Transitioning into middle school can be full of excitement, sadness and anxiety, all of which are emotions that each new student handles in his or her own way.
For the first time, this summer, Riverview Middle School held Eagle Camp 2009, a three day camp designed to inform rising sixth grade students about life as a middle school student and prepare them for the next phase in their student careers.
“Making the transition from elementary to middle school is a big step for most students, so we put together this camp to help ease anxiety and worry as well as give them a heads up of how different middle school is from what they have known in elementary school,” said Amanda Johnston, counselor at Riverview.
Seven students participated in the camp, which was held June 9-11, and was led by Amanda Johnston and sixth grade social studies teacher Patrick Johnston.
Following a quick tour of the building and a get-to-know-you activity, the students received information on a variety of topics; such as the rules and policies, teacher expectations, dealing with the stress, how to be a successful students and obstacles to success.
“Being a middle school student involves more responsibility and independence on behalf of the student,” Amanda Johnston added. “Balancing seven different classes, each with a different teacher, along with an individualized schedule is a lot to handle for students who are used to going everywhere as a class with a teacher escort. We want to make them aware of the differences and give them tools to enter sixth grade prepared and less worried.”
Johnston noted that each year, anywhere from 5-10 students will struggle with the adjustment, so she put the class together in hopes of offsetting those who could potentially have a more difficult time making the adjustment, as opposed to their peers.
In addition to the discussed topics, students spent time in team-building activities, where they learned more about each other, working together towards a common goal, and how to apply what they have learned to school.
“We had a special guest and local State Farm agent, Carla Boutin, treat the students to lunch and emphasize the importance of being prepared and working hard towards reaching your goals,” Amanda Johnston said. “Ms. Boutin encouraged the students to take what they’ve learned to support each other and their fellow students.”
Plans for the camp are in the works for next summer, and Johnston says she is looking forward to finding out how the camp assisted those who participated in order to iron out more details to continue the camp.
“Feedback that I got from the students was positive. They said they learned a lot and were feeling less anxious about the transition,” she said.
For more information, contact Amanda Johnston at (706) 216-4849 or firstname.lastname@example.org.