Success in Middle School: 10 Essential Ingredients

Here are 10 essential ingredients for success in middle school.
  1. The first step toward success in middle school is managing paperwork with a 5-folder system that manages paper flow in ALL classes.*
    • To Do: that which needs to be completed
    • Next, To File: graded assignments, test, and quizzes
    • To Turn In: that which needs to go back to a teacher
    • To Study: information that needs to be learned/memorized
    • Lastly, To Recycle: obsolete papers of no use the student anymore
  2. Use a paper calendar or the calendar in your phone.
    • fortunately, most students keep close track of their phones, so it’s convenient to use its calendar
    • often, paper calendars work better for some students, but it’s one more thing to lug around
    • definitely, write down everything: homework, tests, sports practices, club meetings, family dinners, etc.
    • lastly, check the calendar at regular times: before school, at lunch, after school, and before bed
  3. Know your academic thinking style.
    • first, your brain favors either What, Why, or How thinking
    • also, your teachers’ brains are the same way
    • so, their assignments, tests, and quizzes reflect their thinking styles
    • and, certain thinking styles favor certain subjects in middle school
    • without a doubt, develop all three thinking styles; know your teachers’ styles

      Practicing certain habits leads to success in middle school.
      Success in middle school takes practice.
  4. Know your learning/memorization style.
    • likely, your brain prefers to learn/memorize either visually, audibly, or kinesthetically.
    • so, lean on your preferred style, and develop the others
  5. Build successful relationships with teachers.
    • first, visit them regularly
    • second, ask how you’re doing in class
    • third, ask how you can best learn and be successful
    • also, even if you don’t have a question for yourself, ask them how their year is going
    • middle school students who have strong relationships with teachers are more likely to have academic success. (article by the American Psychological Association)
  6. Make your home conducive to learning.
    • study in a place that works for you. Some students need total silence; others like ambient noise; and others prefer a little bit of activity in the room.
    • your parents are interested in your academic success; feel free to make requests that will make studying at home work for you.
    • don’t tolerate loud noises, interrupting siblings, or other circumstances that impede your study time. Ask nicely to make changes.
  7. Cultivate healthy relationships with your parents and siblings.
  8. Get your work done, AND have friends.
  9. Practice effective study habits.
    • study frequently for brief periods of time; don’t cram lots of information into long study periods
    • give yourself a self-quiz every time a new concept is introduced; write down questions to ask the teacher in class
    • develop your thinking and learning styles (3 and 4 above).
    • reach out to other students for help; form study groups
  10. Eat a healthy diet, and exercise.

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*5-folder system to manage paper flow was taken with permission from the Academic Life Coaching Student Workbook, 3rd Edition, by John Andrew Williams, founder of Coach Training EDU.

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