Characteristics of the Fifth Grade Student
For most children, this is a very social age, and these students want very much to be with others. This sociability does not prevent them from becoming competitive, however, even in social situations. Some will strive to see how many friends they can make and others will attempt to excel at sports or work hard for good grades.
The self image of most fifth graders is likely to be stronger and more positive than it was a year ago. Because of their easy nature, they are likely to experience greater acceptance by adults. Of even more importance is the increase in acceptance of others as well as self-acceptance. These children are generally positive toward home, school, and peers.
Most fifth graders are sensitive to what takes place in groups. Most can make individual judgments, although peer pressures are starting to make this more difficult. At times they can get into disagreements with classmates and some can be cruel to less fortunate peers.
Characteristics of the Fourth Grade Student
As opposed to the more exuberant and expansive third grader, the typical fourth grader is on the quieter side. Living more within himself, the child this age is more self-contained and self-sufficient. As this increasing independence emerges, the distance between the child and parent also increases. Parents are replaced by the peer group as the key aspect of the child’s world. Instead of forming close relationships with adults, a child this age prefers to work with them on an activity level. Team sports become important, as well as scouting and outdoor expeditions.
Intellectually, fourth graders have made great strides. They are able to think critically and independently. With their ability to use language as a tool, they are capable of expressing a wide range of emotions. Children this age can exhibit a great deal of understanding and feeling for others.
The activity level of nine year olds is extremely high. They can work and play hard for prolonged periods of time. Most love to test their strength. Games that provide opportunities to do so usually generate a lot of interest.
The typical fourth grader wants and needs to have maturity, independence, and separateness respected. Fourth graders are likely to rebel against authority and may choose pathways of either withdrawal or excessive complaint. Complaints are common and range from the generic, "This is too hard" to a variety of aches and pains that seem to occur almost weekly.
Student at this age will show interest in the community. They are interested in problems of health, weather, seasons, and holidays, as well as in cultures outside of their own. They tell the truth with increasing frequency, which is an indication of their growing moral development. Children this age see themselves as group members. They enjoy groups and clubs, and they attempt to test their self-concepts against peer standards.
Characteristics of the Third Grade Student
While calm may describe second graders, "exciting" is a good description for most third graders. Dramatic and inquisitive, they will willingly tackle a great deal more than they can handle. Enthusiasm and curiosity are high and children at this age have a seemingly limitless reserve of untapped energy.
Eight year olds will undertake almost anything. They anticipate and frequently adopt a "know-it-all" attitude. Impatience is common, however, and interest may be short-lived. Some may appear to be verbally "fresh". They become critical of others, often exaggerating, but they may also become self-critical. They can be demanding of both parents and teachers.
Happiness often results from achievement for this age group. They are still active seekers of praise. Most have good communication skills. Self-expression seems to come easily, and their sense of humor is increasing. Although third graders are beginning to understand that others have needs, they continue to focus mainly on meeting their own needs.
Peer group relationships now play an ever more important part in the lives of these children. While families and teachers are still important, the larger peer group is now very much an influence. Spontaneous groupings of short duration occur; best friends are acquired; and a stronger differentiation between genders develops. In addition, eight year olds are able to assume more responsibility for their actions. They are now more ready to accept blame for wrong doing.