My first day teaching this year was at Malibu High School talking to the 7th grade in Miss Galipeau’s science class.
After giving out the materials for the year (STAR folder, name card, pencil and eraser), I spent some time telling the students about what will be coming up in the 7th Grade STAR Program. I have been teaching most of these kids since the 4th grade, so much of what I talk about will build upon what we have already covered. However, you can really see 7th grade kids start to become more interested in more mature topics, and my 7th grade lessons take that into account. Not everything we talk about this year will be comfortable, but its important that the kids hear the possible real life outcomes of some of the bad decisions they see on TV or the internet.
To me, the STAR Program is about helping the students achieve their potential. I emphasize to them that if they:
- Try to make good decisions every time,
- avoid making mistakes on purpose,
- treat people with respect,
- give their best effort, and
- are accountable for both successes and failures,
then they will stand a very good chance of maximizing their opportunities and being successful. Anything short of that and they may find themselves in trouble.
We also spent time in class taking a survey about their habits on the internet and the amount of parental oversight they are aware of. Its an anonymous survey (responses are identified only by school and grade level), and I thought it was interesting that over 70% of the 7th graders at Malibu HS use either snapchat or instagram (I will cross reference this with other 7th graders I teach once I have visited all of my schools).
Additionally, almost all kids have smartphones by the 7th grade nowadays, but the level of parental oversight varies wildly. As you can see in the graphs above, over 70% of 7th grade students have access to an internet device in their room after bedtime, almost 40% of students believe they watch TV or internet programming unmonitored and almost 40% of 7th graders have interacted with a stranger online.
It’s important to note that many of these students are probably monitored in some way and just don’t realize it, but there are definitely kids that have no restrictions or guidelines. I also asked the students about their favorite movies, shows, books and video games, and multiple students listed mature content like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Full Metal Jacket, American History X the Godfather and Grand Theft Auto (game) as favorites. Not a lot of students listed mature content, but that typically increases dramatically as they move through 7th and into 8th grade (I will be interested to see the 8th grade favorites when I visit in October).
I’m looking forward to a great year with the Malibu HS 7th grade. If you have questions or comments about my lectures in class, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @deputyjake68.