Top 12 Things You Learned In School That Your Students Won’t – Annie Condron

Top 12 Things You Learned In School That Your Students Won’t

For better or worse, some teaching topics and students lessons are falling out of favor in current curriculum.

Here are the top 12 things you learned in school that may not be taught today:


There’s a contentious debate among techy teachers who are ready to discard handwriting / cursive and traditional teachers who see the value for reading, writing and fine motor skills that teaching handwriting provides.

Check out how cursive scored in a TeachHUB poll on the subject!

Card Catalog / Dewey Decimal System

With Google at our students’ finger tips, they must think we were crazy to spend hours thumbing through note cards in the card catalogs, combing the stacks and revising microfilm to find research materials. I’m constantly begging students to go beyond Google and mix it up with the old school books as well.

Pluto as a Planet

Now that Pluto’s been downgraded to a dwarf planet, you’ll have to update the old rhyme:

My (Mercury) Very (Venus) Easy (Earth) Method (mars) Just (Jupiter) Speeds (Saturn) Up (Uranus) Naming (Neptune) Planets (Pluto).

Share your new-school mnemonic device in the comments section!


While I spent time in grade school and high school memorizing the home row and trying to up my speed at typing “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” today’s kids can text and type at speeds I’d never thought possible.

For kicks, let your students work on a typewriter, breaking out the white out for mistakes and retyping each draft. Be prepared to take video in case someone has to replace the ink ribbon.

Old School Gym Class Staples

Climbing the rope in gym class seems to be a relic of times passes, along with (I hope) square dancing. Let’s just hope that physical education becomes more modern instead of just disappearing entirely.

Paper-Based Reference Materials

Researching with encyclopedias, paper dictionaries, microfilm and other paper-based resources used to be a must. Now, students don’t need guidance on choosing their proper encyclopedia volume or skimming a page to find your entry.

Now, students need to taught how to find reliable online resources and choose relevant keywords to find the proper results. Check out Dr. Katie McKnight’s guide to connecting literacy skills with 21st century skills.

Food Pyramid

Say goodbye to the bottom layer of carbs that the previous generations knew and loved. The latest in nutritional guides is actually a circle divided into food categories that demonstrates proper portion size.

Diagramming Sentences

When we asked TeachHUB facebook followers about obsolete school lessons, the Language Arts contingent lamented the diagramming sentences no longer being taught in some schools.

Evolution (Exclusively)

While evolution is a core part of science curricula, some states and districts are also allowing supplemental units on creationism or intelligent designDr. Barbara Forrest is an advocate against this change in education policy.

Math Drills

In the age of the calculator, math teachers among the TeachHUB fans listed math drills are lacking in current curriculum standards. Students are relying too heavily on calculators for basic math facts. Don’t let the machines win!

Clapping erasers

Oh chalk boards, how I don’t miss you! Dry erase and SMART boards are welcome replacements… nails on a dry erase board just don’t have the same effect.

As a student though, I did enjoy the classroom duty of clapping erasers if it was a nice day outside.

Scales & Balances

Digital scales make the traditional balance scales and their slew of weights unnecessary. If nothing else, this lesson going by the wayside will clear some closet space in science classrooms.

The Endangered Learning List

In addition to our top 12 lost or soon-to-be-lost lessons, there are also a few skills that may also be in danger of falling into extinction.

  • Reading a clock – Don’t let digital kill the clock!
  • Spelling / proofreading – With word processors auto-correcting or highlighting most potential mistakes, kids don’t care to double check.
  • Note-taking – Why take notes when you can take video of the lecture or get a print off of the power point? Because it helps you learn and add your own ideas!
  • Balancing a checkbook – While not necessarily school-related, it strikes me as odd that most kids won’t even know what that means.

Are you fighting to keep these lessons alive in your classroom? What did we miss on the list? Share in the comments section!


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