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Choosing Essay Topics For Eighth Graders: A List Of Useful Tips
The great thing about eighth graders is their experience is expanding, yet their imagination continues to bloom. They tend to be influenced by a wider range of literature and media compared to their younger counterparts, yet tend to be less inhibited than high school students. The difficulty may be in persuading them to put their ideas on paper.
- The best policy is to offer a wide range of choices to tap into their widely differing imaginations.
- By this age, students are contemplating the wider issues confronting the human conditions. Topics being discussed both nationally and internationally may draw an opinion: What effect will global warming have on the polar ice cap? Should we continue giving aid to foreign countries? Why or why not?
- Social studies offer some interesting possibilities. Students who enjoy history may enjoy the challenge of taking today’s technology and skills back to Revolutionary times.
- Those interested in science may prefer the challenge of imagining space travel or colonizing Mars.
- Teenage years are often filled with anxiety. Some eighth graders may enjoy exploring the emotions that are being awoken. Begin with a lead, such as, “As the car pulled away, I knew my life would never be the same…”
- To encourage comparative thinking, a teacher could suggest, “Life is much easier for teenagers today than it was a hundred years ago.” Encourage students to see that in some ways, it may be, but in others, the simpler life gave fewer challenges. Ask which time they would prefer to live in.
- Technology has developed quickly in the last century. Pose the questions, “What would life be like without the internet?” “How would you get around if your family did not have a car?” “How would you entertain yourself if there was no television?”
- Suggest your student overheard part of a conversation and invent the context. For example, she overheard a man say into his cell phone, “Whatever you do, don’t let her know you have that information!” Who? What information?
- An eighth grader who is still struggling to find a topic may be directed to select an item on his desk, or in the room, and describe it: the color, texture, smell, sound, shape. He could suggest possible uses before alighting on the actual use.
- The exciting challenge about selecting essay topics for this age group is to offer a balance between fiction and nonfiction that will stretch, stimulate and occupy their minds.
A Few Pointers To Keep In Mind
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