Teaching Middle School Transition in the Classroom


Making the transition from elementary school to middle school can feel both exciting and scary for 5th graders. As they enter a new chapter in their education, they will face new challenges, responsibilities, and social expectations. As the teacher, you play a pivotal role in helping make the big transition to middle school as smooth as possible as you guide and teach your students this year. 

Read on for tangible ways to teach your favorite 5th graders all they need to know to be confident and ready for 6th grade next year! 

Open Communication

Encourage your students to be honest with their feelings (both with themselves and you!) as they think about the upcoming transition. 


Listen attentively to their concerns and be empathetic as you provide responses. 

Promote Student Independence Before the Transition to Middle School

Encourage your students to be more independent by placing more responsibilities on them throughout the school year. Keep it age-appropriate but add positive challenges too! 

Help your students become more aware of time management as well. By understanding how much time it takes to complete tasks, they will be better prepared for the more structured and involved schedule of middle school.


Comment positively when you see them being independent and accomplishing these goals. Students will feel more empowered and confident in themselves as they become more self-reliant. 

Self-confidence is a HUGE plus when it comes to entering middle school! 

Use Resources to Help Teach about the Transition to Middle School

This Middle School Transition Lesson is exactly what you need when discussing the transition to middle school with your students. It’s low-prep for you and fun and engaging for students!


This resource takes about 30 minutes to complete with a small or large group. The goal is for students to recognize common worries about transitioning to middle school and identify possible solutions.

Included you’ll find the following:

  • Activity description including instructions/walk-through of activity, objectives, materials, guiding questions, ASCA standards, and SEL competencies
  • 1 page of common Middle School Worries
  • 1 page of tips for a positive Transition to Middle School
  • 6 pages of Group Discussion Scenarios of Middle School Worries
  • 10 pages of Individual Scenarios to solve middle school worries
  • 1 page positive things to look forward to about Middle School
  • 2 pages of Letters to Middle Schoolers. (Partner with your local Middle School to have current Middle Schoolers write to 5th graders with tips, advice, and answering questions)
  • 2 pages of Letters to 5th Graders. (Partner with your local Middle School to have current Middle Schoolers write to 5th graders with tips, advice, and answering questions)

Partner with your local middle school counselor and send the template 'Letter to a 5th Grader' for the Grade 6 students to complete. Students practice writing skills while addressing their middle school worries. Receiving the letters back from middle schoolers allows for rich discussion with your 5th graders to dispel some of their fears and concerns. 


The advice your students receive from older peers is invaluable at this age!

Use Books & Videos

Books and videos are a great way to supplement learning through lessons and resources. Students are often able to make connections and reaffirm their learning through books and videos in ways that they couldn’t with other means. 

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A Smart Girl’s Guide to Middle School by Julie Williams Montalbano

Starting middle school can be scary. But knowing what to expect will make you feel more confident. Packed with tips and fun quizzes, here's the inside scoop on topics like classes, lockers, homework, and getting involved in after-school activities. 

Get help deciding the best way to introduce yourself to those new classmates. Plus, you'll read letters from other girls who were just as worried about starting middle school and advice from girls who have already been there.


The Secret Combination to Middle School by Marrae Kimall

This is the perfect reference guide and all that you will need if you are in middle school or want to succeed in all areas of your life. Get it now and reap the benefits! Middle school is a big change and many times it's the first biggest transition a young person has to face. With any change come uncertainties and questions. 

There is a huge difference between elementary school and middle school. Students transitioning into middle school tend to experience mixed emotions, being both excited and nervous at the same time. This book will help you rest easy in knowing that you are not alone.


This short animated video discusses the transition to middle school by sharing expectations like student responsibilities and having multiple classes and teachers. 

Students are encouraged with helpful tips for being successful in middle school and are introduced to the fun incentives of being a middle schooler like dances, pep rallies, and extracurricular activities. Body changes are discussed briefly too.


Empowering 5th graders with the necessary tools to transition to middle school will not only facilitate greater academic success but social-emotional growth too– and you’re the perfect teacher for the job!

Are you looking for more done-for-you resources for your counseling sessions? Check out Counselor Collab!

You might also be interested in reading:

Creating a Calm Corner in your Classroom

The best books for Elementary School Counselors 

You might also be interested in these products:

Passport to Executive Functioning DIGITAL

My Emotions Monsters DIGITAL

Small Group Counseling Curriculum BUNDLE

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