How to Prepare Students for the Transition to Middle School – The TPT Blog

For students making the transition from elementary to middle school, it can feel both exciting and scary. As they open this brand new chapter, they’ll face new challenges, responsibilities, and expectations, both academically and socially. Teachers (and parents) can play a pivotal role in helping make this move as smooth as possible. Keep reading for a few tips to help you prepare them for the transition to middle school.

Ways to make the transition to middle school seamless

The transition from elementary to middle school is one of the biggest a student will make during their years in school. Here are a few ways teachers (or parents) can help rising middle schoolers cope with all of the inevitable changes that this move brings.

Talk about how to get organized

For most kids, middle school is the first time they’ll have to switch classrooms and work with multiple teachers. Of course, being organized is the key to successfully managing these additional responsibilities. However, organization skills are not something students are born with. Rather, they have to be learned, and more importantly, practiced. 

The first step on the road to staying organized is teaching students how to use tools, like calendars, planners, assignment binders, or even apps, to manage their assignments and schedules. Using their method of choice, teachers and parents can help students learn not only how to keep track of what’s due, but also what small steps they could take to work on bigger (or longer-term) projects, and plan ahead for weeks when there will be a lot to juggle.

Help them develop effective study habits 

In middle school, classes often become more challenging and require greater depth of understanding. Encouraging the use of various techniques for studying — beyond just re-reading or reviewing their notes — will help give them the tools they need to succeed academically and beyond. For example, you can teach them how to actively engage with the material they’re studying, like summarizing key points in their own words, creating study guides, redoing practice problems, or quizzing themselves with flashcards. Techniques like this often strengthen memory retention and help the learning “stick.”

Encourage students to get involved

Middle school is a great time to start exploring new interests. Encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, or volunteer opportunities. Getting involved — whether it’s trying out for a sports team, running for class office, or joining the drama club — might also help ease the transition for students as these activities are a great way to make new friends, gain confidence in themselves, and develop leadership and communication skills that are essential for high school. 

Provide reassurance and emotional support

The transition to middle school from elementary school can be an emotional time for many students, especially since they’re dealing with more social and academic changes than ever before. During this time, it’s important to remind students that it’s normal to have growing pains, and that it might take time for them to settle in and figure out how to manage it all. Remind students that they’re not alone — in fact, many of their peers are going through the same things — and that parents, teachers, and counselors are there to offer support and help if they need it.

Activities to prepare students for the transition from elementary to middle school

These lessons are perfect for giving elementary students background knowledge about middle school life, and preparing them for their next step.

Elementary to Middle School Transition Lesson: Moving Up To Middle School Game by WholeHearted School Counseling

This activity helps elementary students process how they feel about the big change that’s about to happen in their lives and learn new skills and assets that will help them be successful in middle school.

Check out these tips and resources to help smooth the transition for students who are going from elementary to middle school.

Middle School Transition Workbook for Back to School by Pathway 2 Success

Help your students prepare for a successful transition to middle school with this transition kit! It can be used with students the year before they transition, or for students who are just starting their first week in middle school. Topics addressed include: changing classes, keys to success, dealing with different teachers, planning ahead, effective studying, homework planning, figuring out your locker, dealing with peer pressure, study halls, lunch time, changing for gym, science labs, and more!

Middle School Transition Task Card Scoot School Counseling Game 4th, 5th, 6th by Counselor Station

Ease your rising middle school students’ worries about their upcoming transition with an engaging, movement-based classroom task card scoot activity! They’ll respond to 30 true or false prompts about the middle school transition during the game.

Middle School Transition Lesson, Activities, & Workbook, Middle School Ready by Music City Counselor

Support your students’ transition to middle school with this engaging lesson! Students explore their feelings and worries about starting middle school, learn helpful tips for success, and set S.M.A.R.T Goals to build their confidence and start this journey off strong!

Middle School Worries – Middle School Transition Lesson by Heart and Mind Teaching

Talk about any anxieties your rising middle schoolers might have about their transition with these common scenarios. This activity takes about 30 minutes to complete, and the goal is for students to identify common worries about transitioning to middle school and possible solutions.

Middle School Transition Scoot by Savvy Counselor

This scoot game is a fun activity for the whole class, and a great addition to your middle school transition lessons.

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