As a science teacher, sixth graders can go one of two ways; love you or hate you. Not "me" specifically, but perhaps the coursework and Science itself. From first grade to fifth the students are pretty much still excited about learning about planets, dinosaurs and all of the creatures of the Earth! The curriculum gets a little more "sciency" as they get to sixth grade, with the addition of subjects like matter, energy, sound and light, rocks, geology, etc. These concepts aren't as easy for them to see or understand visually. They understand it, they just don't get so excited about it. Solar system models = fun. Anatomically correct dummy with removable body systems = fun. Pictures and videos of animals in their habitat meeting their needs = fun. But when it comes to sound waves, continental drift, barometric pressure and other such concepts, it becomes more "work" to them than fun.
Add in half of the sixth graders just beginning to enter puberty and getting pre-teen attitudes and it makes for interesting times, cliques, passing of notes, gossip, dirty looks and sighs!
This year's sixth grade class has changed so much since I first taught them in second grade, this is my fifth year with them. Some have come and some have gone. Some have improved greatly, both academically as well as socially/attitude wise. Some, on the other hand, have kind of been separated socially and formed their own little group...their grades have subsequently fallen as has the level of effort that they put forth.
My class is 14 girls and 2 boys, and they say that girls tend to lose interest in science and math as they get older...and it shows with several of my sixth graders. I do what I can to keep them interested, but the curriculum doesn't help much with the previously mentioned "super boring subjects" that we have to power through in the final term of their Primary School careers.
Well, I figure since these kids have been a part of my almost daily life for the past five years, and that they will soon be separating and going to different high schools (high school here is year 7-12), that I'd give them their own collage post so that they will always be remembered in the pages of Pae-and-Guy! Oh, the above picture is a little out of the ordinary in that most of the girls' hair is down and all messy. They had just gotten back from swim class and were all putting hair conditioner in their hair as I was walking around snapping pix. They are usually wearing pony tails or pig tails with blue or brown bows. Part of the school uniform.
I actually made three more collages with the kids as you would find them between classes, on Facebook, pretty much socially. These are the three "cliques" in this year's sixth grade class. The funny thing is that the picture above has the group that can intermix with the other two groups. Outside of one student who consistently has the class's lowest scores, this bespectacled group tend to do the best in class with minimal effort and they are, mostly, mild mannered. They probably would fit into the "Nerd" category in most schools. Lovable nerds, not awkward, outcast nerds ;)The next group, above, would be the "heart of the class" clique. The gossipers, the laughers, the players, the popular (amongst themselves) kids. They pretty much run the class! Many of them weren't here in second grade, but transferred in from other programs or other schools. They mostly struggled their first year in the English Program, but now have adjusted and most of these six do pretty well. One of them still copies and does minimal work, but still manages to pass with an occasional surprise high test score.Our last group can be seen whispering in each other's ears as the other kids are laughing and being loud together. The twins used to be a big part of the class, before the kids started to clique up, and their personalities started to grow into what they are today. They have gravitated towards just cruising on their own with their friend who joined us when they were fifth graders. They still interact well with most of the glasses group and most of their bitter whispers seem to be directed towards the "popular" group. They spend most of their time just the three of them. Two of them do well and the other needs a lot of improvement. Their combined effort could be a lot better, plenty of room for improvement.
It's interesting to see the group dynamic now compared to when they were more innocent little third graders. It's interesting to see them interact both within their little groups that they gravitate towards as well as when they mingle with other groups during class or during their lunch period or after school.
All in all a bunch of good kids. We have fun in class even during what they consider the doldrums of science...the subjects that are boring for them. I end up just dancing around like a clown and making a fool of myself to keep things interesting! Haha...but nothing like anecdotal evidence that the things we study actually can be seen or noticed in real life, with a humorous or even self deprecating slant to make them laugh or to get them thinking ;) Good luck sixth graders!
Spring Break at the Rigg River Ranch (April 2014)
9 months ago