Erica graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio with a B.S degree in Elementary Education. She has taught in Maine, Florida, and the Philippines before moving to Charleston two years ago.  Teaching is her lifelong passion, and she’s very excited to join The Cooper School team! Erica enjoys reading, baking, painting and traveling in her spare time.




Having Adventures! April 18, 2019

Westward Ho!

This week, your readers began their study of Westward Movement, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the times I played Oregon Trail when I was a child. Although we did not play this game at The Cooper School this week, we did follow the adventures of a boy named Francis Tucket on his journey to Oregon. This historical fiction novel allowed us to analyze the setting, develop a milieu of this time in history, and interpret what the tension in the novel tells us about this time period. 5th Graders noticed that this was a dangerous time with threats from the environment and other people. We looked hard at the different points of view in the conflict between white settlers and the Native Americans. Being able to analyze both sides helped us gain empathy and understanding. Ask your child what their favorite part of this book is so far!



This week we completed our first field trip to the James Island County Park for kayaking and paddle-boarding lessons. We all had a blast! In the kayaking group, students learned the proper way to get in their boats by using their paddle as a stabilizer. Then, they mastered the sweep stroke and reverse sweep stroke.  It was fun and wet! Ask your child what their favorite part about this field trip was!


Triangle Hierarchy

This week mathematicians worked with triangles and quadrilaterals to create a hierarchy. Students classified these shapes into different categories, or subcategories, by discussing their attributes with partners. Students “tested” each shape to see if it could move down the hierarchy list. For example, students recognized a shape as a triangle, they then had to check to see if it was an isosceles triangle, and if it was, they tested to see if it fit in the equilateral triangle subcategory. Mathematicians had fun working with these shapes!


Friday, April 19th-     April Break- No School

Monday, April 22nd-     April Break- No School

Thursday, April 25th     Spring Auction

Friday, May 10th   11:30 Dismissal

Friday, May 10th Pass It On (5pm-6pm)

Revising Poetry April 12, 2019

Morning Meeting

Miles has been in charge of Morning Meeting this week. He discussed creativity and why it is important. One of the activities that Miles came up with was to create something out of items we had available in the classroom. These were things like post-its, paperclips, scrap paper, etc. Students made amazing structures by using their creativity to make something beautiful out of ordinary, everyday objects. Ask your child what they created this week!





Multiplying Mixed Numbers

Fifth Grade mathematicians have been working with mixed numbers this week. Students were given real-world problems to work with when multiplying mixed numbers together. In class, we figured out how many ¼ by ¼ tiles we would use if we wanted to tile a kitchen floor that was 46 ¾ square feet in area. Students drew out area models to help come to a conclusion and solve the problem.


Editing poetry

This week we worked with Kindergarten buddies to help edit poetry. Pass It On is coming up quickly and we are getting ready here at The Cooper School. Fifth Graders did a fabulous job working with others and helping our young poets edit and practice their poetry for this big day. We have been focusing on checking for line breaks, word choice, and other poetry tools that will make their poems great! I am excited for you all to hear these poems that our class has worked so hard on.

Important Dates:


Thursday, April 18th-     SUP/Kayak Field Trip


Friday, April 19th-     April Break- No School


Monday, April 22nd-     April Break- No School


Thursday, April 25th     Spring Auction


Friday, May 10th   11:30 Dismissal


Friday, May 10th Pass It On (5pm-6pm)

Spring is here! April 5, 2019

Spelling Hangman

This week in Spelling we’ve decided to bring in an old fashioned game from the past: Hangman! Fifth Grade spellers got in their Spelling groups and played an exciting round of Hangman at the board. This is a fun way for students to think about their spelling patterns and strategize what letters they should choose next in the game to spell their words correctly.


This week we have been studying the Haiku style of poetry. This type of poetry is very structured. It usually features 3 lines and  a 5-7-5 syllable count for each line. Poets in Fifth Grade used cubes with a variety of different words on them to jump start their poetry this week. The cubes offer a theme for where to start, and then they provide many different words to use within the haiku. Many poets used these words as inspiration to continue their own Haiku poetry.

Tuesday Fun Outdoors

It’s been quite chilly this week, but Fourth and Fifth grade teammates still had a lot of fun outside for Movement on Tuesday. We played an exciting game of elbow tag! In this game, students form a big circle and link arms with one other person. One person is “it” and runs around the circle to find someone to link up with, the other person in that couple then has run and find another person to link up with before getting tagged by the person who is “it”. This has been one of the favorites to play during Movement, they’re even asking to play it again next week already.

Happy Spring Break! March 22, 2019


This week we are finishing up our Fifth Grade podcasts. The students have been working for weeks by meeting with their partners, writing up a script, and recording themselves for our Podcast Challenge. There are so many different and interesting topics that the students chose, from how to be a good friend, to writing up a movie review. Students used GarageBand to record themselves and I will be sending them in over Spring Break!

Poems Galore!

Students are preparing their work for Pass It On this year. We have been learning about many different types of poems: sonnets, epic poems, and free verse poems. This week we finished our study of Greece. Students worked on epic poems (really long, narrative poems), researched the greek gods, and learned about heros and villians in Greek Mythology. Ask your child what they learned about Greek Mythology this week!

Dividing Decimals

Mathematicians this week have been working hard on multiplying and dividing decimals by whole numbers. We have been practicing different strategies to use when doing this hard work! One of the strategies involves using powers of 10 to move the decimal point to the right and to the left to make it easier to multiply and divide. Students are using the powers of 10 strategies they learned last week to support their learning this week! Ask your child to explain how to multiply and divide the decimal number sentences below.

84.12/ 4 =                       6.42/ 3=


Important Dates

    • March 25-29 Spring Break
    • Saturday, April 6- Spring Planting Party


What’s a Sonnet? March 15, 2019

Food Webs

Fifth Grade scientists started a new unit this week, Living Systems! We were introduced to the biosphere system and started diving deep into food webs and the interactions between living organisms and their environments. On Thursday students mapped out a food web using the organisms in the wooded biome. They learned more about producers, consumers, and decomposers to help them with the flow of a simple food web.



Poetry is in full sing at The Cooper School! Fifth Graders have been awaiting this unit all year. This week poets were introduced to sonnets.. A sonnet is a poem that consists of 14 lines with 10 syllables in each line. This is a very structured poem and students felt challenged when they experimented with this type of poetry. Our poets love challenges, so they took these “rules” and ran with them!

Finding Volume

This week Fifth Grade mathematicians found the volume of objects that were not perfect prisms. We experimented with oranges, limes, a toy zebra, etc. We were introduced to words like calibrate and displacement. To complete this activity, students “calibrated” a 2-liter bottle that held water and had a measurement line in milliliters on the side. Objects were placed in the bottle and students were able to see how many milliliters the objects were by how much the water rose. Students then converted millimeters to centimeters cubed. This was a fun hands-on activity that was a great representation of finding volume by using the displacement method!

Important Dates

  • March 25-29 Spring Break
  • Saturday, April 6- Spring Planting Party

Bring on the bees! March 8, 2019

Bee Garden

Fifth grade was awarded a grant from On the Table to build a bee garden in the backyard! We have started the process of “beautifying” a corner of the playground that will be our Fifth Grader’s legacy! This week we worked together to build a planter box that will be

 full of colorful flowers that will attract the bees. We will continue to work on this garden throughout the year.




Line Plots

This week Mathematicians worked with line plots to show data. We measured our heights and compared them with the rest of the class. Students even challenged themselves and added all of Fifth Grade heights together to get our combined height measurement in inches. Later in the week we also compared and contrasted heights of different animals to a typical Fifth Grader.


Explorer ships

Students set sail last week on their expeditions to the New World. This week explorers drew the ship that their explorer would have sailed in long ago. Many ships consisted of sails and a bow, but some of these explorers only set sail with a small canoe like boat. These ships were up for display at our presentation for all to admire.

Important Dates

  • Saturday, March 16- Spring Planting Party
  • March 25-29 Spring Break

Land Ho! March 1, 2019

Land Ho!

Come aboard a Spanish caravel as the 5th Graders learn what it was really like to be an early explorer in the late 1400s.  After studying the history of the early explorers, reading a historical fiction novel about Christopher Columbus’ exploration to the New World, and researching an explorer of their choice, 5th Graders participated in an Explorers Simulation!  Each ship crew had to select a charter from either Spain or Portugal, and navigate their ship through rough seas, disease, lack of supplies, and hostile natives. Every day students worked together to make decisions about the fate of their ship and then entered their thoughts into a personal log, just like the ship’s scribe would have done.  Ask your child if they made it back safely!



This week’s Morning Meeting guru talked about sportsmanship. He discussed what it looks like and sounds like, he even brought in pictures to show what good sportsmanship looks like with his favorite sports teams! We used this knowledge and his expertise during Movement on Tuesday when we played Capture the Flag. Teams congratulated each other on a job well done, and then we named one thing we thought the other team did well.


Super Spellers

Our spellers were hard at work this week. Each week students are given a new set of words that they must sort into the correct spelling pattern. Students do this in a variety of ways. Some students work with partners, while others test themselves with speed while sorting their words in categories, trying to beat their best time. Our Fifth Grade spellers love to hunt through their Scholastic News magazines to find as many of their spelling patterns as they can!

Important Dates

  • Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6- Student-Led Conferences (11:30 Dismissal Days)
  • Friday, March 8- Explorers Presentation (8:30 A.M -9:00 A.M.)
  • Saturday, March 16- Spring Planting Party

We love Art! February 22, 2019

Fabulous Vocabulary

I am a visual learner! What kind of learner are you? When learning vocabulary, some of your linguists like to hear the word, some like to illustrate the word, and some like to act out the word. So this week we

did all of those things! Students got practice using the words in sentences. On Wednesday, each student created a word square by illustrating each vocabulary word, and they also played a riveting game of charades for those kinesthetic learners! Ask your child what their favorite vocabulary activity is.


Let’s go exploring!

Readers have been diving deep into Explorers in Social Studies and during Reading Workshop we’ve been practicing skills with riveting books such as Around the World in 100 years and Pedro’s Journal. These texts teach skills such as prediction, symbolism, and vocabulary while also touching upon the hardships that many explorers faced while looking for the New World. Next week we will start a simulation that allows students to put themselves in the shoes of the explorers while they were out at sea.



Specials Spotlight: Art!

Art is one of our favorite specials each week! This week artists are working on drawing a house they would like to live in. Students are crafting up castles, space homes, and even mushrooms to live in! Artists are using pencils this week but will add to their creations in the weeks to come. We have such a creative class, I am excited to see what they come up with!








Important Dates:


  • Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6- Student-Led Conferences (11:30 Dismissal Days)
  • Friday, March 8- Explorers Presentation (8:30 A.M -9:00 A.M.)

Valentine and Concerts February 15, 2019

Valentine’s Day Concert

Thank you so much for joining us at The Circular Church on Wednesday for the Valentine’s Day Concert. Your musicians blow me away every time. The talent that is in our class is astounding. Their ability to play instruments, sing solos in front of large crowds with confidence, and harmonize with others is unmatched. You should be very proud of their efforts and accomplishments!



In preparation for the March student-led conferences, your learners have been working hard on the process of assessing their work. During conferences, each student will share with you what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what their interests are in Math, Reading, Writing, and Specials. This week, your students spent time writing about their favorite book.  Ask your child what they do really well at school!

News Reporters

This week we started Journalism. To start off this unit, we staged a “newsworthy” scene in the classroom. Students were jolted up from Morning Meeting when the teacher yelled, “There’s an animal in the classroom!” Students were unaware that this was all an act and afterwards were asked to write about the action. Writers were thrilled to turn into reporters this week!

Important Dates

  • Monday, February 18th- No School
  • Tuesday,February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)

February 8, 2019

Morning Meetings

Our bright Fifth Graders started taking over Morning Meetings this week in class. This week’s topic was about bullying. Students were engaged in a conversation about what bullying looks like and feels like. Each week there will be a different topic that a Fifth Grader will present for the first 15 minutes of the day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.


Math Fun!

Multiplying fractions is no easy task, but here in Fifth Grade we’re making it fun! Students are loving Kahoot! an online game that allows students to figure out a fraction problem, and then use their iPads to select their answer. This game allows students to use their testing strategies to eliminate answers they know are incorrect with the game’s multiple choice layout, while also learning more about multiplying fractions and using their skills to solve word problems.  



This week researchers started diving deep into one explorer from Europe. We are learning all sorts of new things about the challenges that explorers face when leaving their home country to explore the “unknown” before maps were even made. Students are tracking the path of where their explorers have traveled and the materials they’ve picked up along the way. We are excited to present these findings!

Important Dates:

Thursday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day concert (1:30 @ The Circular Church)
Monday, February 18th- No School
Tuesday,February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)


Annual Fund Update

Thank you so much to all of you who have so generously donated to the Annual Fund. This year, to my delight, the Silent Auction raised more money than ever before. I wanted to take a moment to let you know exactly where your Silent Auction donation dollars are going…

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