Tell me about 5th grade

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by laf10, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. laf10

    laf10 Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I'm a high school sped teacher (resource English). I taught self contained high school before my current job, but there is most likely going to be a 4th and 5th grade resource (pull out) job next year and I'm really thinking about switching, but I have NO experience with any students other than high school, so tell me what 5th graders are like, specifically if you have students with (resource level) special needs. My biggest complaint about my high schools is apathy. There is very rarely any sign of enthusiasm about anything. Ever. Do 5th graders still get excited about learning? Are they hitting hormonal/attitude stages yet or does that come later in middle school? I think I'd really like this age, but I'd love to hear from teachers that work with them every day!
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I have never taught high school, so I can't make a comparison that would be super helpful, but I'm in my second year of teaching 5th grade. I *love* this age. I think it's the best of both worlds - they can do higher level, independent and collaborative things like middle schoolers, but they still have the excitement and attitude of elementary schoolers (for the MOST part). They still love and respect their teacher, especially if you give them opportunities for choice and collaboration. They're just learning who they are, which I find to be really exciting. They are also very interested in the world around them and problems in the world (homelessness, racism, etc). Some are hormonal, and the boy/girl stuff picks up speed, as well as the girl drama, especially in the second half of the year. However, so far in my own experience it's been mostly harmless stuff, nothing too major. I actually really like teaching this age because they are figuring those things out - social situations, etc. I haven't really had terrible attitudes in 5th. Usually, when a kid starts to have an attitude, we can solve that through an honest conversation. I try to give my kids lots of choice and keep things very fair. I explain to them why I do things. They really respect that at this age.

    5th graders are VERY chatty and MUST be given opportunities to collaborate and discuss with each other. They care deeply about what their peers think. This can be tricky because, in my experience, sometimes students with special needs feel defeated and embarrassed about needing resource pull out at all. Some students really don't mind it, though.

    4th graders are pretty similar, except they are less mature, in my experience. I like them, but I like 5th better. ;)

    I think if you are looking for a love of learning and less apathy, you will really love 5th. Keep things interesting for them, include choice and opportunities for discussion and collaboration, and they'll be happy campers!
     
    Obadiah, desert flower, laf10 and 2 others like this.
  4. laf10

    laf10 Rookie

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    Jan 28, 2016

    Thanks so much! I'm hoping this job opens up!
     
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  5. desert flower

    desert flower Rookie

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    May 31, 2016

    After teaching 3rd for 14 years, and 4th this past year, I'm super excited to head to 5th next year!
     
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    May 31, 2016

    To 5th graders, socialization is very important. Harmless and creative pranks are common, especially on April 1. They like to understand school rules and will desire to discuss them when a conflict arises. For example, the school where I taught 5th grade required socks with shoes. Unknown to me, the students organized a conference with the principal concerning this, and she came to the classroom to explain the rule. It was a calm and pleasant discussion, especially when the principal held her nose before discussing "stinky feet" and the class giggled. I've known several examples of 10-year-olds who made life changing positive decisions due to something learned in the classroom; one became a scientist and made an important discovery that benefited the company he worked for due to 5th grade science lessons.
     
  7. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    May 31, 2016

    Many special education students are becoming very aware of the fact they learn differently and/or are not performing in the same level as their peers at this age. I had two on a first grade level this year. One worked as hard as possible, the other was definitely very apathetic because he didn't feel he was going to improve. Self-esteem issues run rampant at this age.
     
  8. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    May 31, 2016

    I agree with everything already said here, and I also agree that for some of my students who get pulled out it is becoming a source of embarrassment. We try to be very matter of fact about it, no commentary, and the pull out teacher gives them treats (like special pencils, nothing THAT fancy) which makes them feel more positive about it. I generally don't do tangible rewards in my class but I think it's fine in that case. Some of the kids who go to pull-out are especially spacey and struggle with organization. I'm not sure if that's just my specific students or common in the grade level. And yes, the girl drama/ catty behavior can be annoying.

    Just wanted to add - I was focusing on adding NEW details, but it reads as negative :) Overall, I really have loved 5th grade! They are a lot of fun.
     

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