You see, 2 of the 4 years that I taught 4th graders, I really taught them because I had an ulterior motive--my grade level was looping back and forth from 4th to 5th. I was fortunate enough to get to loop twice and I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance, as looping created the most amazing experiences of my teaching career over anything else that I could name on that list.
You see, when you loop with kiddos, you get to spend two years with them. Yes, even the ones that drive you bonkers--if they choose to stay with you--and most of my students always chose to stay with me for another year.
Spending two years with the same group of students really intensified all the reasons I became a teacher in the first place. I got two years to make an impact! I had the opportunity during that second year to tweak things that didn't go so well, to meet the needs of my struggling learners even more, and to let loose and have a little more fun now and again because SO MUCH TIME is SAVED by looping. I dare say, my first loop back to 5th grade was when I became a teacher who could relax a little. And those kiddos that drove me bonkers, well they made the most social, emotional, and academic growth that second year and really were worth the "trouble".
Now, I didn't pop in today to tell you all about looping, but that part about being a 5th grade teacher at heart is REALLY important. So, if you are a 5th grade teacher, I might just know what you are going through right now.
...your students are driving you bonkers because all of their hormones are imploding on their psyche...
...all of a sudden, they seem more like their middle school brother or sister or their own fabrication of what being a middle schooler looks like and less like that little kid you met at the beginning of the year...
...and most of all, you are starting to realize how much you are going to miss them as you send them off to "the unknown" of middle school.
I feel ya! And, I feel you even harder because I was always the 5th grade teacher who put our grade-level slideshow together for our 5th grade ceremony. I had to compile the music and the pictures into a powerpoint, complete with entrances and exits and fun animations (and HOURS of watching it again and again to edit #allthethings).
I'd like to be able to say creating the slideshow meant that I was able to be stone-cold during the ceremony--but no, I could never keep a dry eye as I sat thinking about our year (or two) together and all the memories and accomplishments my students had made--but most of all, just thinking about the sound of their voices or their funny personalities is what would bring me to tears.
So, what songs were my absolute favorite for including in our 5th grade slideshow and "moving up" ceremony?
1) Forever Young by Bob Dillan (This version is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE! Ohhh, the lyrics!)
2) Forever Young by Rod Stewart
There's also a Pepsi Commercial with Will.i.am that deserves recognition on this list! It's a more upbeat rendition of Forever Young that I've definitely used a few times.
3) My Wish by Rascal Flatts
4) I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
5) Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
6) I Hope Your Dance by Lee Ann Womack
***7) The World's Greatest by R. Kelly
***8) I Believe I Can Fly R. Kelly
***9) Hall of Fame by the Scripts featuring Will.i.am (gives me chills to hear students sing these three!)
10) Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
11) Dynamite by Taio Cruz
12) The Time of My Life by Black Eyed Peas
*** During our 5th grade ceremony, our students always performed the school song and one or two others that we had chosen. These three are the top songs our music teacher taught our 5th graders to perform during our 5th grade recognition ceremony. Apparently, we've got a thing for R. Kelly?!?!?
10-12 are some of the peppy songs we like to start our slideshows off with.
I guess for today's slideshow, you could add "Happy" and "Can't stop the Feeling" to this list. (I've not used these yet since it's been a few years since I sent off a group of 5th graders.) "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors is another favorite of mine, and I'll add some Imagine Dragons "On Top of the World" for good measure. Believe me, you need these peppy songs to balance out the sappy ones that are going to make everyone cry it out!
I really could go on and on. I love music...and sappy songs with lots of symbolism...But, from this list, I think I've given you the best that I can recall from years of "send-off" ceremonies.
I made a youtube playlist that you can access that includes most of these songs.
I guess one of our goals during the 5th grade ceremony was always to make the parents, grandparents, friends, and family members cry. Well, when thinking about how fast the elementary years go by (seriously, in the blink of an eye, a year or even two were over with a group of kiddos! I could always only imagine how it felt for parents to have a child enter as a kindergartner and now watch them pass one of their biggest milestones--leaving elementary school.
So, there you have it--a list of more than 16 songs that are perfect for any 5th grade graduation or 5th grade moving up ceremony. Do you have a favorite song that you use for your 5th grade "moving on" or 5th grade graduation ceremony?