Helping Middle Level Learners End the Year Strong

Look around your middle school. Are students as enthusiastic about school as they were in September? Telltales signs from my 8th graders abound:  from the cockiness in their “almost freshman” saunters to the trepidation about high school registration and what the future holds in store for them. The calendar may still say April, but chances are your middle level learners have already traded in their backpacks for flip flops! 

The last few weeks of school are as important, if not moreso, than any other. It’s vital that we help our students stay focused and on target so they finish strong.

  • Stick to it.  Just because the mercury goes up on the thermometer and the summer sun beckons, middle level learning is not over yet.  Keep asking questions and stay interested in your students. Parents can encourage their teens to continue telling them about what happened in class–do not accept “nothing.”  That’s NEVER the case.  Don’t kid yourself, students see whether we, too, have shut down or not.
  • Keep routines. The extra daylight may taunt us to get a little extra yard work or rounds of golf in after school this time of year, but it’s important for us to stay energized for our students by keeping the same routines we’ve kept all year.  If they know you’re going to open your classroom for help in the morning, then continue that. Parents of transescents can keep curfews and bedtimes the same until that final school year alarm clock rings. This will help students remain rested and focused for the rest of the year.
  • Offer one warning strike.  Now might be a good time to rev up the GPA reminders, not to allow our middle level learners to let those grades slip. Issuing a warning allows teens to slip up once and then get back on track, knowing our expectations and possible consequences before it’s too late. Parents can follow suit with reminders and warnings. Students who know a movie or trip over the summer is at stake may rethink not completing those last couple of math problems.
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