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.




Graduation! May 31, 2019

How We’ve Grown

This week we opened our height strings that we measured ourselves with at the beginning of the year to see how much we’ve grown over the Fifth Grade year. Many students were surprised by how much they have grown over the year. We not only talked about how much we’ve grown physically, but also how much we’ve grown academically and socially over the year. Many students talked about how much confidence they’ve gained. They feel prepared and excited for Sixth Grade. It is sure to be another great year for them!


Wrapping Up Westward Expansion

To wrap up our Westward Expansion unit this week we presented our papers and visuals to Fourth Grade. Historians taught about things like the Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, and covered wagons. Fifth Graders also displayed their visuals that went along with their papers, some students made covered wagons while others showcased WANTED posters to go along with their papers about cowboys. It was a great way to end such a fun unit.



Wow! There are so many emotions that surround graduation; sad feelings, happy feelings, nervous feelings, and many more. This week was all about wrapping up curriculum, preparing students for end of year festivities, and saying goodbye. Graduation and Field Day were beautiful ways to end the year and say goodbye to the school they’ve grown up in, the friends they’ve made, and the teachers that prepared them over the years. Thank you again for all that you’ve done to make this the best year ever! Have a great summer!

Heartbeats! May 24, 2019

What’s Your Heartbeat?

This week we have been doing experiments in Math to find out what our target heart rate is. We checked the number of heartbeats at a resting state, and then did jumping jacks, increasing by 10 each time to see how our heart rate changed. Mathematicians concluded that their heart rates raised until a certain number of beats and then leveled out. Students then decided if their exercise was more beneficial or not depending on their target heart rate. Ask your student what their target heart rate is!



Scientists this week observed a model of a stream being formed. Our focus question was: How do weathered rock pieces move from one place to another? We watched as a soil and clay mixture reacted with a standard flow of water, and how the mixture reacted with a flood-like flow of water. Fifth graders watched as the water absorbed into the soil mixture and as a “flood” occurred, the stream table overflowed and began to travel quickly to the other side of the table. Students then described the model using landform vocabulary such as, canyon, valley, stream, and river mouth.


Head of School for the Day!

On Wednesday, our Second Grade Head of School was in our classroom asking questions about our Fifth Grader’s time at The Cooper School. She asked questions like, “What has changed since you started at The Cooper School? “ and “What has stayed the same since you started?” She also asked about our Fifth Graders’ favorite foods! We had a great time talking with her and it was exciting to hear how her experience was going.

Important Dates:

Monday, May 27th- Memorial Day! No School

Thursday, May 30th- Graduation Day! Half day

Friday, May 31st- Field Day! Half Day (Last day of School)

Memory Lane May 17, 2019

Analyzing the Text!

Our 5th Grade students learned about analyzing texts in order to understand events better while diving into their Westward Expansion books. As historians, it is critical for them to know not only what happened, but why. They should ask themselves, “Why did it happen that way?” We started by reading a passage from, The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal book. Scholars were encouraged to share their thoughts with a partner on what happened in the piece they read, and why! The exercise broadened their critical thinking skills and allowed the class to analyze texts in a new way.


Memory Lane!

This week, our 5th Grade class shared fond memories of their extensive experiences throughout the school year. At the top of the list was the GRP field trip, which kicked off the school year. This memorable trip was an important bonding experience for students, which has left a lasting impression in their minds and hearts. Students remarked about their time together in class and how they have grown in so many ways. The Halloween Parade and so many more memories became part of the discussion. Please ask your child what their fondest memory is of 5th Grade.  

Organizing Writing!

5th Grade scholars began to organize their writing this week by making sure certain elements, like headings, all matched and looked neat. Students learned that writers accomplish this cohesive flow in their texts by making matches and patterns in words, structures, and meanings. We read multiple texts and looked at how to effectively organize heading and structure to be matching sets. Students felt confident in accomplishing this organizational task.

Important Dates:

Monday, May 20th-24th- ERB Testing Week

Monday, May 27th- Memorial Day! No School

Thursday, May 30th- Graduation Day! Half day

Friday, May 31st- Field Day! Half Day (Last day of School)


Preparations May 10, 2019

Area and Volume!

This week mathematicians have been calculating difficult real-world mathematical problems. Students have been making conversions and multiplying dimensions to find the area of an athletic center. Students have also been learning about fish-tank guidelines that relate the length of a fish in inches to the volume and surface area of water needed to keep fish healthy. Mathematicians used many different strategies to come up with the best fit for both the athletic center and the fish tank using area and volume.


Field Day Prep!

Students have been working on creating a materials list and design for their Field Day activities during Centers this week. With only three weeks to go, students are completing their plans and preparing to construct their games. Our theme for this year is endangered animals! Each student is planning a game that incorporates an animals on the endangered species list.


Research, Research, Research!

Students have completed their first research paper on Westward Expansion and have picked a subtopic to research in more depth. Their first report opened their eyes to dive deeper into a topic they were interested in developing in more detail. Writers picked topics such as James Marshall (the first person to “strike it rich” during The Gold Rush), the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, and daily life on the Oregon Trail. Students used texts, internet sources, and their previous research paper to help find information on these subtopics. Students will soon complete their paper and a Westward Expansion class book will be produced!



Important Dates:

Monday, May 20th-24th- ERB Testing Week

Monday, May 27th- Memorial Day! No School

Thursday, May 30th- Graduation Day! Half day

Friday, May 31st- Field Day! Half Day (Last day of School)

Let’s Compost! May 3, 2019

Composting Worms

Scientists have been studying living systems for the past few weeks. We put together a composting worm habitat and have been observing these worms weekly to see the progress of our “scraps”. Students added newspaper shreds, soil, sticks, and leftover food to create this habitat for our red worms. On Wednesday this week we observed the jars and students were amazed at how much of their food had been decomposed by the worms.



We have been discussing persistence during Morning Meetings and throughout the day as we near the end of the year. Students are encouraged to keep the momentum moving as they prepare themselves for their sixth grade year. On Wednesday, we wrote down the different ways we will stay persistent throughout this last month. Some students said they will get more sleep at night in order to focus better, while others said they will try their very best on the upcoming projects and tests. Ask your child how they will stay persistent!


Difficult Words

While reading high-level non-fiction texts, students (and adults) sometimes stumble upon words they are not familiar with. This week readers identified these difficult or unfamiliar words and worked through different ways to understand what the text is saying. Some students used context clues in the texts, while others asked peers for help recognizing these words. If readers could not define what the word meant, and it was stifling their comprehension, students looked up words in the dictionary.


Important Dates:



  • Thursday, 5/09 SUP & Kayaking Trip
  • Friday, 5/10 11:30 Dismissal
  • Friday, 5/10 Pass It On (5pm-6pm @ The Scottish Rite)



We are Historians April 26, 2019

Let’s go on a mission!

In Centers this week students got to go back in time and see what it was like to be on the Oregon Trail by playing this exciting game with classmates. Students had to catch their own food, escape illnesses, and make their way west across the country. Centers is always a fun and exciting time for students to step out of the normal curriculum and experience hands-on activities that support what we are learning in class.


Wheat Grass

Scientists this week discovered what nutrients a plant needs to survive. We completed an investigation where we planted wheat grass in a cup. One cup was covered with a black bag, allowing no sunlight to the plant. The other cup was covered with a clear, plastic bag to allow sunlight to the plant. Students observed the condensation in the bag from the natural evaporation cycle that is involved with living plants.


We are Historians

This week, Fifth Grade writers have been researching and drafting informational writing for our Westward Expansion unit in reading and writing. Each writer chose a topic they were interested in such as the Transcontinental Railroad, covered wagons, and The Gold Rush. They then used texts to research this topic and pull information from these texts to take notes. On Thursday, students acted as historians adding their own opinions on their topic. Ask your child what they are writing about in class!


Important Dates:


  • Thursday, 5/02 SUP & Kayaking Trip
  • Thursday, 5/09 SUP & Kayaking Trip
  • Friday, 5/10 11:30 Dismissal
  • Friday, 5/10 Pass It On (5pm-6pm @ The Scottish Rite)



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



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…

read more


The Cooper School