As the oldest students at Junaluska Elementary School, fifth graders are influential. Younger students watch what they do, look up to them, and try to be like them. Capitalizing on that unique position, incoming fifth grade Junaluska students have the opportunity to participate in a program designed to enable them to positively “Impact” their school. “Impact” is a two prong program emphasizing
Teamwork and Service
The TEAMWORK piece of the program is open to all fifth graders. During the 2015-2016 school year they have a chance to learn important social skills through a variety of team building activities. The pictures are of a field trip to Montreat College on September 8 where they worked through several low ropes course initiatives and learned what it takes to collaborate with peers to accomplish a task.
Students were asked to write about what they learned from the experience, and this is what some of them said:
“I learned to not give up even if your team is not listening or participating. Also, team work was the best thing for those obstacles because you could not do it without them . . . don’t let your team down. Try your best.” (Evan Smalley)
“The trip was really fun. I learned about teamwork and group effort. Also, I learned that you need others for some things. Also, not to exclude others because they might be important to you in later life. And finally I learned that being respectful to others can be a path to kindness from others.” (Bradley Weaver)
“If we work together we can get more things done. You can complete more. This has encouraged us to work together, play together, and be friends together.” (NaShawna Aldridge)
“Being kind, respectful, listening with your eyes, concentrating, community, thinking of others, being responsible with your actions makes for good teamwork.” (Savannah Guinn)
Other Team Building opportunities will be offered during P.E., Guidance and regular academic instruction in order to build a community in 5th grade classrooms.
The SERVICE piece of the Impact program involves Junaluska fifth graders acting as positive role models by serving their school. Applications for service teams are taken each quarter. This quarter’s teams are:
Library Assistants, Kindergarten Assistants, Office Assistants, Morning Song/Pledge Leaders, Flag Corps, and Recycling Team.
Team members are chosen on the basis of attendance, exemplary behavior, and effort on schoolwork.
The Impact program is designed to foster positive relationships between fifth graders who in turn foster positive relationships with Junaluska staff and younger students as they serve and lead outside their classrooms. The research is clear that students who get along well with classmates, have a feeling of belonging and see school as a positive place are much more likely to succeed in school. The best way to create a caring climate is to engage collectively in an activity that benefits another human being. We are hopeful that experiential learning through teamwork and service will not only IMPACT Junaluska this year, but our fifth graders will learn life skills they can use for years to come.