Introduction: Middle School can be a pretty intimidating place, and it's hard to judge who to make friends with. Students this age tend to form cliques fast and ostracize those who don't fit into those cliques. But are they really snobs or are they just shy?
by Kristine O'Connell George
Scanning the crowd,
Only the other
Staring right through me
(From SWIMMING UPSTREAM: MIDDLE SCHOOL POEMS by Kristine O'Connell George. Clarion Books 2002)
Starting middle school puts most students on their guard. During the first week of school, language arts teachers can read this poem to their middle school classes and then hold an icebreaker designed to let students meet other students they didn’t know before. For example, stand in a circle in the classroom and go around the circle, having each person tell what were the first words they read this morning, whether it was a side of a cereal box, a billboard seen from the school bus window, or the math assignment they didn’t get done last night. Once the students seem all comfortable with each other, discuss how people shouldn’t make snap judgments on people by their external appearance, but instead on what they truly know about that person. Be sure to mention that what looks like a student not bothering to see another student might not be snobbishness, but actually shyness. That other student is probably just as wary of middle school as any other student.
Graphic from: http://albanyhighcougar.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/crowdedstairs1.jpg accessed 3/6/2009