6th grade is an awkward stage for my students and any students, really. Bodies are changing, brains seem to stop working and insecurities set in. We have all been through this phase in life but surprisingly enough, it's probably the phase with the most impact on growth and development. A few years ago, I was in my car driving somewhere and listening to NPR to the program This American Life. I was captured by a story about middle school life, through the perspective of a middle school student. Along with a middle school perspective, I gained a better understanding of how they tick....or not tick ;-)
What is the most interesting aspect of the story is the discussion of how the brain functions during this awkward stage and influences how we develop as adults. My husband tells that I haven't changed a bit...and he knew me when I was 12. The most memorable people, events and experiences that are ingrained in my brain are the ones from middle school....and for that, I am very thankful.
I am, also, very thankful that all middle school dances are over.
Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney, takes this phase in life, and makes it approachable and funny.
As their art teacher, I feel my strategy for connecting to my 6th grade students needs to be approachable, fun and interesting enough in which somewhere in their gray matter part of their brain they will remember....something ;-)
So, embrace your inner Wimp and help your middle schoolers find theirs.
xoxo, SMocK you.