When a child reaches about fourth grade (give or take, depending on the child’s handwriting), the time for writing with those thick Lyra colored pencils has passed. Ideally, at this point the teacher would help the child have an experience of creating a quill and writing by dipping it in a jar of ink. This very holistic approach allows the child to trace the footsteps of humanity, creating and gaining use of more and more sophisticated writing tools. The child can go from crushing bricks and stone and mixing with water to create face-paint on the playground in kindergarten to making writing implements and learning about ink in the middle grades to learning about (and perhaps creating?!) a printing press in seventh grade while learning about the Renaissance.
Far too often we write with little understanding or appreciation for the ingenuity that has given us this ability. A ball-point pen is available at the click of a button but that click is a little too easy for us to truly appreciate the ability that it gives us.
For these reasons I think it is absolutely essential for a student in the middle grades to write with a fountain pen that requires them to replace ink cartridges, or even better, refill them! When brought in the right way the students see these pens as absolute treasures (my students pumped their fists exclaiming how lucky they were and then treated their pens so tenderly they were afraid to push hard enough to put the ink cartridge in!)
These pens are solidly constructed, have a triangle shape on the grip and give a little window to see the status of your ink supply. They are still fairly affordable and I find them more pleasant to use than the Greenfield pens. They somehow feel a bit more grown-up than the Greenfield pens and if you can’t afford them right away they would be a great upgrade for a 7th grader.