July 25, 2017

Fifth Grade


Dear Families,

Hello, and welcome to Fifth grade! I am very grateful, and excited, to be serving you and your student(s) in this, my first year teaching Fifth grade, in the community here at Our Lady Star of the Sea! I began my teaching career with one year teaching Special Education, and another, as a K-8 substitute here last year. This year will be my first year teaching Fifth grade.

A little bit about myself. I grew up in Renton, Washington with my four sisters, where I graduated magna cum laude from Lindbergh High School in 2009. I attended Saint Martin’s University on academic and athletic scholarship, earning accolades in my academic fields, as well as Cross Country, and Track and Field during my career. I graduated summa cum laude with my Bachelor or Arts in History, and Political Science, in 2013.

I started my career as a teacher with one year in Special Education at Hazen High School, in Renton. Then, God called me on a providential journey that changed me forever, when He brought me to Our Lady Star of the Sea Church as a Youth Missionary in 2014. I served as a missionary for one year, and met my future wife during that time. In 2015, I served the school in the lunchroom, on the playground, and in the classroom, as a substitute teacher, while earning my Master of Arts in Teaching, from Western Governors University. I completed my practicum at Our Lady Star of the Sea last Spring, and accepted an offer to teach Fifth grade soon after. I got married to my much better half, Emily, on July, 16th, 2016, The Feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea. It’s safe to say that God loves me. This year, I look forward to spreading His love in this community. God Bless you! I pray that we meet (again) soon!

Fifth Grade Handbook

5th Grade Textbook Websites



Faith and Life text is used to help children know and understand the word of God. The lessons include Bible background, readings from the Scripture, and ways to help guide us in our daily lives. Additional lessons give students the chance to prepare for the liturgical seasons. Students have a chance to share the prayers that they have memorized, with a special emphasis on the Rosary.

Students also learn the meaning of Catholic Social Teachings by participating in several projects that help others in the community; this includes working at the local St. Vincent de Paul offices and stocking shelves with items they collect.


SRA’s Open Court Reading series is used in a developmental program that includes comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar skills. There are a selection of different types of literature, including realistic fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and folktales.

Accelerated Reader program uses computer-based testing to maintain a check on students’ comprehension of additional literature that reinforces the topics that are covered in history. The program also offers incentives for students to encourage reading-for-fun. Pizza Hut Book-It program is another way students are rewarded for reading at home.

Language Arts

Voyages in English (published by Loyala Press) includes a dual emphasis on writing and grammar. The lessons are based on the parts of speech foundation, with additional lessons on diagramming, as well as a wide variety of types of writing. Students get a chance to write personal narratives, how-to articles, business letters, reports, and persuasive articles.

The students also use Daily Oral Language practice to strengthen their basic grammar skills.

Students will have weekly vocabulary lessons using the Sadlier series (Blue Level).  In addition, challenge words taken from the National Spelling Bee list will be given as extra credit.



Houghton Mifflins’s Math covers an extensive program of math skills. Word problems and reasoning skills are integrated in the following standards: number sense; the four basic operations using multi-digit numbers; fractions; measurement (standard and metric); geometry formulas for perimeter, area, and volume; probability.

IXL is now used by students to strengthen all basic math skills and is correlated to the Common Core Math Standards.


Our Lady Star of the Sea employs a sequential science program. Starting in the 3rd grade, students concentrate on one area of science and are introduced to (or review) the other major science areas of investigation.

Using Glencoe’s Science: An Introduction to Life, Earth, and Physical Sciences. Earth science is the primary focus of 5th grade. Beginning with designing an experiment (the scientific method in action), ecosystems and resources are the initial points of investigation. The solar system introduces students to the vast distances in space, and then moves in toward Earth. The atmosphere, minerals and the rock cycle, water cycle, and the layers of the sphere we live on are all explored in depth.

Students are encouraged to try experiments in the text and other resources, including online. Additional material is presented in the computer lab to enrich the learning and a trip to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle gives students a chance to experience a number of supplemental hands-on exhibits, including a look at the stars in the planetarium.

The spotlight on Earth also aligns with the 5th grade Catholic Social Teaching at Star of the Sea: Care for God’s Creation. An on-going project in the classroom is a worm bin. Students become more aware of the importance of all God’s creatures in all the interrelated systems on Earth.

Magnets, forces, and motion (including Newton’s Laws) are investigated at a more in-depth level, building on lessons in 3rd grade. Life science lessons review cells and adaptation from 4th grade. This provides students with a solid preparation for the Junior High program at our school.

Students partner to participate in a science fair project in the Spring.

Social Studies

The focal point of 5th grade social studies is the United States. The geography of the land and the ways of life of our early inhabitants dependent upon their surroundings. The expolorers that opened the New World to further settlements and the movement west. A visit to Olympia and one to Fort Nisqually bring students the state of Washington’s current political life in view of the early settlement. Students also choose a state to study extensively, they practice business letter writing skills to obtain information from the state, create a Power Point presentation in technology, research and write a report, and present the information gleaned to their fellow students.

Toward the end of the year, students have an opportunity to perform a play chronicling the westward development of the United States in song and verse. This experience gives students exposure to American classic ballads that bring history alive for them.