Sixth Grade: middle school...or elementary?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by Commartsy, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Commartsy

    Commartsy Companion

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    Jan 30, 2007

    Some of us on our team have been talking lately about whether middle school is the proper placement for sixth graders. We've been wondering if we treat them too much like mini-highschool students when actually they're still maxi-elementary kids :) Any thoughts?
     
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  3. kem

    kem Companion

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    Jan 30, 2007

    I don't have any experience with 6th graders as a teacher, but in my hometown school district, 6th grade is still in elementary school, and only 7th and 8th were middle school. I was young, so if this wasn't the situation, I would have potentially have been going to school with 14 yr. olds when I was 11-HUGE difference!! I remember hating being in "elementary school" at the time, but looking back now, I think that it was a much better idea. My MIL is a principal at a 7-9 jr. high and thinks that these grades are perfect for being lumped together. It does make sense!
     
  4. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

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    Several years ago our administration wanted do away with the Jr. High concept and create a middle school. Well, what happened was our 6th graders were bumped up with the seventh and eighth graders. We tried it for a couple of years. I teach in this area and it seemed that our particular sixth graders weren't really ready to have a different teacher every hour. They were disorganized, etc. Teachers complained and then sixth graders were put back with elementary. It seems to go smoother here that way. When it came time for things such as dances (we have one or two a year for 7th and 8th graders), it was very obvious that the 6th graders were more "elementary" than "jr. high" even if you called it "middle school". There was just a huge difference in maturity that affected many activities.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Speaking from growing up, I didn't have a transition from 1 class to 6 classes. I like the idea that some of these upper elementary grades create 3 class rotations (instead of 1 or 6). Kids do need preparation. That was a hellish year for me. I was also hard of hearing without an IEP (dad's choice), notification from parent or admin to teacher (I had to tell), and back when it wasn't as common to mainstream. Having 6 teachers was TOUGH! I went from 1 teacher nurturing me, learning about me all day and accomodating to having real world discrimination situations at times. I don't know if it is the age as much as the lack of transition preparation in many places.
     
  6. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jan 30, 2007

    That's what the 6th grade teachers did at the school I taught at... 3teachers each one taught their area of interest/expertise. Now the 6th grade in middle school, but I've heard rumors of wanting back down in elem. When I was in school we only had 2 6th grade classes but my teacher did soc. studies & we switched with other class to learn science.
     
  7. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    My professsors used to tell us that a classroom made up of 6th grade girls and 10th grade boys would be a perfect combination of maturity and social skills. Of course, the other problems make it impossible. . . .

    I taught 6th grade as middle school. Most of the kids did well. There are always those few who aren't ready, no matter what, but I see no reason to adapt the curriculum and the classroom type for a handful. I've had 8th graders who went bananas when the bell rang and they had to pack up and go.
     
  8. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jan 30, 2007

    My personal opinion is to keep them elementary. Many are still in elementary mindset and they don't need to grow up any faster than they already do. Keep them that extra year to try to develop good habits before hormones completely take over in grade 7, lol.
     
  9. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    Jan 30, 2007

    I went to a 6-8 middle school and there are pros and cons, from a student's perspective at least:
    Pros
    -transitioning from elementary school to high school was much easier
    -social interaction with kids from 3 other feeder schools
    Cons
    -switching classes 6 times in a huge school
    -being thrown in with 14 year olds at age 11
    -more exposure to fights, cliques, language, etc.
    -not as much personal attention and connection with teachers
     
  10. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Having taught 6th for over 20 years, I think that sixth grade is a transition year - a bridge between ele and ms. We consider sixth grade part of the middle school team, but, with the exception of specials, they are with only two teachers. We are a small school, but it seems to work well. A big focus in sixth grade is teaching organization skills., This is possible with the team teaching we do.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    It is middle school here. Before 6th graders nly had two academic teachers plus their specialists, but now they have four academic teachers plus their specialists.
     
  12. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    I sub everywhere between 6th and 12th grade. I have actually stopped subing in some 6th grade classes because of the childlike behavior, attitudes, and viewpoints of the students. I have issues sometimes where I wonder aloud, "Didn't you guys leave this behind in elementary school?!"

    My opinon is that 5th and 6th grade should be a part of elementary school, but the day should be broken up between two or three teachers (say one teacher for Humanities [Language Arts, Social Studies, etc.] and one for Logistics [Math, Science, etc.]). Middle school should include 9th graders.
     
  13. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jan 30, 2007

    When I was growing up in TN...

    K-4 at the elementary school... K-2 no swapping, 3-4 we were in leveled classes for reading and for math (each teacher taught 1/3 the stduents), but with our homeroom the rest of the time

    5-6 was "middles school." 5th grade, we were in a team of 4 teachers... 2 taught LA, one did math, one did SS/Sci. We rotated, but they weren't leveled... I think it was just so people taught what they were most comfortable with. 6th, for some reason, was self-contained. A few teachers worked as a pair to swap for subjects, but my teacher didn't.

    7-8 we went to the jr. high, but it was middle school concept, where you had 4 teachers plus specals. We were grouped into 70-80 person minischools, which were further divided into 10-student "groups," each with a letter. You stayed with the kids in your group for every class, but weren't always with the same groups each time (we'd change schedules every month or so... so one month you'd be AJ together in science 1st, then next month you might be in social studies first with AM). Kinda confusing, but I think it was their way of leveling (there were 4 "high" LA groups, 2 of those were ALSO high in math) and pretending no one would notice, haha. It sounds confusing, but I really liked it. You always knew there were kids who were in ALL of your classes with you, so you could go to them for HW or whatever... and you also weren't stuck having the same class 1st all year if you're not a morning person (or whatever). For the record, we had 6 classes... the 4 main academic ones, plus a related arts class (7th was art, computers, and technology, 8th was shop, home ec, and spanish) and A/B class (gym alternated days with band/orchestra/reading/general music/teacher helper). Your A/B was the only class that NEVER switched... you were always in that class the same period)

    So, I guess that was the LONG way of saying that for me, 6th was most like 2nd because it was the most recent time I'd been in self-contained! I didn't rally like it so much. ;) I think that middle school model can work well with 6th graders if it's done so that they're with kids their own age, etc...
     
  14. wannateachem

    wannateachem Rookie

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    Jan 31, 2007

    I know that eventually the transition needs to be made...but 6th grade is awfullly early. It's hard for me to think that the 5th graders we have in afterschool who are almost always getting into some kind of trouble (and they're goood kids, just not the best decision makers) are ready to be considered "middle schoolers", but in a lot of ways, they're socially pretty ready to not be in the same building with Kindergartners every day..so it's hard to say which is right and which is wrong....back home, we had one elementary school that had K-2 in one building, and 3-6 in a different building...and it helped, I think.
     
  15. Docere

    Docere Rookie

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    At my school, we didn't even have a middle school. It was a K - 8th grade school. But at the neighboring schools by us, 6th grade was considered middle school. Although I think it does fit both ways, I think it's better for 6th grade to be middle school. 7-8 schools seem a little silly to me, because it's either your first year there or your last year there. It's just such a short stay....
     
  16. robin0103

    robin0103 Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2007

    I teach 6th in elementary & like it just fine. My own child attends 6th in middle school right now. The school is set up so that the 6th graders are in a separate area of the campus from 7th & 8th graders. They also have only 2 core classroom teachers (one for math/science, one for Eng./SS). It works well because they are eased into the middle school setting. It is less work for the teachers at middle school since they have less preparation for their classes & a dedicated prep period every day!
     
  17. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Feb 11, 2007

    In the district I'm teaching in, 6th graders go to middle school. I teach 5th grade, so one of our grade level goals is to get them ready for middle school.

    In the district I live in, 6th grade is in the elemetary schools. I like that a lot better...I don't think my 5th graders are ready for middle school yet.
     

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