Preparing students for middle school?


When subbing for a regular classroom teacher in an elementary school one would expect to have the same class for at least most of the day, granting of course switching for math which is common in the intermediate grades. Aside from the start of the day and a very short time in the morning for snack, I did not have the same class until after 2:30 PM! They had a special in the morning so that accounted for part of it, but then they came back, had snack time, and left just 15 minutes later to go to another classroom for science while another class came in for social studies. Following that was math, which of course all four 5th grade classes mixed up according to ability which as mentioned is pretty standard. After lunch they came up, I took afternoon attendance, and then they split for reading- and I don’t mean a few students left for resource while the majority stayed. I mean just the opposite: most left while only a few stayed. The students were doing a Roald Dahl unit and the students who came in were reading The BFG. Other classes were reading different books. Finally, after reading the class came back together again… and promptly left for recess. Finally I had the class together, working together for language arts. I don’t know why I bothered making a seating chart when I came in. 😮

I have heard of preparing students for middle school, but I have never seen it to this extent. The closest I had seen before was a school where they actually had a set of lockers which the fifth-graders would take turns using to practice for middle school, but even there I don’t think they switched classes so much. I know I never did when I was in fifth grade. At least I don’t remember doing so aside from specials. But that was the early eighties we’re talking about, somewhat removed from today’s teaching methods.

By the way, The BFG reading assignment included making a comic strip based on the chapters they read. So, to make a connection here I will give you a couple of links for your reading enjoyment. Of course since this blog is primarily about education these won’t be your regular (hah! You thought I would give a link, not just the name! Uh, whoops… 😀 ) newspaper comics. On both sites they have links to purchase their ‘toons, but they are free to view on the web so you don’t need to bother. Well, enjoy!

Cartoons by Randy Glasbergen


2 thoughts on “Preparing students for middle school?”

  1. A whole UNIT on Roald Dahl? I enjoyed his books as a kid. Better than the crud they made us read – Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea… I know they are classics, but those books didn’t even excite an avid reader like me.

  2. Well, I’m sure it’s nothing more than a reading unit, as opposed to an all-curricular unit, but all four classes are reading a different Dahl book. Ever catch his old series Tales of the Unexpected? I saw a few episodes and really didn’t like it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is good though, except for the portrayal of Willy Wonka last movie, but I don’t think that was Dahl’s fault- just Hollywood taking a new direction on an old character.

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