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What's the biggest difference between elementary school and middle school? What's the best way to deal with it?

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Middle School: A Principal's Advice IML chatted with Linda, who's an elementary school principal in Chicago, to gather her Top Four helpful hints for students about the switch to middle school.

Hint #1: Get A Sneak Peek


Topics on Middle School:
Movin' On Up
What's Different
The Student Body
Stan and Sarah
A Principal's Advice
From the Mentors
When each school year comes to a close, Linda escorts her graduating fifth-graders over to the middle school for an afternoon and gives them a taste of things to come. Principals and teachers know that students need a lot of time to adjust to life in a new school, and they want to make it as easy as possible for you. If your school does this too, don't miss the opportunity when it comes around, and show up armed with any questions you have. If your Principal or elementary school doesn't provide this type of "sneak peek" at middle school, ask a parent or counselor to arrange one.

Hint #2: Get Organized
Linda says that life will be much easier if you develop a system for your schoolwork and belongings. You'll now have a lot of books, papers, and school supplies, and you might want to create a binder and/or folder for each class. That way, everything's easy to find when you need it, and when it comes time to take a test or write a paper, all of your notes and assignments will be right at your fingertips. You might also want to work with a trusted adult to schedule and keep track of your homework assignments. Experiment a bit to see what works for you, then stick with it.

Hint #3: Get Active
Linda encourages students to explore as many clubs and activities as they can. You can get involved in anything from the soccer team to the computer club. It doesn't matter who you are or what you're interested in -- there's a place for you in middle school activities! Getting involved is the best way to make lasting friends and truly learn what your new school has to offer.

Hint #4: Get Help When You Need It
If you need any sort of advice, assistance, or general moral support during your first weeks of middle school, Linda says it's important to ASK QUESTIONS. There are lots of people available to give you the answers you need: teachers, counselors, even coaches or office staff. It's their job to give you guidance if you're struggling, lost, or even just a little confused about something. You'll probably find that you're not the first student -- or the last -- to have a certain problem.

Now that you've heard from a school principal, here's some more advice and stories From The Mentors.

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