Second Graders Propose Vending Machines and Naps

Second graders lobbied for vending machines, nap time, and multilingual dictionaries in a writing assignment on making change in the Lower School.

“I love this unit because it helps boys focus on all the great things they love about Gilman,” said second grade teacher Tami James. “Additionally, they get to dream big and really believe they have the ability to make a change.”

The month-long process of  writing persuasive letters is broken down into four steps: brainstorming, organizing, writing a rough draft, and then a final draft. “We always tell the boys to choose their requests, facts, and reasons carefully because it is always possible that Mr. Herrmann will decide to make a change in the lower school based on their letters.”

A popular proposal this year? Several boys wrote letters explaining why the Lower School should install vending machines in the lobby. And, they had some pretty compelling reasons.

“They felt that this would help parents because they would not have to pack snacks for their kids in the morning, it would help the overall health of Gilman boys because we could control what kinds of healthy snacks would be stocked in the vending machines, and finally, Gilman would benefit because money would be raised that could go towards technology, playground equipment, or even a donation to a charity,” James explained.


Other requests included instituting a 20 minute post-recess nap (so they could “concentrate better and ponder more thoughtful answers”), having ice cream every day for dessert (to give Gilman boys more energy for recess and reduce workload for the culinary team), establishing a fantasy football club (to make math more fun), and buying new French/Spanish/English dictionaries (for strictly academic reasons).

Ice Cream

Stay tuned on whether Mr. Herrmann has been persuaded by any of these excellent letters.


Update from Mr. Herrmann: 

One of the other delights of this writing project was that it gave me an opportunity to go into 2B after I received their letters and respond to each child.  Their reactions to my responses were sometimes just as amusing as the original letters.

For example, one boy had requested that students should be allowed to go back for thirds at lunch, offering rationale such as, “…if people don’t have thirds, they will ask their teacher for food, and if the teacher gives them food, what will the teachers eat?”  (Such altruism!)  I read the letter aloud and replied that I could probably arrange for thirds at lunch.  The caveat, however was that doing so would require extending the lunch period, and since their recess is right after lunch, we would have to borrow time from recess.  There was immediate and vocal consensus to retract the original request for thirds!


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