5th Grade Team



Degrees and Certifications:

Stephanie Smolen

Hello Fabulous 5th grader!

Welcome to our class!  My name is Stephanie Smolen and I am excited to be your teacher this year!  I am so happy that we will all be back together at school! I am looking forward to building a great classroom community that is supportive, challenging in all the right ways, and full of important activities and lessons.  This is my 6th year teaching at Parkwood and my 14th year teaching in Shoreline.

I live in Shoreline. My husband’s name is Mark and we have three grown kids. Our twin boys, Sam and Ben, will be 24 years old in September  and our daughter, Angie, is 20. They all went to school at Briarcrest Elementary, Kellogg Middle School, and graduated from Shorecrest High School. 

When the weather is nice, I like to spend time outside walking in the neighborhood with my friends, riding my bike, and hiking in the woods with Rama, my favorite dog in the whole world. This summer we spent some time at our family’s cabin at Priest Lake. It was really hot when we were there and it was great!  We swam in the lake, went on boat rides, and drove up a mountain to pick huckleberries. Huckleberry pie is my favorite dessert! What is your favorite dessert? 

I look forward to getting to know you, your classmates, and teaching 5th grade again. Although it will be challenging at times, remember that we are on this journey together! As you get to know me you will see that I love to learn. Learning new things is often challenging but always worth it. I promise to always try to give my best effort, listen to other people’s ideas, and learn from making mistakes. I am looking forward to a fantastic, fun-filled, learning-filled year with YOU!



Degrees and Certifications:

Jan Pembrooke

Hello 4th & 5th grade students!

My name is Jan Pembrooke and I am excited to be your teacher this year! I am so happy to be in person with you. I am really  looking forward to building a great classroom community that is supportive, challenging in all the right ways,  and full of important activities and lessons.  I can’t wait to see you grow emotionally and intellectually.

This is my 32nd year teaching at Parkwood and my 39th year teaching overall. Prior to teaching at Parkwood, I taught in St. Louis for 3 years, then on Mercer Island, next came Briarcrest, and I wound up at the best school of all - Parkwood. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and Special Education. I have a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology. My husband and I don’t have children, but I am involved with my nieces and nephew even though they are all in St. Louis. I enjoy cooking, reading, playing with my two dogs , travelling, gardening,  and hosting  friends at dinner parties. Most of all, I love teaching at Parkwood because of our wonderful community, our “can-do” attitude, and.the caring attitude of our Parkwood staff, PTA, and parents.

  • We love supporting our Parkwood Panthers with the growth, increased independence, and greater responsibility that comes with being a 5th grader! We help students see their role in learning as a collaborative process through listening and being open to others’ perspectives in group work. Fifth grade is also a time for students to learn how some important responsibility habits like meeting deadlines, organizing materials, and advocating for themselves as learners can actually increase the depth and overall enjoyment of the learning process.

    In fifth grade we follow the Common Core State Standards, however we have specifically targeted some skills that are more critical for math success for this year and the years beyond. Please help us help your student by ensuring that they are experts in the standards below:

    5th Grade Math Essential Standards

    1. I can add and subtract decimals to hundredths.  For example, 20.81 + 467.3 = and 100.3 – 24.55.
    2. I can find quotients with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors, and illustrate and explain the answer.  For example, I can compute that 9,984 divided by 64 = 156.
    3. I can use parentheses, brackets or braces to express, understand, and evaluate order of operations. For example, in (26+ 18) - 4  = 11 or 3 X 125 -- 25 +7 = 22, I know which computation to perform first, which one to do next, etc.
    4. I can add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators using equivalent fractions.  For example, 2/5 + 7/8 = 16/40 + 35/40 = 51/40 = 1 11/40.
    5. I can recognize that a solid figure with n unit cubes has a volume of n cubic units.  For example, I can apply the following formula to find the volume of an object: V= l × w×h.

    Bridges in Mathmatics is our math curriculum. It is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

    Through teamwork & discussion, students will build a strong foundation in mathematics.  This applies to new learning or building upon concepts previously taught. Our aim is for students to not only to know how to solve a problem but understand the “why”.

    Reading Skills in 5th grade:


    Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

    Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

    Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


    Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

    Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.


    Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.


    Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.


    There are multiple writing Common Core State Standards for fifth grade. While all of them are important, the standards below are absolutely critical to a Parkwood fifth grader’s writing success this year and beyond. Please help us support your child by ensuring they are experts in the standards below.

    5th Grade Writing Essential Standards

    1. I can write opinion papers that gives my point of view and reasons for my thinking.
    2. I can write papers to explain and inform my readers about a topic.
    3. I can write stories that develop real or made-up experiences using descriptive details and a sequence of events that makes sense.
    4. I can write clear and focused papers where the development and organization are appropriate for my purpose and audience.
    5. I can use a graphic organizer to create a topic sentence and organize my ideas and evidence for a paragraph.
    6. I can use evidence from grade level fiction or nonfiction reading to support my ideas.

    Students will expand their learning and use the scientific process to design and carryout scientific experiments.

    Topics will include:

    1. Ecosystems/Environments
    2. Food Chemistry
    3. Astronomy
    4. Motion and Design
    5. Stem Activities
    6. Coding

    In social studies, the main emphasis of study is the beginning of European exploration in North America through the American Revolutionary War.

    1. European Explorers
    2. Colonial Times
    3. Revolutionary War
    4. States and Capitals

    We have regular classroom meetings featuring routines and themes taken from the Second Step curriculum. These meetings serve as a supportive and safe place for our students to learn new social and emotional learning strategies and to ask for help in solving problems.

    Second steps includes a variety of lessons that help foster social and emotional learning. Some of the concepts include, compassion, empathy, friendship, kindness, self-control, community, and to be an individual who is aware of themselves and those around them.

    Our fifth grade students develop interpersonal skills, emotional regulation, and problem solving strategies throughout the year.