If you ask one of my fifth graders this year or many of the others who have journeyed through my classroom over the years, you are bound to learn something interesting about about what we did that year. My guess is that it probably has nothing to do with math or English or history. It is probably something random that I said or did that stuck with them and at random times got repeated. Despite the randomness that is needed when working with fifth graders, one goal in my class is to help transition my students from elementary school to junior high.
Throughout the course of a school year, every fifth grader in my class has heard about the need to be responsible. From the first day of school all the way to the last, we talk about becoming ready for junior high. We spend time organizing desks, keeping track of papers, and figuring out a system to help remember to do homework. We visit the junior high on various occasions to see what life is like, and I answer many questions about what life will be like when they make the jump “across the street.” All this is done with the goal that when each fifth grader leaves the elementary school for the last time when the summer vacation bell rings, they will be able to face junior high ready to tackle the new adventure that awaits them.
Not every one of the fifth graders who has come through my classroom is one hundred percent responsible when they enter junior high. Many have learned the hard way that not studying for a test or completing an assignment has consequences. We all struggle. We all forget. At the end of the day, whether the day has gone smoothly or we have had to rearrange everything because of a schedule change, we give God thanks for helping us.
The school year is winding down. The fifth graders’ elementary school days are counting down. The come-to-one-room, have-everything-in-one-place days are almost over. I say a prayer for each student that they will find success in their junior high time and give thanks for the year we had together.