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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Sid Goes to Middle School

Who says that Sid is only for preschoolers? I know for sure that Sid has universal appeal because I had a chance to talk with middle school students last week. One of the middle schools in my town was hosting a “Writing in the World” day in conjunction with their annual books fair. The goal of the event was to show middle school students the importance of good writing for their future employment opportunities. The school wanted to showcase people who write for a living: a novelist, a police detective, a college professor, a singer songwriter, and a blogger. Through a mysterious series of events that sometimes happen in small towns, I was referred to the chairperson of the event through a friend in my book club, because I am a professional writer with a blog. They asked me to come talk with students about professional blogging.
Who, ME? Yes, I am a writer and yes, I am lucky enough to write a blog for Sid the Science Kid…but I wasn’t sure about talking to groups of 12-15 years olds about a blog for preschoolers. I agreed and then I stressed about it for a couple of weeks. My challenge was to teach them what a blog is all about, get them interested in a preschool show and a blog for parents, and then somehow make connections to their tween lives.
I do my best work when I think (obsess) about a topic for a while. I like to think of it as percolating. (Which, by the way, middle schoolers would know nothing about since percolators are ancient coffee machines.) So, I devised a plan in my head and only put it into an outline the night before the big event. I decided to talk about myself, talk about Sid, and then take them to a blog that might peak their interest. I picked Rick Riordan’s blog since most kids have read The Lightening Thief or at least seen the movie.
So early one Friday morning, I found myself at the middle school. To say I was nervous isn’t quite right. I definitely felt uneasy, but it as more a feeling of being out of my element. The kids walking around were so very BIG. Some girls had make up on and some boys were a head taller than me. I am so used to the preschool environment. And it hit me…someday Henry and Leo are going to be in middle school! I am already panicking about Leo in Kindergarten and here I was faced with my future: big boys who are a head taller than me.
My first class was a 6th grade Honors Language Arts class. I started by explaining that when I was their age I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I only knew that I loved to read and I loved to write. Then I asked the class if anyone knew what they wanted to be in the future. Their answers were wonderful: architects, vets, doctors, nurses, police officers, firemen, and professional ball players. A room full of dreams. From then on, it was easy. The most shocking moments for me were when the kids did not know who Jim Henson was. They all knew the Muppets and the Sesame gang, but not The Jim Henson Company. (They do now.)
When I linked to Sid up on the screen many of the kids DID recognize him and his friends. They claimed to have younger siblings who watched, but I know that these big kids liked Sid too. We talked about blogging and social media and the significance of communication. I tried to explain how important it is in today’s world to express yourself with concise writing, perfect grammar, and clean spelling. And I wanted them to know that anyone can write and anyone can tell a story.
Sid the Science Kid has opened many doors for me in the past two years through the blog and podcast. But a door to the middle school was not one I was expecting. I had a great day talking to different classes and I was proud to show them the fun things that happen over at Sid the Science Kid.
Have you let yourself imagine your little preschooler in his or her middle school years? How do you think Sid will turn out? It’s fun to think about.


Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo
 

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