Kitty Savage - A Savage Life

Years ago, there was a game show that asked, “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” Now, I’ve known for quite some time that, unequivocally, I am not.

Our older 2 Savages’ forays in the 5th grade left no doubt in my mind, and they both attended the 5th grade before the word “schoology” was even a blip on our educational radar.

I can tell you, after just a couple of days, the things our youngest daughter’s already competently doing in the 5th grade would leave me in a trail of dust. I’ve been in awe at how readily and easily she can use the technology necessary for this upcoming school year.

It took her just a few minutes to demonstrate how to toggle between each of the subject areas that comprise her school day. Although she’s currently attending school in person, it was neat to see how technology makes it possible for the kids who’ve chosen the virtual option to be included in lessons.

When I was in the 5th grade, there was no virtual option. Well, that probably had a lot to do with the fact that computers weren’t invented yet, let alone the Internet.

When I was in the 5th grade, we still learned how to write in cursive and used a chalkboard in the front of the room to work out math problems. Speaking of a trail of dust, we all wanted to be chosen for the classroom job of going outside to bang the chalkboard erasers together.

That was a much better job than cleaning out the shavings from the manual pencil sharpener. I can’t even imagine a classroom now where a roomful of children stand in line each morning waiting to touch the same crank to sharpen their number 2 pencils.

With our current health and safety restrictions, that would take forever. Luckily, today’s 5th graders, can use their own keyboard or touchscreen to complete much of their schoolwork, no sharpening required.

However, it wasn’t an assignment completed through the use of technology last week that solidified my belief that sometimes 5th graders are indeed smarter than many adults.

I came to this realization after looking at a completed worksheet in our youngest daughter’s keep-at-home folder. She had beautifully colored a picture of a mosaic fish with a thought bubble above its head.

The heading read, “There’s only one me. I’m going to make this world a better place by…” Then in the thought bubble, our 5th grader printed with a pre-sharpened number 2 pencil, “spreading kindness.”

Her answer wasn’t complicated or long. She didn’t identify some hot button political issue or argue a position as to why her plan to improve the world was better than her classmate sitting 6 feet away or at home on their tablet.

No, she answered simply and earnestly from her heart. If you want to change the world, start by spreading kindness.

Jeff Foxworthy used to ask, “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” Our daughter’s answer on that worksheet proved to me, once again, that I’m not. Are you?

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