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Posted: October 18, 2019, 12:00am by Kathleen Nelson-Simley
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How to Help 4th and 5th Grade Students Get Along With One Another

The late elementary years are a time of great personal and social growth. At this age, children become more interested in friends and social activities. They begin to form stronger and more complex friendships that are based on more than just common interests. They understand that emotions play a major role in relationships. They learn how to identify what others are feeling based on their facial expressions and body language and to understand and evaluate social situations better. They are also learning how to communicate their needs and feelings verbally with others while respecting and identifying other people’s opinions and behaviors.

Understanding how to get along with others is vital for 4th and 5th graders. Creating an environment in your classroom or group setting that has clear expectations of behavior, encourages team work and communication and promotes respect and responsibility among classmates is important.

Empowering late elementary students to create their own standards for getting along and holding them accountable to them is just as crucial as it is with middle and high school students. However, the process needs to look somewhat different because of the developmental characteristics of 4th and 5th graders.

This week's "How to Create Standards for Getting Along with 4th and 5th Graders video introduces you to a proven and fun activity you can easily facilitate with late elementary age students that results in them establishing their own standards for getting along. The video also offers you tips on how to effectively use them in your classroom or group.

The activity not only creates a list "getting along" behaviors, but also a list of "not getting along" behaviors. Kids at this age are still concrete thinkers. They see what happens in their world as being either right or wrong or good and bad. Knowing what is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to getting along with others is important for late elementary age students.

I have trained many classroom teachers and group leaders all over the world in this activity. It's always fun to see how similar the standards are no matter where the students live. The photo below shows the list of "getting along" and "not getting along" behaviors a classroom of students in Belfast, Northern Ireland, created. It's not much different than what a classroom in inner city Chicago, the most rural school in Iowa or even in your own school and community would create!

So, take a quick moment and watch this short "how to" video as it walks you through step-by-step how to facilitate this activity with your students. And, if you don't work directly with 4th or 5th graders, forward the video on to someone who does!

And, one more thought, if your school or organization promotes positive character with elementary students, you will also want to be sure to watch the video. I share ideas on how your getting along standards can also reinforce your character education program.

I will be anxious to hear about the high standards your kids will be setting for themselves in the coming days and weeks! They deserve the best and we need to hold them accountable to being the best! So, go forth!

P.S. If you didn't watch last week's "how to" video on Setting Standards with Middle and High School Students, it's still available online! Watch it now!

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