The Hearts and Minds of… Middle Schoolers

First, if any student needs help, here’s how you can get in touch with Mrs. Horeni. Always talk to an adult you trust, but Mrs. Horeni is a wonderful resource our school has for students. Parents can email her at 

Before a student can learn, their basic needs must be met. Most students are sufficiently fed, housed, and clothed. However, many of our students struggle to have their Social-Emotional needs met. It’s very difficult to focus on Millard Fillmore’s Presidency when you are constantly distracted with pressure, feeling like you’ve disappointed people, and not getting any support for your efforts (both academic and pleasure). The State of Illinois has even created a set of Social Emotional Learning Standards that schools must meet.

As a father myself, I struggle to understand my whiny son and know why he does some of the ridiculous things he does. But, understanding what makes a 5-year old act is necessary to helping him make better decisions and grow. I treat students the same way. 13 year olds may often act apathetic, selfish, confrontational, angry, depressed, LOUD, withdrawn, etc… understanding why they are behaving the way they do is as critical to me as knowledge of history. After all, if I don’t get kids, how can I help them learn?

I’m sharing a set of links our social worker and school psychologist have shared with me. They’re terrific websites to help you understand the importance of these Social-Emotional needs, as well as help you decode the mystery of junior high behavior. 

Additionally, here’s a list of books and resources for parents of junior high students:

*new on 9/29:

We often talk about “Learning Styles” with students. Students learn in different, interactive ways, and adults need to be mindful of that through instruction and in that consideration of students. In the fall of 2016, several Enhanced SS students studied this and interviewed teachers on the subject. Here are their findings:


2 thoughts on “The Hearts and Minds of… Middle Schoolers

  1. Thank you Mr. Little for posting helpful websites for parents! I agree with your statement about meeting kid’s social-emotional needs and I am glad that efforts are being made to meet these standards in middle schools today. I am particularly interested in things that teens engage in and current issues that may not have been done or even existed when I was a teen. The best offense is awareness and education about what to look for and what to do! I hope that other parents take time to view some of the information discussed on the various websites. Nice to meet you at the Open house. Have a great year!

  2. My pleasure… I enjoy teaching junior high students, and understand some of the challenges their age/development present for all of us (including themselves!). I’m curious how this blog will develop as we implement 1:1 and Google Classroom, specifically… hopefully we can maintain its importance!

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