Hello and thank you for visiting my website!
My name is Jenifer Bazzit and I’m a teacher in Oklahoma. I teach fifth grade but I have, at one time or another, taught all upper elementary grades and subjects.
Fifth grade is the most fun grade to teach (in my opinion) because my students are a little bit more savvy and they are developing amazing little personalities.
I named my site “Thrive in Grade Five” because I have met soooo many teachers over the years who were starting in fifth grade and were absolutely terrified. I don’t know what it is about 5th grade that makes new teachers think scary thoughts. Maybe it’s because (in many places) 5th graders are the oldest students in the elementary school or maybe it’s because many people think of K-4 as “sweet little ones” and when they hit 5th, they turn into adolescent monsters. I’m not sure, but I wanted to make my website a place where 5th grade teachers could find resources, new ideas, teaching strategies, and etc.
So, 3rd, 4th, 6th grade teachers, I also love you and want to help! I think you’ll find that my blog posts and resources also apply to you!
You may wonder why my site is done in red, white, and blue… It’s because social studies is my first love and most of my resources focus on social studies.
Let me tell you a little story about my teaching career. When I started teaching 5th grade (over 12 years ago), we were departmentalized and I was the math teacher. I loved math and that’s all I wanted to teach. One year, our numbers were down and we had to lose a teacher, so I got moved to ….gasp…. 5th grade social studies!
I was so ANGRY! I knew nothing about these old historical guys and who cares about the American Revolution anyway…gripe…gripe. However, I liked my job and wanted to stay employed, so I sucked it up.
That first year, I taught right from the textbook. I was actually reading the lessons the night before I presented them. I had no clue who some of these historical people were and I couldn’t remember any of the historical events from when I went through school.
Guess what happened… I fell in love with social studies that first year! I was fortunate enough to be chosen to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute that summer and that solidified the deal for me. Social studies instruction is my passion! I love being the first teacher to ever introduce Jamestown, the Pilgrims, the American Revolution, and so on to students. What an honor it is for my classroom to be students’ very first exposure to the Constitution and Bill of Rights!
Our students need to know how our country started and what our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) went through to get us to this great nation that we call home. They need to know what the Constitution is, how the Branches of Government work together, and what their rights are.
I enjoy teaching other subjects and I have resources and ideas on this website for teaching things other than social studies but you’ll find soooooo much about social studies in this blog and in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
When I was a student myself, I remember being taught history straight from the textbook. “Read chapter 4 and answer questions 1-6.” I don’t use textbooks in my classroom. Partly because they’re old and falling apart and but mostly because I like to make history jump off the page. I like to use interactive, engaging lessons and activities with my students to help them feel like history is something they want to climb into and research in their free time.
My greatest compliment from students is when they come back to see me after a few years and they tell me how much they loved my social studies class and how they love history now because of me…. So sweet!
Aside from school, I am married and have two adorable children. Miriam is 4 and Elias is 2. They keep me busy and I love every minute with them! This is a recent family picture from Elias’ 2nd birthday party. It’s not perfect but nothing is ever perfect with toddlers and we just roll with it!
You may be curious about my credentials… Here they are!
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Master of Education in Reading
Certified Reading Specialist
12+ years as an upper elementary classroom teacher
Teacher of the Year
Teacher of Today
Presenter, Oklahoma State Social Studies Conference
2x Fellow, Mount Vernon Teacher Institute
Participant, Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute
Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities
Fellow, Glider Lehrman Summer Institute
Independent Contractor for a virtual learning program
If I can help in any way, please email me!