Eighth Graders Climb Higher
… with The First Rung Activities
Eighth graders need to find their footing before they advance into high school. They need to find the first rung on the ladder to success. They need to leave middle school with their feet firmly planted on that first rung if they want to succeed in high school.
Success in eighth grade builds the foundation for achievement in high school, post-secondary education, and life. In fact, the five years that span grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 are absolutely critical in helping an individual reach his or her goals in work and life. That’s why our focus on academics/workforce readiness lessons start in eighth grade with a variety of challenging but fun exercises and a targeted proprietary curriculum tailored to this age group, which we call ‘The First Rung.’
No matter how high the climb, it always starts with the first rung.
There are many reasons why eighth grade performance is so critical, but one is absolutely fundamental.
A majority of schools use students’ performance/grades in eighth grade (together with scores on standardized tests) to determine which high school courses soon-to-be ninth graders will have on their daily class schedules. What those high school courses are, and how well new ninth graders perform in them, can make or break a young teen’s future.
That’s why The Internship Depot starts its ‘messaging’ in grade eight, emphasizing to students that research confirms the standard assumptions that hard work in hard courses is the best way to prepare for success in post-secondary education and work. We also discuss the need for students to learn appropriate soft skills.
We have developed a customized curriculum and a full set of activities for eighth graders that helps them understand how important academic achievement and personal development is for their future success, no matter their future goals. Together,
- The First Rung Curriculum informs eighth graders about what they need to learn, and
- The First Rung Activities provides an opportunity for eight graders to practice and apply what they have learned.
Most importantly, The First Rung presentations show students how they can not only build their academic portfolio with hard work, they can ‘convert’ their hard work into language that will impress college admissions officials and business people alike.
As students in eighth grade graduate and move up to high schools that are participating in The Internship Depot programs, they will be invited to join the Stormy Wannabees Advantage Initiative, which helps high school freshmen and sophomores take a turn for the ‘real’ with more intense curriculum and various demanding but fun and exciting simulation games and a wide variety of activities. These various ventures will help participating students understand the competitive nature of both the college admissions and the employment processes.
Then, as students move into their two last years in high school and become juniors and seniors, they can become Rainmakers Candidates, and learn what they need to know to solicit, secure, and successfully serve a Rainmakers Internship.
Even then, no matter how high the climb, it always starts with The First Rung.
The First Rung program also includes a set of fun, dynamic, and informative (also life-changing!) activities detailed in the bulleted list at the bottom of this page.
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Links to Other Components of The Internship Depot’s program:
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Strengthen Your Core | And So It Begins
We show eighth graders how they can strengthen their core — their core competencies, that is. We show them how they can take the hard work they do to maintain or improve their knowledge of key subject matter and turn that work into a statement of accomplishments that will impress both college admissions officials and employers alike.
Most English teachers review résumé writing techniques near the end of high school. However, to have impressive content for that résumé, students in grade eight need to develop and implement a plan that will begin to build those accomplishments throughout their high school years. That content needs to showcase his or her academic (hard skills) knowledge base and the soft (interpersonal) skills employers look for in their hiring processes.
Whether that content is showcased in a one-page document, through a series of essay questions in an online application, or during a personal interview matters not. What matters is that those skills need to be showcased appropriately with measurable improvement over time.
Now Is Not Too Early Video Commercial
To ensure that the critical messages delivered in our The First Rung curriculum are reinforced and repeated as often as possible, we encourage our participating grade eight students to work in small teams to produce and film a ‘commercial’ that summarizes the important points that all students need to embed in their approach to all things necessary for success.
Students plan, develop, and film a three-minute video commercial and the best commercials (as designated by teacher-driven processes) are submitted to a panel of judges (volunteer business people) who will select the best videos. The top three will be featured in a student assembly during which the producers of the videos will receive small prizes.
The First Rung Curriculum
To ensure that eighth graders ‘get’ our message, we have developed proprietary curriculum that helps students understand what employers will expect from them and how knowing about those demands now can ensure that students can be really ready and have a much longer time to get ready.
‘The First Rung’ curriculum emphasizes what students need to do — and should not do — in preparation for high school and the rest of their lives.
We need only five classroom periods to get our message across to the students — modules target different academic classes. Each is 45 minutes long and aimed at Mathematics class (2), English class (2), and History (1).
Readings, Quizzes, and More
We often post ‘The First Rung’ ancillary activities on our website, such as a new informative story and reinforcing online quiz, so we can continue to be the soft but persistent voice for education and workforce readiness. As appropriate, we ask school leadership to communicate these opportunities to their students in a variety of ways (morning announcements, emails to students/parents, website notifications).
Occasionally, we distribute small prizes to students who have taken advantage of these learning opportunities.