6th in Elementary?

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by bison, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Apr 17, 2015

    So in my area, 6th grade tends to be either middle school or in elementary. It just depends on the district. I've never worked in a district where 6th is elementary, so I haven't seen it since I was a 6th grader myself. Now, I have a couple of teaching interviews lined up (for my first actual credentialed teaching job) where this may be an option, and I was just hoping to get some feedback on what the kids are like, how you might run a class, differences from 5th, etc. Really any thoughts you may have, just to familiarize myself a little more. I prefer upper elementary in general, so I'm thinking it may be something I'm interested in. Thanks so much. :)
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    The positive things about 6th grade in elementary is that they don't mimic the attitudes of middle schoolers so they can be "cool". They still want to please the teacher. You can still do fun projects with those students. They also love to be peer helpers for the younger students in the school. That age group in elementary school is just lots of fun!
     
  4. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Apr 17, 2015

    Love to hear that, thanks Swansong!
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Apr 17, 2015

    They can, however, have a little of that "big fish in a little pond" attitude.
     
  6. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Apr 18, 2015

    I student taught in 6th in elementary, and now I teach 5th. It was self-contained. I actually really liked it. I think there are disadvantages - they can have that attitude lynettstoy mentioned. But I also agree with swansong. However, I was there in the fall, and I've heard the spring is a little heavier on the attitudes, which makes sense. Now that I'm teaching 5th, I would say 6th really could go either way. End of the year 5th graders (which I imagine are very similar to beginning of the year 6th graders) are not really that old. They definitely still want to please the teacher! The school I was in had 5th/6th grade recess, which worked well. The 6th graders had special activities at the end of the year, including a trip to a local amusement park and a graduation. I've heard of schools departmentalizing in that type of situation, which would be a good option since they're kind of elementary/middle schoolers.

    If you like upper elementary, I think you would really enjoy it! Though 5th is my personal favorite. ;) Good luck on your job search!!!
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I should go on record as being a fan of grades 5-8, which is middle school where I am. I have worked where grade 6 was in the elementary, but they changed classes and teachers the same way they would in MS. There is no doubt that hormones are starting to kick in by sixth, but I could say the same for fifth. Let's face it, they are hitting puberty at ever younger ages, and that does affect the girls, maybe a little more than the boys. But I like these grades quite well, and I even like the seventh graders, who have a tendency to whine and complain, but they are still fun. Eighth graders start the year on top of the world, and then get a solid dose of reality as they pick classes for high school and realize that they will soon be the little fish once more. I have stated before that it is the itty-bitties that I am not so fond of, and it is less about their personalities and more about having to be in charge of everything from wiping noses, tying shoes, and having to walk them single file everywhere they go. I appreciate some self reliance and independence. I like HS, but they have some quirks, too, and are sometimes a handful.

    Just as I never wished away my own son's childhood by saying "I can't wait until he is old enough to _____.", I can appreciate that the differences and opportunities to watch these guys mature is a type of gift, and I appreciate getting to be part of the process. Give them a chance - they may surprise you!
     
  8. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Apr 18, 2015

    Thanks so much for the input, everyone. Immensely helpful and my fear of the big scary 6th graders has been put to rest. I love 5th grade for many of the same reasons. Still kiddos who want to please, but not quite at the full-on raging hormones stage. Plus digging a little deeper into the content. I'm really crossing my fingers for 5th or 6th at this point, but the job market here doesn't really allow for pickiness quite yet.

    Yellowdaisies, I haven't been active here in a while, so I see that you moved! You would not BELIEVE the sudden change in the market down here. It's still rough compared to other regions, but I have multiple preliminary interviews my first year applying and hiring season is just barely starting. I still don't expect to get anything, but for the first time I'm actually optimistic (and glad I waited another year).
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    That is AMAZING!!! I'm so glad to hear that things are *finally* picking up down there. It was just ridiculous for so long. I think this will be your year! :thumb:

    One thing I will say for 6th grade - their social studies content in CA is AWESOME! Ancient civilizations would be SO FUN to teach! We took our 5th graders on a middle school visit and the 6th graders were working on ancient China. As much as I love teaching US history (because I do!), I was a little jealous, because it just looked like so much fun!
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm glad I'm reading this thread.

    My district is restructuring our schools from K-5 and 6-8 to K-6 and 7-8. Middle school administrators are stoked about only having two grade-levels to deal with and elementary administrators (ME!) are stressing out.

    Thinking about recess time: If I plan for 4th, 5th, and 6th to go to recess together, teachers will have less yard duty. If I plan for 5th and 6th only, teachers will have more yard duty. However, I'm not sure if 4th-6th will be okay together on the playground.

    Any thoughts?
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Where I have worked, sixth doesn't recess with the younger kids. Could be because of lunch schedules, but I suspect it is more about that large fish in a small pond attitude coupled with the increase in physical maturity. I know that doesn't help you much, but it has been my observation.
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I'm in a 6-8 building. I like that the 6th grade is on one floor while gr 7 & 8 are on the other. It allows our students to settle in.
     
  13. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    How big of an outside area do you have?

    I know that we've had (fairly mild) issues this year with the 5th graders getting annoyed with the 4th graders because of their immaturity - and we have very sweet 5th graders. The gap between 4th and 6th graders is pretty large. I could see there being issues, but I'm not an expert. Without knowing what else is involved, it seems to me that recesses would be best split up as K, 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6. However, my own small elementary school was K, 1-3, and 4-6. We had an ENORMOUS outside area, though. Absolutely gigantic. It was a rural school. I think space makes a huge difference.

    It's really interesting to me that your district is doing this. I've always though K-6 was the old model, and K-5 was what everyone is moving to. I assumed the K-6 districts have had that model for a long time and just haven't restructured.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My district went to having 6th in elementary a couple of years ago. Even though I attended a K-6 school myself, I think it's a terrible idea! All of the other schools I've worked in have been K-5. The 6th graders are ready to be out of elementary and their behavior and general attitudes are terrible. Our 6th grade teachers also really resent that they're now elementary teachers (rather than middle school) and have never really gotten over it, even though it's been a couple of years.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Apr 18, 2015

    It's a large area.

    Currently, recesses are: K (all alone, but 6 kinder classes), 1st & 2nd (8 total classes), & 3rd, 4th, and 5th (10 total classes). The upper grade teachers (3rd-5th) love it because they have much less yard duty than the primary grades.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    All of our students, JK to Grade 8 all have recess at the same time. The kiddies have their own yard, the grades 1-3 play in one area of the yard and the grades 4-8 in another section.
     
  17. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    In my district, 4-6 are all at recess at the same time on the same yard. It works well, in my opinion. I agree with many posters in this thread...by keeping 6th in elementary, the 6th graders are socially allowed to still "kids" rather than "teenagers", and it is very evident (like someone said, they aren't trying to be "cool" to impress 7th+8th graders, which I have seen in my other district that has 6th in middle school). Because of the difference in mentality due to being in elementary still, the 6th graders aren't too old or rough for the 4th graders on the yard, in my opinion.

    Our yards have pre-k and K in the kinder yard, 1-3 on the primary yard, and 4-6 on the upper yard.
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    What I'm thinking is:

    •K (alone due to scheduling conflicts with RtI)
    •1st-3rd
    •4th-6th

    Currently, we have three different recesses and it looks like we'll do the same next year. My principal hates doing the master schedule and leaves it completely up to me.

    As you can see, I hate waiting to do things at the last minute. I feel as if I keep things as organized as possible, things will run smoothly.
     
  19. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    my school is PK-8, but 6th-8th are considered middle school. I really like it. I worked for 1.5 yr in a 7-8 middle school and I felt like the 7th graders had a very rough transition. They were in a self-contained class in their own 6th grade wing, lunches, and recess time. I like having 6th grade in middle school bc then I get to hit the curriculum hard in 7th grade. Also, speaking completely selfishly, I LOVE teaching 6th graders, and I wouldn't be able to if middle school wasn't 6-8.
     
  20. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    I just interviewed for a position that was 6th grade elementary. I'm actually a little nervous about what to do if I get it. :eek: Not because I don't think I can handle the kids, it just feels so old for them to be in elementary. I started middle school in 5th grade!
     
  21. janis

    janis Companion

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    Ours is moving to the jr. high next year, which is a VERY bad choice. Being the "leaders" of an elementary does so much for these kids. Now they'll be the low man on the totem around high school kids. Some haven't even started puberty...
     

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