More of the FUN in Fifth Grade!

Well everyone, I am now beginning the fourth week of fifth grade…
And I can honestly say, I’m still having fun!
Here’s an amazing little thing called “Homeworkopoly” that I discovered at
It’s basically the best motivator ever to get my kiddos to actually do and CARE about their homework!  The rules are: If you do your homework every single day with no excuses, exceptions, or absences, you get to play Homeworkopoly on Friday afternoons.  Community Chest is now Community Lunchbox, which earns you lunch with the teacher.  Chance cards include prizes like “first in the lunch line,” “free homework pass,” “sit in the teachers chair for one lesson,” etc.  You get the idea.  Ahhhhh! The little things that get your kids excited about school and so glad to be in your class. 🙂

Here’s our class quilt that we created the first week of school.  I’m pretty proud of it, I’m not going to lie.  The kids each created a square that included 4 squares within:
Square 1 – Their name
Square 2 – Something they are good at or love to do
Square 3 – UCLA (our class college)
Square 4 – What “College for Certain” means to them
I was pretty impressed with what they came up with.  I’ve produced quite the little artists.  You should have seen their jaws drop when I told them there could not be any white showing on their square. 🙂  Of course, after all the dramatics were said and done, I think they were pretty shocked at what they came up with too.
And, one of my favorites occured today with this little gem:

The kiddos earned their last “class point” and voted on having a cookie party to celebrate their hard work.  Well, what better book to read while we ate our homemade chocolate chip cookies?
Now, this is not your average storybook.  And I always let the kids in on a little secret before I read this book.  This book is not for babies or little kindergarteners.  It’s got jokes that only fifth graders will understand.  It’s basically Dick Tracy meets the cookie jar with some awesome cookie humor within.
But of course I have to thank my amazing mentor teacher, Joni, for introducing me to this amazing book!  The kids adore it, and love that they are old enough to get the jokes.  Haven’t heard of it yet?  Go grab it from Barnes and Nobles or Amazon when you get a chance.  It’s a keeper.
And so, I leave you with one last little tidbit from the joys of teaching 5th grade…
A boy in my class raises his hand.
(This boy clearly has not learned how to whisper yet…)
“Ms. Friedrich, I’m having a problem.  My teeth are really hurting.  But I brushed my teeth this morning so I don’t get it.”
Holding in laughter and a calm teacher face.  Students around us do the same, looking to me to see if they’ll get in trouble if they laugh…
“Jacob, I’m not really a dentist, so I don’t really know what you want me to do for you.  How about a drink of water from the fountain?”
“Yeah, that should work.”
Haha…glad my teacher hats include a dentist one now too.

Club de Espanol

So there are several cool things about this school year:
First and foremost, I’m teaching 5th grade, which is one of my favorite grades to date.  4th was pretty good, but 5th takes the cake easy.
-About 14 of my students of mine were in my class last year.
-This year, we get an afternoon recess.

Now, the kids are usually the ones excited for recess, but I’m pretty excited about our afternoon recess this year because I’ll have a little time each day to see my kids as kids, rather than my college-bound students.  I hold them to pretty high expectations in the classroom, so it’s nice to take a break from that and chat with them as the normal human beings they are.

Last year, I had this idea that I never fell through on.  The idea was that once every so often, I would invite the kiddos to my classroom for lunch and we would have a Spanish Club.  The hope was that we would pick a topic to discuss and the students would only talk in Spanish, so that I could learn (along with any other students who wanted to learn Spanish).  I selfishly wanted to start this mainly so I could learn Spanish.  I’m a Cuban girl, and I only know a handful of words and phrases, so who better to teach me than my students!  The sad thing is the year got busy, our schedules were crazy, and I’m not going to lie, I would just plain forget.  So we never did hold 1 Spanish Club meeting…

However, this year, now that we have the gift of afternoon recess, our Spanish club is now outside.  It began very impromptu.  I told 2 girls that I had last year that I really wanted them to teach me Spanish this year.  So they began to teach me.  We started with what we like to call “Question of the Day.”  They ask me questions (easy ones, thank goodness!) and I see if I can answer them using the little Spanish that I already know.  If I don’t know, they simply teach me what to say, and I repeat it back.  Or I try my best and say, “Como se dice….?” and they help me out.

There’s 3 great things about this little Spanish club that has randomly formed:
-I learn Spanish
-My kiddos feel excited to teach their teacher
-And, I get to bond a little more with my students.

Let me say it again, I LOVE FIFTH GRADE!

a pledge

So meet one of my favorite delights…


Well this year, I’ve decided to make a pledge to saving my precious teacher dollars and make more coffee at home.  I’m allotting myself 1 treat day a week.  The hope is that I will do something amazingly wonderful with all the extra cash I’ll be saving.  What that something is, I just don’t know yet.  Maybe a sweet vacation?  Or dolla’ bills in the car fund?  I’ll let you know when I’ve decided.

Today was day 1. So far, so good. 🙂  Let’s see how it goes!

Week 1 – Done and Done!

I made it! I am officially done with week 1 of my 2nd year of teaching!  Though my class is not yet complete, it was a pretty darn good week!  I have room for 30 students, but so far, 23 is the magic number.  Let me tell you something.  Whoever those 7 kids are, they are going to be the luckiest kiddos! 🙂 But for now, they’re missing out on all the fun of 5th grade with this rockin’ teacher.

Being a teacher, you plan and you plan and you plan.  And sometimes you overplan.  But sometimes you can’t plan for everything.

I found out 6 days before the first day of school that my grandpap passed away.

So, this past Wednesday was a tough day for two reasons: 1) my kids were left with a sub on just their second day of school and 2) it was the day of Grandpap’s funeral.  They say “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.”  Well, apparently I can handle saying goodbye to my favorite man on earth and running a classroom of 5th graders. 

On a lighter note,

Meet the Friedrichs…

We seem normal, right??
We’re actually a crazy group of people who actually get along!  We hang out on a regular basis.  We play soccer together.  We host family talent shows.  We tell bad jokes.  Even better, we all laugh at those bad jokes. 
And the man who started this amazing family is my Grandpap Friedrich.
He will definitely be missed, but I thank him more than anything for teaching me a few things:
-The Sunday Crossword in the Sacramento Bee.  I can still hear him now, “Did you do the puzzle yet?  Timed myself this morning.  Took me an hour and eight minutes.”
-Heart means more than talent.  He came to almost every soccer game that he could fit into his schedule, and each time reminded me that I play “just like my dad!” In other words, SCRAPPY!  Other than my dad, he was my number one fan.  Every Saturday night he’d call and leave a message, “What time’s the game tomorrow?”  He’ll still be at every game.  In my heart.
At the end of the day, your family is still your family.  There aren’t really re-dos in that department. So appreciate your family for who they are and love ’em anyway. 

Welcome to Grade 5

And so begins another school year!  I’m lucky enough to be one of the surviving “new teachers” who did not find myself with a pink slip come June.  Aspire Public Schools believes in keeping the “highly effective teachers” rather than keeping teachers based on seniority or tenure. 

So, a few days ago, I came back to my same room, and began decorating for the new year. 

I knew I wanted a change this year, but I also wanted to keep with the blue and yellow theme, as UCLA is our class college. After some long hours and some help from my mom and my good friend, my room became the beauty it was for the first day of school!

I am really proud of the way it turned out, and I think my kids are in love with their new home!