Managing the Move to Middle School

Below is an article called Managing the Move to Middle School by Anita Gurian, Phd. Anita Gurian, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

As the end of the school year draws to a close, this might be a helpful read for both you and your parents.

Middle school means lots of changes in the lives of kids, and some worry about making the move. What do they worry about?

“I’m afraid there’s much more work and much more homework.”

“There are classes in different places, and we may not have enough time in between to get there.”

“I worry about getting my locker open.”

“I hate changing clothes for gym with other kids watching.”

“How am I going to keep the assignments from different teachers straight?”

As children progress through different grades in school they face different challenges. Educators and mental health professionals agree that there are certain critical transition points which can be particularly stressful and require special support and understanding. The move to middle school comes at a time when kids have to deal with lots of other changes.

Social changes: Almost everything about the school day changes, including the social climate. Newly entering students may be separated from their friends and may not be prepared to deal with pressures coming from older students. Peer acceptance becomes critical at this age, and they have to start over in a less-structured environment with new people. In addition, the classroom climate changes from the supportive setting of a single classroom with a single teacher to a less intimate classroom atmosphere. Students rotate through classes with a number of teachers who have different teaching styles and expectations.

Academic changes: Class work is harder, homework demands may increase, and assignments are more varied. Grading standards and procedures are different. Students need to stay organized, manage time well and function more independently, perhaps maintaining a daily or weekly planner for the first time. They have to manage daily assignments while planning for long term assignments. The exposure to diverse content means they have to integrate information from one content area to another, such as reading a book for language arts that may affect a topic in social studies.

Physical changes: In addition to the social and academic adjustments necessary during the middle school years, most kids also experience the onset of puberty, which requires adjustments in their perception and understanding of the changes in their bodies. They may become more self-conscious and sensitive, and experience intense emotions and mood swings at this time.

How parents can help

The transition to middle school may be rocky for both parents and kids, and families should be sure to continue to be involved in their children’s progress. Middle school students are not yet ready for teenage independence, and they need their parents to help them with this transition.

To help familiarize your child with the new procedures, you may want visit the school together to map out his or her classrooms, practice using the combination lock, or talk to a staff member about the rules.

Keep hands off assignments; instead, act as a guide or resource for children. Discuss possible ways to do the assignment, but don’t actually do the work.

Since there is usually less teacher-initiated contact with parents in middle school, make it a point to meet your child’s homeroom teacher or academic advisor at the beginning of the year.

Network with other parents and consider being a classroom volunteer or PTA member. Hearing that other children are having the same problems, or how someone in the past resolved a similar issue, can help put problems in perspective.

If homework keeps the child up well past the usual bedtime, despite the fact that the child is putting forth his or her best effort, discuss the issue with the teachers involved. The aim of both parents and teachers should be to prevent parent/child homework conflict and to help the child avoid feeling incompetent.

If your child experiences social, academic or homework difficulties, include the child and teacher in open discussions about the specifics of the problem and in developing solutions.

School Closure – Friday 5 April 2010

Hey there Room 231’s!

Flickr Photo Download_ Sorry We_re Closed


I know it’s very disappointing that our school is closed again and that some of you will be missing out on taking part in the Songkran Ceremony.  I was looking forward to watching you perform it too.  We must keep everyone safe though – so I hope those of you that live downtown are keeping safe and well.

Some of you have been keeping up-to-date with the class blog.  Those of you who haven’t, there’s still a chance to earn “Hellyer Bucks”.  Read this post on how. Don’t forget to leave a comment in this post or yesterday’s post.

Here are some things that you can do today:

#  Read a book (at least 90 minutes – ‘cos that’s 45 minutes of normal class reading + usual homework)

#  Log onto Math Investigations (click here if you’ve forgotten how to log in or check the wiki (learning links) for the link.  Logopath is in the Student Resources

  • Use LogoPaths Free Explore to build different types of hexagons.  Record the steps in a blog post on YOUR own blog – not in the comments below please.
  • Draw polygons without using degrees that end in 0 or 5.  Don’t forget to record the steps and write a blog post on your own blog about how you did this – What did you have to think about?  How did you work it out?
  • Use Polygon Pairs (not Free Explore) Draw 3 pairs of polygons.  Are the polygons in each pair similar or not similar?  Explain how you know.  Be sure to include the tools you used (Label Turns, Label Lengths, Overlay commands) to help you decide.
    Take a screen shot (apple, shift 4 – on a mac / how to take screenshot on a PC) upload the screenshot to our flickr account and then use it in a blog post on your own blog please. Don’t forget to include the answers to the questions about whether they are similar or not similar.

#  Your Realistic Fiction story does need to be finished completely.  You”ll have a whole week to publish your story on your blog.  Please remember that this is a published copy – you need to double check your spelling and your grammar.
If your story is at school – then you will need to finish it for homework during the first week back at school.  If you have your flash drive with you, you can work on your story, and get it up on your blog – it can remain in draft form if you are not happy with your story and want to work on it some more.
(Do not copy and paste straight from Word – remember the blog does not like the code inside Word – copy and paste into text edit and then copy and paste from text edit to your blog)

#  If you’re looking for other things to do ….. check out our learning links on the classwiki – there’s a tonne of math, spelling, grammar and reading links for you to enjoy!

Happy Songkran everyone – enjoy your week off – be safe and take care.

Ms H

School Closure – Thursday 8 April 2010

Flickr Photo Download: Sorry We're Closed


Hi there Students of Room 231.

No doubt you all enjoyed going back to sleep when you discovered that school was closed today.  If you are checking this blog today – well done – there will be “Hellyer Bucks” for those of you that leave me a comment on this post telling which activities from the list below you completed!

Things to do:

#  Read a book (at least 90 minutes – ‘cos that’s 45 minutes of normal class reading + usual homework)

#  Log onto Math Investigations (click on Math category to see post how to do that if you’ve forgotten or check the wiki (learning links) for the link.

  • Use LogoPaths Free Explore to build different types of hexagons.  Record the steps in a blog post on your blog.
  • Draw polygons without using degrees that end in 0 or 5.  Don’t forget to record the steps and write a blog post about how you did this – What did you have to think about?  How did you work it out?

#   Have a go at creating a math tutorial using Screen Toaster.  You could teach your classmates a favourite strategy for solving 3-digit multiplication/division or how to find equivalent fractions, simplify fractions – anything you like.  Screen Toaster is fun and easy.  Try it out – see what you can create!  Then I’ll show you how to embed it in your blog when school opens again.

#  Have a jolly good look around for any of those books that are overdue on the Learning Hub Overdue list that I posted yesterday.

#  Work on your PSA (if you can)

#  Write a reflection on your blog about a strategy that has been helpful during our Historical Fiction Unit of Study. Explain if it was useful – How was it useful? What did you realise when you used the strategy?

#   Work on your Realistic Fiction Story.  I know most of you won’t have your writing with you – some of you may have your flash drive – but I know most of you won’t.  But you do know what needs revising.  You could try writing a scene “fresh” without seeing your original writing – it might make your writing clearer!

Above all else, stay safe, enjoy the day and please – at least do some extra reading today – for me!

See you when school opens!

Ms H

Overdue Books from Learning Hub & Bookroom

Help!  Ms H has 85 titles OVERDUE on her checkout list!

PLEASE pretty please check your bedrooms, under your beds, in your bookshelves, in your lounges, everywhere and anywhere at home to see if you have any of these missing titles.  Bring them back to school as soon as possible please!  No questions asked!


Due: 1/25/2010

“Once upon a starry night : a book of constellations”


“Dew and frost”

“Everyday insects”

“Nothing beats a pizza”

“The fairy tale life of Hans Christian Andersen”

(These were all from our Non-Fiction Unit of Study)

Due: 9/23/2009

“Maniac Magee : a novel /Level V”

“Matilda / Level S”

“The Birchbark House Level T” (4 copies)

Due: 1/27/2010

“Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret / Level T”

Due: 1/29/2010

“Junie B. Jones and her big fat mouth : Level M”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day : Level M”

Due: 11/12/2009

“The midnight fox / Level R”

Due: 3/18/2010

“Number the stars / Level U”

“Wringer / Level U”

Due: 3/18/2010

“Number the stars / Level U” (3 copies)

“Heartbeat / Level W”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Chasing Redbird Level V”

Due: 3/24/2010

“The case of the class clown / Level M”

Due: 10/15/2009

“Just Grace / 12 copies/ Level S”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Song Lee in Room 2B / Level L”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Song Lee in Room 2B / Level L”

Due: 10/15/2009

“Class clown : Level O”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Henry and Ribsy / Level O”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Operation, dump the chump : Level O”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Let’s fly Wilbur and Orville! : Level M”

Due: 3/24/2010

“The Littles go to school : Level M”

Due: 11/12/2009

“Tales of a fourth grade nothing : Level Q”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Cam Jansen : the first day of school mystery / Level L”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Amber Brown goes fourth : Level N”

Due: 1/27/2010

“Marvin Redpost : why pick on me? : Level L”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Crash / Level V”

Due: 3/24/2010

“The quilt story / Level L”

Due: 9/23/2009

“What would Joey do? : Level T”

Due: 1/27/2010

“The Paint Brush Kid : Level M”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Boy : tales of childhood / Level T”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Walk two moons / Level W”

Due: 1/27/2010

“The tiger rising : Level T”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Hoot : Level W”

Due: 3/18/2010

“Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society : Level T” (6 copies)

Due: 9/23/2009

“Edward’s eyes : Level S”

Due: 4/8/2010

“A case for Jenny Archer : Level M”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Sidewalk story : Level N”

Due: 4/8/2010

“The talented Clementine : Level O / NF”

Due: 1/27/2010

“Ivy + Bean : Level M

Due: 9/23/2009

“The talented Clementine : Level O / NF”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Catwings return : Level N”

Due: 1/27/2010

“The great Gilly Hopkins : Level S”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Twin Trouble : Level M”

Due: 9/23/2009

“How I survived middle school collection : Level S Volume 1”

Due: 3/18/2010

“The Mary Celeste : an unsolved mystery from history /Level T”

Due: 3/18/2010

“The Mary Celeste : an unsolved mystery from history /Level T” (6 copies)

“Almost late to school : and more school poems /Level O”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Don’t make me smile : Level P”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Mostly Monty : Level M”

Due: 3/18/2010

“A year down yonder : Level V” (7 copies)

Due: 4/8/2010

“The phantom mudder : Level N”

Due: 1/27/2010

“My name is María Isabel : Level N”

Due: 3/2/2010

“Julie : Level U”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Horrible Harry and the ant invasion : Level L”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Amber Brown sees red : Level O”

Due: 3/24/2010

“Cam Jansen : the barking treasure mystery /Level L”

Due: 9/23/2009

“December secrets : Level L”

Due: 9/23/2009

“Loser : Level U”

Due: 4/8/2010

“Why? / Level N”

“Number the stars / Level U” (2)

Due: 3/24/2010

“Marvin Redpost : super fast, out of control! /Level M”

Making Global Connections

A Year 5 class in Sydney Australia has been commenting on our blog.  They want to make some global connections and ask the following questions:

What is your first name? Where do you live? What school do you go to?
Can you please tell me a little about a typical school day?
What activities do you like to take part in in your spare time?

our blog is

Please take some time to click on the link to their class blog – scroll down to the post about Making Global Connections and leave this class a comment.

Ms H

Winter Break Assignments

Room 231 –  365/7 Just a friendly reminder about what you needed to complete during the Winter 3-week Break.

  1. Publish your final Personal Narrative (it’s been in draft for a while – use your feedback from your peers to edit your work before pressing “PUBLISH”)
  2. Publish your Essay (on your Blog)
  3. Complete the Math Investigations packet (some of you may have found p51 is missing – ignore any questions that require p51 but complete the rest)
  4. Fill out your reading log (accurately) with all of your holiday reading.  You should be reading at least 45 minutes every day if you can.
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Sustainability and Google Maps

We are going to combine our non-fiction reading strategies with our Sustainability unit to learn about some current events around the world.

Using Google Maps, we will collaborate as a class to create a map with news that we find.

On the left side of the blog, under “Pages”, you can see a link to our map under the title  Sustainability News. The Google Map allows us to place “pins” to mark locations around the world where events related to the environment and sustainability are taking place.  You need to remember to log in to the Google Map to “edit” and place “pins”.  Is there someone in Room 231 who would like to create a screencast to show others how to do this?

Our first step is to find an event to report on.  There are many ways to do this!  We have an RSS feed on our Netvibes page.  Online and print newspapers are good sources.  So are our online reading links–Time for Kids, National Geographic Kids, and Scholastic News.  News reports that we watch on television (or online) are also useful.  We found that sometimes you have to do a little further research if you start with a video, in case you haven’t got enough information to answer all the questions.

What information will we include in our reports?

We will answer the following questions:
· Who is involved?
· What is happening or has happened?
· Where?
· When?
· Why did this happen?
· Why is it important?
· Is the effect on the environment positive, negative, or neutral?

You can see a couple of sample reports already on the map – completed by me.  We will created one together in our first week of Semester 2.

After the holidays, we will be finding more events to put on the map. As we learn more about using Google Maps, we hope to add images and videos to the map, as well as our reports.

Best Class Edublog 2009 Nomination

Wow – imagine our surprise this morning when we discovered that our class blog has been nominated in the Edublogs Best Class Blog for 2009!!

Best Class Edublog 2009 2013 The Edublog Awards

We are honoured to be included amongst some really awesome Class Blogs.
Blogs nominated in alphabetical order!

  1. Alice Project
  2. All Saints Languages Blog
  3. Billings Middle School Tech Class Blog
  4. Borman Blogging
  5. Class 4OQ’s Blog
  6. Creative Voice
  7. East Dragon Den
  8. English With Rosa
  9. Extreme Biology
  10. Fab4@Work
  11. Forrester High School Int 2 Info Systems
  12. Gelincik Grubu
  13. Griffin Science – 8th Grade
  14. Huzzah!
  15. Intermediate English class blog
  16. Luce Semester 2009
  17. Ka Tangi Hoki Ko Au Room 15 Blog
  18. Law Primary School East Lothian Primary 6 Blog
  19. MrCs Class Blog
  20. Mr McClung’s World
  21. Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog
  22. Ms Mourad’s Absolutely Sensational Learners
  23. Mrs Goerend’s Blog
  24. Planet Infinity
  25. Room 10 Grey Lynn School
  26. Room 18’s Learning Journey blog
  27. Room 231
  28. Rumford Writers
  29. Saint Exupery 6
  30. South Paris Collaborative Chat
  31. Tamaki Tales
  32. Tamaki Primary Blockbusters
  33. Technology in the Classroom
  34. The Greatest Middle School Blog in the World
  35. The Overlakes 6th Grade Blog
  36. The Skinny
  37. Think in English
  38. Watch Out!

Please visit the Best Class Edublog 2009 website and cast your vote for your favourite class blog 2009!

New Visitors to Our Blog

We have new visitors to our blog Room 231.Flickr Photo Download: Welcome

Mr U sent me an email from a Teacher in California.  She tried to leave us this comment on our blog (but unfortunately our server thinks she’s a spambot! – Oh no!).  Here’s the comment she tried to leave us:-

Hi Ms. H and students, My name is Ms. Pechan and I work as the Technology Specialist at an elementary school in California. I linked to your blog from here yesterday and saw all of the wonderful learning that you’re doing. Some of our students (in a 5th & 6th grade class) along with their teacher, Mrs. Gillum, have started blogging for the first time this year. These students visited your blogs today and left comments on some of your blog posts. Hopefully we did it all correctly so that you will be able to read what we wrote. We’re still learning how all of this works, but so far it has been a blast. Also, I wanted to mention that we are looking to create some learning partnerships with some different classrooms this year. If you are interested in doing the same, please let us know. We have added you to our blogroll. If you’d like to see our class blog, you can click here. We hope to hear back from you sometime soon. Sincerely, Ms. Pechan

I’ve added their class blog to our blogroll – you can click here to see what these 5th and 6th Graders are doing in their classrooms.

Don’t forget to check your blog for their comments!  This is what it means to have a real audience!  Now we need to look after our audience to make sure they keep coming back to our blogs. Use the hyperlinks left in your comments to go back and leave a comment for them too.

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