5th Grade

Shirley Parrott, 5th Grade PACE


Fifth grade PACE is a room where kids learn to take responsibility for their own learning. They become independent learners, able to handle the challenges of Middle School when they leave. Students work in reading groups, developing their group cooperation skills, their fluency and their comprehension. They create projects that they develop on their own and present to the class.
In math, not only do they work in Math Expressions, but they also work on their Independent Math, progressing at their own rate. We have a fun and unique way to learn about the United States. The students participate in a simulation of an early American colony and they attend Pioneer Farms on an overnight field trip—milking the cow, doing chores, and learning and appreciating the hard work that a young man or young woman had to do every day, besides going to school.
We discover how to help our earth, and we visit the Brightwater Treatment Center. We see a play and listen to different types of music. The students learn how to ask questions of adults and learn to advocate for their own learning.
The parents are an integral part of the classroom—they teach, they work with small groups and individual students, they listen to students read and give oral book reports, they help with correcting, practicing flashcards, art lessons, field trips (two overnight trips), and listen to kids when they need a listening ear. They are our partners.


I was born in Livingston, Montana, and my early years were spent on a chicken and sheep ranch in Wilsall, Montana. My father immigrated to the United States from Norway when he was 20. He worked as a shepherd on one of the ranches until he was able to purchase his own ranch. There were seven children in my family, and since my middle name is “Jo,” my family called me JoJo.  Our ranch didn’t have running water or an indoor bathroom, so I grew up with a two-hole outhouse. I shared a bedroom with my four sisters, and loved the animals. I didn’t like to feed the chickens, but I did like to feed an occasional lamb!

I moved to Renton, Washington and attended Issaquah schools, because I lived right on the border of the district. At that time, Issaquah was very rural with many farms. The school district hadn’t passed any levies for about 11 years, so it was a poor district! Quite a change from today.

I worked my way through Seattle Pacific College, enjoying both chemistry and biology, and received my Masters in Teaching from Grand Canyon Unversity and my National Board Certification in Literacy in 2010. I accepted my first teaching job on the Port Madison Reservation in Suquamish, Washington in 1978. I spent many years in that district teaching special education, kindergarten, second, third, and fourth grades. I spent my last few years there supervising LAP, gifted, ELL, behavior programs, and mentoring teachers. I accepted a job teaching a split 5/6 classroom at Woodin Elementary in 2011, and came to Lockwood to teach 5th grade PACE in the fall of 2013.

I have three children. David, who majored in computer science and creative writing worked at Amazon for years and this summer moved to Boston. He and his wife, Janice, have three little boys, ages 3, 6, and 8.  Julie and her husband James have four children, ages 2,4, 6, and 8. Julie majored in Environmental Science and Art. They bought our house on Lake Ballinger and inherited the pirate boat that my husband made. Brian and his wife Michelle live in Saudi Arabia. Brian majored in Biology and earned a scholarship to get his masters in Biological and Chemical Engineering at KAUST, in Saudi Arabia. He ended up staying there and accepting a job with the oil company. He creates robots that do all sorts of things, such as clean the insides of the large pipes. He and his wife are expecting twin boys on my birthday!

I don’t currently have any pets, but in the past I have had tropical fish, dogs, cats, gerbils, spiders, snakes, and rabbits. I love to walk on the beach and look for unique things–it’s relaxing! I love to read and crochet when I make the time.

I love teaching! I love seeing the sparkle in a student’s eye when they finally understand something that was difficult to learn. I love seeing kids who have never liked writing or reading suddenly devouring books and writing during their free time. I love coming up with unique ways to teach kids. I love having parents in the classroom. I love talking to kids! I love teaching.