For the last four years, Leslie Grimmell has spent hours creating questions to use for the Fifth Grade Challenge. As the show’s question maker, Leslie reflects on what students should know by the end of the fifth grade, and uses those standards to craft the questions local professionals answer during the game.
Leslie is an Elementary Integrated Curriculum Specialist on the Elementary Integrated Curriculum Team. She works to provide direct support to schools on a regular basis by working with staff to facilitate effective instructional practices and student achievement of rigorous content for all students in all subject areas.
For the upcoming school year, she will be returning to a school-based position. The MCPS Educational Foundation would like to thank Leslie for her four years of dedication to the Foundation’s signature event and wish her luck in her next role within MCPS. LampPost reporter Jaclyn Turner was able to interview Leslie about her contributions to the Fifth Grade Challenge, and shares her answers below.
How do you come up with questions for the Fifth Grade Challenge?
I consider what students need to know and be able to do by the end of Grade 5. I review the standards, indicators, and curriculum in each content area. I also review the questions from the previous years. The focus is always on what do students need to know and be able to do.
What were you trying to convey about the MCPS curriculum with the questions you created?
Montgomery County Public Schools’ curriculum is rigorous. While the questions we pose at the Fifth Grade Challenge are interesting and highlight key concepts and skills students need to know and apply by the end of fifth grade, just as important is the need for students to understand and know when and how to apply creative and critical thinking skills as well as academic success skills. When students apply critical and creative thinking skills and collaborate by sharing and explaining their thinking, they are applying the skills that are essential to lifelong learning. In our MCPS classrooms, students receive explicit instruction in and have opportunities to develop and apply these important skills.
What aspects of the elementary curriculum do you think is most important to retain post-college?
During the 5th Grade Challenge, the audience receives a glimpse into students’ use of critical and creative thinking skills as well as academic success skills. These concepts and skills are essential for success as our students prepare for life in our 21st century society.
Which ones did you think were particularly difficult this year?
The questions that had multiple correct responses and questions where a claim was made and the responders had to explain if the claim was correct were more difficult.
Read more from the interview, here.