"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible." -Arthur C. Clarke
The fifth grade is an important transition year as students move from elementary to middle schools. They are leaving one identity and growing into another. Having the opportunity to learn skills needed to be able to make that shift with grace and confidence means becoming grounded in the shift of increased responsibilities needed by rising middle school students. It can be an awkward period for many, a time to explore ideas and learning how to participate in dialogue as young adults.
Some learning opportunities offered to her students spring from Ms. Janet's love of the outdoors, at this point primarily hiking, whitewater and camping. For the first fifth grade overnight offered in the spring of 2008-09, students camped in the Nantahala Gorge, rafted 8 ½ miles of the Nantahala River, participated in climbing the Nantahala Outdoor Center's Alpine Tower and trying the swing by choice events. Mindful of the importance of doing community service, students and parent volunteers also did a roadside cleanup of a section of Lake Fontana. This effort, coordinated with NC DOT, produced two pickups full of trash!
The rich variety of resources found in Western North Carolina offers unique activities and field trips throughout the school year that directly relate to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. For most students, learning though hands-on and participatory activities, whether on location in the Great Smoky Mountains, area trails and waterways or in area museums and businesses, make lasting impressions and deep connections to topics studied. These opportunities help anchor concepts and make learning especially exciting and meaningful.
Fifth grade is a big transition year for many students; they're not quite middle schoolers yet but also, in their minds and bodies, don't quite feel like they are in elementary school any longer either. Because of these changes, there is a lot of opportunity for growth. One aspect of growth is learning to take greater responsibility for learning, some students from the terrific class of 2011-12 made these observations about how they could contribute to their own learning.
Study for math tests every night. (JS)
Listen to the teacher. (ZC)
Work hard. (EV)
Be responsible for your own actions. (CJ)
Listen and you will learn. (CB)
Listen really closely to your teacher. (JW)
Study for tests. (JP)
Put your best effort in everything. (CC)
Listen to my teacher when she talks. (DJ)
I care for and don't destroy the classroom supplies. (TP)
Listen in math reading and the teacher. (CN)
Stay on track. (GK)
Do your best. (GK)
Write in your planner and put your homework in your home folder. (KVM)
Study extra and always turn in all your work. (GS)