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What are some 7th grade activities in October?

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Jenn Bertman
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Seeing as October just ended, I figure this is a good time to ask this question. I'm looking to add in minor detail to the school scenes in my WIP. The characters are 7th graders and the storyline takes place over the first couple weeks of October. The main school plot is already well-established and developed, but I'm looking to fine tune the background detail to make the 7th grade school atmosphere come alive. (I'm thinking things like homework assignments/school projects, announcements over the PA, posters/displays in the hallways, themed-meals in the cafeteria, what sports activities would be going on after school, school fundraisers, Halloween events they might be planning for, field trips. . .) If it helps to know, this is an urban public middle school (San Francisco).

And I did look up the SF school district calendar and know there are parent/teacher conferences in the middle of October, so my follow up question to that is: how consumed do your middle school children (or students) tend to get thinking about parent/teacher conferences? Do they bring home flyers reminding their parents about them or is it something as a parent you know is coming? In 7th grade, do you meet with each of their teachers for an individual conference? How long would that take?

Responses to the above questions and/or any help brainstorming minor to major things that might be going on in a 7th grader's world in early October would be much appreciated!
#1 - November 01, 2011, 02:37 PM
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Hmmm... my seventh grade students never seemed too concerned for conferences, unless they knew their parents were coming and they were doing poorly. At my school, teachers could request parents they would like to see, and the office would try to set that up, and of course if a parent wanted to come in, they could call for an appointment. If the parent chose to come in, they would meet with all their child's teachers together; if the teacher initiated the conference, it would just be with that teacher. Reminders would go out via the school website and calender, rather than on paper.

October at my school meant getting ready for the huge Halloween presentations at the end of the month (retellings of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" that were way over the top and hilarious). The kids could go out at lunch after they finished eating to fool around/ run around/ throw a football, since the weather was still nice. Sports seasons (football, soccer, girls' volleyball) would be getting toward the end/ playoffs. They'd still be getting into the groove of changing classes every period.

Hope that helps!

#2 - November 01, 2011, 03:44 PM

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October was when prep for science/invention fair started ... projects were generally due in November. Oh ... I think Red Ribbon Week might also be in October .. if you are familiar with the D.A.R.E. program ... it's an anti-drug campaign. There was a big parade where I used to live ... schools of all ages participated ....

Some school systems I've been in have a "fall break" but I know it's not nation-wide.

#3 - November 01, 2011, 03:53 PM
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I have a seventh grader!

Posters around school:

Fall Dance (sort of a generic one)
The Big Rival Football Game between two middle schools
Fall Band Concert
Science Fair
District Try Outs in Band and Choir (mine is trying out Saturday--wish her luck)
Basketball Tryouts (mine is trying out tomorrow--yes, she's busy!)
Volunteering at high school marching festival

At school:
First report cards just came out (nine week schedule)
Veteran's Day concert (kids play patriotic music for the vets)

We don't have teacher conferences anymore in 7th grade here. They stopped in elementary.
A bunch of the middle schoolers get off the bus at the library to wait for parents, about 30. Some hang out inside: playing games on the computers or playing chess. Others go outside. Some play their band instruments. Some play football. Some do cheers or gymnastics things in the grass.

Hope that helps!
#4 - November 01, 2011, 05:11 PM
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7th grade teacher here:  Red Ribbon Week (a drug education week associated with fun activities.) RRW activities include slogans with activities for example: team up against drugs with wear a team T-shirt day;  Wear red to show you're drug free; Stomp out tobacco use with activity of wearing funny shoes).  I think there's a website for RRW.  Little trinkets such as rubber bracelets and pencils are often given out for participating. 
October is also often parent conference time.  There may be a Halloween dance as well. 
#5 - November 01, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Jenn Bertman
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This is all so helpful!! Thank you! Keep the ideas coming if you have them . . .
#6 - November 01, 2011, 05:43 PM
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THE UNBREAKABLE CODE, April 2017
UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
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One 7th-grade art class made haunted houses out of cardboard in mid-October to decorate the school office. Then they made clay pumpkins to take home.

Harvest Dance on a Thursday (10/21/10), from 2:15 PM till 4:30. Had volunteer chaperones, and asked for volunteers to bring store-bought cookies to the school office.

SoCal (and NorCal?) has an annual mock earthquake drill. This year, it was Monday, 10/14. It starts at 9:35 AM, and takes about an hour for the "evacuation," etc.

Some Red Ribbon Week theme days: Crazy Hair Day, Silly Sock Day, Pajama Day, Red Shirt (or sport/favorite team) Day, and Costume Day (right before Halloween).

One school had a fundraiser event at a roller rink on a Friday evening (6-11 PM). Popular fundraisers around here lately are sponsorships by a local restaurant or fast food place; they donate 10 percent of total purchases to the school, usually on a certain advertised day/night. Also, some grocery stores have started doing that. We also now have Goodwill donation fundraisers; a truck comes to the school on a Saturday and volunteers load it up. 

#7 - November 01, 2011, 10:18 PM
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 10:34 PM by yarnspinner »

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My seventh grader finished up a science project two weeks ago on genetics. She took over the kitchen for a couple days assembling a poster on a pet family tree, which displayed the genotypes and phenotypes of the pets.
#8 - November 02, 2011, 05:36 AM

Here are some of the things my 7th grader has been up to lately:
Invasive species removal at the local arboretum.
Writing nature journals about different kinds of seed dispersal.
3-day stay at a local environmental education center.
Slide-show assembly with images by decade (starting with iconic images of the 60's), coupled with an essay assignment on "A defining moment in my life."
Fitness testing in gym.
Try-outs for regional orchestra.
Learning to make pannekoeken in cooking class.

#9 - November 07, 2011, 06:22 PM
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Things my 7th grader did or began to do in October:

First school dance of the year
Science fair project
School volleyball team started up
Began bi-weekly field trips to wetlands

Good luck!

#10 - November 12, 2011, 09:47 PM
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