Ask the 7th Grade Public School Teacher

Counting the days already, hey?

MN has a similar law - school can’t start until after Labor Day. I think it’s secretly just to subsidize the Minnesota State Fair, really. It’s one of those great ideas in principle, I think - I know that when I was in high school, I would’ve loved the late start, but then I’da hated it come June. (I was schooled in Wisconsin; we started earlier in August, but finished by the third week in May or so.)

I do daily journal writing, but my goal is to make it fun. We usually do topics like, “What career would you definitely NOT want?”

Those kind of questions are more fun. Either this, or I like to make the topic about what we’ve read or done in class.

I occasionally do a topic you might consider “nosy”, but if it is at all personal, I tell them up front that they will not be required to share their responses out loud that day.

Well, yes, but easier than seniors in high school.

Really, seniors can be equally immature and with them, there is sometimes no hope of them graduating.

With 7th grade there is, for most, still hope. Sure, the worst of the worst kids may seem hopelessly lost and behind, but there is still a chance for most kids.

7th Grade means you can start doing cooler things, but the kids still do respect you.

  1. I teach Language Arts and my classes are 28-32 or so(sometimes 34).

  2. Well, I do try to stop bullying but it does occur anyway. I can’t control kids out at lunch and stuff.

  3. Yes, I’ve had kids that:

  • do drugs

  • self-mutilate

  • are abused at home by parents

and many other things.

  1. We can report abuse to our counselor, but there is little she can do unless you actually see the parent hit the child or something. It is difficult.

Maybe. I hope so, but it’s difficult to imagine.


I really don’t count the days, actually. People ask me that around May and I always tell them, “I love my job and I’ll miss the kids, so I’m not counting down the days.”

It’s true. I’ve never counted down days in June.

In 8th grade a female teacher once assigned some grammar questions based on baseball. Since they were full of baseball lingo, and I knew nothing about baseball, I was completely lost. To this day I remember reading “the umpire called him out” and thinking that the sentence was wrong because it should be “the umpire called out” (as in shouted).

I do a lot of journaling (6th, 8th, 9th) but I try to have wildly varied topics and give them choices between creating a baseball story, a dating drama, or an alien adventure.

How much must they write daily?

Is there a general discrepancy in maturity between the girls and boys?

This may seem kind of weird but…what to kids that age wear these days?

When I was a teen we all dressed “grunge.” Easy peasy.

I was talking about clothes with a friend today and he was saying how he hates that the style now is for girls to show a lot of skin (he volunteers with the high school band) and I realized that I hadn’t interacted with a teenager in…uh, ever.

Is the preceding sentence correctly structured?

What do you do with smart-ass students?

Grade seven was the worst year of my life until I was an adult and had things like death, family concerns, bad marriages, job losses and poverty to contend with. It was a bunch of pre teen girls doing the bullying thing, and although I saw the pattern I was still surprised when suddenly I went from being the ringleader’s best friend, to the one picked on.

Is there much of that these days? I assume the greater awareness of bullying and attendant media campaigns is because it is a real problem, and recognized as such. (Finally!) Does this make an impact at all, or just make it worse for the bullied?

Do you think calling English “Language Arts” is just an affectation?

(sorry, couldn’t resist. I taught science for 26 years.)

While I’m not a teacher (although I did take a few classes that required observation), I have had jobs where I take care of children. I always found that sixth and seventh graders were likely to develop crushes on me or another male authority figure. Have you experienced this, and how have you dealt with it?

Do you have to do anything for RtI? Does Michigan test anything other than reading and math for it’s state tests?

Yes. The girls, usually, are more mature.

Girls - surprisingly sleazy for 7th grade. I guess that’s half the girls anyway. The other half dress normal(same as always, anyway).

  • I am not sure

  • Smart-asses? I deal with them, I guess. They aren’t smarter than me, so it isn’t that hard.

I call it English most of the time.

The difference is this. English is focused on grammar and reading. Language Arts focuses on Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. We test all four.

Barely. I’m too ugly and uncool, I guess.

It’s happened, but you just ignore it really.

I do not know RtI.

We test English and Math every year, and Science and Social studies every other year.

Yes, it is. It has an implied subject and a rather standard parallel structure, both of which are common in English prose.

Mahaloth: Has a student ever corrected you about a subject in class? If not, do you think one ever will?

Yes and I love it. I love those moments because I can show kids the things they get to learn before I ever did.

Once, I assigned a spelling word. Mischievious.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I assigned it. A girl came up to me mid-week and told me it is really mischievous. I was blown away, so I used it as a teaching moment for the kids.

I’m sure it has happened before and since, but that’s the one I remember.

RtI is response to intervention. It’s a group of hoops we must jump through. If you’re not doing it, I envy you. Illinois tests math and reading every year, and science in fourth and seventh, but only math and reading “count” for No Child Left Behind.

We have our own hoops to jump through, but I’m glad to know some are not there for us. :slight_smile:

What are your favorite recent books for middle school students?

One is recent and the others are a bit old school. :slight_smile:

  1. The House With The Clock In Its Walls - Brilliant.

  2. Graveyard Book - Neat.

  3. The Pinballs - Great book for discussion.