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Middle school boot camp

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

Incoming sixth graders at Winburn Middle School are going through basic training this week.

It's kind of a boot camp on how to survive middle school, and if it were a military boot camp, Ms. T.C. Johnson's title would be drill sergeant. She laughed Tuesday as she admitted, "Yes, I'm the drill sergeant, and I take my job seriously because I think that our kids do get off to a better start when they get an opportunity to have this transition into middle school."

And what is the biggest challenge facing these sixth graders. Johnson tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "In elementary school, they normally have one teacher and one classroom. Here at Winburn, they rotate classes so this week they're getting an opportunity to practice going from class to class, and they hear about test taking strategies and note taking."

The basic training can get as basic as how to get your locker open..
Johnson says, "That really is one of the biggest fears among incoming sixth graders, how to get their lockers open."

Kristoni Cross, who is moving up from elementary school this Fall, says, "Having my own locker is like having your first dog. You get so attached to it, and you don't want to let it go."

Maybe the biggest difference between elementary school and middle school is that there's no recess when you reach the sixth grade. Kristoni Cross says, "That is really sad, but it's kind of better because now we have more time to learn about other things and get more education in."

T.C. Johnson proudly points out, "We have community people and parents coming in and facilitating our workshops on things like time management and how to get organized. The kids are learning how to get along with one another through effective communication."

Student also learn proper cafeteria behavior and voice level. Johnson personally explained to them Tuesday that they must use voice level 2 in the lunch room. "We've got 4 levels. 4 is definitely for outside. 1 is kind of a whisper. 2 is conversational."

Then the drill sergeant let her charges raise they voices as much as they wanted when she said, "If you like boot camp, give a good hand clap and a big cheer." The response was almost deafening.

Wednesday parents will be at the school for their own basic training.


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