Opening Discussion• What do you know about life in other countries?• Do you think Americans are happier than Chinese people? Are they sadder? The same?• Do you think going to school in another country would change how you think?
SuburbiaA common place forAmerican people to raisechildren is the suburbs. Asuburb is a separateresidential community withincommuting distance of alarge city. Suburbs firstemerged on a large scale inthe 1900s as a result ofimproved forms oftransportation.
Suburban development in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Kindergarten Most American children have their first school experience in either preschool or kindergarten. It is common for a student to have one year of kindergarten when they are between 4-6 years old before they start elementary school. Kindergarten is different from later school environments because the focus is more on socialization rather than math or reading.
Elementary SchoolFrom ages 6 to 11, American children goto elementary school. This type of schoolis also known as a primary school orgrade school (because each year is knowas a “grade”: first grade, secondgrade, etc.) Elementary schools providetheir students with an education inreading, writing and arithmetic (the threeRs).
Report Card A report card tells about a students performance in school. A typical report card uses a grading scale to determine the quality of a students school work. The possible grades, from highest to lowest, are as follows: A, B, C, D, F. Sometimes the teachers will also assign grades with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign so that the highest possible grade is an A+ and the lowest possible is an F-.
Jr. High After elementary school, American students usually go to a Jr. High School. Junior High is a place for young students to start preparing for their higher education, so it is sort of a mix between elementary school and high school. Unlike elementary school, for example, where the students spend their whole day in one classroom with one teacher, junior. high students usually have 5-6 different classes, in different subjects, with different teachers. Junior high school students also usually start receiving grades based on a point system, with 4.0 being the highest possible grade, and 0 being the lowest.
High SchoolThe last four years of schoolbefore a student goes off tocollege are called high school.High School students study anumber of different subjects, andthey have the ability to choosesome of the classes that theytake. After high school, Americanscan either choose to go tocollege, or finish their educationand enter the workforce.
College Higher education (university) is often called college in the United States. Students at American colleges can study any number of subjects in one of the best university systems in the world. Unlike in high school, college students are generally regarded as adults, and free to determine their own future. There is generally no limit on which major a college student has to take, as long as they are admitted to the college they wish to attend.
What do you think?• What kind of education did you have in your home?• What would the world be like if everyone had access to a good education?• How important do you think education is?• What do you think Mark Twain meant when he said, “never let school interfere with your education”?
Part-time JobA part-time job is a job where peoplework fewer hours per week than afull-time job. Workers are consideredto be part time if they work less than30 hours a week. Part time jobs arean essential part of many Americans’educations because without a part-time job, many college students cannot make ends meet. In fact, it is notuncommon for many Americans toget their first part-time job whenthey are still in high school.
Driver’s License In the United States, the minimum age to obtain a drivers license varies from 14 years, three months in South Dakota to as high as 17 in New Jersey. In America, getting your driver’s license is an important step in becoming an adult.
ShootingMany Americans, particularly in smalltowns, learn to shoot and use firearms atan early age. It is also not uncommon forkids to go hunting with their parents(usually their father).This issue is somewhat controversial insome places, particularly in the largercities, but guns remain a normal part of lifein many places.One reason the people teach their childrenabout firearms, is that they believe that itis better for them to know how guns workso that they can avoid dangerousaccidents.
What do you think?• When did you get your first job?• Do you think it is more important for students to learn how to do things in the workplace, or should they concentrate on their studies?• When do people usually get driver’s licenses in your country? How do you feel about driving on the roads with teenagers?• Is it a good idea for kids to learn how to shoot?