May 26, 2020 | Brent Harris
When I was interviewing for Mustard Seed’s 7th grade Homeroom and Middle School Language Arts Teaching position, Tom Postema mentioned to me that students are required to read one book a week AND write a Reader’s Response about it. Secretly, I thought the expectation was crazy. I remember mentioning to Lauren that “the students can’t possibly read that much and still get their other homework done. There’s no chance.”
It took almost no time at all to realize I was sorely mistaken. I remember having a similarly incorrect opinion when I was looking through the Literature Exhibition expectations last year. I thought, “There’s no way that 7th graders can write a 1000 word minimum essay, create an artifact AND do a 15-20 minute presentation. That’s ridiculous!” Again, after last year’s Literature Exhibitions, I realized just how wrong I was.
7th grade students are dangerously capable. I’ve come to learn that they’re entirely more capable than many people (including former versions of myself!) give them credit for. They are thorough, thoughtful, practical and analytical. 7th grade students at Mustard Seed are fully prepared to complete the Literature Exhibition. They’ve practiced public speaking on an almost daily basis; they’ve read books upon books; they’ve had countless conversations about the books they read… they’ve done it all so many times and with so much success.
If you’re curious, here are the expectations for the Literature Exhibition:
I don’t blame you if you think that this is a lot to accomplish! It certainly is. This is what I told the 7th grade students when I explained to them the expectations for this exhibition: “I understand if you’re stressed or overwhelmed by how much there is to accomplish. There is a lot to accomplish! But if you stick to the checkpoint process, you are going to do amazing. You’re already so prepared for this and you’ve already done similar things this countless times before. You’ll all be just fine.”
So, I guess in conclusion, there’s a lot expected of the 7th grade students. But the students are fully prepared. I’m excited to see what connections they create!