Saturday, September 1, 2012

Middle School

Frost is starting Middle School next week.  Today we had our first school tour where he received his class assignment, schedule and locker.

In the US middle school stretches from 6th-8th Grade.  In many areas it is a separate school building.  Frost's school has 1000 students in three grades.

During elementary years, kids have most of their lessons in one classroom and only go out for special classes like art, PE and library work.  During middle school you don't have a desk, instead you have a locker and carry the supplies you need to each period.

Their are 6 periods in the day and for each period a child has an assigned course.  Classes do not move together from class to class but each child follows their individual schedule based on their electives and assignments.  In this way it is much like a university or high-school class when I was in school with kids moving along on their own.

As he and his friends from last year compared schedules, Frost will not see any of his 'best' familiar friends more than once a day.  The classes they share are things like PE or band.

That said, Frost is happy with his schedule.  His greatest complaint is the lockers.  There are about 1200 lockers in the school.  Each child is assigned a locker and the code to a combination lock and a sheet of instructions on how to enter them.    The instructions are tedious and exacting - rotate right to the number exactly, rotate left PAST the number and then around again to reach it, rotate RIGHT to the number.  Even getting them right, none of the parents or kids could open the lockers.  Then, with persistance and assistance we learned you have to continue rotating and pulling FIRMLY on the dial, without releasing pressure.  At some point you encountered a resistance and then the door opened.

At this point, if a wicked friend clicked your dial around, the locker door LOCKS in the open position.  This requires the whole sequence to be repeated to enable you to open the lock so as to relock the locker with the door closed.

Apparently, last year this pranking caused such delays and trauma to children who were already stressed by the locker technology that it became a punishable offense called "flicking" or "clicking".  I forget the correct term.

Frost and Nelson discussed never putting anything in their locker.  They decided they would carry everything around all the time to avoid the risk of not being able to get stuff from the locker at a crucial time.  At 10pm tonight Frost was still interested in the way he could reduce the number of times he was forced to access his locker per day.

Clearly, his drum will not fit in the locker so we are going to have to figure out a way to deal with that.