Making It in Middle School: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School by David Borgenicht
So, what's so special about middle school--one word--CHANGE.
Middle school is one of those times in life when a whole lotta change happens for a pretty short time. In those middle years, people get taller, they get new interests, their social lives change, and their minds start thinking in more and more sophisticated ways.
Human culture has always had its harrowing rites of passage, but for some kids today, being left in the woods would be their first choice over beginning middle school. David Borgenicht's new Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The: Middle School (Worst Case Scenario Junior Editions) (Chronicle Books, 2009) offers the wisdom of those who have made that passage. Co-authors Borgenicht, Winters, and Epstein concentrate on how to navigate the "worst case scenarios" that we know will come to everyone in some fashion--everything from what to do if you sit in a puddle of chocolate milk at lunch to what to do if you find yourself busted and waiting in the principal's office.
Tailoring some of their advice especially for girls or for boys, the authors concentrate primarily on advice for everyone in chapters devoted to the first day of school, negotiating after-school teams and activities, and dealing with those inevitable shifting friendships and cliques. With emphasis on preparation, humor, and common sense, this guide provides background knowledge that may seem a revelation to eleven and twelve year olds. For example, in dealing with the worst-case scenario of being called on when you don't know the answer, the authors offer this advice: 1) Always raise your hand when you DO know the answer; this will limit the likelihood of being called on when you don't. 2) If it's a language class, answer "I don't know" in that language. 3) Tip the question to someone who DOES know the answer; 4) Try your best answer by showing what you DO know in the general area of the question. 5) Just say "Sorry, I don't know that one," with a smile.
The authors also offer advice for dealing with cheaters and for being accused of cheating, how to cut homework loads down to size, and snappy and funny comebacks for times when you need to minimize the damage from your own screw-ups. (Example: You blow a play in a ballgame: Say "Let's don't call THAT play again!") And perhaps the best advice--try to see the positive side of that big switch to middle school:
"You get a clean screen, new powers, and the chance to turn yourself into the person you have always wanted to be."
For some, er, novel advice on surviving the middle school experience here are a few great fiction books about making the big switch. For more "expert" guidebooks, see A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School: Everything You Need to Know About Juggling More Homework, More Teachers, and More Friends (American Girl Library) and The Middle School Survival Guide: How to Survive from the Day Elementary School Ends until the Second High School Begins.