Marticville Middle School 7th Graders: What Does Smart Mean?

More Specific than “Smart”

Seventh graders just finished a mini unit designed to broaden their understanding of what it means to be gifted, and help them realize that using the word “smart” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface! Students listed 12-15 characters from books, movies, history that they consider to be smart. Then, they chose three characters from their list and identified at least 3 specific compliments they could give them beyond using the word, “smart”. For each compliment, they explained their reasoning with supporting evidence. 

Finally, they were charged with writing a story where two characters teamed up to solve a problem (of their choosing) using their unique strengths. Students read each others stories and identified the many ways people can be “smart”. Finally, students identified 3 specific strengths of their own and unpacked what it means to be gifted.

This is what students had to say about the mini unit:

  • I liked being able to come up with different words to describe the word “smart”.
  • I liked looking at myself and my strengths and weaknesses.
  • I gained a better understanding of what smart means.
  • Smart doesn’t mean getting all “A’s”.
  • I learned a lot about myself, and this unit helped me recognize what I am good at.
  • I was able to be very creative by selecting two characters, that would not otherwise be in the same situation, and have them team up to solve a problem.
  • It expanded my mind to think in new ways.
  • My brain is different than most other people.
  • That I’m in this class because of certain strengths that I have and I can expand on them.
  • I don’t need to always shoot for the A in a class and I need to always do my best and whatever my best is needs to be enough for me.
  • There are many different ways to think and people have many different strengths.
  • I think lessons like this are helpful for me because it lets me know I am not the only one who feels the way I do sometimes.  I always associate my self worth with my grades and how well I do things and it was nice to know I am not the only one. 
  • This unit made me feel more “normal” about the way my brain works.
  • This unit made me think about what I am good at and what I’m not. Which is very helpful in the sense of what I might do in the future.

Here’s the list of words students came up with to define smart: What SMART Means To Us

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