Attending sporting events, spending a Saturday afternoon in the Strip District, taking my son for walks along the River Walk, trying out new restaurants all around the city, visiting museums, and hanging out with friends in my old Shadyside stomping grounds.
The Travel Fair is one of the most memorable activities in the fifth grade. It is a long term, cross-curricular project that students complete by researching a country of their choice. They present their findings in the spring to the entire St. Edmund's Academy community. Students dress up as a famous person from their country, prepare an authentic food native to that region, pass out souvenirs, and create a brochure to promote travel to their country. Additionally, students write and give speeches to an audience about their country which supplements their tri-fold information boards. The Travel Fair is a culminating activity that students look forward to completing prior to attending Upper School. Many Lower School students already have an idea of which country they would like to research once they become fifth grade students!
Looking back on my educational experience, my favorite teachers were those who challenged me the most. Specifically, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hupe, stands out as my favorite. Mrs. Hupe was fair, kind, and took risks with us ten- and eleven-year-olds. We hatched baby chicks, went on a weekend camping trip, became introduced to some Steelers, and she allowed us to play Math Blaster and The Oregon Trail on the Macintosh Apple floppy disk computers. Ironically, I received my first sub-par grade in 5th grade (my favorite grade), by my favorite teacher, in my favorite subject (history). She reminded me that sometimes these things happen, and as long as I learn from my mistakes, everything will be OK. Whenever I became a fifth grade teacher myself, I was reminded of how Mrs. Hupe's high expectations for her students and her positive energy in the classroom helped me feel inspired and challenged me to be the best I could be. To this day, I strive to be just like the teacher who inspired me to want to become a teacher, Mrs. Hupe.
My favorite part of the school year is the first week of classes. The smell of fresh paint and pencil shavings brings me back to my elementary school days. The beginning of a school year is a time during the year, other than our birthdays and New Year, when we get a fresh start. It's a time to reinvent ourselves, as both students and teachers. Whatever happened during the previous year is behind us. We have learned from our struggles and successes, and we get another chance to reach our goals.
There is never just one book on my night stand. . .there is usually a stack. Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood by Karen Maezen Miller Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Maec The smartest kids in the world: And how they got that way by Amanda Ripley The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz Does the latest Pottery Barn catalog count?