I think the 5th graders get hit first because they are the biggest and their extra large attitudes are extra sensitive to fluctuation in mood and temperature. Even their hope and high spirits for the middle school and sixth grade can't keep 5th graders from suffering mightily under the doldrums. Days upon days of inside recess and no sign of daylight to brighten up the feeling of February, leave our big kids moping and mewling about everything...EVERY. THING.
Usually, it's the teachers who are next to feel February. Even after all these years, I'm still not sure if the teachers are brought down by the big kids or if these February doldrums hit with no discrimination, equally pummeling all audiences. One might think that adults would notice this pattern of behavior, this obvious cloud of Eeyore-like mindset, but without a President's Day break, teachers are no longer immune to the depression. Snow days have bogged them down and even the brightest of them is dimmed by the doldrums.
The younger the student, the more fortified he (or she) seems to be. The innocence of youth must shield them against the elements of the weathering doldrums. These kids continue to skip down the hall for most of February, long lasting until the uncertainty and inconsistency of snow days breaks through their resistance and slows their enthusiasm.
It's the February doldrums. Tones are sharper and words are clipped. Please don't be offended...because it's February. (AND it's almost over!)