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10 Tips for a Successful Start to Middle School

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 9/11/2012

Transitioning to the middle school from the elementary school can be scary. To help make the move a success, a middle school student and a teacher each give five tips to not only survive the first year of junior high but to help students have a great school year as well.

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    Tips for Surviving Middle School

    Stephanie has moved on from her sixth grade year with some advice for incoming sixth graders. She successfully maneuvered through the typical middle school issues and problems and is here to offer you help. The focus of her five tips are about making new friends and keeping stress low.

    Top Five Tips from a Middle School Student to the New Students

    Tip Number 5 – Make plans to sit together with your friends at lunch before the lunch period. It’s really awkward when you have to sit by total strangers and have nothing to say. Your lunch period is a great time to chat with your friends.

    Tip Number 4 – Be sure to try new things. Sign up for new clubs and sports with your friends. It helps if they are there to try them with you.

    Tip Number 3 – Know your locker combination and keep it organized. Believe it or not, not knowing your combination can wreck your whole day. Put your combination in a hidden place like a folder so that you are not late to class. If your locker becomes disorganized, you will not be able to find your completed assignments.

    Tip Number 2 – Do your homework and keep assignments organized. Make sure you know when tests are coming up and study when needed. Getting behind on homework assignments can lower your grade and cause hassles with your parents.

    Tip Number 1 – Stay organized and be on time to class. Make sure you know your schedule and have everything you need to go to class. After the first couple of weeks of school, teachers expect you to bring everything and don’t let you go back to your lockers for things you forget.

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    Top Five Tips from a Middle School Teacher to the Parents and Students

    The following top five tips are from Stephanie’s mother, who is a middle school teacher. She teaches sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. These tips come from years of watching students struggle and being a mother of three middle school students.

    Tip Number 5 – Get the supply list early. Students feel secure when they have all of the items needed for their different classes. Teachers can jump right into the curriculum when students have requested supplies.

    Tip Number 4 – Attend orientation or open house before the first school day. Many students feel less stress and anxiety when they have been able to tour the building. Knowing where the bathrooms, cafeteria, gym and classrooms are in a building make students feel better about the first day of school.

    Tip Number 3 – Make a couple copies of the student schedule. Middle school students can have up to nine teachers in a day. This is very different from elementary school. Students can break down in tears when they lose their schedule and don’t know where to go after a class.

    Tip Number 2 – The student should know the parent’s email address. One easy way for teachers to communicate with parents is through email. Teachers generally ask for the email address on the first day so that they can put it in their grade book computer program. Teachers can send grade reports, missing homework assignments and quick notes through email to parents.

    Tip Number 1 – Stay organized and keep up with assignments. Use an agenda book to write down all assignments and test dates. Keep papers organized in folders or in a large binder. A locker stuffed full of random papers is usually an indicator of a student who is struggling academically.

    Stephanie and I agree that staying organized is key to a successful year at the middle school. Parents need to help their children become acclimated to the new school. However, students need to learn that with age also comes more responsibility.