5th Graders see their projects come to life, whether they are walking the Freedom Trail or experiencing what it was like to live during colonial times.
Students entering 5th Grade go berserk learning about the Vikings, which kicks off their studies of North American history. The social studies curriculum features American history from the Pilgrims and early patriots through the Revolutionary War and Westward Expansion.
Colonial history is brought to life on Colonial Crafts Day when students immerse themselves in the period by dipping candles, making tin lanterns, and experiencing other period-specific activities. Patriot Evening, the American Revolution walk-through, and the creation of European explorer maps also provide students with hands-on learning that enhances the traditional classroom curriculum.
The study of American History culminates with a week-long trip to Boston and Philadelphia. History comes to life as the students walk the Freedom Trail and visti to George Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge. 

Homeroom reading and writing units are also aligned and cover personal narratives, fantasy, and informational pieces about the Revolutionary War.

Meet the Team

List of 4 items.

  • Bryn McCarthy

    Bryn graduated from Connecticut College, where she studied Human Development and Elementary Education. She continued her education at Bank Street College of Education in New York, where she earned her M.S. in Childhood Special and General Education. Bryn started her career in teaching at Marymount School of New York, where she taught kindergarten and second-grade. For the past three years, Bryn taught third-grade at Saint David’s School on the Upper East Side. After living in New York for ten years, she is thrilled to join the Carlthorp family and to return home to Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Outside of school, Bryn enjoys hiking, volunteering, and cooking.
  • Julia Ho

    Ms. Ho graduated from Hamilton College in New York, where she studied sociology and studio art, ran varsity track, and captained the women’s rugby team. After that, she was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which allowed her to earn a M.Ed. from Mercy College. She has diverse teaching experiences across the globe including The Lamplighter School (Dallas, Texas), a village in rural Namibia (Africa), and most recently, The Horace Mann School (New York). Her hobbies include petting cheetahs and diving with sharks, but on a more regular basis, Miss Ho prefers riding her bike and eating cupcakes—separately, of course.
  • Regina "Gigi" Niekrash

    Gigi is a University of Maine graduate with a B.A. in History and a minor in Elementary Education. She continued her education at Southern Connecticut State University, where she earned her teaching credential and master’s degree in History. Gigi started her career at Carlthorp as the library assistant and has since taught 4th and 5th Grades at the school. She took a one-­year hiatus during which she taught 5th Grade at Achievement First Charter School in Bridgeport, CT. She is currently in her 8th year at Carlthorp School and teaching 5th Grade. Outside of school, Gigi enjoys reading, cooking and watching football, especially the Patriots.
  • Janeth Zavaleta

    Janeth started working at Carlthorp School in 1999. Her first duties involved helping out in a number of classrooms. Thanks to those experiences she realized she had a passion for teaching. She then went on to receive both her B.A. in Liberal Studies and her multiple subject California Teaching Credential (K – 6) at California State University, Northridge. Later, she earned her M.Ed. from Indiana Wesleyan University. Janeth has been an integral part of the 5th Grade teaching team for many years. In her spare timeshe loves to travel. Her favorite activities include playing with her dog, Gordo, biking and camping.