What are the current important cultural touchstones of 11-13 yr olds?
June 6, 2014 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I teach a summer camp, and on the first day we hand out a list of questions and have the students interview each other one-on-one as an ice-breaker. We do it very quickly, so simple questions are the best. What are some things that a group of 11-13 yr olds (mostly girls) are likely to have an opinion on? Thanks!
posted by velebita to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Dogs or cats? (Or favourite animal)
posted by DarlingBri at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

The big thing this summer is The Fault In Our Stars Movie. So perhaps favorite line, or opinion of the actors, or something along those lines.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:58 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Favorite computer game? Favorite book? Favorite color, food, movie? Hometown? Nickname?
posted by Sublimity at 10:03 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Minecraft. If their lives are not affected by Minecraft, they likely have a sibling or friend whose is.
posted by magdalemon at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

Seconding Minecraft. Also, Frozen: your entire camp probably knows every word of every song.
posted by jamaro at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2014 [9 favorites]

Definitely popular music, or music that their parents like
posted by lakersfan1222 at 10:20 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

One Direction. And Bieber's still a thing.
posted by jessicapierce at 10:48 AM on June 6, 2014

In our household, and in the resident tween girl's Girl Scout troop: the "Guardians" books by Erin Hunter, Instagram, Animal Jam (online game), pretty much everything that hits the Billboard Hot 100 and sticks like cement (Taylor Swift, One Direction, other random pretty crooning dudes with floppy hair), Rainbow Loom (this may be on the way out), talking on the phone for hooooooooours in a shrieky voice (uh, I think this trend may actually be immortal).
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:01 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Favorite social media platform: Facebook or Instagram?
posted by Flood at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2014

Who is their favorite YouTuber?

The Hunger Games and if they skew at all geeky, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:13 AM on June 6, 2014

What are things they are likely to have opinions on?

Sneakers, nail polish, social media (vine, instagram, snapchat), favorite youtube channels, music.

Can you stand on your head?
If you could be an animal what would you be?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
posted by inertia at 11:18 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mindless Behavior, the US One Direction
posted by infinitewindow at 11:19 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hunger Games. They will probably all have read or watched Harry Potter.
posted by crocomancer at 11:51 AM on June 6, 2014

Don't forget questions that work for outsider type kids. (animals, values,etc)
posted by latkes at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2014 [5 favorites]

Oooh, I live around some of these. One Direction. Lorde. Selena Gomez. Disney TV shows ie Shake it Up. Lorde. Pretty much anything from the "Teens React" videos on youtube. FROZEN. Other Disney and/or Broadway musical songs. Nail polish. Earrings. Their dogs or cats. Rihanna. Cuddly exotic animals. Celebrity couples. Girl scouts. Arts and crafts activities. Talking about their annoying siblings. Gossiping in general. Talking about their dream careers or future families.
posted by warm_planet at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2014

If you put the questions into a bingo card, then you can have them go around and find someone who:

is left handed
has a black cat
is the youngest sibling
read all the Harry Potter books
wears earrings
can do a cartwheel
has visited another state/country
can make brownies
plays Minecraft
can build a Lego spaceship
loves whatever the local team is
has gone off a high dive
has been to a wedding
has a record player in their house
likes kiwi
loves ice cream
has gone horseback riding
can skateboard...

Stuff like that, it gets them up and talking to each other.*

*Yes, I'm a special education teacher; can you tell?
posted by kinetic at 12:25 PM on June 6, 2014 [25 favorites]

**because for some kids, that 1:1 interview is SUPERAWKWARD but when everyone's running around trying to get Bingo, it's more fun. And then they can all start yelling, "What's a record player?!" and laugh, and also say, "Oh! Rebecca plays Minecraft! Go talk to HER!"
posted by kinetic at 12:35 PM on June 6, 2014 [10 favorites]

because kids sometimes trend young, also consider things like disney infinity and the lego movie and i think pre-teens still dig adventure time.

this is a time that girls start to get down on themselves, so consider aspirational questions/simple cabin-chat questions that might spur good conversation (also non-gender specific, to cover your entire audience):

if you had the power to make the world better, what would you do?
your future self walks up to you on the street - what advice do they give you?
if you could fill a swimming pool with one thing, what would it be?
what is your favorite season of the year? why?
what is more important - actual experiences, or the memories you have after the experience is over? (okay, that one's prolly a lil too deep for a get to know you 1:1)
name three things you would do to stay busy if all the electricity went out.

sex and the single tween ran in newsweek in january. these are the kids you get to shape and mold this summer. i hope some of our collective answers point you in the right direction. Be awesome!
posted by ovenmitt at 1:12 PM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've led similar activities in the past, and another "bingo" question that really got the kids talking was, "find someone who has been on TV." Now I'd also add "appeared in a YT video".
posted by mosk at 1:27 PM on June 6, 2014

Flight or invisibility?
posted by Seboshin at 3:39 PM on June 6, 2014

My 11-year-old daughter says Pokémon and soccer.
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2014

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