Typically a child in the fifth grade is nine or ten years old, which is why these are the ages I will be focusing on in this post.
It has been an interest of mine to understand the thinking and doings of my fifth graders as a way to understand how learning occurs for them. When we look at some of their social and emotional stages we see that typically nine and ten-year-olds enjoy their family, peers, and teachers. I have seen this in the way that they love to work with their friends and when we share stories with each other during circle time, most of the time their stories are about what they love most: family and friends. Though they are generally happy kids they do tend to anger quickly, however, their forgiveness seems to follow shortly after! This shows me that they are more sensitive to resolve friendships as well as fairness challenges.
Taking a look at the “thinking” or the cognitive stages I have noticed that fifth graders are very eager to learn. They pay close attention to details and enjoy rules and logic, which is what makes them great problem solvers! Even though they can be detail-oriented they tend to jump quickly between interests which could lead to somewhat sloppy work until they learn to integrate these skills. By taking note of these skills, I believe that fifth graders will benefit greatly from student-choice options with their learning as well as working collaboratively during class assignments.
While I have just generalized the children in fifth grade, it is important to recognize that each student is an individual and so these observations will vary from student to student. In being the guiding piece for my students’ academic life I am able to provide the necessary tools that they need to thrive in and out of the classroom. With providing student choice to my fifth graders, it allows them to feel a sense of value for their work. They are able to find their understanding and express it in a way that is unique to them, and that is where they bring their value to this classroom community.
Ojose, B. (2008). Retrieved from http://math.coe.uga.edu/tme/issues/v18n1/v18n1_Ojose.pdf
Wood, C. (2015). Yardsticks: children in the classroom, ages 4-14. Turners Falls, MA: Center for Responsive Schools, Inc