5th Grade to Middle School Tranisition

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Love to Teach, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    In an effort to help ease that transition from elementary to middle school for my students, I am hoping for ideas of things that I can do from now through May. I have been researching on-line with little success, and I know that there was a thread on here a year or so ago, but I can't seem to get the right word combination to pull it up, so I would sure appreciate any ideas anyone had to share. Thanks so much for any help you can give. :)
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    We meet with the 6th grade teachers every year and work together with them to make the transition smooth. Middle schools can vary greatly, so if possible, try contacting the 6th grade teachers at the middle school you feed to.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I teach sixth grade in middle school, and this year more than ever our students are still having difficulty with the transition. Most all students made straight As last year and are stunned, as are the parents, that they are now working very hard for that B. I think this situation is too specific to help you, but in general my students lack accountability...and most of all organization. I wish they, as fifth graders, had to keep up with more of their work and responsibilities.
     
  5. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    The biggest transition areas in sixth grade seem to be organization, lockers, and departmentalization.

    One of our former fifth grade teachers bought her students locks as a graduation present, and the students worked with it over the summer making that part pretty easy.

    Seriously, the biggest issue I find is the departmentalization - going from one teacher to 4. Unless you could work something out with the other teachers for last quarter, I'm not sure what you could do that would prepare the kiddos for that.
     
  6. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    This got really long....sorry!! Thanks for taking time out to share ideas and insights with me!! :)


    I really appreciate you all taking the time to respond. :) We are a small rural, K-12 school, with just one classroom per grade level. I really do stress organizational things, such as filling out assignment books, folders for each subject, using a mailbox to file graded papers until they take them home in a Friday Folder, no going out to the their locker or calling home for forgotten items, etc.

    Our lockers are only for big enough for their book bags and outerwear, though, so essentially they "live" out of their desks,so along with the departmentalization component, there is little that I can do about that need. The other 'reality' of elementary school (for us, at least) is that there is ALOT of parental involvement and expectations...we feel that we are often under a microscope where we are micromanaged by parents and admininstration. It is truly a different world from middle school, and to be really honest here, though I recognize that we do need to toughen up some, I feel that maybe middle school expectations might need to be adjusted some to accomodate child development aspects of incoming sixth graders, as well. :)

    Still, I truly want to do all that I can to help that transition process. I feel like I have laid the groundwork for the students to be organized and to accept responsibility for their own learning during this first semseter. Now, in the second semester, I am thinking that I need to take it up a notch, and am very open to any suggestions of ways in which I can do that. :)

    One of the on-line articles that I read suggested a 'year of transition', starting in December of 5th grade and running to December of 6th grade. I liked looking at it that way, and it got me to thinking about what I could do for my portion of that 'year'. :)

    Guess, I am thinking along the lines of things like having them fill out their planners throughout the day, rather than having all the assignments displayed first thing in the morning for them to copy down. Also, not going over planners at the end of the day helping them check off what's done and what's homework, but rather leaving it up to them to do this independently. I feel these skills have been modeled during this first semester, and they should now be ready to do it on their own. Maybe not posting a list of late work or redo's each day, but having them report to an after school study club when papers are missing?

    Are these steps in the right direction? Other things that I could be doing? Just Me, the observation about the grading is well taken....would you suggest docking of points for late work as a step in the right direction? Girrafe, you are so right about opening the lines of communication with the middle school teachers, and ancientcivteacher, that is a great idea with the combination locks! I know that the kids worry about that A LOT! :)
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    My oldest son is in the 5th grade. His teacher has "lockers" in her classroom. As the year has progressed, she's allowed them to keep less and less in their desks. Everything else has to go into their locker. If she transitions to a subject who's books are in their lockers, the kids have to do a class change. Her goal, by the end of the year, is to have everything in their locker and do a class change transition between everything. It seems to be working fairly well.
     
  8. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    What does she use for her 'lockers'? :)
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    She uses cubbies like you see in kinder classrooms, but larger. It's just a stack of cubbies against one of the walls. They don't deal with locks, but they do get used to the idea of keeping everything in lockers and switching out between classes.
     
  10. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I never heard about a "transition year" but that really is the reality at my school. My team is really great at gradually adjusting expectations for our 6th graders. In fact, we constantly hear from parents that the adjustment was much easier than they expected. My advice: don't scare the 5th graders about how tough it'll be. Just doing what you're doing is awesome preparation.
     
  11. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    We stress growing independence in keeping track of assignments and planning. We model every afternoon how to write assignments in their planner and lay out the week's workload, especially longer term assignments.
     
  12. nothermanda

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    This may sound random, and I'm hoping that the elementary school teachers out there don't virtually strangle me, but one challenge for my incoming 6th graders was writing speed. These little guys took SOOOO long to write just a few words!

    We work really hard in middle school to teach them good note-taking skills so that they're ready for high school and college, but it's frustrating for them and for me when it takes them a year and a half to write two sentences!
     
  13. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Can you think of what we could do to help? Or does this fall somewhat more into a developmental or maturational issue? :)
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    My students tell me they never took notes in elementary...but I don't know if that's true or not. After all, I had a seventh grade teacher tell me last year that my former student told her the only thing we wrote all year were poems. :rolleyes: If you don't require notetaking, you might consider doing so towards the end of the year...nothing major, but just enough to introduce them to the concept.

    Obviously you can't do it all or it would just be sixth grade part one and sixth grade part two. Some things we'll just have to struggle with and teach them...and that's okay. :)
     
  15. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Dec 31, 2009

    JustMe...thank you for your thoughtfulness! :hugs:

    Happy New Year, everyone! :)
     
  16. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Happy New Year! I'm sure it does have to do with both development and maturity. I like JustMe's idea of doing some note-taking toward the end of the year.

    This was a surprising challenge, but the students did overcome it within a year or two; of course, I don't expect them to come in speedwriting and taking perfect notes, but any groundwork that can be laid in 5th grade would help! :D
     
  17. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I have seen the same thing with slow note takers! I agree that some of our goals include transitioning students from spoon fed notes to them being able to take their own notes. When I taught elementary, we included some recitation sentences in spelling tests. Seems like that might help...maybe.
     

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