Fifth Grade: Responsibility and Mastery
As the beginning of the last years of elementary school, fifth grade marks a milestone in the life of a student. Fifth graders can see where they’ve been, and the anticipation of the future creates excitement. Their enthusiasm for taking in new information is overwhelming, and it is the year that they become aware of and start developing their own opinions. They learn to have questions and, most important, begin to realize that they are the stewards of their own education. The benefits of daily opportunities to participate fall squarely upon them. The teacher feels the responsibility of showing them their importance as individuals in the learning process and their importance within the class. At this age, it is a family atmosphere more than ever, where the students share each other's concerns and celebrations. During class discussions, they listen to each other's questions and learn to respond to each other rather than just responding to the teacher.
Student-Directed Learning and Hands-on Projects
Through the idea of student responsibility for their fifth grade education to the spiraling of assignment difficulty, and the evolution from teacher-directed to student-directed learning, our students optimally complete fifth grade with a level of confidence in their own ability to tackle challenging material and be successful. Fifth grade is textbook- and objective-driven. In reading and math, skills are introduced and practiced and then returned to later in the year, allowing a second opportunity for mastery. Hands-on projects don’t drive the learning, but rather the project evolves from what’s happening within the classroom. Ultimately, the project is not the learning but the memory of what was gained through the learning.