"Moving On" - The Fears and Excitement

Project Summary
This popular activity has older students write to younger students telling them what to expect when they make the move from elementary school to junior high, or from junior high to high school.

This activity was first conducted on the FrEdMail Network in 1984 between 8th graders in a middle school and 6th graders from from a nearby elementary school. The 6th graders first wrote letters to the junior high students, and the 8th graders responded. The following statements were made by students describing their participation in this activity.

  • "I really enjoyed writing to the 6th graders. I sure wish someone had been around to answer my questions, before I went to junior high."

  • "I took this assignment seriously, because I knew the 6th graders were depending on me."

Suggested Grade Level and Audience
Sixth Grade, Middle school or Junior High, High School

Estimated Time Required
2 weeks

Student Learning Objectives

  • To verbalize feelings associated with new experiences
  • To communicate knowledge and information to others
  • To describe personal memories
  • To provide peer tutoring and guidance
  • To practice writing, editing, and revising
  • To reinforce word processing skills
  • To communicate with a distant audience
  • To engage in electronic transfer of information

Writing Prompt

When you entered kindergarten, you probably felt a combination of fear and excitement. Those feelings are common whenever you are about to undergo a new experience. Your feelings of fear and excitement were probably based on the stories that your friends and family told you about what school would be like. And, of course, their stories came from their own real or imagined experiences of school.

As the days passed on, you came to realize that school wasn't quite as frightening or quite as exciting as you had anticipated. When you do something everyday, the feelings associated with the experience are usually not extreme. Humans have the ability to adapt to their environment, and get "used to" things.

Your audience will be 6th grade students going to junior high next year. Here is your task:

First, make a list of all the things that you can remember that caused you concern just before you entered junior high. You might want to comment on some of the following:

  • different teachers
  • getting from one class to another
  • more homework
  • meeting many new kids
  • being separated from your old friends
  • new clubs and activities
  • new foods and more choices at the cafeteria
  • dances & parties
  • riding the bus, if you never had to before
  • other things...

Secondly, and most importantly, tell your audience of incoming 7th graders, what junior high school is REALLY like. Is it really the way you thought it would be? Give them as many details as you possibly can. Try and tell them all the things you wished someone had told you before you came to junior high. What is the best advice you can give these students?



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