Thursday, June 2, 2016

How to Encourage Fifth Grade Graduates (Or Any Student Changing Schools)

This week Grace received her final teacher match. I knew it was coming and imagined it to require all the chocolate. I’m not quite sure how my girl is already going to be a 5th grader.

It’s also heightened my awareness of the current 5th graders.

The other day I asked one in the hallway if she was excited for middle school.

“No. I just want to stay here.”

As one who doesn’t like forced changed this girl was speaking a language I knew and I felt for her.

No matter what we do in the way of sending prep and parties, transitioning from one school to the next brings with it some level of anxiety. New building layouts, teachers, and going from being the oldest to youngest is a big leap in a young life.

I immediately thought of a great quote that has inspired me-

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” Unknown

And I went to work finding a butterfly bookmark at the local Christian bookstore. Perfect, it said “Believe” right below the butterfly and I sat down to write this girl a note with the quote and a message about how I believed she was not only maturing into something beautiful, but that I believed she would fly.

I didn’t stop there. Seeing this transition in a new way, I picked up more for some close 5th grade friends.

Each bookmark is intentional to something unique about the girl. Each card highlights what I see in them and how I know they will change the world.

My hope is that when they go to the new building they will see the bookmark in their books and remember what they read in the letter. That cardboard and a tassel might translate you are special and I believe in you.

I know it won’t take away the qualms but it might reduce apprehension.

So, whether it is a 5th grader leaving for middle school or 8th grader heading to high school or a senior packing their bags for college, I encourage you to personally encourage the students you love with an often seen visual prompt.

A little high five can go a long way :)

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