Building a Championship Team

All year long my fifth grade class talks about champions. What is a champion? Are champions only athletes? Are champions only famous people? Heavens no! All of us can be champions!

By Anne Mechler, Fifth Grade Teacher | May 22, 2015
Building Championship Team

All year long my fifth grade class talks about champions. What is a champion? Are champions only athletes? Are champions only famous people? Heavens no! All of us can be champions!

Championship Team Wall

What does this champion talk look like in our room? Well, first we have the Wall of Champions. I have dedicated a prominent part of our room to an area where we post real life champions. There’s a big focus on champions who have overcome major obstacles. The champions change each year depending on who we’re learning about, but this year we have the crew of Apollo 11, the first responders on 9/11, Albert Einstein, and children’s book author Patricia Polacco. I always focus on the struggles they faced. Polacco for example was dyslexic and struggled with reading. She saw the other students in her class making sense of words on a page, but all she saw were lines and scribbles. It wasn’t until she was nearly 14 years old that she finally learned to read. And now she’s a highly successful children’s author! This is the kind of champion I love to tell my students about.

The other way we tie this message into our class is by saying that all year long we are “building our championship team.” I tell them that I’m the coach, and we’re all on a team together. We want to be a championship team!

I use championship language all the time. I say things like, “Are you doing your personal best? Are you working like a champion?”

When we’re taking a test, I put a sign on our door saying, “Champions at work!”

This championship team language is so great because it ties in so well with all of our learning in the classroom. We find historical champions, math and scientist champions, current events champions and of course—it’s fifth grade after all—sports champions.

Our championship team works together. We overcome obstacles. We learn how to fall and pick ourselves back up. We know that just because we make it past one big, difficult hurdle that we’re not done. There will be more hurdles. We learn how to work together. We are a team!

Here is a quote that hangs in our room:

Championship Team Quote

I love that it uses the word when instead of if. Our class is made up of champions. We put in the hard work every single day.

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