Middle Schoolers in Training {Bright Idea}


Even though we as teachers reassure our students that the transition to middle school/junior high isn't that bad, students' anxieties and worries still blow everything out of proportion. First, there's dressing for PE. And changing classes with different teachers. And dressing for PE. And remembering locker combinations. And dressing for PE. You get the point.

To try to lessen their worries, we take them for a visit to the middle school. We invite older students to come answer questions. We have a transition night in the fall. But the worries are still there.

So this year we decided to try something new. In addition to the normal stuff, we wanted to tackle some of the fears head-on while they're still in a familiar environment. We thought that there are SO MANY changes that they have to deal with next year that we'd see what we could prep them for now. We decided on having them live out of lockers.


Students completely cleaned out their desks and put everything in their lockers. Until now, kids used lockers just for their coats and bags. Now, they use them for their supplies as well. As students are leaving their special, lunch, etc. and coming back to my class, I hold up a little whiteboard with a list of materials. They have two minutes to go get what they need (which is the passing time at the middle school). Materials are put in lockers on the way to specials, lunch, and recess.


So far, things are going well. We still have one more week(ish) left, so if you have any tips on what you do to prepare your students for going to middle school, I'd love for you to leave me a comment!

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6 comments

  1. Great post! I know that my students are very worried about the middle school transition. We don't have lockers but if we did, I would absolutely be doing this!!

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  2. We do the middle school visit as you do, but have no lockers to practice with. The whole locker situation seems to be the biggest thing they worry about. Wonderful post, giving us something to think about. Thank you for sharing this idea!

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  3. I wish we had lockers for coats! I know the lockers are a big issue for those entering Middle School. It's great they have a chance to practice with them!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

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  4. It might be helpful to get a bunch of combination locks and have the kids work with them. I also have a "flight plan" (we were the "Eagles") that I developed with my National Junior Honor Society members several years ago when I worked a private school that I can share with you that goes over lots of tips and tricks for middle school.

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

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  5. We do "Mission Middle School" where each of the 6 teachers takes on a different "subject." (Some are modeled after electives like theater, Spanish and tech apps. While some are more academic like problem solving and world cultures.) We have 48 premade schedules and each kid is assigned one. No two kids in a homeroom share a schedule, so they are responsible for getting from class to class. The kids LOVE it. We do 7 days of it. It's a great filler for those last 2-3 weeks of school when the kids think they are middle schoolers already because we already visited the middle school. For behavior issues, one teacher has an off period each session and acts as the "detention room." We rarely have anyone in there, because they are so motivated by Mission Middle School.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! That does sound awesome! How long does it take you to prep?

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