Middle School Education

Top 10 Things Middle-School Students Wish You Knew

Middle school is a critical time for students as they navigate the rocky transition from childhood to adolescence. From raging hormones and academic pressure to finding their own identity, students at this age have a lot on their plate. As parents, teachers, or mentors, understanding these challenges helps us provide the necessary support for middle schoolers. In this article, we share the top 10 things middle-school students wish you knew.

1. They crave independence: Middle-school students want to assert their individuality and independence as they become more aware of their surroundings and peers. Giving them a sense of autonomy in small ways – such as allowing them to pick out clothes or make decisions about extracurricular activities – can help boost their confidence and self-esteem.

2. Academic pressure mounts: With increased workload and expectations, middle schoolers may struggle to balance academics and extracurricular pursuits. It’s crucial that we empathize with their challenges, provide helpful guidance, and remind them that it’s okay to ask for help.

3. Peer pressure becomes apparent: Middle schoolers experience peer pressure like never before. Discussing the potential negative impacts and teaching them how to deal with these situations in a positive manner can help them build resilience.

4. They need your guidance but not necessarily your solutions: While they may need support navigating the complex social dynamics, middle schoolers often prefer active listening over someone solving their problems. Sometimes, they just need a sympathetic ear from someone who understands what they’re going through.

5. Self-esteem is fragile: Body image issues, academic comparison with peers, and puberty-related changes lead to vulnerable self-esteem during middle school years. Positive reinforcement is crucial during this time to help build confidence.

6. Social life changes rapidly: Friendships may shift during middle school as interests and social groups evolve. Navigating these shifting dynamics can be challenging for students, and providing them with support allows them to manage these changes with greater ease.

7. Bullying can happen: As social structure in middle school becomes more prevalent, so does the risk of bullying. Keeping an open dialogue can help students feel safer discussing any issues they may be facing or witnessing.

8. Emotional ups and downs are common: Hormonal shifts during puberty result in emotional rollercoasters for many middle schoolers. Patience, understanding, and reassurance are essential during these volatile times.

9. They may test boundaries: During their quest for independence, middle schoolers often test limits and establish their identities. Clear communication about expectations and consequences for actions can help maintain a healthy balance between freedom and discipline.

10. They still need you: Despite all the changes occurring in their lives, middle schoolers want reassurance that they are loved and supported. Reiterate your love, patience, and presence throughout this challenging period, so they know they have someone to turn to no matter what.

In summary, understanding these top 10 things will help us better support our middle-school students as they navigate this transformative phase in their lives. Stay patient, communicate openly, and lend a listening ear to ensure they thrive during these crucial years.

9 Smart Ways to Teach Your Middle School Students About Money


Teaching middle school students about money is essential for fostering good financial habits early in life. By practicing smart money management techniques, young people can gain a better understanding of the value of money and how it can be used responsibly. Here are nine smart ways educators and parents can teach middle school students about money.

1. Start with the basics:

Begin by teaching students the basics of currency, including the different denominations of coins and bills, as well as their individual values. Discuss foreign currencies and how exchange rates work, emphasizing that money holds value around the world.

2. Introduce budgeting:

Encourage students to create their own personal budgets based on hypothetical income. Have them consider income sources, necessary expenses, and a savings plan. Discuss how to prioritize spending and saving in order to make smart financial decisions.

3. Teach about responsible banking:

Educate students on the importance of opening a bank account when they’re old enough, and discuss the various features that come with a bank account (savings, checking, debit cards). Explain how banks help people manage their finances by protecting money, paying interest on savings, and facilitating transactions.

4. Explain credit and debt:

Discuss credit cards, loans, and interest rates – explain that borrowed money must be repaid along with extra costs (interest). Emphasize that taking on too much debt can be detrimental to one’s financial future and explain the implications of poor credit scores.

5. Explore compound interest:

Use examples to illustrate how compound interest can grow over time – both in savings accounts and when paying off debts. Emphasize the importance of saving early to take advantage of compounding interest.

6. Introduce investing:

Introduce stocks, bonds, and mutual funds as tools for investing money and growing wealth over time. Explain that each type of investment carries its own level of risk, and emphasize the importance of diversification.

7. Discuss taxes:

Teach students about income tax, sales tax, and property tax. Explain how taxes impact their personal finances and why they are necessary for funding essential services such as schools, police departments, and infrastructure.

8. Encourage entrepreneurship:

Inspire students to think creatively about earning money. Discuss different ways they can use their skills and interests to start a small business or side hustle that brings in extra income.

9. Role-play real-life financial scenarios:

Allow students to experience various financial situations through role-playing exercises. From grocery shopping on a budget to handling unexpected expenses, these scenarios will help them apply the concepts they’ve learned in practical ways.


Teaching middle school students about money is a crucial part of preparing them for a successful and financially responsible future. By incorporating these nine smart ideas into your lesson plans or everyday conversations, you’ll be able to provide valuable financial education that will benefit your students throughout their lives.

How I Use Picture Books to Teach Mindfulness in Middle School

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to help our students develop mindfulness practices. As a middle school teacher, I have discovered the power of using picture books as a captivating and effective tool for teaching mindfulness. In this article, I will share the creative ways I use picture books to engage my middle school students in mindfulness exercises.

First and foremost, picture books offer a unique combination of visual and textual elements, making them accessible and appealing to middle school students. The use of stunning illustrations alongside written narratives allows students to experience stories in an entirely different way than they would through traditional texts. This multi-sensory approach engages various learning styles, captivates students’ attention and creates a perfect environment for practicing mindfulness.

Choosing the Right Picture Books

The first step in using picture books for teaching mindfulness is selecting appropriate titles that showcase themes related to mindfulness or social-emotional learning. Some of my favorites include:

1. “The Rabbit Listened” by Cori Doerrfeld – This touching story addresses empathy and perspective-taking.

2. “I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness” by Susan Verde – A calming narrative that describes the practice of mindfulness and encourages self-reflection.

3. “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña – A heartwarming tale focused on gratitude and appreciation for the simple things in life.

Incorporating Mindfulness Activities

Once you’ve selected an appropriate picture book, incorporate mindfulness activities alongside your reading sessions:

1. Guided Visualization: As middle schoolers engage with illustrations in the book, encourage them to create mental images of the scenes. This practice helps strengthen their visualization skills while promoting mindful attention to detail.

2. Deep Breathing: Introduce students to basic deep breathing exercises before or after reading a passage from a picture book. Slow, mindful breathing helps calm the mind and body, enabling students to better focus on the messages within the book.

3. Silent Observation: After reading a passage, display a relevant illustration from the picture book and encourage students to silently observe it for a minute or two. This exercise encourages attention, mindfulness, and reflection on the story’s themes.

4. Emotional Awareness: While reading, pause occasionally to discuss how characters might be feeling and why. This encourages empathy, emotional regulation, and self-reflection – all key components of mindfulness practice.

5. Mindful Writing Prompts: Following the reading session, provide students with writing prompts that encourage them to relate the themes of the story to their own lives and experiences. These written reflections can serve as jumping-off points for further discussions on mindfulness.

Using picture books as an entry point for teaching mindfulness not only makes learning more engaging and accessible but also provides educators with another avenue for nurturing emotional intelligence in their middle school students. By incorporating mindfulness exercises alongside captivating narratives and visuals, we can set our students up for success in both their academic work and personal lives.

Our Favorite Middle School Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers

In the world of education, it’s always helpful to have a bank of resources at your fingertips. Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) provides a platform for educators to buy and sell original educational materials, making life a little easier for instructors everywhere. As middle school teachers juggle the unique needs and interests of their students, it’s vital to have access to quality resources that align with their curriculum. Here’s a list of our favorite middle school TpT sellers that offer exceptional content catering specifically to this age group.

1. Presto Plans

This Canadian seller provides comprehensive English language arts curriculum materials. Covering grades 6 through 10, Presto Plans offers ready-to-use lesson plans, interactive activities, and digital resources perfect for sparking student engagement. With a strong grasp on how to cater to middle-schoolers’ interests, Presto Plans is a must-visit for English teachers seeking captivating content.

2. Science Chick

Bringing passion and energy to her science resources, Science Chick offers exciting lessons in biology, chemistry, and earth sciences. With an extensive collection of labs, task cards, games, and differentiated instruction materials, this seller makes science accessible and fun for middle school students.

3. The Math Guru

Making math understandable is no small feat, but The Math Guru has got you covered with creative materials ranging from worksheets to interactive games. Whether you’re teaching geometry or algebra, The Math Guru produces engaging resources for middle school students that cater to various learning styles.

4. Teaching in Room 6

Stephanie is an experienced upper elementary and middle school teacher who shares her expertise through well-planned lessons and activities in her TpT store. Focusing on various subjects such as history, writing, project-based learning units, and more specialized course materials like mock trials, Teaching in Room 6 has plenty to offer any middle school teacher.

5. History Gal

With an aim to make history exciting, History Gal provides a wealth of resources for social studies and history teachers. Her materials cover a range of engaging topics, from ancient civilizations to modern American history. With interactive timelines, digital escape rooms, and project-based learning resources, you’ll be able to ignite your students’ enthusiasm for the past.

These are just a few of the fantastic middle school TpT sellers who have dedicated their time and expertise to creating exceptional resources. As a teacher, tapping into the brilliant materials provided by these sellers can streamline your lesson planning and leave you with more time to foster connections with students in the classroom. Don’t hesitate to explore their stores for new resources that are perfect for your middle school curriculum.