Transitioning students to middle school, reflections, and bidding adieu!

Au revoir, for no goodbye is forever

As I bid you adieu, I wonder

Was I the teacher or the taught?

Read on for the complete poem I wrote as a keepsake to cherish for my students πŸ™‚

Grade 5 is a significant year in a student’s learning journey – a transition to growing up to be a more responsible and mature students. It is the culminating year of the Primary Years Programme, from where they move on to the rigors of the Middle Years Programme.

Students need to be mentally and academically prepared for this next and more challenging phase of their education. How did we do this?

  • Meaningful and timely feedback through the year – PYP does not encourage graded assessments – so providing formative and summative feedback and feedforward becomes critical. Some of the feedback given to them is described below –
    • Reinforcing how the expectations will change in middle school. One example – the use of command terms to guide their thinking was reinforced through the year. How their answers should change depending on whether the question asks them to list, or to explain or to describe.
    • Math – articulation of their thinking is important. I emphasised that each step of the working process must be shown, even if the final answer is incorrect, they still get some credit.
    • (Side note – I kept asking students who had older siblings – it helped when they backed me up, as to the grading systems, marks being cut for working steps not being shown etc :)
  • Planning to have the final unit of inquiry of Grade 5 on change – physical, mental, emotional changes during adolescence, how they can best prepare themselves for these inevitable changes. Students could make meaningful connections and develop appropriate strategies to cope with them – thus preparing them for the years ahead. Used the Polly app (on Microsoft Teams) to take a quick reflection on how prepared the students felt
  • Attending a few of the MYP classes virtually – this allowed them a glimpse into how the classes are similar, yet different. They got familiar with the different subject names, compared and contrasted TD themes and global contexts. Main observations students had –
    • the independence students displayed in their thinking
    • the stringent use of command terms to guide all student work
    • the display of learner profile attributes – being principled, knowledgeable, inquirers.
  • Attending the personal project exhibitions by MYP students – they understood what the expectations from them would be, and how they could apply some of these elements to their PYP Exhibition.
  • As a token to mark their graduation into MYP we curated a collection of poems written by the students themselves and gifted it to them through a Book Creator. Wonderful expressions of their thoughts and understanding came through as a reflection of their learning of this genre of writing. Read these samples to be amazed at the depth of their thinking and expressions!

I was amazed at the depth of thinking, the beautiful expressions of these student poems, really touched my heart! Inspired by my students, I also penned down a poem – an expression straight from my heart

Au revoir, for no goodbye is forever

As I bid you adieu, I wonder

Was I the teacher or the taught?

It has been my good fortune

To have been with you caught

The energy and the enthusiasm

You brought into every class

Filled the year with inquiry

And helped the time pass

Easy or difficult, is not for anyone to say

But of this I am certain, you will always find your way

End of the year – time to reflect, cherish the memories made.

These children have a special place in my heart – have spent 2 years with this batch – one year in physical school and this session online as I moved with them from Grade 4 to Grade 5. Their resilience, energy and enthusiasm did not wane even online, other than some bouts of feeling low when they expressed a longing to see their school, play with their friends.

The last few days, I planned only for reflecting on the year gone by, sharing our treasured memories from the year, and an SEL activity for a meaningful closure to the session

Reflections on the year gone by (using breakout rooms and Google Jamboard)

  • What was your most important learning from the year?
  • What did you accomplish that you are most proud of?
  • What is one goal you have for next year ?
  • What will you miss most about your teacher?
  • What is one piece of advice you would like to give students coming into tthis grade next year?

SEL activity

Making a hand of joy

Students traced their hands on a piece pf paper and then drew all the things that gave them joy. It was a poignant way of ending the year – holding our joy in our hands!

Link to the activity is shared below

Practical Mindfulness video: Creating a hand filled with things that bring you joy – YouTube

With mixed feelings of leaving behind the familiar and the excitement of looking forward to new horizons, we bid adieu to each other with promises of keeping in touch!

6 thoughts on “Transitioning students to middle school, reflections, and bidding adieu!

  1. When students appreciate their teacher,it shows her communication n understanding was excellent.The farewell poem was good

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Sonia. You have been wonderful with your students and much loved by them just as you are with everyone. God bless and much love β€πŸ‘°

    Liked by 1 person

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