The wisdom of seventh graders: The emergency survival kit

As a precursor to reading a story about survival, seventh grade students were asked to come up with a list of things they would want to have in their emergency survival kit. Students were specifically instructed to limit themselves to things that were readily available (so no Apache helicopters), and the complete kit had to…

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The wisdom of seve^H^H^H^Hsixth graders: Living without electronics for a week

Sixth grade students (ages 11 to 12, roughly) were instructed to imagine that they have no television, computer, or telephone for a week and write an essay (in the form of a letter to their parents) on what they would do with their time and why. The assignment was given under standardized test conditions: 90…

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The wisdom of seventh graders: Being President

Today is Election Day in the United States. Some years ago, seventh grade students (age 12) were asked to imagine they had just been elected president and to give an address to the nation on one thing they would change. Remember, these are only the most entertaining ideas. Do not assume all student ideas are like…

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The wisdom of sev^H^H^Heighth graders: What it means to be an adult

Since I’m obviously a glutton for punishment, I also helped read eighth grade essays on the same topic: Describe the qualities you consider to be those which make someone an adult. As always, remember that these are just the funny sentences/excerpts. Let me tell you about my parents My dad looks older for one reason…

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The wisdom of seventh graders: What it means to be an adult

I didn’t participate in the reading of the seventh grade essays, but I did get some of the more entertaining sentences from that batch. As you may recall, the topic was to describe the qualities you consider to be those which make someone an adult. Students were given 90 minutes, plus one additional hour upon…

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The wisdom of seve^H^H^H^Hsixth graders: What it means to be an adult

I was out of town for the grading of the seventh grade essays, so I pitched in with the sixth grade essays instead. The students were asked to think of an adult and describe the qualities that make that person an adult. This topic was not very well received by the students, who deemed it…

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Up and down often substitute for compass directions, but you have to know when you’ve taken it too far

The official curriculum for seventh grade students in the state of Washington includes Washington history and geography. My friend the seventh grade teacher typically includes as part of this curriculum an assignment wherein each student is assigned one of the state’s counties on which to produce a brief report. It is common to substitute up…

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Rearranging the cities into a much more visually pleasing arrangement

My friend the seventh grade teacher gave an assignment wherein students were to produce a map of the state of Washington with various required elements, among them, a selection of major cities in the state. Some students failed to understand that the purpose of a map is to represent where the cities are and not…

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What seventh grade students want to be when they grow up, an analysis

A few years ago, I listed some of the careers seventh grade students chose for themselves. But my friend the seventh grade teacher pointed out to me that the list hides the correlation between the jobs and the students. The lower-performing students chose the high-glamour jobs: Professional athlete, model, rock star, actor. Some of these…

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The wisdom of seventh graders: A Wrinkle in Time

The recent passing of Madeleine L’Engle reminded me of a quiz seventh grade students were given in order to see whether they were at least paying attention during a reading of a chapter from A Wrinkle in Time. I forget the question exactly, but it asked the students about the mechanism that Mrs Who, Which…

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