Middle School Students Look Back On Their Favorite Extensions

Extensions provide a break in the day for students to enjoy fun activities with their favorite teachers. Both Johnson and Bird Middle school offer a variety of activities, which include the following: movies, drawing, study halls and Physical Education activities. In response to a survey, 158 Walpole middle school students shared their favorite memories and preferences for extensions.

Extensions are a highlight of the middle school day as students look forward to spending the half an hour a day with friends. 61.5% of respondents from Johnson and 44.1% from Bird sign up for extensions based on the activities that their friends are doing. As many middle school students look back on their extensions their memories mainly center around their friends. From talking, laughing, and joking, students love extensions because they get to be with all of their friends in a class during the school day when on nonextension days they might only get that opportunity during lunch. Many use extensions as a time to relax and have fun; some use the time to focus on more important things. There are extensions for students in music classes to help them continue their practice outside of class.

“I will miss my chorus extension with Mr. Chippo helping me improve my vocals,” Bird Middle School student Brenna Grady said.

Many other students use the extension time to help student council with special projects and activities to help improve the school.

“My favorite memory from extensions was helping paint ornaments for student council,” Johnson Middle School student Jenna Wong said.

Extensions are not an everyday thing; on the even numbered days of the school week, students stay in the classroom and have silent reading instead. During silent reading students have a chance to eat their snack and read silently. Johnson and Bird students use silent reading to read some of their favorite books. At Bird 64.7% of respondents have read more than 2 books over the course of the school year during silent reading. At Johnson 66.3% of respondents have read more than 2 books during silent reading. Many students choose to get ahead of their reading for ELA during silent reading by reading books such as The Outsiders, The Giver or Freak the Mighty. Others choose to read books for pleasure. Books such as The Fault in Our Stars, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are popular at both Johnson and Bird.

Students from Bird and Johnson both participate in extensions, but the process of signing up for them is very different. At Johnson there is an online sign up that is sent out to students after school. 86.5% of respondents from Johnson like signing up online. Most students will be at home texting their friends trying to choose the same extensions when the sign up list is sent out via email. At Bird however, students run around the school to different classrooms to write their name on the sign-up sheets of their favorite extension before it fills up. 50% of respondents from Bird prefer to sign up at school instead of online.

“Signing up for extensions is fun, running around with people and trying to get into the extensions we want is really fun, compared to online, where it feels like you’re scrolling forever and you can’t tell if an extension is full or not,” one Bird Middle School student said.

Although both schools offer extensions, students shared that there are differences between the offerings. For instance, at Johnson the most popular extension, P.E. games, is the most difficult extension to get into, while at Bird, Sunshine Cafe is the hardest one to get into. As students move on to high school there are many things that they will not remember about middle school, but the friendships and memories made during extensions will stick with them long past their days at Johnson or Bird.