Ricketts
"I think that these are great kids and that is why I want to see them learning." Emma Williams
"I love reading to them and seeing them improving in their reading." Hunter Beasley
"I feel happy inside when they read to me, and I love reading to them. They are always curious!" Audrey Owen
"It is nice for them and it honors God." Landon Adams