- Being Fearless
9 year olds rarely have a comfort zone, let alone trouble getting out of one. They will crawl on the ground before you ask them to "explore levels", they will climb up onto a windowsill before you ask them to "discover the space," and they will start talking in a character voice before you ask them to speak. (And after you've clarified, five more times, that this is a silent activity.) When you say "jump" they don't ask you "how high," they will just immediately leap into the air as high as their bodies can carry them.
-They're natural performers
I don't think a 9 year old can do anything without an audience. If you leave them alone in a room by themselves, they will imagine an audience and perform for them. If you're not watching them during a group activity, they either don't do the activity fully or they have to find a new audience - their friends, a stranger passing by, their backpacks, the puppets they make out of their hands. Maybe it's because this stage of development is the first time they're exploring time away from being supervised, and they don't know how to handle NOT being watched?
It is always my youngest class that figures out the most creative puns on "butt." I don't care how often the kid has been raised to speak maturely and with proper, appropriate vocabulary... farts are funny. In Shakespeare, it's actually pretty difficult to steer away from scatological humor. (I mean, the man named one of his characters "Bottom.") Unfortunately, I reward the silliest and most surprising booger jokes with explosive laughter, which is more addictive to young minds than pixie sticks. Well, there goes ten minutes of class...
- Asking Questions
A twelve year old will ask me "Is Wales part of England?" and I can go on about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and how the Anglo-Saxons long ago pushed the Celts into the western hills. Blah blah blah. A nine year old will ask "Did Shakespeare listen to music?" and I turn into a stuttering idiot.
"Uh. Yeah. Probably. I mean. He'd have to have... right?"