School here doesn’t end until June 30th. We have two weeks until we begin final exams. Teaching a combined grade seven / eight class can be a challenge this time of year so instead, I decided to throw the challenge back on to my students. Approximately six weeks ago, I gave my grade eight students a project I called a thesis assignment. The concept is basically this:
Why do you deserve to go into high school?
The assignment outline I gave the students was this:
GRADE EIGHT THESIS
Grade eight is really the last year that anyone can consider you to be a child. After grade eight, once you enter higschool, life has the possibility of changing for you. You get more responsibilities and your teachers expect more of you. The same is true for many of you at home. You may be getting a job soon, having new relationships and learning to balance your time that wants to get stretched in many different directions.
You have to have a mature outlook to deal with all of this.
This is what the grade eight thesis is about. A thesis is an in depth examination of something. It is an independent project where you make the decisions.
Your job is to make a presentation to our class, either live or recorded, that shares with us the evidence that you are ready to be a mature highschool student.
Your thesis can share many different types of information with us:
- accomplishments to this point in your life
- strengths and weaknesses
- volunteer efforts
- goals for the next few years
- your worries and concerns
The idea of this thesis is not to concentrate on school. While school may play a part in your presentation, your thesis needs to be about your life as a whole. How can you show that you are growing in responsibility and maturity? How can you show that you are capable of becoming a highschool student who can make good decisions? How have you changed?
Grading will be discussed at a later date, but this project will be worth a significant amount of marks. I am looking for evidence of reflection (that you have taken the time to think about yourself) and creativity.
I have a current class of 26 students. 13 of them are in grade eight. We are having a few presentations each day over the next week.
Here was one of them from day one:
I hope the next few days go as well.