Talking to 8th Graders About High School

It has officially started!  Today I met with our 8th grade social studies classes and talked to them about what to expect in high school.  I have done this for years, a process I started when I worked at the high school, and I have continued doing this since my move to middle school.

Traditionally, I would spend the period talking to the classes and answering whatever questions they had, but this year I wanted to spice it up a bit.  

Yesterday, we had an assembly for all the 8th graders and we had the high school elective teachers and some of their students come from the high school to talk about elective options and pathways the students could choose beginning next year.  All the kids had a first hand look at some projects they work on and samples of what the current students have done.  We saw some awesome websites that the website design class made, art projects from the Studio Art classes and Digital Art classes, electronic circuit boards the Project Lead The Way classes use and the Robotics that the Robotics team have designed.  This info was a great lead in to what I did today.

Today, I had the kids play . . .

I broke the classes up into 3 teams and had them compete against each other.  Sarah, my intern, kept score.  Sarah also picked our first category and point value to get the game going.  The teams were told that the team with their hand up first got to answer and if they answered correctly would win the points and pick the next spot on the board.  

Here is my game board and categories.

Here is a sample question the kids had to answer.  

I admit, some questions were super easy, but I hit on all the graduation requirements and reviewed their elective offerings while we played.  In each of the 5 classes I went into, the kids loved this.  Even the first and last class of the day, which can be the quietest were energetic and playing along.  I did feel bad a few times because they were having so much fun, they did get a little loud.  If you are interested, you can get an editable version of this Jeopardy game in my TpT store.  

My next step with to talk about high school is to meet with each 8th grader and his or her parents to pick classes for next year and plan out high school.  I did give the classes homework tonight that will be due when we meet.  Each student was told to think about his or her life when they are 25.  I want to know what they will be doing and what does their life look like.  I told them that even if they don’t have an idea for a career, that they should think about what they like to do, what makes them happy, things they are good at, and classes they like.  I asked them to think about if they would still be in school, or if they would be working.  If they were working what does their work environment look like.  Would it be in a hospital, a school, an office, a store, a kitchen, or outside?  Would they interact with only one or two people or would there be many?  We will use this information and work backwards. . .so what do we need to do to get there.

I love spending time with kids talking about this.  I can’t wait to hear what they say and what they want to do.

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