Laura Varlas

Five Mind-Sets to Ease the Middle School Transition

April 2011 Educational Leadership

The middle years are crucial to high school success, when students develop skills for navigating the larger world and discover the direction they want their lives to take. So why, asks noted middle school educator Rick Wormeli, would anyone leave the transition into this phase to chance? Five mind-sets can help educators guide their students on the path from elementary to middle school:

  • Understanding students' concern about belonging
  • Empathizing with students
  • Understanding the characteristics of the age group
  • Focusing on the positive
  • Building hope

Wormeli's article is full of strategies for easing students' transition from elementary school to middle school. One of the strategies that students say is most helpful:

If your middle school asks students to use lockers, take a locker door with a combination lock to feeder elementary schools in the last few months of school. Let students practice opening and closing the lock as much as they want for at least a week.

How are you helping students successfully navigate the move up to middle school?

Comments (1)


April 11, 2011

I would encourage students to take part in an activity in elementary school that carries over to the middle grades. This way they have friends and people to connect with on day one.

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