I am new to 5th grade this year. I finished my student teaching in a 1st grade class. I am alittle nervous about the "bigger" kids. Although, I am confident that WE will learn alot and have fun doing it. Please list your pros and cons about being a 5th grade teacher.
Fifth grade students are:
- have a great sense of humor
-get excited about new ideas
- full of energy
- compassionate and thoughtful towards others
- great leaders
- dreamers and problem solvers
How long have I been teaching? 24 years!!! I think you're going to love it!
I started with high school (7 years), and while I loved my juniors and seniors, I've enjoyed my 5th grade (this will be my 5th year with them) much more. They are old enough to offer intelligent responses to serious questions, but young enough that they still want to please (even though some are 'too cool' to show it). It's also fun having the oldest age on campus. They don't have the attitudes of the older ones (there are always exceptions), they still generally have a healthy fear of their parents (i.e. - "do I need to call your parents about this?"), but they are old enough that you can work through most situations by reasoning with them and giving them an opportunity to take responsibility themselves. They are very helpful, but can be very sneaky too..... It really is a great age to teach. Remember - they love to be treated like they are older and will let you know that, but secretly they hope you will still do some of the things you did with the younger ones. You are going to have a great year... keep your expectations high, and they won't disappoint you.
I do like 5th grade. I agree they can be sneaky... I caught a forgery or two and there were a couple of thefts this year, but generally, they are good kids and still want to please you. I find they do get a little lazy at the end of the year. They can be chatty and I had some girls this year that were REALLY not nice to each other. Otherwise, though, the others got along well and were really pretty good sports. Keep reminding them about responsibility and character. Make sure you reward the kids who show responsibility (kids who don't have a late library book all quarter, that kind of thing).
Make it clear that the less responsibility they show, the fewer choices they will have.
Don't assume they know stuff that you think the "ought to know". My kids really filled the entire spectrum this past year. One kid read with a DRA level of 8 (that's not even a 1st grade level). Others were gifted or close to it. Be ready for anything.
Centers work well. I do them once a week. I don't cover any new material that day. They rotate all morning through math games, BrainPop video clips, a science activity, computer activities, etc. They appreciate being able to work with others on some of it and being able to get up and do something totally different after 20 minutes. Plus, if you have kids that take longer, have work to make up, or need extra help, some kids can skip some centers and that's OK. I always have spelling activities for a center and my low level ESL kids always took twice as long on that.
Lit Circles are great... again... choices.
I would suggest putting the desks in rows and just allowing them to get into their groups when its time to do the cooperative learning. I have tried all kinds of arrangments and I always end up going back to traditional rows. They are just too chatty at the wrong times to allow them to sit next to each other at their normal "home base".
Great responses! I, too, love 5th grade. I responded to a question about the pros and cons of 4th grade, and my answers are really similar for 5th (I teach a combo class).
more capable kids
can go more in depth with subject areas (more fun for me!)
still pretty eager to please and respond well to praise
most are not "tuned out" to school yet
they "get" jokes and are fun to converse with
puberty. it seems to hit in the last few months of the year! !
more grading than younger grades
some sneaky behaviors- stealing, physical fighting, forging, trying to manipulate
I think what MissMe said is key as well- they want to be treated like they are older kids, but they secretly still want to do all the fun things the little ones do. I was so surprised at the positive reactions I got to things like games and activities I thought would be scorned and "babyish."
I taught 3rd grade for 7 years and then the school closed and I was offered a 5th grade position. I didn't really want it but I went on the interview and i got the job. It was the best decision of my life.
They get your jokes
They are little kids in big bodies
They can work independently
They love a challenge
THey understand when you don't feel well
They still like hugs
They still draw cards and pictures for the teacher
They want to know things that may not be in the curriculum
Teachable moments happen every day
Very little tattletelling
Big Projects are fun
This is when leaders and followers start
Tons of grading
Forgery of parent signatures (and the kids who do it will really surprise you)
don't like to proofread
get bored easily
would rather get things done than learn something about it
dating starts and puberty is everywhere
You will love them and they will love you! They crave discipline and want fun.
This will be my third year teaching fifth grade. I student taught 6th/7th and also did a month-long practicum in third. I think that fifth grade, especially for the 1st half of the year, is pretty much like the "little kids". They sometimes are a little more social, and more worried about what their peers think, but still like to please and are somewhat eager to learn. I personally would like to try third or fourth grade. I do like fifth, but just think that I would enjoy a bit younger better (but not too young). Coming from first grade will be an adjustment, but it will be a quick one. You will be fine! You might even enjoy fifth grade better; you can have conversations and jokes w/them that first graders just wouldn't get. Have fun!!
Although I don't have much to add (I mostly agree w/ what the other teachers have written), I just wanted to say that I LOVE teaching 5th grade. I'm going into my fourth year teaching 5th grade (other than that I student-taught third grade) and I love it. I don't know if I would like any other age group as much (4th would be okay).
It's funny, b/c it seems whenever I meet someone (mostly women) just graduating from school, they mostly want to teach the lower grades. I think b/c they are usually pretty young, they are nervous about having kids a little older. I try to talk them out of it all the time by telling them how great 5th grade is. (I won't go into my reasons b/c it's all been said already). Don't be so nervous - it will be fine. I bet we will hear back from you by the end of the year and you will be a devotee of teaching 5th grade. Good luck!
I was also surprised at how much I do love it. I only taught 3rd grade and under for 5 years before I went to 5th grade, and that was by accident (too long of a story)! I'm glad it happened and I don't regret it one bit. I couldn't see myself going to the younger grades again.
I don't know if you are going to be a departmentalized group or not, but in my experience with teaching 5th grade, we were. I teach my own homeroom reading and language arts. Then I teach three other groups social studies. I have found that forces me to work closely with the other teachers, and since we all teach the same students we all have the same funny stories, the same frustrations, and really lean on each other for support. Those relationships are not perfect and its almost like a system of sisters that you love/hate at particular times of the year, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I also think that they are a huge help when we have parent/teacher conferences for back up reasons. A lot of times the kids that are having issues are having them in each class they go to so you have some support when you need it. Working with 5th graders requires you to have a sense of humor or you will lose your mind and I think that we all get our giggles in throughout the year working so closely together. So I love the comraderie that 5th grade brings me!
I am going into my 3rd year teaching 5th grade and I LOVE IT! It is a great grade and for the most part the kids are great--I agree with most of the posts about the pros and cons-I think everyone nailed it. This is me 2nd career and I taught preschool for a year. I was also nervous about the older group, but my son had just finished 5th grade, so I had some experience with this age level. I'm not sure if I would ever want to change grades!!
I've been reading everyone's posts about teaching 5th grade. I just found out (1 week before school starts) that I am being switched from 2nd grade to 5th grade. I'm REALLY nervous about it, because i've never taught the older kids!! I'm used to working with the little ones. I love using morning meeting and the responsive classroom approach, but how do i do that in 5th grade? I know the kids are more independent and do not want to be treated like 2nd graders, so any ideas??
Also, any ideas on how to start out the school year...first day/first week kind of activities?
I am teaching a 5/6 split this year. I do morning meetings with my kids, I really like it, and I think they do too. They like to greet each other, if I forget they remind me! They are funny, they love jokes. For the most part I have good kids, I have a really small class which helps. They want to please you. I only have to praise one kid for doing something good and instantly they all get on task. I like my class but I will probably still try to teach a younger grade next year.
I just read your post and hope that you check back even though it has been quite a while. I have an interview this week for a 5/6 combined position. I have only taught 2nd grade alone and am looking for some advice. How is teaching a combined class different? Are students divided? Do you teach different skills to the 5th grade students than the 6th? I don't even know where to begin?
I have taught 10th grade, 7th grade, 1st grade and 5th. By far 5th grade is my favorite. I coach 7-8th grade softball and I don't know how I made it that year of 7th grade. Though high school was a blast to teach I wanted to be with my own kids at their school so I took a job teaching 1st grade. 1st grade was by far the HARDEST grade I have ever taught. Though I am glad I learned how to teach kids how to read. Believe me, if you have taught 1st grade you can teach 5th. The kids are eager to please and really fun.
DIFFERENTIATION! Teaching regular 2nd grade you still had your low, middle and high kids. Teaching a multi-aged classroom you would do the same. I think it would work out well because those who are higher can do 6th grade work and those who are lower can do or review 5th grade work. I don't really think there is much difference except you are responsible for 2 sets of state standards.
I LOVE BEING A 5TH GRADE TEACHER!!!!! One of the pros is that you can have more in depth conversations with your students when teaching. Also, it doesn't take 5th graders as long to do simple tasks such as get out their books for the next subject, or get ready for recess, or go the restroom,.....etc. When I was a substitute teacher I heard horror stories about 5th grade but I love it and wouldn't want to teach any other grade. Good luck this year!!!!!
I will be moving to fifth grade for a year. I've taugh second grade for the past ten years and I'm very nervous to be working with the older kids. What are some of the read alouds you used throughout the year. Any good ideas/activities for the first few days? I would appreciate any help. Thanks!