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 4 items.

  • 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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  • 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.