Characteristics of this age group:

  • Unpredictable, moody behaviors. Adolescence is a period of psychological and social transition between childhood and adulthood. Plan for unpredictable mood swings and intermittent wavering interest on the part of an individual student from week to week. Each day it can seem as if you have a completely different set of participants!
  • Peer Pressure. Children of this age are highly concerned with being accepted by their peers. Therefore, they will approach many things with caution, trying to figure out the group's opinion before deciding whether to show enthusiasm for an activity. If an activity is perceived as "uncool," you are almost certain to have little or no participation.
  • Distracted, social butterflies. It is hard enough to get this age group to focus completely in the classroom during school. It becomes even more challenging in the after school setting. Most of them want to socialize with their peers, and it can really be a challenge to get them to focus on the activity at hand.
  • Overwhelmed students. Often you will see students who are overworked, involved in multiple extracurricular activities, and perhaps have a part-time job. Eighth graders are also beginning to stress about what will be expected of them in high school. All these sudden responsibilities can lead to poor attendance or forgetfulness. Their minds can only hold so much information.