Mrs. Elizabeth Murray
5th Grade Teacher
Education: B.A. in Communications from LaSalle University; Masters of Elementary and Special Education from Manhattanville College.
What inspired you to be a teacher?
After graduating from college, I took a corporate job at Verizon, although deep down I knew I wanted to be a teacher. When the timing was right, I went back to school for my Masters Degree, and this year marks my 4th year teaching 5th Grade at GCS.
Do you have any classroom traditions?
We start our day with a “Morning Meeting,” which is a time for each student to share a piece of news about themselves. Each year we typically have a few new students join the GCS family in 5th Grade, and this is a great way for the class to show respect for their peers by actively listening and it gives them an opportunity to learn more about each others’ interests and talents.
What are some ways you help your 5th Graders prepare for Upper School?
Fifth grade was my favorite grade level as a student, and I feel very lucky to get to teach 5th Grade here. This is a time for them to mature, gain independence and to “own” their progress and even their mistakes. An important skill for them to work on is time management, and Mrs. Greco and I work with them on different independent projects that help develop proper time management skills before they move on from 5th Grade. Problem-solving is crucial as they advance to the Upper School, so we guide them to start thinking out-of-the-box and develop confidence in the way they solve problems and make decisions. We also work on critical thinking skills, and thinking through a situation before acting.
What’s your favorite subject to teach?
I love teaching Math, especially when I can engage my students with lessons based on real-life situations and interactive lessons. They love our “Life in Numbers” project, where they describe and present aspects of their life (favorite meal, accomplishments in sports and activities) in math terms. At the holidays, I have them work on budgeting; they spend time looking through a catalog, and use a $100 budget to make their “wish list.” It’s fun to watch them make decisions - and to see that sometimes a high price makes them change their mind!
Are there any projects that your students looks forward to each year?
Each week, a group of students works in a small group for our “Newsroom” They read about the news, write summaries about the articles, and then each play a part in the newscast, as anchors and reporters. As the newscasts progress throughout the year, the students start finding ways to make their presentations unique, with props and sets. It’s a great way for them to learn to collaborate and present as a group, and it encourages the class to interact and form opinions.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love spending time with my family, and we have two great kids that keep us on our toes! Last year, one of my sons convinced my husband and I that we needed a dog because “we’re already a happy family, but research shows that dogs make families even happier.” We decided to rescue a cockapoo last year, and we all love having him as part of our family -- so I guess our son was right!