Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Ms. Christovich Uses Capitals References to Teach Her Kids

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 11.05.59 PM.pngPhotos: Ms. Christovich

Did you know that the mean of Alex Ovechkin’s goals over his first eight years in the league is 46.4, the median is 48 and the mode is 32? Well that’s the kind of math that you get to learn in Ms. Christovich‘s fifth grade class at Sterling Elementary School! Christovich uses her love for the Washington Capitals to teach her kids lessons and even converted some new fans herself. 

“At the beginning of the year, I had one student that wore Capitals gear almost every day. Her family are very big Caps fans so we instantly had a connection. After talking about it so much and sharing my interest with students, a lot more of my students are interested in the Caps,” Christovich told NoVa Caps. “They come to school so excited to tell me that they watched the game the night before or saw a Caps bumper sticker. They recognize the team logo so much and they always want to hear about the games when I go.”

Christovich has noticed the amount of interest in academics has increased when sports references are applied.

“Sports absolutely keeps my students engaged. I have a lot of fifth graders that look up to professional athletes so I try to connect my assignments and lessons to sports as much as possible since it’s a high interest for my students,” Christovich said. “It gives them real life experiences to relate to and I’ve noticed how more interested they are.”

Christovich decorates her classroom with Capitals rally towels that she collects from the playoff games she’s attended. One fun thing she does with her “Unleash the Fury” rally towel is that she keeps it hung unless the classroom volume gets too loud. When that occurs, she holds up the towel to cue the students to lower their voices because it’s not the time to “Unleash the Fury”. Her favorite subject to use Capitals themed material is math.


“Students seem to enjoy math a lot in our classroom. We just finished our statistics unit which was heavily based on sports references and students were so engaged the entire time and they showed a strong understanding of the content,” Christovich said. “Homework isn’t always the most exciting but when students saw their Capitals themed homework they actually cheered!”

Christovich isn’t the only teacher at Sterling Elementary that shows spirit for her hockey team. It turns out that Sterling Elementary School is a house divided as some teachers pull for the Capitals while others, including the principal, back the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Within the faculty and students are some fun and playful banter that have only increased as the Capitals and Penguins are currently battling it out in the playoffs. In fact, Christovich wasn’t the only teacher to make her class’ homework hockey themed. Over on the fourth grade side, Miss. Finney made her class homework Penguins themed.

“We joked about playing each other in the playoffs and last week it became inevitable. We have joked with each other’s classes all week, making playful comments in the hallway or teasing each other,” said Christovich. “The three fourth grade teachers and I got to enjoy Game 2 on Sunday which was so fun to share with our students on Monday morning and of course it was even better that we got to celebrate a Caps win! Our school is like a family so while the playoffs add a little bit of tension, it has also added a lot more fun and spirit in our classrooms and throughout the hallways!”

There’s one thing that the sport of hockey and school have in common, the fact that the entire school year runs throughout the course of the hockey season. When students head off for the first day of school in either late August or early September, NHL training camps begin a few weeks after. As the seasons change from autumn to winter, the hockey season is in full effect. As the weather gets warmer, 16 hockey teams are left in the spring as each club chases their Stanley Cup dreams.

Christovich has seen her students grow throughout the year and she will certainly miss them as they begin the middle school chapter of their lives this upcoming fall.

“Being a teacher hardly feels like work because of my fifth graders. I have enjoyed watching them grow so much this year. Fifth grade is a big year as they get ready for middle school,” said Christovich. “I love being a part of their growth and all of their elementary memories. I have great relationships with my students. We have so much fun and are so spirited in my classroom, just like the Caps!”

Christovich’s class will be cheering on the Caps as they look to finally defeat the Penguins in the playoffs and secure bragging rights in the school. Whether the Capitals win or lose there is one thing that will never waiver, the impact Christovich has made on her students and her class cheering the team on in ALL CAPS.

By Michael Marzzacco

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2 Responses to Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Ms. Christovich Uses Capitals References to Teach Her Kids

  1. Dan says:

    Terrific story…especially since although it features sports, hockey and our beloved CAPS, it also shows the care and attention teachers are giving their students and the enthusiasm and love of learning that is produced.

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