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Dear Editors of the Lens,  

              I think every middle school class (from grade 6 to grade 8) should have a class pet. Here are a few reasons why: Having to take care of a pet builds a sense of responsibility in children, and teaches them how to take care of something with its own needs and feelings. With the advances in technology, children, most of them around 6th to 9th grade, spend a lot and/or too much time on and around technological devices. Having pets creates a bond to the natural world, and that increases the health and well-being of the students. Also, if various school subjects have connections to the pet, kids are more likely to learn and remember.

I think class pets are a magnificent idea for those reasons, and besides, who can resist their adorability?

Sincerely yours,                                                                                                                                                                    

L.G.

 

Dear L.G.,

I think this is a bad idea for a few reasons. The first one is, a child might be allergic to the animal. If you choose for example a turtle (I doubt anybody will be allergic to a turtle), but some kids might be scared of whatever animal you choose. If this animal gets sick overnight then there is nobody to take care of it. Some people may not have the materials to take care of the animal. Also, what if the school has a week off, who will take care of it if everybody in the class travels away? School field trips may also be a problem because the class would have to drop it off with another class. If the animal dies in the middle of the school year and someone is very emotionally attached they may start crying a lot. This may be bad because this person or these people may start to participate less. If the animal does happen to make it to the end of the year, who will take care of it over the summer? The school also may not have adequate funds to sustain an animal for multiple classes. Some kids from classes who don’t get pets may also get jealous. I would instead recommend a plant like a cactus or a yucca, which doesn’t have to be watered much. A cactus should be put in a glass case in a corner so that no one gets hurt. Please tell me what you think of my idea, or if you think any of my arguments against class pets are invalid.  

 

Sincerely,

X.F.

 

Dear Lens Editor(s),

 

Regarding the article “Coding in Schools” on April 10, 2019, I strongly agree that coding should be taught in school, starting in the elementary grades.

 

I am a 6th grade student, and I am learning three languages (German, English and French).  In addition to learning the languages of other countries, GISNY should also teach students the language of computers and technology. Coding, or computer programming, helps develop critical thinking skills, creativity and determination. Coding is a universal language, with its own set of rules and algorithms. We live in a digital age, and it is important that students learn how to use this technology. According to Steve Jobs, “Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”

 

In my experience, I took coding courses during elementary school and this has helped me in how I learn, think and understand computer and math concepts. This was an after school activity, so not all students attended this class. I feel sorry that not all students had this opportunity.

 

You may argue that not everyone will become computer programmers. But, to quote from “The Future of Coding in Schools” (an article which interviewed Mitch Resnick, one of the creators of the Scratch programming language): “Though very few people grow up to be professional writers, we still teach everyone to write because it’s a way of communicating with others, of organizing and expressing your ideas. When we learn to code, we are learning how to organize, express, and share ideas in new ways, in a new medium.”

 

I hope this article will convince your readers, and the school administration, to include coding classes in the curriculum in all grade levels, starting at elementary.

 

Sincerely yours,

  1. S.

 

Responding to “Coding in School”

 

I agree with your suggestion that GISNY should offer a coding/computer class or AG. The 5th grade has ITG for half a year, but it is at a very low level and you only learn how to use I.E Word, Excel. So a full year computer/coding class would be valuable.

Like you said, coding helps develop skills and is useful for understanding math. I have some experience in coding; I used Scratch and am playing this game called CodeCombat (you use a programming language to solve levels. The website is  https://codecombat.com).

These days, coding is very important for many jobs like design, video game making and much more. So, thank you for coming up with this idea and like you, I hope the school administration will support our idea, and maybe we can get better computers and a computer coding teacher.

 

Sincerely yours,

NB

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

In American schools, I hear they have electives. I think that our school should consider offering electives to the students (art, sports, music, theater, etc.).

Electives allow kids to explore their interests outside of the main school subjects. Some studies have shown that participation in electives may actually enhance academic learning. It is important to train different parts of your brain with different activities. This use of free time lets kids learn life skills, such as problem-solving and creative thinking. These skills can come in handy for their studies. Websites like risinschool.org, which was created in 2019, lists several benefits of electives and other after school activities.

As self-confidence can sometimes be lacking in children and teens, achieving success in an elective course often leads to enjoyable experiences that may give kids a boost of self-esteem. And that will help to motivate them more in life and even in their academics.

Finally, getting children involved in electives is a great way for them to learn about prioritizing their daily tasks — for instance, homework, studying, and managing their free time.

These reasons show the benefits of having electives in school. Therefore, our school should consider offering students electives.

Sincerely yours,

CS

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

 

I think that teachers, who are not on duty for supervision in the lunch break, should not be allowed to skip the line during lunch time. This should not be allowed because it takes time from the students’ lunch break, and the teachers have enough time to eat during lunch. It is also common sense that nobody should skip any lines, but the teachers still do it, even though they always tell us that it’s not good behavior to do that. It is really disrespectful, because the teachers that are not on duty for supervision have the same amount, or even more, time to eat as the students. Students also get in trouble with teachers a lot for skipping the line even though teachers do it too.

 

Students always wait for their food patiently, but then they have to wait longer with the teachers skipping the line. This happened to me once when I was waiting in line to get my food. It was my turn, but then when I wanted to tell Paul what I wanted, three teachers just came to the front of the line and started asking for their food. And the worst part was that they didn’t even care.

 

With this letter, I wanted to say that, from now on, teachers who are not on duty should stop skipping the line.

 

Sincerely Yours

T.F.

 

Dear T.F.

 

I understand your point, and I think you have a good one but it’s very hard to do so because maybe the teachers have to grade papers. At my siblings school they had a separate line for the teachers but at such a small school like ours it might make our lunch line longer. And many of the teachers will be very annoyed. Also it would be a big adjustment for the school.

 

Sincerely Yours

K.S.

 

Dear Lens Editors,

 

We students should have longer lunch times. First, the lines are always way too long. It can take up to 10-15 minutes waiting for food. This occurs when a lot of students like to eat a particular dish. They made two lines, but this did not change much, because of kids cutting the line from 5-8 grade. We need longer lunch times and a shorter break. This will make the school day ending at 1:50PM. Eating enough of the right food will help us concentrate in class, according to an article in The Atlantic (August, 2014). Also if we do not eat enough food, we will be hungry and uncomfortable. Once, my friend and I were waiting in the line for food with four other people. We did not get to eat food yet because the line was very long. One kid let six of his classmates cut the line, and they all got to eat their food. But when we were going to get our food, the worker sent us away hungry, saying that there is no more time to eat. We walked away with empty stomachs and two apples each. This change will be good so kids don’t have to gulp down their food, or go to class hungry. This is why our school should have changes to our lunch system.

 

Thank you for reading.

Yours Truly,

  1. P.

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

Middle school students have a major problem with homework. Children in middle school get so much homework they don’t have time for activities, and some can’t pursue their dreams. Some don’t have time for building relationships and don’t have any friends. This leads to sadness, or even depression. A surprising 8% of children from the ages of 10-16 suffer from depression (www.webmd.com article from 2017). Others my drop out of school due to stress, and completely ignore their education. So, homework leads to stress, depression or a bad future. To avoid this, teachers should give children homework that they can finish in class. Not only would the children get less homework, but also, kids will work harder to finish their homework.

Thank you for your attention,

Yours sincerely,

GK

 

Dear Lens Editors,

 

I think that there should be no homework in our school. Here are three reasons why:

 

My first reason would be that Finland has the best school system in the world. And guess what Finland does NOT do? Homework. If we would remove homework from our school system, we would be following the Finnish school system’s footsteps.

 

Another reason is time. When coming home from a six-or-more hour day of school, I would love to just do what ever I want. But unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, I have to sit down for another one to two hours, and complete my homework for the next day. For instance, on Tuesday, I have school until 5:30. This means I have to do my mountain of homework in three hours, before I have to go to bed. (Please note, I am only in sixth grade.) I think you would agree with me when I say, that stinks!

 

Now, last but not least, mental health. This may sound weird at first, but according to a Google search, many students get depressed, stressed, anxious, and suffer from lack of sleep and less family time. I even find myself with a frown on my face while doing homework. And even after, it’s quite hard to turn that frown around.

 

I hope that you agree with me, and also hope that there is no, or at least less homework, in our school.

 

Sincerely yours,

  1. R.

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

In American schools, I hear they have electives. I think that our school should consider offering electives to the students (art, sports, music, theater, etc.).

Electives allow kids to explore their interests outside of the main school subjects. Some studies have shown that participation in electives may actually enhance academic learning. It is important to train different parts of your brain with different activities. This use of free time lets kids learn life skills, such as problem-solving and creative thinking. These skills can come in handy for their studies. Websites like risinschool.org, which was created in 2019, lists several benefits of electives and other after school activities.

As self-confidence can sometimes be lacking in children and teens, achieving success in an elective course often leads to enjoyable experiences that may give kids a boost of self-esteem. And that will help to motivate them more in life and even in their academics.

Finally, getting children involved in electives is a great way for them to learn about prioritizing their daily tasks — for instance, homework, studying, and managing their free time.

These reasons show the benefits of having electives in school. Therefore, our school should consider offering students electives.

Sincerely yours,

CS

 

Dear Editors of The Lens,

I think we shouldn’t have homework. Here are three reasons why: First of all, we already spend six hours a day learning, then we still have homework to do, which takes away a lot of time where we should be able to do things that we enjoy, like playing sports, reading, sleeping etc… Furthermore, if we get homework, we have to carry home many books in our bags most of the time. Finally, It’s a total waste of time, because we are supposed to learn everything in school, and not the other way around.

The international news website EJ Insight states that studies show over 70% of children in America do not like having homework. A Stanford University study states that 56% of students consider homework a primary source of stress. And too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and weight loss, according to tutoring service Oxford Learning (oxfordlearning.com).

 

These are the reasons why I think we shouldn’t have homework. (Personally I think most of the students at the GISNY don’t want homework either.)

 

C.M.

 

Dear  C.M

There were a few letters about no homework for GISNY but I chose this letter because it had everyone’s ideas in it.

I think you have a good idea because when we have too much homework, we don’t get to play or do thing that we want to do, and that makes me frustrated.

But, I also think it is good that we have homework because we can learn at home and not have to work so hard in school.

Sometimes we get a lot of homework and sometimes only a little bit. Maybe, teachers can speak to each other and decide how much homework they are going to give us.

Sincerely,

HR

 

Dear Editors of The Lens,

 

Teachers should coordinate, so that homework amounts are divided evenly between their classes.

From personal experience, my classmates and I get very little homework some days, and other times, a lot of homework. So much, in fact, that we have to get up early the next day or skip activities to get it all done. I quoted someone who would like to be kept anonymous: “Why do we always get random amounts of homework? The teachers should organize this better.”

Why should teachers coordinate? Because too much homework can give children sleep deprivation from having to wake up so early, which then results in a lack of concentration in class. And if children skip activities, they may not be able to pursue their dreams.

Those are a few reasons why teachers should coordinate when giving homework, so it’s a decent amount every day.

 

Thank you for your attention.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

  1. M.

 

Dear T M,

I think that your idea for teachers to coordinate the homework is very good. Sometimes we don’t have any homework, and then the next week we get tons of homework. I know exactly what you mean when you write about sleep deprivation because , every single night I sit until 7:00 pm doing homework. A lot of times I don’t have any free time. That is why I chose this letter to answer. Maybe we can talk to the Schulenschpracher to come up with a solution.

Sincerely yours,

WR

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

 

Ann-Christine, the student body president, appeared in an article last year about girls’ sports at the GISNY.

I think that Ann-Christine was right when she asked for more female sports teams at our school (the web site iplaylikeagirl.org lists the many types of girl sports teams that exist). Girls should have their own sport teams at our school. There is only one sports team at our school that is dedicated to girls only. This is our field hockey team. Unfortunately, the field hockey team only practices in the months of September until November. During the winter months, we don’t practice at all; although we could practice all year around. We could, for example, run a Field Hockey Winter Clinic like other schools do.

The other existing sports teams at our school are mainly dedicated to the boys. The school always says that they welcome girls to the soccer team and to the basketball team, but the way to play soccer or basket ball is totally different between boys and girls. The boys are much more aggressive. Therefore, you can hardly find girls on these teams.

Either we find a way to encourage and integrate girls into the boys’ teams or we work on our new field hockey team and build it up to become a professional and competitive team that can play against other schools and have its own tournaments.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

I.W.

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

 

I think that Ann-Christine was right in saying that there should be more girls’ sports teams. Our school should have either more girls’ sports teams, or girls should be able to join all boys’ sports teams. Firstly, there would be more interaction between boys and girls if girls could join all boys’ teams, because they would have to work as a team, for example, in basketball or soccer. In addition, girls would be able to try out more sports, as they would be allowed on all sports teams. Lastly, most schools do not have many girls’ sports teams, and if they do, their equipment, coaches and training grounds are worse, according to a Washington Post survey of girls’ sports teams in Washing DC (September 6, 2012). Our school wants to stand out, so it would make sense to offer more girls teams, and thus attract more students.

 

Sincerely yours,

  1. D.

 

Dear Editors of the Lens,

I agree with the Student Body President Ann-Christine, who states in an interview that there should be more girls’ sports teams at our school.

Here are some reasons why:

First of all, girls only have a field hockey team in middle school. Another reason is that if there were more girls’ sports teams, more kids could play on school teams that compete against other schools.

A third reason why I agree with having more girls’ sports teams at our school is because sports are important for learning how to play on a team. If girls learn to play sports with each other they could spend more time together and become better friends. Also, they learn sportsmanship, and how to work together.

Many of these benefits are discussed in an article in the newspaper India Today (August 3, 2016).

Sincerely,

 

Grade 6 student

 

Dear Editors of The Lens,

As I was looking through The Lens, I saw a story called Get to know your Schülersprecher: An Interview with Henry (September 27, 2018). In this article, I saw a point that Henry made that I would like to pursue. He said that we should interact more with other schools.

Why should we interact more with other schools?

I am a 6th grader at the GISNY, and play on many sports teams outside of school. Two weeks ago, all the kids on my soccer team were going to a party at their schools, and I felt left out because the GISNY was not part of it. If our school had interacted more with other schools, we’d be known by these schools, and would have been invited. This would mean that not only could I go to the party, but all other students at the GISNY could go too.

Another reason for us interacting more with other schools is that colleges will know us better and be more likely to accept our students. They will also scout our teams to see if any of our players are good. This would also help our students. But not just our students will benefit from us being known; other pupils outside of our school will be introduced to GISNY. This will give them a chance to experience our “society.” Our teams (chess, soccer, basketball, field hockey) need as much practice as possible, and what would be better for our players than playing against other teams? If we interact more often with other schools, they will be more likely to think of us when planning their games

We should interact more with other schools because we will be invited to other schools’ events, and friends at different schools can meet each other more often. Colleges won’t just accept our students more, but will also scout our teams. Other students will be introduced to our school, and our teams will play more often.

Yours,

  1. G.

 

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