4th vs. 5th?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by yellowdaisies, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Dec 11, 2015

    I'm in a unique situation because my school is expanding next year (opening a new building) and we are adding classes at every grade level - so I can basically choose my grade level for next year.

    Right now, I am in my second year teaching 5th at a K-5 school. I taught 1st at another school for my first two years, and am not interested in going back to primary.

    I am considering 4th grade. I do love 5th, but I get along very well with the 4th grade teachers (we are going from 2 to 3 teachers in 4th and 5th), and I like their content fine. I think I may like their math and science content better. I would probably miss teaching colonies and the American Revolution. 4th is CA history, which I also like ok, but maybe not as much as I like U.S. Reading and writing seem pretty similar, with the exception of some books that are ok in 5th but may have content too mature for 4th.

    What are some of the differences between 4th and 5th? I have a few in mind, but I'd like to hear from others, especially those who have taught both grade levels.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    4th graders are babies before Christmas! I taught 4th for three years before switching to 5th. I'll never go back to 4th if given a choice!

    I think 4th is a harder transition for many than 5th. There is a huge jump from what is required of 3rd graders, not only work load wise, but with responsibility and reading to learn instead of learning to read.
     
  4. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Even though my 4th grade S.S. curriculum is about Maryland, we still teach the American Revolution and colonies!

    And just my own two cents - I would be more concerned with who my grade level team would be than choosing between the grades themselves. Not sure if that is something you would be able to know ahead of time.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I have taught 4th and 5th. IMO, The students are just as enjoyable in 4th as 5th. The behavior is actually a bit less challenging. The first part of the year is a bit more of a challenge in getting 4th graders to think critically and do complex problems. They do like to please their teacher a lot and work fairly well in groups.

    Where 5th trumps 4th is in the curriculum IMO. 5th has US history and usually a better Science curriculum. I don't think you will mind the 4th grade curriculum, but it does get old a bit quicker than 5th grade does.
     
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  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It sounds like curriculum is different. We have world history for fifth grade, and Virginia Studies in 4th. I like the 5th grade curriculum a lot better.

    4th graders have a lot fewer behavior issues, and are closer to teacher pleasers. My observations about the academic side are virtually the opposite of what everyone here is saying though... I think the jump between 4th and 5th is a lot bigger than between 3rd and 4th. At least here in Virginia, 4th grade (outside of social studies) is largely an extension of 3rd grade, while 5th grade brings in a lot of new content. From my special ed days, fifth grade was a lot more difficult for students than 4th grade was.
     
  7. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Our 4th grade is CA history, so we definitely don't touch on the colonies. The Gold Rush is very interesting, though, as are CA missions. I don't think I would hate it at all, though I've completely forgotten most of it - it's been awhile haha.

    The grade level team is THE reason I'm considering this. I'm in a bad situation this year that is...unpleasant. Let's just put it that way. My partner and I don't collaborate well together. It's made me realize how important the adults we work with actually is. However, I get along extremely well with the 4th grade team, both of whom plan to stay next year. I would be the third person in a team I already know.

    I actually like 4th grade CA science standards a lot better than 5th. I think I'd only really miss human body. I'm not sure about NGSS. We aren't switching to that until 2017. 5th grade tests in science, which is another point for fourth grade. I hate having that science test because we have to be done teaching science two months before the year ends. I know I would miss 5th grade social studies.

    Ancient world history is 6th here, with more world in 7th, and US again in 8th. I know in math I see a bigger jump between 3rd and 4th than between 4th and 5th. 5th grade math is basically an extension of 4th - same concepts, just going to higher levels. ELA in 4th and 5th are pretty similar. I haven't spent a lot of time looking at 3rd grade standards - I probably should!
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Never taught 5th grade, but I will give you my perceptions and observations as to why I love 4th grade over any other grade level, especially moving up to 5th or 6th.
    1. Kids still like you and want to please you.
    2. They get your jokes and sarcasm.
    3. A student can have a really rough day with you, lots of discipline, whatever, next day...."hello mr. so and so, how are you today"...upper grades, they start to remember the day before and influences how they see you the next day.
    4. they still think kissing is gross and don't start "liking" others until later in the year and upper grades
    5. They still like really silly art projects, singing, acting foolish and they still like when the teacher does. they are easier to please and more innocent.
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Great observations! I would say at my school #1, 2, and 3 are true in fifth as well as fourth. #4 and #5 are true for some kids and not for others. We have a fairly innocent student body (in a good way!) overall. I think there are many places where I would not want to teach 5th or 6th, but I do love it where I am. #2 is SO true in fifth. They are actually really hilarious. I'm glad that would exist in 4th, too, because I love that about my kids.
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I think I'd be kind of bored in 4th - even though I wasn't in 3rd. I spent more years in 5th than any other. They aren't as sweet the second half of the year, but they get jokes better than 4th and the literature is more interesting. Plus, I don't like 4th math.
     
  11. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Why do you think you'd like 3rd better than 4th? Out of curiosity. :)

    Also, what don't you like about 4th math? It seems like a watered down, less difficult version of 5th. Same concepts, just lower level. Less decimals. AKA: possibly easier to teach. haha. I would not miss double digit divisor division....blech.

    I totally agree with the literature. That's honestly the biggest issue with 4th for me. I've been thinking of the books that I may have to drop that I love - Wonder (because I've claimed that as a 5th grade read aloud at my school), the Shadow Children series (questionably appropriate for 4th I think), The Girl Who Could Fly (another yearly read aloud that is 6th grade level and probably not 4th appropriate), etc etc. I adore the higher level, meatier, more controversial 5th grade literature. They are able to start dabbling in low level young adult books, and I love that about 5th. I would also be worried that some books 4th could potentially read would be a little out of their depth of understanding as far as meatier topics go - Wonder and Out of my Mind come to mind, and there are many others. 5th graders are just so great at deep understandings of those difficult topics. I'm not sure 4th would be the same way.

    The literature is my absolute favorite thing about teaching 5th, actually.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I have not read or heard of the literature youo posted but there are some fantastic books you can read with 4th graders. I don't think the literature in 4th should be an issue at all.
    I have done the following novel studies with my students in 4th.
    1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    2. Holes
    3. The Westing Game
    4. Island of the Blue Dolphins
    5. My Side of the Mountain
    6. Esperanza Rising
    The only book I ever wanted to do with my 4th graders that I could not do due to content was one scene in The Giver.
    So much great literature you can do iin 4th grade.

    I don't think you should be concerned about that at all.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I used most of those with 5th grade, actually, so I agree that they are great books. But, 5th graders were so much more able to discuss themes and connect on a deeper level. I know that's totally subjective, but that was my experience. 4th grade math always seemed like review of 3rd. I just enjoyed the higher expectations in 5th grade. I really loved using Hands On Equations to introduce them to algebraic equations. Like you, I enjoyed American history with 5th, though I thought the curriculum got a bit bogged down in facts they would never remember.
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    That's what I wonder - how well 4th graders can understand and discuss books on a deeper level. That's my favorite thing about 5th graders, so it's definitely important to me.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    At first, I was thinking, "Why would she want to move down to 4th? She seemed to be in love with 5th!" :confused:

    After reading this part of the story, though, I'd totally move down to 4th!
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Yeah, I do love 5th...and there's the rub. However, I don't know that I wouldn't love 4th, I guess... I'm still not totally decided, though. 5th was new at my school last year, so I helped build it - units, field trips, special activities, etc - and it would be hard to leave that.

    I had 3 years with teammates who I clicked well with, so I didn't realize how important that component was until this year.
     
  17. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have taught both 4th and 5th, and 5th is by far my favorite. I didn't care for the 4th grade social studies (Nebraska history) and writing. I can't tell you why exactly, but the writing was much more limited. Developmentally, 4th graders are babies until after Christmas. It just seemed like they were much less independent and much more inclined to tattling and other "elementary" behaviors. I love 5th because they are old enough to be more self-reliant, are starting to get more cerebral, and understand my dry humor better. At the same time they are still kids that love stickers and want to please there teachers.
     
  18. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Thanks for the response! I think I am strongly leaning towards staying in 5th. 4th graders really do seem YOUNG until January. We have 4th/5th electives, so I do work with 4th graders three afternoons a week and there's a big difference between them and the 5th graders at the beginning of the year.

    It's funny because I taught 1st for two years, so 4th and 5th should both seem mature to me. But after a year and a half in 5th, that's no longer the case. ;)
     
  19. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I enjoyed my 3 years in 5th and occasionally think of going back due to issues with a coworker. But, I LOVE 4th. It's my spot. The kids are the perfect age to really get excited and want to learn. I'm sad when they leave at the end of the year. At the end of 5th grade I was ready to see them leave. lol
     
  20. Teachling

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    I did 4th grade for two years and the rest of my career has been in fifth grade. I definitely like fifth grade better, particularly not having to deal with writing. However, having said that, I'm so hating how the district is trying to micromanage ELA and math. I'm considering getting out of teaching altogether or looking at either 3rd grade or teaching middle school. I'm currently teaching one subject and so it has me thinking about middle school. I'm also dealing with challenges that has me thinking about 3rd grade. I know I couldn't do younger than that.
     
  21. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    By "deal with writing," do you mean 4th graders in your state are assessed in writing specifically? That used to be the case here, too, but I don't think that's happening anymore with SBAC. I'm not sure if that will change, though.

    Micromanaging is the worst. :( I hope you're able to find a better fit for you!
     
  22. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Yes TX still will be assessing writing in 4th grade and this year they've changed the format so that students can do the test in one day rather than the two days as they've done the past few years. The micromanaging has gone to a new level and they way it's going I think will end up costing more bad than good. Everyone who is not a classroom teacher thinks their ideas will prove to be the cure all and fix the problems, no common sense or awareness of reality is ever considered in the planning o implementation. It's just forced on the teacher. There's a lot of dissatisfaction district wide and many teachers are considering leaving next year.
     
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  23. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've not taught fifth but I've taught fourth and sixth. Fourth grade would win every time when deciding between those two! But fourth is absolutely as old as I want to teach so I'm not sure I should put in my two cents.

    But if it is a decision is between a grade level or a congenial team, go with the team every time! This year I have a great team, but last year we had a moron who thankfully was fired and it made us all miserable until he was canned.
     

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