Mrs. Joanne Greco
5th Grade Teacher
Education: B.A. in Theater, Fordham University; M.S. in Education, University of Bridgeport. CT Teacher Certification, Elementary Education, K-6.
How long have you been teaching at GCS?
I began my teaching career in the New Canaan Public Schools, and joined the Greenwich Catholic School family as a 5th Grade teacher in 2013. Teaching is my second career. I took a corporate job at Estee Lauder after graduating from college. It wasn’t until my daughter was heading off to college herself that I took a leap of faith, and decided to pursue my true passion by becoming a teacher. I share this story with my students each year to remind them that they can be lifelong learners, too. The skills they are developing right now will serve them well throughout their whole lives, whether they are early or late bloomers!
What are some ways that you help students prepare for the Upper School?
Fifth grade is a big year for our students. It is their last year in the Lower School, as they look forward with excitement (and maybe a bit of trepidation!) to Upper School next year. An important part of my job is to support my students in developing the executive functioning skills they will need to make that transition as smooth as possible. We work throughout the year on attentive listening, organization, prioritizing, time management, and self-monitoring. It’s the best feeling in the world when former students tell me their 6th grade year is “going great!”
What are some traditions in your classroom?
One yearly tradition in my classroom is the 5G Mercy Ships Fundraiser. In 2013, my first year at GCS, I was looking for an end-of-year activity that would allow my 5th graders to put into action some of the Virtues of the Month we had been discussing all year. I remembered having seen a 60 Minutes profile on Mercy Ships, a Christian charity that brings medical and dental care to parts of the world that lack these critical services. I decided to introduce it to my students, and they jumped right in to help! During the final few weeks of school that year, they brainstormed ways to use their talents and skills to raise funds for Mercy Ships. They formed groups, set goals, and got to work. Each year since then, my kids have stepped up to support this amazing charity, and I am happy to report that, to date, the 5G Mercy Ships Fundraiser has donated well over $6,000.00!!
What is the focus on English/Language Arts during 5th Grade?
In our ELA workshops, students use a weekly menu to choose from a variety of Daily 5 activities designed to develop their reading and language arts skills. Each day, they are listening to reading, responding in writing, completing word work, reading to others, and reading to themselves. At the end of each day, they have had a full “meal” of literacy! Our goal in 5th grade is to support our students in developing reading comprehension skills, and raising the quality of their writing across all genres.
Do your students participate in any cross-curricular projects?
The 5th Grade Science & Engineering Fair is a great opportunity for our students to develop skills across many subject areas. In science, they develop facility in using the steps of the scientific method to answer questions or solve problems. They use math skills to look closely at their data, and analyze it for trends. During computer, they create charts and graphs to represent their data in picture form. In art, they work on display board design techniques. It all comes together in some very impressive projects!
How do you keep busy when you’re not teaching?
The beach is my “happy place”, and in the summer, that’s where you’ll find me. It’s my favorite time to catch up on all the reading I don’t have time for during the school year. I’m also a big NY Mets fan, so I’m sure I’ll be catching a few games at Citi Field this summer, too!!