Middle School: Top ten tips to manage your time effectively

Being able to manage Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and two connection classes can be a lot for the new Middle School student. It would be hard for any adults that do not have time management skills. Today, I want to share with you what I think are easy to do time management skills that will allow Middle School students to get good grades and still have time for extracurricular activities. Remember nothing is free. You have to put in the work to make this work for you.



Making a simple to do list can get you organized heading into your day. When you complete a task check it off the list. This is the most simplest way to get yourself organized and to use your time the most effectively. It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. You just need to write enough to jog your memory about what you need to get done.

2. Difficult items first.

Doing the difficult task first will allow you to start your day with a fresh mind and relaxed. I know sometimes it might not be easy to accomplish the hardest task first, but make an attempt and who know you might get it done and the rest will come easy. The task is to hard to finish then set it aside and go on to your next task. Just make sure you put it back on your to do list at the bottom.


Use Time Wisely

Get the most out of the spare time that you have on your hands. If you have time between classes work on your other class work. Riding in a car going to dance class, use that time to get in some studying. Eating breakfast in the morning might be a good time to catch up on some study review for the day so you are prepared for class. Make the most of you time. Time spent on you phone in social apps can be used to get caught up on your studies.

4. Review your Notes Every Day

I mentioned this in the last time management tip, but I feel this one is vital to having a successful day. If you read over and review your notes daily, you will be prepared for class and you might impress your teacher. If all the students in the class were prepared for class the teacher might assign less homework because you actively listen in class and retain the information distributed in class.

5. It is okay to say “NO.”

If you are asked to do something and you do not think you will have enough time to do your assignments, it is okay to say no. There are only so many hours in the day and you have to prioritize what is the most important priority on your to do list. It might be a good time for you to ask if someone can help you if you do not think you can get it done by yourself.


Finding out what works best for you.

Are you a morning person or a night person? Do you work better after eating a meal or on an empty stomach? Do you work better as an individual or as a team? These are a few of the questions that might come up as you figure out what works best for you. Sometimes you might have to think about things differently and consider ways to do the items on you to do list that will be the most productive.


7. Getting a good nights sleep.

Do you find yourself waking up looking at the inside of a textbook or next to your computer? You might not be getting enough sleep. You need good quality sleep. This should be a priority on your to do list. You need 8 or more quality hours of sleep every night. 8 hours means that if you have to be up at 6 AM you need to be in bed between 930 – 10 PM. It allows your brain an opportunity to reset and refresh for the start of a new day and the new challenges put upon you.


Let Others Know when you are busy.

You have things you have to do to take care of yourself. You are no good to anyone else if you don’t do maintenance on yourself. It is okay to let others know that your schedule is full and that you cannot take on anymore tasks. Make sure you have “You Time” on your to do list, but not so much that you never get anything else done. You have to figure out the balance that is right for you.

9. Control your Time.

Figure out how much free time you have and give yourself some of that time. Use that time effectively. Set deadlines for yourself to get things on your agenda done. This might take some time to figure out but it will be worth it in the end. Time is money. Control you time.

10. Do not waste time agonizing.

Do not waste a entire evening agonizing over a task that you might be able to accomplish by your deadline. Make some phone calls or ask for someones help. Talk to your teacher about what they can do to help you understand what needs to be done. If you are putting forth the effort, any teacher will help you. Good time management skills will set you apart from the competition and show you have a burning desire to be more than average. Once again do not be afraid to seek out assistance from your teacher.

Starting in the 6th grade and understanding how to effectively manage your time will allow you to have a blast in middle school. You will have more time for yourself and the activities that you love to do when you can get your school work and chores done in a timely manner. Just try these tips and in no time you will be having more time on your hands.



Middle School: The first week excitement

Students and Teachers are starting school this week all across the country. Some schools districts have decided to delay a few more weeks but school is starting back up all across the country. The start of a school year is an exciting time for everyone. You get an opportunity to start fresh all over again and the possibilities are limitless. Maybe you got that new haircut or those new clothes to start off the new year. You walk in with an air of confidence that you have never had to start a school year. This is going to be your year. You are shy and have never really made an effort to have many friends, but you sit next to someone that just wants to talk to you everyday. You become friends and the world changes. This is a positive blog and we are going to leave negativity and dark visions right where the need to, checked at the door and not allowed up in here. So I just wanted to go over a few obsevations I see every year that will make that first week a great experience for child and parent. Let jump in with two feet.

Don’t Be Late the First Week

When you arrive to school it is going to seem like this picture. Cars are everywhere. It will be a little intimidating at first, but that is expected. Know that your school admin have taken this into consideration. Follow the direction of the staff and admin to get your child safely into the building. Check the night before to make sure you know what time school starts and get there early so you will not feel overwhelmed or rushed. Students that ride the bus. You need to be at your bus stop 8 to 10 minutes before your anticipated time of bus arrival. Parents be nice to the teachers, remember this is their first day of a new year. They probably had to find someone to take their child to school the first day and they are nervous as well.

You don’t need to bring everything you bought for school to school on the first day.

The teachers and students main objective on the first day is to get acclimated to each other. Teachers get into a routine of getting to know all the different personalities that will be teaching for the next 180 days. Students learning the rules of the classroom, getting papers for parents to sign, and learning their schedule for where they need to be and what time they need to be there. The first day is overwhelming at times, but more so when you haven’t even been assigned a locker. All you need the first day is a Binder to put papers in and pen or pencil to write with. That is all any student will need the first day. Probably the first few days. The teacher will inform the student in the initial class what they need for supplies.

Safety is Paramount.

This new year brings about safety precautions that noone has dealt with in our lifetime. It is important to follow the rules that have been set in place by your school admin and school district. There will be a set time for rest room breaks, times to wash hands, masks might be mandatory in your school. It doesn’t matter if you want to or not. It is about the safety of everyone else not just you. Do what you are asked of when it comes to safety because safety is paramount.

Parents or students email teachers if you have question after the first day.

Sometimes that light bulb doesn’t come on and you feel overwhelmed with all that is going on. It is ok. Think positive. If you are not sure of something important that was said and you want to remember or want to tell your parents then e-mail your teacher. Just about every teacher has given out a syllabus that give grading policies and expectations for their class. On that syllabus is the teacher email. I can almost guarantee it. Teachers love email questions. Teachers check their email two to three times a day and probably two to three times at night. Do not call teachers. They have families of their own at home and are trying to find out how their day went. When a teacher settles in they often will check their school email. Be patient the answer will be coming soon after.

Take notes.

Notice I didn’t say good notes. It doesn’t matter what kind of notes. Take notes all day long about whatever you hear. Notetaking is a value trait. It is a skill many successful people use. Always carry something to write with. Always take notes. You never now when you will learn something you didn’t know and you want to remember it. Take Notes. It will help you remember. That is the purpose of school, correct.

Know where you live and how you are getting home from school

You would be surprised how many students do not know their address for their home. You would be surprised to know that students do not remember the number of the bus they rode to school on that morning, so they can go home in the afternoons. Students memorize your address and your bus number. The teacher will be glad to help you but you have to meet them halfway. Know your home address.

Finally, Remember your school schedule

Teachers can get you to where you need to go if you can tell them the name of the class or teacher you are reporting to. It is hard for a teacher to read your mind. They will have to go get on a computer, take their attention away for 18 to 20 other students just to get you to where you need to be. Teachers don’t mind they will do it, but it would be so much easier if every child remembered or wrote down their schedule.

The new school year is here and the excitement is in the air. Teachers are ready to receive your children and I believe student are ready to learn. Teachers and students help each other out by being patient this year. It is a new school experience for everyone this year. Let’s make it a positive one we will never forget, because we got it done together.



Middle School: Up your experience by developing these 4 types of Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is one of few things you have complete control of as you move through middle school and into high school. Your elementary days are long gone. The days of only worrying about washing your hands and a quick brush of the teeth are gone. You are approaching puberty faster than a speeding car and there are no brakes. You are hitting puberty at a time when we are living with COVID-19. It is OK. Let me tell you of four easy steps that will make middle school life easy for you on the personal hygiene front.

But before I do that let me tell you some of the reasons personal hygiene is important in every day life. Personal hygiene is the cleaning of and caring of your body. Keeping your body clean is vital to combat illness. Promoting your cleanliness will help prevent illness for you and those you come into contact with daily. Good personal hygiene will help improve you self-image and self-esteem. Personal hygiene has never been more important than it is in today’s society.

These 4 types of personal hygiene make the transition to middle school easier.


Skin of preteens and teens in most cases get oilier as the move into puberty. The oily skin traps dust and dirt and serves a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Common teenager skin problems that come with oily skin is acne and blackheads.

SOLUTION: Teenagers should establish a regular routine of washing their face with mild soap and water every night before bed.


Your nailcare does not have to be as like the picture, but you need to take care of cleaning your nails regularly. Fingernails are the prime breeding ground for germs. The germs are easily transferred to the mouth while eating. During Covid-19 we have been told to not touch our mouth, eyes, or nose because hands and fingernails carry germs.

SOLUTION: Wash hands regularly with antibacterial soap and water for 20 seconds at a time. Regular soap is fine if that is all that is available. The extra mile can be using a nail brush to get the extra dirt out from under the nails.

Oral Care

Bad breathe is huge problem in middle school. Kids need to make a routine of brushing their teeth at a minimum of twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. These should be part of a daily personal hygiene routine. Poor tooth brushing can also lead to tooth decay.

SOLUTION: Brush and floss teeth twice a day in the morning and evening. At school rinse mouth with water or mouthwash after any meal. Keeping breath mints with you can help after you eat foods that cause bad breath.


Body odor develops due to onset of puberty and the development of sweat glands. Odors often happens in the armpits and the genital area because we keep those area covered allowing an avenue for bacteria to grow. The bacteria we have on our body feeds of the sweat causing body odor.

SOLUTION: Taking a shower or bath once a day or after activity that causes you to sweat will help eliminate sweat and unwanted odor causing bacteria. Use of an antiperspirant (deoderant) to control sweat can be done first thing in the morning. Most deoderants last for 12 hours.

No matter what your child says. AXE body spray is not deoderant. Only one spray is needed. It acts like cologne but cheaper. Kids feel a need to use the whole bottle at one time. Also, perfume, cologne, hairspray, and makeup are not necessary personal hygiene products. They are extras.

Talking to your child at the onset of puberty makes it easier to deal with an often times difficult time in a child’s life. Puberty is not easy, but having good personal hygiene habits are good for the rest of your child life. Reinforce those habits now and your child will have an easy middle school experience as far as their personal hygiene goes. Who know they might gain self confidence and build their self esteem due to healthy hygiene habits started early on.


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Keys to Middle school success – gear up you listening skills

My many years of education has led me to believe that this might be the top skill that any child needs to develop more than any other skill.  I am going to focus on the middle school child hence the title of this blog.  Listening skills will take care of over 95% of all troubles that middle school students encounter on an every day basis.  Teens and Pre-Teens have their own ideas and start developing that sense of who they will become during these important years of development.  The skill they often lack is to be able to hear what others have to say. 

I tell all my sports teams that secret of having an amazing season versus an average season is communication.  Communication is the key to making good grades in school, having healthy relationships with teachers, parents, and other students, and being able to know what you need to do to be successful.

What is the purpose of Listening?

  1. To Gather Information.
  2. To Understand another person view of a topic.
  3. To enjoy being around others.
  4. To learn new ideas and how to do new things to enhance our lives.

The five techniques I believe will help you become a better listener, but you have to practice being a good listener.  Just like everything you would like to be good at you have to practice and be repetitive in your practice.  These are five fundamentals of Listening that will be a survival tool for middle school success:

–Maintain Eye Contact

            –Always let a person see you are attentive to them.  They will be more receptive to talk directly to you if they know they have your attention.  This is a hard skill for middle school kids to learn.  I have had many conversations where a student will not look at me while talking to them.  I don’t get upset with them, I just tell them during the conversation, “It is easier for me to talk to you too, if you are looking at me because that lets me know you are Listening to me.”  It might take some time, but students will get comfortable enough to look at teachers when that trust is built. 

–Use of Body Language

            –Huge identifier of good listening skills.  Showing someone you are paying attention to them in middle school might be knuckle bumps for a good job or high five.  Often times a smile shows you have enjoyed what someone has to say.  Negative signs of body language that shows you are not attentive are crossed arms, looking at a clock, or tapping your fingers or feet.  Give someone you undivided attention.  Often conversations go quicker, and the plot of the story or conversation is quickly delivered.

–Provide key encouragers

            –Encouragers allow a conversation to keep moving forward, because the person talking will know you are listening and will not repeat themselves.  Some key encourages are simple, “Uh-huh.”, “Me too.” Or “Go Ahead”.  This is a great way to make new friends.

–Repeat what a person says

            –Repeating what a person say allows you a moment to reflect on what the person has said and for you to register a sincere response to the conversation.  This also prevents you from interrupting their story with one of your stories.  (Often changing the subject is considered rude.)  Listen to all they have to say before you change the subject. 

–Ask questions that will fill in the blanks.

            –If you feel you need more information to fill in the blanks, Ask those questions?  The other person has shared their story or experience.  Now is the time for you to sweep in with your five listening skills and prove to everyone including yourself that you have heard everything that needs to be heard.  Example of this is in class when the teacher says, “Does anyone have any questions?”  That is the time to answer the question to fill in the blanks.  Let the teacher know you have been paying attention.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Think about a person in your life that is a great listener.  Those people are someone you trust and have an impact on how you live your life: your preacher, your doctor, your mother, and for (middle school) your best friend. 

If you like my blog please share, comment, or just like.  Let me know you are checking my blog out and that you like what you see.  Thank you and God Bless.


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Being part of a team

Being part of a team. You truly miss it when you have been a part of a team. You truly miss it when you have been a part of many great teams that have influenced the person you are and the direction of your life. I remember my first team. It was the group of students that went from Kindergarten in that red brick building and white building across from Rocket Field and finished 12 years later at Oconee County High School. I remember in the yearbook when they took the picture of everyone that graduated. We worked together to get through school and I still keep in touch with a large number of my former classmates on social media. I have not seen them for over 30 years but it seems like yesterday, because we were a team. I joined the Air Force and was stationed at Lowry AFB in 1992, Moody AFB 1993, and Edwards AFB in 1999. The one thing I remember from all them is what an honor to be part of a great team. I learned so much from each of them and each person I was stationed with has played a huge impact on my life. A country kid from Bishop Ga traveled the world and made friends with men and women from Thailand, New Mexico, England, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and many other countries and states. Needless to say we still trust each other and care for each other after me being separated from the service for almost 20 years. That leads me to my team for the past 15 years at the school I teach at, but not just the school I teach at but the the teaching profession. We care for each other and have a common mission to care for each student that comes into our lives. We are a team of counselors, teachers, administrators, coaches, sponsors, and substitute teachers who give out hearts everyday to the students we teach. Even today, two weeks before school starts back and the uncertainty we face, we as teachers are thinking about the well being and education of the students we will be entrusted with. Teachers that have anxiety over the start of the new year, know that you have a great team to help you when you feel like you are doing it alone. You always have your team of teachers, colleagues, and friends in the school building. I have been a part of many great teams in my 48 years and I am proud to say that every team I have been a part of has striven for EXCELLENCE. We can do this because we have each other. If you are a student out there, now that your teacher and administration are in this for you. You are never alone, we will find a way to make this an EXCELLENT year. God Bless you all.

Coach JD

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