5th Graders see their projects come to life, whether they are traveling through space or experiencing what it was like to live during colonial times. 
Five-Four- Three-Two- One...Blast off! There are so many engaging traditions that students eagerly anticipate, one of which is the study of space. The space unit is brought to life through a friendly competition where students apply the knowledge about spacecraft obtained in the Innovation Hub to launching an “eggstronaut” into space and returning it safely back to earth.
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.
Whether spending the night on the brig Pilgrim in Dana Point or embracing a week-long trip to Boston and Philadelphia, the 5th Grade students love every minute of these field trips, both of which tie directly into the social studies curriculum and make the past a present-day lived experience.

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 5 items.

  • Sachi Hillson

    Sachi completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and subsequently earned her Teaching Credential and Master’s in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She joined the Carlthorp School faculty in 2000 and spent a number of years teaching 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and then 5th Grade before becoming Head Librarian in 2009 with a Library Media Teacher Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. During her time as Librarian, Sachi was a member of the selection committee for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature. In 2015 she returned to the 5th Grade classroom in her current position. In her free time Sachi enjoys going to concerts and exploring Los Angeles with her husband Michael and son Trent.
  • Dylan Porter

    Dylan is a University of Kansas graduate who earned his B.S. in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Education with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction. His passions of teaching, traveling, and public service came to fruition when he was accepted as a Peace Corps volunteer. Dylan was sent to Moldova where he served as an English teacher to local students. Following his two ­year commitment in the Peace Corps, he continued to follow his passions by teaching at independent schools in the countries of Kenya, Nepal, and the Czech Republic before moving back to the U.S. He is now in his third year at Carlthorp School.  Outside of school he enjoys reading, running, yoga, hiking, swimming, cycling, travelling and spending time with his wife, Erin Murphy, who is a 6th Grade teacher at Carlthorp School.
  • Polly Weller

    This is Polly’s second year teaching at Carlthorp School. She was born in Hong Kong and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. She attended Colgate University in upstate New York, where she majored in Latin. Polly then moved to London, where, after completing her teacher training, she taught the equivalent of 1st Grade for three years. After a total of six years in the U.K., Polly moved to Los Angeles and earned a Master of Education in Teaching from Pepperdine University. In her free time Polly loves to read, spend time on the beach and go on hikes.
  • 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.
  • Stephanie Costa

    Stephanie attended the University of Delaware where she majored in Human Services and minored in Educational Studies. She began teaching the year she graduated. She then moved to New York City and began her year of service with City Year New York, which is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. 
    During City Year, she realized the importance of all children receiving a quality education regardless of their zip code, and that awareness made her want to work in a school serving high needs students in a low-income area. It was the following year that she began working at Success Academies in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, where in a culturally diverse K-4 elementary school she honed her craft and refined her teaching knowledge. There Stephanie was a kindergarten associate teacher, a first-grade lead teacher, a fourth-grade lead integrated co-teacher, and as a second- grade integrated co-teacher. While there, she also earned a Master of Science degree in Childhood Education and Special Education. 
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