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    fifth grade
    By DM

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    I have taught fifth grade for 4 years and LOVE the age! They're young enough to still respect you (usually) but old enough to form relationships with. In terms of discipline, I have set up a rewards system in my classroom. I give out tickets for certain things: good behavior, organization, completing "extra" work, 100s on tests, etc. They can use their tickets to "buy" candy, homework passes, and other little treats. They can also lose tickets for things like forgetting supplies, bad behavior, etc. The kids LOVE this system. It really motivates them and they don't think it is childish at all. I also have a consequence system, but I hardly used it at all last year. If a child misbehaves (disrupting class, disrespect, etc.) then they have to sign their name in a notebook and then they owe recess time. A form goes home to their parents explaining the behavior, and both child and parent must sign it and it must be returned. The student also loses part of their recess time. If the student continually acts out, I call home and send the student to the principal. But, I have to be sure that I don't overuse the notebook, otherwise it loses its impact and the kids think it is a joke. The behavior has to be fairly significant in order to have to sign the notebook. Does that make sense?

    In terms of keeping notes, 5th graders need to be taught how to do this. In my experience, they don't do anything like this in 4th grade. Start out slowly and really guide them, and they'll catch on. I think it is a necessary skill that should be taught early, but not overused. Fifth graders still respond really well to hands-on learning, and I have found this to be the best way for them to retain information. I give a short 5-10 minute lesson and then get them into an activity in which they can practice that skill. They enjoy it more, and have fun learning.

    Hope this helps a little! Good luck - I am sure you will enjoy this age group!!

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