Transitioning to middle school is not a throw-it-together-in-one-day event. In fact, it takes months of planning and prepping.
My process for transition is as follows:
- Send an email to 4th grade teachers at the elementary school to begin planning dates for transition visits.
- Confirm dates for visits.
- Talk with the cafeteria director to give her a heads up about the 4th grade visits. Lunches will need to be adjusted at both the elementary school and middle school during these dates as well as an alternate way of recording lunch purchases.
- Notify bus garage and submit a transportation request
- Brainstorm ideas with the current 5th graders for a transition video.
- Begin working on video.
- Edit and finish video
- Have students sign up for Tour Guides and Lunch Buddies
- Hold trainings for Tour Guides and Lunch Buddies
- Set tour schedule and assign Tour Guides to classes and students
- Notify 5th grade teachers who will be absent from study halls (tour guides)
- Update 4th grade “tickets to Middle School.” Print out and send to elementary school
- Send cafeteria final counts for lunch.
- Contact building and grounds department for locks to practice
- Upload video to YouTube for easier viewing
- Make Tour Guide clipboards
- Make “What I Learned About Middle School” posters for each class
- Make lock cheat sheets and set up a lock practice station.
- Take lots of pictures
- Make an iMovie of the 4th grade visits
- Welcome Our New Visitors!
These are the posters I have the 4th graders fill out before leaving and then it is brought back to their teacher.
For the actual tours, a bus picks the 4th graders up from the elementary school and brings them to the middle school. I greet the students along with our lunch buddies. From there, Lunch Buddies take the 4th graders to lunch and recess. While at lunch, they use the conversation starters that I left on the tables in the cafeteria in the reserved seating section. After lunch is over, the Lunch Buddies bring the students to my room where the Tour Guides are waiting. I break the 4th graders into groups and send them off to look at the building with their tour guides. The groups have different paths to travel on their tour and I have it scheduled so that one group will remain with me to practice opening a lock.
The groups rotate through the schedules so everyone has lock practice and sees the building. Once everyone is done, all the students meet again in my room and we play the video we made and answer any last questions the 4th graders have. When we’re done, I walk them down to board the bus back to the elementary school.
Once all the tours are over, I will send home a newsletter for parents and will send a video with the 4th graders visiting the school. While it may take months to plan, this transition event is well worth it. It is beneficial for both our current 5th graders, who learn a lot about leadership, but also to the 4th graders who get to learn about our building and have many of their fears eased.
I also have just the locker guide here (this is included in the tour program.)
Another transition activity I have is a jeopardy style All About Middle School Quiz Show game. Here.
Got ideas? Want to share? Join a group below:
Caught In The Middle School Counselors (Facebook Group)
High School Counselors’ Network (Facebook Group)
Elementary School Counselor Exchange (Facebook Group)