Monday, May 23, 2016

5th Grade Walk Out

5th Grade can be a fun and trying age to teach. Students start to develop their sense of self at the same time the curriculum gets harder and the hormones kick in. Needless to say it has its ups and downs, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

When I started teaching 5th Grade I actually came at a great time because so many things began to change and new traditions were just beginning. One of the veteran 5th Grade teachers had started a tradition now known as the 5th grade walk out. In the early stages 5th graders, on the last day of school, paraded through the halls with their backpacks as teachers, staff, and students lined the halls to clap and congratulate them on their last year in the building. Since then it has started to take on a life of its' own.

Last year a neighboring college had a dance professor and a student come in work on connection skills. Then they taught the entire 5th grade a choreographed dance to proceed down the hallway to. The dance itself was created to an empowering song, Hall of Fame by The Script. Too be honest it seemed like a GREAT idea at first, then we had to think about the logistics of actually teaching the dance and making sure students could travel down the hallways safely. All in all it worked! We had all the grades line the hallways and the parents line the gym to watch as the students danced down the hall. It was the first event of its kind and the students loved every minute of it!

This year we decided to continue this fun tradition. When I said decided, we really had no choice. The students who were 4th graders and watched the 5th graders do their dance last year told us just how excited they were to do a dance so.....kinda have to do it. So with limited time and a group of excited students I was tasked with finding a choreographer. I called JT but he was busy and so was Jlo. So with 3 years since the last time I danced I dusted off my notebook and dance shoes and got to work. I selected some songs for the students to vote on and they selected Gavin Degraw's song Fire. It was a great choice that had plenty of energy and great lyrics! I created the eight counts to go with the song and twice a week for 4-5 weeks the students learned the steps. It did take about 45mins out of the day, but it was so worth it. It allowed all of the 5th graders to bond and work together to make something AMAZING that was all there own! Students couldn't wait for this part or the day and I heard many parents say they would come home and practice. Some would even teach their younger siblings!
Students Making their Way Down The Hall


This year we also changed how the walk out was set up. K-1 students sat in the cafeteria for a better view, while the remainder of the school lined the halls. The students did the dance about 4-5 times around the school, but they enjoyed every minute of it. The parents were the last stop in the gym and following the dance they got to take pictures and dry tears. It was a great moment for the kids and  school. It got me tearful knowing this will be their last moment here in the elementary building, but they sure went out with a bang. This is a new tradition for our school, but one that I'm sure will last as long as I'm teaching.
Students Cheer 5th Graders On Down the Hall

What End of Year Traditions does your school or classroom have? Let me know in the comments below!

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