16 August 2012

What if: Thoughts on Middle School

A few nights ago my oldest child and I were discussing his venture into middle school—I asked if he was nervous.  He replied by asking questions which he answered before launching into a long story about how his favorite thing to do at school is to ask questions, especially what if questions.

Here’s how he replied to my question if he was nervous about going to middle school:
What would I have to be nervous about?  Going to the building?  I’m not nervous about that—I’ve been going there for the past two weeks for cross country practice.  Meeting my teachers?  I already met my teachers at Camp Beaumont.  Using a locker?  I already have that down.

His responses with questions caused me to probe deeper into his thinking about what middle school would be like, and they also caused me to start asking my own what if questions.  Since I like to think and to blog about education and the possibilities for making learning experiences positive for students, I decided to utilize Ethan’s what if approach to rethink some thoughts about how traditional middle school operates in the United States.  When I told Ethan what I was doing, he came up with a better suggestion:  posting the what ifs on the blog and asking readers to respond.  So, reader, check out the what if scenarios here and respond to those which interest you. 

  • What if I woke up and middle school was over?
  • What if teachers turned into monkeys so we could do whatever we want?
  • What if summer reading meant you could read any book you wanted at your level?
  • What if desks quit the job?
  • What if instead of recess there were only tests?
  • What if when you did your homework--the papers walked away?
  • What if whenever you wrote with a pencil it bit your finger?
  • What if books flew away into the sunset?
  • What if schools had no electric power?
  • We didn’t have roofs on schools?
  • What if we had more adventurous hands-on activities?

 In a future post, Ethan and I will revisit your suggestions and offer our own responses.  You will notice that some of these what if questions are more serious and some more silly.  That’s what makes the mind of a curious eleven year old boy so much fun.  He’s certainly unafraid to think outside the typical box.